With Byron Bay’s cosmopolitan flavour, don’t be surprised to find plenty of amazing vegan food and vegetarian options around – with fresh ventures popping up all the time!
Plant-based eating has hit town with a vengeance, not surprising given its longtime status as a hub for alternative culture. Whether you’re up for a healthy snack, a liquid-based superfood elixir or want to organise a special dinner, there’s something out there for you.
You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to appreciate the thrilling tastes and multiple health benefits this style of eating has to offer. Without further ado, let’s delve into Byron Bay’s best plant-based eateries.
1) For Something Special
Make no bones about it. No Bones, the restaurant in Fletcher Street, is making some serious waves in a town renowned for them. Using locally sourced, seasonal and organic ingredients, this plant-powered place is garnering sky-high reviews from a fast-growing base of vegetarian and carnivorous fans alike.
You’ll be stunned by the flavours of the No Bones ‘satay’ skewers, ‘prawn’ tacos, and host of other vegan and vegetarian dishes (get to the mushroom main if you can). The cocktails are exceptional, too. We love the No Bones ethos, which is basically an invitation to join the movement to “save the earth, one brussel sprout at a time”.
2) A Chilled Brunch
Late mornings and laid-back vibes are something of a given in Byron Bay. You’d be hard pressed to find anything remotely resembling a city-type rush hour or folks in suits (unless it’s a wet suit, of course).
For those inevitable late starts, there are plenty of brunch spots where you can kick back, enjoy an almond latte and people watch at your leisure. If you’d rather lounge on a grassy knoll than a chair, Folk café is our hands-down first choice (you can just about stroll there from Elements – it’s just over 2kms away). This place is contemporary rustic, cosy, and has a great selection of vegan food and vegetarian dishes.
Another fine purveyor of plant-based food is the Byron Bay General Store, an iconic community building which has survived many incarnations since its beginnings in 1947. Today, it stands as a popular eatery, showcasing creations such as vegan waffles served with coconut ice cream. It’s environmentally friendly, too. If you ride or walk, you get 10% off.
After an invigorating surf at Main Beach, the go-place place for a delicious vego and vegan brunch is the Indonesian-inspired Bagus, which has a prime location opposite the Surf Club (wet hair and sandy feet compulsory). The big breakfast is sure to satisfy your belly for the rest of the day! Or sample one of their nourish bowls.
3) Pitch-Perfect Pizzas
If there’s one thing we’ve all discovered in life, it’s that not all pizzas are created equal. Which is why we’re going to help you cut to the chase with some local tips to make your visit to Byron Bay even more enjoyable.
An easy 15 to 20 minute drive from Elements stands the legendary Milk and Honey in Mullumbimby. This casual restaurant is a hit with the locals and can fill fast, so it may be worth reserving a table. Specialising in artisan wood-fired pizzas (with many plant-based choices), Milk and Honey is all about letting the flavours of quality ingredients speak for themselves. We recommend the crispy zucchinis as a starter. Any cheese can be switched to vegan cheese plus gluten free bases are available for all pizzas.
On the other side of town on Bangalow Road is The Roadhouse. This vegan-friendly coffee house and restaurant supports sustainable farming and has a curated menu of dishes made from nourishing whole foods. If you’re gluten free, eat fearlessly. The pizzas are made from spelt flour with sourdough bases. You can also opt for cheese free.
4) Healthy Snacks
In the same way you can’t walk down a street in Ireland without finding a drinking hole, Byron Bay has the contrary scenario with plenty of healthy food shops, which is handy if you’re looking for a snack!
On Byron Bay’s main drag are two well-entrenched organic and wholefood stores. Get something light (sweet or savoury) at Santos. You can either enjoy the buzz of Jonson Street out front or head to its tucked-away garden café at the bank. By the way, Santos has another branch closer to home in the Industrial Estate.
Another tempting place for vegans and vegetarians is Fundies Wholefood Café, known by all and sundry simply as Fundies. Here, you can sip on an LSD (Latte Soy Dandelion tea, in case you didn’t know) or get an energy rush with a slice of delicious healthy cake. A top spot for mingling with an eclectic range of locals.
5) Best Burger Bars
Burger joints may not seem like the most obvious choice if you’re on the hunt for plant-based food. But Main Street Burger Bar has a tantalisingly good vegetarian repertoire. Try the haloumi number or Asian-infused tofu burger, and make sure to order the creamy coconut and lime jackfruit salad. Using only premium local produce, this burger venue plies feel-good food and boutique beers – or real shakes, to top off that diner experience.
A little out of town with lovely views is another fantastic choice for vegan food and vegetarian burgers – The Top Shop. This casual takeaway and dine in corner store is really popular with everyone from school kids and bikini-clad babes to coffee aficionados. The classic vegie burger comes with a chickpea patty, beetroot, sprouts and relish.
6) Smoothies, Juices & Bowls
In Byron Bay’s tropical climate, there’s nothing quite as rejuvenating as a power-packed smoothie, made-on-the-spot juice or nutritious fruit-laden bowl with other goodies. Billed as a cold pressed juicery and boutique salad bar, The Pressed Pantry is a fairly new player on the health food scene, but already picking up a legion of fans.
Specialising in natural protein and superfood blends, Bare Blends is a store that celebrates the raw power of wholefoods. The store has an on site smoothie bar where you can pick up whey protein based smoothies (charged with ingredients such as Kakadu plums, turmeric and cacao), plant-based drinks and deeply satisfying smoothie bowls.
7) Wild Card Entries
Still got energy to explore the vegetarian and vegan food trail? Check out one of our wild card vegetarian and vegan-friendly venues. Bang Bang is an enticing Asian fusion restaurant in a DJ environment, while the long-standing Bayleaf café is a bustling breakfast spot (some say one of the best in Byron). Be sure to check out Light Years for a vibey retro-style Vietnamese restaurant and cocktail bar.
At Thai Lucy, a cheerful restaurant with all the fabulous classics, ask for the dedicated vegetarian menu. Still on the Asian theme is Foxy Luu’s, which plates up plenty of street-food style vego and vegan options “in a hip art haven by day, and a playful den by night”.
For healthy food, you can’t go past Elixiba, Australia’s first plant-based restaurant and alchemy bar. In this high vibrations environment, you can sip on one-of-a-kind alcoholic or non-alcoholic cocktail concoctions, organic wines or herbal beers.
If you’re in the mood to mooch around, you won’t need to go far to find a scrumptious array of vegan and vegetarian dishes at Element’s very own, and recently rejuvenated, Azure Bar and Grill. It’s a relaxed and friendly experience in a sophisticated ambience.
Want more inspiration for things to do in Byron Bay? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Byron Bay.