Will 2019 be the year of the Vegan in the Wellington food scene? 2018 saw a bunch of Wellington eateries hosting vegan menu takeovers or even adding vegan items to their menus – we at Breadcrumbs are all for it too! It’s great to see some well-known and also some of the lesser known Welly establishments take the initiative and offer options that are environmentally friendly and supportive of all dietary requirements/choices. It can be a bit painful at times trying to find a place to suit your dietary needs, which is why on Breadcrumbs you can head straight to the Discover Screen search and enter “Vegan” or “Vegetarian” and be shown a list of places that will cater to your needs both within the area around you and worldwide! If you know of a good eatery that serves up vegan feeds, be sure to Drop a Crumb at it with the Breadcrumbs app and add the tag “Vegan” so others can find it!
We’ve put together a list of 11 of our favorite fully Vegan or Vegan friendly cafes, bars and restaurants in Wellington. By no means an exhaustive list – just some of our personal favs. If you think we’ve missed something that absolutely deserves a place in this list, be sure to let us know in the form at the bottom of the page!
Perhaps the most well-known Vegan and Vegetarian cafe in Wellington, Lyall Bay’s “The Botanist” offers up plant-based goodness of all sorts. From the fried cauliflower to their selection of delicious burgers, this cafe will leave a smile on your dial. Set in a warm, light and cosy atmosphere full of greenery and right across from Lyall Bay beach there isn’t really much to fault The Botanist on – unless you are a carnivore. In which case you are buggered really. Soz.
A new addition to the Wellington food scene, Plant Blazed is probably not out to serve Paula Bennett food any time soon (their logo is a lettuce smoking a hot dog joint), but the rest of us should be happy these guys exist. This rustic caravan serving up a raft of fake-meat burgers and hotdogs is one to add to your lunch list for sure. Take along a regular meat-eater and watch them squirm as they try to tell you it doesn’t taste just as good as a meat burger (it’s better). You might even be lucky enough to muster up a good old “Oh I tell you what, you wouldn’t even know there’s no meat in this”, which is about as much of an accolade as you can get for a Vegan meal as a non-vegan.
Perhaps most well-known for it’s epic rooftop area and sangria jugs, Basque has recently taken a solid step towards bringing in the Vegan community with their “Meat free Mondays”. Offering an entirely meat free menu as well as a weekly meat free special, Basque has made a statement with their commitment. Citing environmental and health reasons, Basque has been among one of the few establishments out there to acknowledge the need for a shift in diet (including one that comes from our service providers). Bloody great New Zealanders.
One of Welly’s most renowned asian eateries has also made the choice to offer a Vegan takeover day! Since October 2018, Chow has been fully vegan every Tuesday. Sending out vegan takes on all of the Chow classics that Wellington has come to know and love – as well as a selection of newly created dishes, Chow Tuesdays are sure to leave vegans and meat-eaters alike satisfied.
Queen Sally’s Diamond Deli in Lyall Bay has one of the best cabinets in Wellington without a doubt. Primarily vegetarian, with a massive selection of Vegan options – Sally’s is the spot for a light lunch to go. Be sure to head in before 1pm as the secret is well and truly out about the Diamond Deli – any later and you are left picking from the few remaining options (which are still always epic). Opened after a fire gutted the Deli’s cousin cafe (Maranui) to keep staff in employment and the people of Lyall Bay fed – 10 years on Queen Sally’s has now established itself in its own right as not only a local haunt, but a vegan/vege friendly cafe for all of Wellington!
Have you even eaten nachos if you haven’t tried Midnight Espresso nachos? No. No you haven’t even come close. But it’s not all about the nachos – Midnight is also the home of one of Wellington’s best counters since 1988. Options for Vegans, Vegetarians, Gluten Free and everything else that hasn’t been invented yet. The very fact that just about nothing has changed in this place tells you just how good they are at what they do. Wellingtonians love Midnight and through providing epic food, Midnight loves them back.
Boquita is La Boca Loca’s “clean-eating, veggie-loving little sister”. With a philosophy that food should be nourishing for those who eat it, the planet and those involved in making/producing it you would be rude not to give Boquita a crack! Food consists of a variety of tacos, salads and soups, all plant-based Mexican food with a really unique flair and taste. Great option for a light and quick dinner!
More than just an epic setting – Beach Babylon is also a lesser known Vegan hotspot. From a granola bowl for breakfast, to corn fritters at lunch and right on through to an unreal “bang bang sunfed chicken burger” for dinner, Beach Babylon has you covered all day. We recommend heading along on a warm afternoon for a few G & Ts and that delicious burger out in the sunny front area!
Last but most certainly not least on our list is Sweet Release. With a touching back-story of overcoming a troubling health issue through the “Release” of baking which led to the opening of her own cafe, Kristine has been impacting the Wellington Vegan community in many positive ways for the last couple of years – including by running the “Vegan Vault”, an all Vegan night market (first Saturday each month). Sweet release serves up bagels, fake meat, cakes, treats and a mean coffee to boot.
Aunty Mena’s is one of the original establishments in Wellington who was serving up vegan & vegetarian food. With a dedicated and loyal following of customers, Mena’s has been providing bangin’ vegan asian eats for years. Put the Laksa on your list – you will not regret it (especially on a cold winter’s day!). Priced very reasonably at between $12 – $15, Aunty Mena’s is a perfect option for a mid-week lunch!
The creative, innovative folks at Hillside Kitchen & Cellar have made the impressive decision to offer a fully plant-based menu. While this decision may sound bold to some, according to Hillside, each ingredient deserves to be celebrated in it’s own right – not as a substitute for meat. This means that each dish on the menu (which changes with the seasons) is crafted with care and thought for the innovation that is possible with meatless food! Hillside claims that while the ethical standpoint of a meatless menu has it’s influence – it was the drive to grow and innovate their style of food that made the meatless decision an easy one! Head along to see for yourself what conventional limits can be pushed with plant-based cooking!
So there you have it. Our first list of Vegan eats to give a crack in Welly. We get the feeling that 2019 will see a massive influx of noteworthy additions to this list. If you find a gem of a Vegan burger, treat or meal at any establishment that is all vegan, mainly vegan or just a little bit vegan friendly – let us know what we are missing through the form below! Remember, Drop a Crumb on Breadcrumbs app and tag the keyword “Vegan” at any places that you think are worth sharing! Download Breadcrumbs via the link below.