Think healthy food has to be boring? Think again. From paddock-to-plate restaurants to vegetarian Vietnamese, Sydney’s dining scene is sprinkled with eateries that plate up delicious meals without a side serving of guilt. Here are 10 of the best.
The streets of Surry Hills are the capital of Sydney’s dining scene, and Yulli’s is one of the top healthy options in the neighbourhood. With a mixture of Asian, Latin American and North African dishes, the menu is every bit as eclectic as the second-hand furniture that fills the space. Tuck into some plant-based share plates, and if you’ve got some room to indulge, peruse the extensive drinks list and tuck into one of the (relatively) guilt-free desserts.
Sustainability is the core focus of Acre Eatery, a farm-to-table restaurant that prioritises produce from its on-site four-season farm. Reducing waste and maximising yield is the name of the game — fruit and veg is used root-to-tip, and the sustainably sourced proteins are utilised nose-to-tail. Acre is at the heart of the Camperdown Commons project, a green space that replaced the old Camperdown Bowling Club in 2016.
Glance at the immaculately sculpted bodies strutting around Bondi and you’ll quickly learn that health is an obsession around Sydney’s most famous beach. One of Bondi’s most popular purveyors of nutritious food is Porch and Parlour, a beachfront eatery that plates up fresh modern cuisine loaded with organic local ingredients. Check out the mouth-watering smoothie menu, jammed full of fruit and veg.
This Cleveland St institution proves that Vietnamese food doesn’t need to be loaded with pork, beef and chicken to be delicious. Nourishing Quarter serves tasty vegetarian and vegan dishes that put a meat-free spin on the Southeast Asian classics — hearty pho and noodle salads, for instance — plus plenty of tapas plates with a distinct South American influence, such as quinoa rice papers rolls. The camp, kitschy decor is all part of the charm, too.
Burgers, burritos, pies, nachos and toasties don’t sound too healthy, but you can afford to indulge at this whole foods vegetarian cafe not far from the beach in Cronulla. The Bliss Burger — mixed grain pattie, fried onion, avo, cheese, tabouli, sprouts and special sauce on a wholemeal roll — is their speciality. There are two more Pilgrims locations down the coast, too — the original in Milton, as well as Huskisson.
Looking for some fine dining that won’t leave you cradling a food baby? Then head to this upscale Japanese joint. Saké has pocketed award after award for its contemporary Japanese cuisine, with an a la carte menu as well as a generous banquet option making the most of fresh seasonal ingredients — we’re talking fresh fish, steamed dumplings and light sushi rolls. The moody split-level dining room on Argyle St in the Rocks is one of Saké’s five locations across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Healthy food and yoga goes together like quinoa and hipsters, so Egg of the Universe has combined a state-of-the-art yoga studio with a tranquil whole foods cafe in the sunny courtyard of the building. After class, pop in for a coffee and cake, slow-cooked stew or nutrient-rich green smoothie in the so-called ‘enchanted garden’, knowing the organic ingredients have been sustainably sourced from local producers.
Indian food isn’t always kind on your calorie count, but this Surry Hills eatery has a simple mission: “to serve you the freshest and tastiest plant-based Indian food, at reasonable prices”. That means seasonal vegetables, house-blended spices and handmade desserts all prepared the traditional way, including stone-grinding dosa flour in-house, with price tags that will leave your wallet as untouched as your waistline.
This much-loved Marrickville haunt describes itself as a “from-scratch” cafe and bakery, meaning everything they plate up has been produced by hand. With bikes and bags of flour hanging on the exposed-brick walls, Two Chaps depends on local seasonal ingredients to make up its every-changing menu — nab a table on Thursday or Friday night for a dinner of handmade pasta and local cheese.
When Harvest opened its doors in 1969, vegetarian restaurants were as rare as rocking horse droppings. But half a century later, this meat-free eatery is still a Rozelle institution, at the forefront of the Inner-West’s vibrant healthy dining scene. The simple restaurant serves up its plant-based fare five nights a week, and even offers cooking classes on Sunday mornings.