Dating can be a hard and nerve-wracking experience for anyone, but I think the ante is upped when you are a vegan and it comes to eating out with someone who is not. This is why I have written my top 7 places in Melbourne to grab some stress-free food on your first date. I’ve taken into account the menu, atmosphere and overall vibe of each place so you don’t have to. Because let’s be honest, it’s a first date you have other things you need to be stressing about! Happy dating ?
1. Good Love (St Kilda)
Easy first pick for this list as the new restaurant Good Love is ticking all my perfect first-date boxes. Open for breakfast (on the weekends), lunch and dinner. It means no matter what time you prefer to get your flirt on Good Love is always an option! No rabbit food here, so if your date’s a little naïve and thinks all they are going to be eating at a vegan restaurant is lettuce they will be pleasantly surprised. Well priced, cool vibes and a great location for kick-ons. If it’s going well they’re multiple bars and St Kilda beach boardwalk only seconds away. However, if it’s not going well then you have the incredibly friendly staff to talk to as they’re always up for a chat. The staff are also discreet, so if you bring in multiple dates a week, your secret is safe. $$
2. Queen Vees’ (Prahran)
Queen Vee’s is taking second place with their great atmosphere pumping feel-good tunes all night. (But not so loud that you are awkwardly smiling at each other whilst having no idea what the other person is saying.) They have a small menu, great for sharing, meaning you can bond over the delicious and unique Caribbean dishes being enjoyed. Jeans are accepted but you wouldn’t look out of place in heels, so if wanting to get a little more dressed up then this is your place. Again, a great location if wanting to keep the date kicking on. It is only a short stroll down to Borsch Vodka and Tears for a cocktail or maybe Gelato Messina for dessert is more your style? $$$
3. Mukka (Fitzroy)
Mukka brings you the best Indian food you will ever try in Melbourne. So even if you never get to date number two, you will forever be remembered because you picked a dope date spot! Super casual and chill (very typical Brunswick street). This laid-back restaurant is a great place to get to know someone. The vegan set menu is incredible but, you might want to hold off on that one for the first date or you will be asking them to roll you home. It’s a lot of super tasty food so you won’t be holding back! $$
4. Small Pint Pizza (Windsor)
This small and cosy pizzeria is big on minimal waste and sustainability. It’s a great place for any date, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love pizza. The comfy and casual atmosphere is great for a laid-back all-pressure-off kind of date. Although the pizza here is never stale, sometimes your date’s conversation might be. So the ‘be kind to the earth’ vibes means you have a great topic to get on to should you need a lifeboat. Small Print even offers free delivery to Victoria Park across the road. So if the weather permits, a picnic can be easily arranged. If the banter is great, sit on a slice for a while, or if they’re talking about their love of hunting then it’s a food you can consume quickly and get the hell outta there! $$
5. Urban Projuice (Albert Park)
This quaint café in the heart of Albert Park is the perfect brunch date venue. With a cute intimate courtyard and front balcony with heaters and blankets, it’s the perfect outdoor seating for summer or winter. With its delicious all-vegan menu, but sporting nothing too crazy or weird, it’s a place anyone could find something they were happy with which instantly takes the pressure off. Set up in an old Victorian-style home with beautiful aesthetics and well thought out everything you will both feel right at home and relaxed. $$
6. Cornish Arms (Brunswick)
Cornish Arms makes the cut for its full authentic pub-style dining experience which I think for a first date is a great setting as there is always a lot going on, keeping things interesting (and conversation flowing!). The vegan choices (and there’s a lot of them) are big and dirty so make sure you aren’t shy eating in front of a date (which you never should be – we all eat, and often). This is also a great place to find out how considerate your date is of your eating preferences as Cornish Arms does sport plenty of animal-product menu items so if they order the steak or chicken parma then you know you have your work cut out for you. Option to grab a drink on their rooftop bar to settle your nerves first and watch the sunset. $$
7. Weirdoughs, Melbourne CBD
As much as I LOVE this place it’s number 7 as it comes with a big downside of being weather dependent. which to me can be an added stress that you don’t need on a first date – you have enough to worry about let alone battle Melbourne weather! If it’s forecast for blue skies though, then meet at Weirdoughs and grab yourself some weird pastries (sweet and savoury so covering all bases), and walk down to Alexandra Gardens and have yourself a picnic. Or stroll Melbourne’s artistic laneways where you can ensure there will be lots to keep you busy. With Aperol Spritz doughnuts and lobster roll croissant you will never be short on something to talk about (or munch on!).
I would love to hear your thoughts on where you have had some good (or bad) first date experiences as a vegan so come find me on Instagram and let’s chat! @ellen.babauskis