Green Party: Where to find the best plant-based food in Auckland

The entrance to a restaurant on a sunny day.

Whether you're a committed herbivore or simply curious about exploring the world of plant-based food, Auckland’s vibrant and diverse culinary scene offers a huge range of delicious plant-based options. Featuring mouth-watering plant-based burgers, tantalising Thai curries and indulgent gluten or dairy-free desserts, this guide includes dishes that are so tasty they rival their meat- or dairy-based counterparts in both taste and satisfaction.

Words by: Nicole Mudgway

Photos: Anna Briggs

As more people venture towards plant-based eating (or at least, eating less meat), most of Auckland’s eateries have embraced the challenge, nowadays catering for all sorts of dietary requirements. From dedicated plant-based eateries to mainstream restaurants offering delectable meat-free or vegan options, Auckland offers a multitude of dining destinations that will light up your sensory palate - and of course, your conscience!

Savour the vibrant colours, textures, and tastes that define Auckland's plant-based cuisine. Enjoy farm-fresh organic produce and globally inspired creations, with each dish telling its own story of sustainability, compassion, and culinary excellence. 

Khu Khu Eatery

171A Ponsonby Road

Khu Khu’s lively Ponsonby Road location is an intimate 20-seat restaurant that celebrates all things Thai but vegan. The menu is familiar, reinventing everyone's favourite Thai classics to be meat, seafood and dairy free - think tempeh pad thai, ‘duck’ drunken noodles and kumara spring rolls for starters. The menu is refined, the flavours are fresh, and the dishes are perfect for sharing with friends. Khu Khu has recently opened a second location in Milford, bringing with it a few new exciting options on the menu - including a delicious massaman curry and tasty Thai ‘beef’ salad. Just make sure you save room for dessert. The raspberry panna cotta is a fresh vegan take on a classic dish!

A burger in a cardboard box.

Wise Boys

555 Great North Road, Grey Lynn

Meat eaters probably won’t notice the difference at Wise Boys, a burger joint serving the ultimate plant based comfort food. The lads behind Wise Boys got fed up with menus offering only a ‘token’ veggie burger, so they decided to quit their office jobs, build a food truck from recycled materials and create an entirely plant based menu. Wash your burger down with a banoffee shake and some perfectly crisp tater tots, for a match made in burger heaven. Visit Wise Boys for indulgent burgers that are also good for the planet, packaging that is fully compostable and sauces that are all made in house. 

Maison des Lys

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567 Great North Road, Grey Lynn

As New Zealand’s first plant-based French patisserie, Grey Lynn’s Maison des Lys aims to show people they can enjoy vegan French pastries without compromising on taste or quality. It’s hard to believe their signature product, a flakey ‘buttery’ croissant is actually vegan, but the unique mix of shea, coconut, rapeseed and almond oils (miraculously) creates consistency and texture so darn close to the real thing, it’s hard to tell the difference! The glass cabinet is packed with tarts, danishes, cruffins and scrolls, but it really is hard to go past the croissants. Think flavours like strawberry and cream and biscoff, in addition to the classics of (non) butter and almond. 

Tart

555 Great North Road

A few doors down, Tart is a vegan bakery specialising in European-style bread, pastries, pies, doughnuts and sandwiches. There is an incredible range of goodies to choose from, perfect for converting those who are convinced ‘vegan is just not the same’. A second location has recently opened in Commercial Bay, making it a popular pit stop for those workday lunches.

A staff member carrying two plates of food.

Little Bird Organics

Summer Street and Ponsonby Road

Little Bird Organics is one of the city’s leaders in the raw and organic food movement. The Unbakery offers a delightful range of dairy, gluten, and refined sugar-free sweet treats, including a creative menu showcasing seasonal savoury and sweet dishes, smoothies and bowls, and a selection of drinks, including turmeric lattes and matcha tea. Little Bird’s commitment to making healthy food that tastes amazing is unparalleled and evident in their hands-on approach, which includes preparing their own nut milk and culturing their own nut cheeses.

Postal Service

537 Great North Road, Grey Lynn

At Grey Lynn's Postal Service, plant-based patrons have a plethora of options to choose from. All of the dishes are entirely vegetarian, with flavourful, yummy options such as the huevos rancheros (featuring a medley of beans, corn, and egg on a corn tortilla) and broccoli, cumin feta, and quinoa fritters with cashew aioli. There are also tasty cabinet treats and a favourite amongst locals: the energiser sandwiches. The blue-and-white theme from its days as Kokako Coffee's flagship location still prevails, creating a pleasant atmosphere for visitors.

Couches placed in front of a painted graffiti wall inside an Auckland brewery.

Burgernaut

Located in Urbanaut Brewery and Tap Room, 597 New North Road, Morningside

Urbanaut is one of Auckland’s most popular breweries, and it just so happens to be the home of Burgernaut, known to serve a mighty fine burger. Smash burger, to be exact. The menu is simple - three different burgers, available in meat, vegetarian and vegan form. There is something for everyone, and we love it. There is also a rotating special available in all three forms. To top it off, the burgers are well priced, and with a side of their loaded fries, it’s a perfect combination to be polished off by one of their freshly brewed, hoppy innovative beers.

East Street

63-67 Nelson Street, Auckland CBD

Housed in the Sudima Hotel, East offers a modern and inventive sharing menu showcasing regional Asian flavours with a sustainable, conscience friendly approach. The menu is exclusively vegetarian, featuring dishes like Peking jackfruit pancakes, caramelised black pepper tofu, gado gado and fried rice. Better yet, the Asian eatery also offers a 100% organic and vegan wine list featuring New Zealand and Italian vintages and a cocktail menu utilising a wide range of Asian ingredients.

The entrance to Shubh restaurant in Auckland on a sunny day.

Shubh

520-524 Sandringham Road

An exclusively vegetarian restaurant, Shubh takes pride in presenting Indian cuisine that draws inspiration from the rich flavours and dishes of the Punjabi region. The emphasis lies in selecting the finest fresh vegetables and produce from local Punjabi farmers to maintain the highest quality. Despite prioritising quality over quantity, Shubh offers a diverse menu encompassing everything from appetisers to flavorful curries, aromatic biryanis, and delectable desserts. Among the restaurant's most popular dishes are dosas, paneer tikka, chole bhature and samosas.

Sunflower Thai Vegetarian Restaurant

6/50 High Street, Auckland CBD

Sunflower is a casual eatery in central Auckland, serving a vegan menu of Thai style dishes. Their offerings include a variety of mock meats and flavoursome vegetable-based options. Notably, the menu avoids garlic and onion. Despite the absence of traditionally used fish sauce and shrimp paste, the restaurant's dishes maintain their delicious flavours, making it a popular choice for both vegans and non-vegans alike. Some of their highly sought-after items include salt n' pepper fried tofu, vegan chick’n burger, green curry, noodle soup with tofu & veggies, and savoury sesame pancakes.

Neat Auckland Places

Allpress Auckland Roastery

A man working.
Place Auckland
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Coffee is the most important item on the Caffetteria’s menu, and it is some of the freshest in town.

Williams Eatery

Customers dining inside a brightly lit cafe.
Place Auckland
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Williams Eatery is one of the stalwart eateries of the centrally located Wynyard Quarter in Auckland.

Pici Pasta

Exterior image looking through the big glass windows into Pici Auckland.
Place Auckland
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Pasta fiends unite; you simply can’t miss a meal at Auckland institution, Pici.

Orphans Kitchen

Interior of restaurant.
Place Auckland
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Effortlessly cool and utterly lacking in pretension, Orphans Kitchen is one of the greatest contributions to the Ponsonby Road renaissance.