Melbourne is brimming with places to eat and cuisines to try. Though, it wasn’t always like this. Italian migrants have been immigrating to Australia over the decades, and the biggest wave of Italian immigration occurred after World War II. Melbourne was one of the first cities in Australia to dine on the flavours of espresso, pizza and pasta.
Nowadays, coffee is as part of everyday Melbourne life as there are pizza and pasta bars scattered across the city. Melbourne is also proud to have its own “Little Italy” cultural precinct, affectionately located around Lygon Street in the inner city suburb of Carlton. It’s home to some of the city’s first pizza bars and spots where some of the first espressos were brewed.
Those who crave a slice of Italy also enjoy replicating these flavours at home and there are myriad of creations being baked in ovens around town. In the latest issue of Vegan Life Magazine, there is a spread of succulent pizza recipes to try this winter.
To join in on Vegan Life’s celebration of vegan pizza, I thought I’d walk through my three favourite pizza places around town where I can buy a steaming vegan round of this fulfilling dish.
Veggie Choice Pizza in Hawthorn
This is one little pizza place that resonates the traditional Melbourne pizza spirit. Built into an old terrace building in Hawthorn, this non-descript pizza place seats a few tables of guests. The décor is plain, the ambience is laidback, though the pizzas speak for themselves. And this is all that matters, really. Some of the plainest, modest spots around Melbourne serve up the biggest flavours. A 'potato swoon' pizza from the gourmet pizza list is topped in roasted potatoes, rosemary, homemade pizza sauce and a drizzle of olive oil; perfect when a filling choice on a cold night is needed. Some of the city’s simplest – and most delicious – flavours are served up piping hot on a pizza chopping board. And this is how it’s done at Veggie Choice.
Veggie Choice Pizza, 580 Burwood Road, Hawthorn Victoria 3122. Phone: 03 9819 6887. Orders can be made online or via phone, though sitting in is recommended. Pizzas come in small, medium and large sizes. Gluten free bases, vegan cheese and mock meat toppings are also available.
Savvy Organic Pizza & Ice-cream in Belgrave
This is one of my favourite spots for vegan pizza in Melbourne for two reasons. One, Savvy dedicates a section of its own menu to vegan pizza options and vegan cheese. Two, there is dessert that can be purchased along with a steamy pizza. Savvy Organic Pizza and Ice-cream is a must-try pizza spot based on its take-away trade. There is a small bench and seats where patrons can wait for their pizza to emerge out of the oven. If they can’t wait to get home, they can sit right there and devour their crispy purchase. During the warmer months, there are benches around the main street of Belgrave where pizza eaters can sit, or take the extra walk to Belgrave Town Park at the top of town and enjoy the warmer months outdoors for a pizza picnic. Go for a Vegie Patch or Vegan Supreme (or both!) to get a slice of Savvy’s pizza goodness. Vegan pizza lovers can choose from no cheese or vegan cheese. Just be sure to leave room afterwards for a tub of Savvy’s handmade organic ice-cream or sorbet. The soy caramel macadamia flavour can’t be missed!
Savvy Organic Pizza & Ice Cream, Shop 3 Belgrave Arcade, 1647 Burwood Highway, Belgrave, Victoria 3160. Phone: 03 9754 6642. Orders can be taken via phone, in person or online via the site. Pizzas come in small or large sizes and gluten free pizza bases are also available. Ice-cream comes in individual or take-home tubs.
Mr Natural Vegetarian Pizza in St Kilda
Mr Natural is one of the long-stayers on the block and has been serving up vegetarian pizzas since 1985. Another point worth noting about Mr Natural in St Kilda is the seating arrangements. It doesn’t matter whether it’s summertime or freezing winter, Mr Natural hosts alfresco dining where friends can split a few large pizzas. There are heaters on standby to keep you warm in winter, or an early evening ocean breeze on a balmy night in summer. Indoor seating is on hand too, as well as small and medium sized pizzas. There are gourmet options to try such as eggplant or pumpkin, while classics like garlic or margarita can satisfy the traditionalists. Diners can ask for vegan cheese should the desire ensue.
Mr Natural Vegetarian Pizza, 223 Barkly Street, St Kilda Victoria 3182. Phone: 03 9534 2542. Mr Natural is also located in Fitzroy North. Orders can be taken in person, online or phone and delivery is available to nearby locations.
Here are a few more bonus tips on where to find more vegan pizza around town:
- Bimbo Deluxe – 376 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy Victoria 3065
- Shemesh Pizza – 813 Glen Huntly Road, Caulfield South Victoria 3162
- Nostralis – 55 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield North Victoria 3161
- The Cornish Arms – 163A Sydney Road, Brunswick Victoria 3056
- The Reverence Hotel – 28 Napier Street, Footscray Victoria 3011
For a delectable list of recipes on making your own pizzas at home, check out Issue 7 of Vegan Life Magazine that’s out now. Subscription and subscription packages can be purchased too.
Disclaimer: I was supplied with a free digital copy of Issue 7 of Vegan Life Magazine.