Enjoy plant-based meals that are to die for in our food lover's paradise
The Shoalhaven is filled with some of the freshest local produce in NSW, making it easy to find health conscious eateries scattered throughout the region. Dine on some yummy buddha bowls, indulge in a bliss burger or treat yourself to delightful raw vegan sweets - there are plenty of options to choose from. We've popped together a list of our favourite vegetarian, vegan and raw food establishments who serve up creative meat-free masterpieces, all with a side of relaxing South Coast vibes.
1. A Rejuvenating Vegan & Raw Food Retreat
Nourish your body, mind and soul at Back 2 Earth in Berry. Visitors can pop in for just a meal or opt for the full retreat package which includes wellness guidance, massage therapy and an option to add an individualised raw food workshop. Back 2 Earth is a mecca for all plant-based eaters, with dishes on the menu such as vegan Indian curry, raw vegan nachos or rainbow salad wraps. All the meals are raw, which means that the ingredients haven't been heated beyond 46° Celsius in order to pack in the biggest nutrition and flavour punch. The majority of the kitchen's ingredients are grown right there on the farm and the retreat also supports local, organic producers in order to provide only the freshest possible food to diners. Guests will be amazed at the creativity of the raw and vegan cuisine here and will love getting up close and personal with the farm animals at feeding time. There's a complete Noah's Ark at Back 2 Earth, with livestock including mini horses, goats, alpacas, sheep, geese and plenty more!
2. Delicious Wholefood Delights
Overlooking Ulladulla Harbour, Native is a great spot to settle in for amazing coffee and delicious, healthy food. Head here for breakfast or brunch and relax while looking out to all the boats nestled on the water. The café has a super relaxed vibe and the staff embody the essence of chilled out, South Coast hospitality. On the menu, there are many vegetarian options including the chilli eggs, broccoli and quinoa fritters and an ancient grain salad. There are so many amazing, healthy dishes on offer here that you might struggle deciding on what to eat. Our top pick, though, has got to be the scrumptious Açai bowl - loaded with seasonal fresh fruit and tonnes of healthy seeds to fill you up with bucketloads of energy before a full day of exploring. This bowl of goodness comes out looking almost too beautiful to eat!
3. A South Coast Vegetarian Institution
The café favourites we all love, served up with a clean and fresh vegetarian twist. Pilgrims is a hotspot for South Coast vegetarian cuisine and thankfully, there are two locations - one in Huskisson and another further south in Milton. Both venues are often busy, which is an excellent indicator of how great the food is here. The 100% vegetarian menu includes breakfast goodies like buttermilk pancakes and a homemade granola bowl. For us, though, the lunch menu is where it's at. The bliss burger is a must try, filled with a yummy mixed grain pattie, fried onion, avocado, cheese, tabouli, sprouts, special sauce & peanut sauce. The homemade pies are also a top pick, especially to warm up on those chilly winter days. No matter what you choose, you won't be disappointed - the food at Pilgrims is so fresh and tasty. Vegetarians will love eating here and even the carnivores won't miss the meat!
4. Treats in the Treehouse
A wholefoods café in the heart of Ulladulla that caters to an array of dietary needs. The Treehouse Café has many sweet and savoury options that are vegan, dairy free, gluten free and paleo. The savoury menu includes vegetarian favourites such as a fresh bruschetta or a creative and hearty pumpkin tartine. The shining stars of the Treehouse menu are the raw vegan sweets, though. With decadent concoctions like the lemon and berry raw "cheezecake", the "Grasshopper" peppermint slice or the mango, turmeric and vanilla cheesecake. For that special occasion, book in a five-course degustation dinner and let the experts guide you along a tasty culinary journey. Take a treat to go or settle into the eatery and soak up the cute and quirky atmosphere.
5. Eat, Shop and Wander Through a Nursery
Another 100% vegetarian cafe is The Singing Dog. Located alongside The Collective and Berry Cool Nursery near Shoalhaven Heads, this is a great place to hang out of a morning. Grab a delicious bite to eat, then spend time perusing all the homewares, clothing and gifts, then cap off the visit with a potter through the greenery. The entire space is rustic cool and captures the essence of "local" brilliantly - local ingredients shine in the vegetarian menu and local businesses are showcased beautifully in the neighbouring shop. There are goodness bowls galore at The Singing Dog. The smoothie bowl is bursting with seasonal fruit flavours. The brekky bowl is a great winter warmer with creamy leek and fresh spinach topped with a poached egg. But the fan favourite that runs out the door is the tahini bowl, featuring lightly spiced chickpeas, roasted sweet potato and greens, finished off with a homemade tahini, turmeric and lemon dressing. Delicious!
6. The Perfect Vegan Pitstop
Need a little pick me up to keep fuelling your day's adventures? Grab a freshly made barista coffee and some sweet treats at Craft Surf in Ulladulla. Unwind and nibble on your raw vegan cupcakes on the lovely sun-drenched deck. The café also doubles as a clothing boutique - selling minimalist, beach-inspired essentials from local and international brands so make sure to check out the shop too. The cupcakes here are 100% raw, 100% vegan and 100% scrumptious! The flavours are constantly changing depending on the season but look out for delicious combinations such as the strawberry vanilla, choc peppermint and blueberry vanilla. Spoil your sweet tooth and maybe grab a new coastal outfit to take home as a souvenir.