Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fina's Vegetarian Cafe II

May 25, 2013

With a free Saturday night and a craving for some Vietnamese, Cindy and I roped in a couple of friends and headed off to Victoria Street for a return visit to Fina’s. Our last trip had been a speedy pre-festival lunch, so we enjoyed having a bit more time to work our way through the gigantic menu.

We started out with some shared entrees, including Fina’s vegetarian fried wontons ($7.50).

These crisply little treats were stuffed with a delicious mixture of silken tofu, mushroom and the occasional chunk of mock-prawn.

We also sampled a serve of the vegetarian Vietnamese grilled pork skewer ($18.50).

Not having paid close attention to the photos on the menu, I had imagined these as just a big pile of skewers. Instead, we got a big pile of skewers plus salad, noodles and rice paper wraps to make our own little rolls with. The ‘pork’ skewers were brilliant, although my rice-paper wrapping skills need work.

Our final starter was a single serve of the ban xeo chay (Vietnamese pancakes, $10.50), which Cindy sampled on our previous visit. More awkward wrapping of things (this time with lettuce leaves serving as the wrappers) and more superb food – the pancake is stuffed with an excellent mess of sprouts, mushroom and mock meat.

Onto the mains! We all sampled a bit of the vegetarian salad ($10.50), a tasty mix of fresh veggies, crackers, noodles and mock meat.

You pour a little bowl of vinegary sauce over the salad and toss it all together before everyone tries to pick out all the weird little ham pieces for themselves.

I was convinced by the very charming owner of Fina’s to sample their specialty dish – vegetarian spicy noodles ($9).

This is a massive bowl of soup loaded up with noodles, chunks of mysterious mock-meat, eggplant and a side of sprouts, lemon for squeezing and fresh chilli. I made the mistake of adding both fresh chilli and a generous dollop of chilli oil and then spilling noodles straight into my tea cup, which left me spluttering embarrassingly with nothing to drink to sort myself out. Spluttering aside, this is an excellent dish – there’s way too much food for you to eat, it tastes superb (apparently the stock cooks for 10-12 hours) and it costs $9. Not too shabby.

Cindy went with the vegetarian dried noodles ($10.50), a tasty hodge-podge of noodles, tofu, salad and two kinds of mock-meat.

The prawns weren’t a huge hit, but the curly bacony looking things were a success. I was a bit overwhelmed by my spicy noodles to really sample this dish, but Cindy gave it the thumbs up.

End of meal table wreckage

Our second visit to Fina’s was as big a success as our first – they’re cheap, friendly and the menu is massive and massively delicious. There are still loads of dishes for us to sample, along with an incredible range of intriguing cold drinks. Fina’s may have surpassed both Thanh Nga Nine and Loving Hut as our go-to Victoria Street option.


Nobody else seems to have blogged Fina's since we visited back in February.


Fina's Vegetarian Cafe
268 Victoria St, Richmond
9428 6765
veg dishes $4.50-18.50, drinks $3.20-7.50
facebook page

Accessibility: There's a small step on entry, but the interior is flat with a clear passage through the middle. Tables are moderately crowded. The venue is well lit but the menu font is difficult to read - it's got photos of all the food anyway. We ordered at our table and paid at a low-ish counter. We didn't visit the toilets.


  1. I'm starving now after seeing and reading this food blog.. Delicious foods indeed!

  2. I spy Craig's hoodie in the background!