London's best restaurants for vegetarian food

A new generation of vegetarian and vegan restaurants featuring fine-dining non-meat menus

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Limp lettuce and tasteless tofu are a distant memory. From Michelin-recommended to cheap and cheerful, check out the creme-de-la-creme of London's veggie scene. Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

Beatroot

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4

For a fast wholesome lunch, try this long-time favourite tucked next to the veg stalls of Berwick Street Market. Cartons come in three sizes, to be filled with a mix of tasty, freshly made salads and hot dishes (ten of each), on display behind a glass counter. Stalwarts include creamy coconutty dahl, lentil and mushroom shepherd’s pie, organic rice salad with tamari soy sauce and seaweed, mini ‘sausage’ rolls or simple blanched broccoli – it’s surprising how much you can cram in.

  1. 92 Berwick Street, W1F 0QD
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Ethos

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 1/4

There are reasons why Ethos might make you wary. It’s near Oxford Circus, it’s vegetarian, it’s a self-serve buffet and you pay for your food by weight. (That’s the weight of the food, not your weight.) Adding to the gimmicky potential, on any given day the main menu might include more than a dozen dishes from the diverse cuisines of Japan, Southeast Asia, Italy, Korea, India, Mexico and Lebanon – and anywhere else that does brilliant vegetarian dishes – plus a few of their own creations. You can choose as few or as many as you like, building your own bespoke meal, before having your plate weighed and then paying at the counter.

  1. 48 Eastcastle Street, W1W 8DX
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Food for Thought

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4

Celebrating its 40th birthday in 2014, Food for Thought is a phenomenon – still occupying the same cramped Neal Street premises, still serving an array of nourishing, flavourful grub at low prices, still packed out every lunchtime. The pine furniture...

  1. 31 Neal Street, WC2H 9PR
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The Gate

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4

The only thing not modern and breezy about this vegetarian restaurant (a former Victorian butcher’s) is the ornate, listed tiling on one side of the room – a unique feature that reflects the equally original menu. Food here has a Middle Eastern twist, far more ethnic than its Hammersmith sister. Pick from either the meze menu – fritters bursting with salty feta flavour; tart mushroom ceviche; featherlight artichoke tempura – or the carte, which refreshingly avoids using meat substitutes...

  1. 370 St John Street, EC1V 4NN
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Itadaki Zen

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Japanese, vegan, and organic? No wonder Itadaki Zen is the first of its kind in Europe. But despite operating from a narrow pool of ingredients, the predominately noodle/tofu/seaweed menu impresses with its range of tastes and textures. Grilled spring rolls with soft mashed tofu filling were a welcome change to the usual greasy, stringy sort, while the ‘kakiage’ tempura for main had the same salty, crisp, golden, gorgeous smack as chips on Brighton pier, and came with fluffy rice.

  1. 139 King's Cross Road, WC1X 9BJ
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Kin

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4

This small vegetarian café, opened in summer 2014, has plenty to recommend it: a bright, pleasant space with skylight at the back, a display counter at the front bearing the photogenic food offerings of the day, friendly and attentive staff. And the promise is partly made good by the food itself, which majors on salads, sandwiches and baked goods both savoury and sweet. 

  1. 22 Foley Street, W1W 6DT
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Manna

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Even on weekday nights this relaxed yet rather formal restaurant has several tables reserved by off-duty Primrose Hill: friends catching up, yoga bunnies sharing boyfriend woes, romantic dates and birthday get-togethers. Few customers are confirmed vegetarians, which is tribute to the quality and heartiness of the cooking...

  1. 4 Erskine Road, NW3 3AJ
Book online

Mildreds

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Only Lady Luck can get a table at Mildreds during peak hours, so if, like the rest of Soho, you want dinner at London’s coolest vegetarian restaurant, be prepared to wait – you can’t book. It’s more the style of the place that attracts the crowds than its food; laid-back (but quick and friendly) waiters sport funky hairdos and tattoos, and noisy diners sit elbow-to-elbow on squishy banquettes.

  1. 45 Lexington Street, W1F 9AN
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Orchard

  • Rated as: 4/5

Orchard is a spin-off from Vanilla Black, the accomplished and upmarket vegetarian restaurant near Chancery Lane. Orchard’s more casual, cheaper, more everyday, and the food’s less show-off than its big sister. The interior’s been decorated in a homely style, from the mismatched crockery to the vintage recipe cards pinned to the walls. Big wicker baskets of vegetables used as the window display, evoking a small town café on market day.

  1. 11 Sicilian Avenue, WC1A 2QH
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Rasa

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The original branch of the Rasa chain is still going strong, serving the vegetarian dishes from Kerala with which it broke the anglicised curry-house mould in 1997. Get stuck into the unusual dishes, such as the wonderful moru kachiathu – a turmeric-infused, sweet-sour runny yoghurt dish made with mango and green banana – or a simple rasa kayi: mixed veg in a full-flavoured gravy.

  1. 55 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0AR
More info

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Users say

6 comments
Hils J
Hils J

Can't believe that Tibits in Heddon Place is again not included on your list of best vegetarian places to eat in London.


But maybe it is intentionally Londoner's best kept vegetarian/vegan secret - indeed it is often pretty busy despite being tucked away, just off Regent Street. 

In good weather the large outdoor seating is a joy as the area is pedestrianised so no traffic fumes .... sunny in late morning/early afternoon (earlier/later in high summer). 

Your 2012 review described the food as unappetising which isn't the experience of ours or friends or numerous people (including fishing/shooting types) we have taken there.  Indeed it has won awards. 

So though you should re-review it, perhaps keeping it a best-kept-secret is best.  

http://www.tibits.ch/en/home.html

Roman Thomas
Roman Thomas

What about The Karma Free Pizza Co in Harrow?...came in the top 3 of veggie restaurants..actually voted by Londoners..Riviera came 1st and Mildreds came 2nd... The Karma Free 3rd,and are only a year old..but their vegetarian,vegan and gluten free pizzas are mastered to perfection!

Hazel Krause-Gayle
Hazel Krause-Gayle

I second the Tibits comment, by far my favorite restaurant in London, so good we had it for our wedding buffet which was loved by all our guests!

the Benj
the Benj

What about A Taste of Heaven in Tulse Hill?! www.atohrestaurant.co.uk It is new vegetarian and vegan restaurant. Fantastic food and lovely staff it's worth a visit

KPI
KPI

MUST try : Chennai Dosa (veg) in East Ham. Unlimited Buffet Breakfast for 5 quids. Chini Chor for the BEST ever Punjabi Veg food in Hounslow West.

Anthony
Anthony

I can recommend Saravanaa Bhavan - an Indian vegetarian restaurant in East Ham. (I think there are also other branches around London.) It's not the plushest of eateries by any means, but what it lacks in décor, it more than makes up for in very tasty and authentic food. It's best to order a number of dishes and share them amongst your party - sort of like an Indian tapas. Make sure you include the Gobi 65 - tandoori-covered cauliflower - which is delicious. http://www.saravanabhavan.co.uk