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London’s best restaurants for vegetarian food

These days, London’s veggies are spoilt for choice with a handful of top-notch vegetarian restaurants featuring handsome meat-free menus

Limp lettuce? Tasteless tofu? Fear not, the bad old days of London’s vegetarian restaurant scene are over. Now, meat-free diners have an extensive array of the city’s best restaurants, street food stalls and cheap eats to sate themselves with. Hell, it might even convert a dedicated carnivore or two. Look below for Time Out’s round-up of the crème de la crème of London’s veggie scene.

Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

The best vegetarian restaurants in London

222 Veggie Vegan

Don’t be fooled by the name – everything at 222 is 100 percent vegan. It’s also deliberately low in fat and salt – so if you’re going to indulge in the likes of pumpkin and courgette ‘noodles’ with lime and ginger dressing, seitan stroganoff with brown rice, tofu cheesecake or vegan ice cream, this is the place. The lunchtime buffet’s a bargain too.

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West Kensington

Bühler and Co

A Scandi-chic veggie café serving a creative global menu and Climpson’s coffee in serene surroundings, Bühler & Co is primarily a brunch spot – eggs every which way, gussied-up French toast, quinoa cakes, meatless fry-ups. There are specials and a lunchtime counter too, plus more ambitious dishes for weekend suppers – think green curry laksa with silken tofu. A slice of the good life in Walthamstow.

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Walthamstow
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Ethos

A self-service veggie buffet (where you pay by the weight of food) that delivers the goods from breakfast to lights out, Ethos scours the globe for culinary inspiration. Kick off with a gluten-free egg and spinach protein pot plus a slug of beetroot juice, lunch on Japanese miso-roasted aubergine, quorn lasagne or a ‘good green salad’, and finish with a ‘healthy’ black-bean brownie. Don’t miss their most famed dish: the aloo scotch egg.

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Fitzrovia

Farmacy

Owned by well-connected glamour-puss Camilla Al-Fayed (of Harrods fame), Farmacv sells ‘clean indulgence’ to an eager audience of moneyed Notting Hillbillies and aspirational hedge-fund wives. It’s a happy, joyful, ‘free-from’ kind of place (no dairy, no sugars, no additives), with plant-based treats ranging from ‘clean curries’ to macro ‘earth bowls’. Even the most virtuous dishes taste luxurious, especially when eaten in such chic surroundings.

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Royal Oak
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Farm Girl

If the very idea of ‘healthy eating in Notting Hill’ fills you with dread, fear not: this cute café from Aussie-born ‘farm girl’ Rose Mann is a little ripper. Colourful interiors and non-stop sunny service are matched by a menu that promises everything from acai bowls to baked aubergine with tahini dressing, superfood salads and BBQ jackfruit tacos. Veggies can happily bypass the odd piece of chicken. 

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Notting Hill

The Gate

Ironically housed in a former Victorian butcher’s, this branch of veggie innovator The Gate puts on a breezy modern face – apart from a swathe of ornate listed tiling that reflects the equally original menu. Share a meze platter (salty feta fritters, mushroom ceviche, featherlight artichoke tempura) or plunder the global carte for aubergine schnitzel, raw pad Thai or wild mushroom risotto cake.

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Finsbury
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Hemsley + Hemsley

The Hemsley sisters are spiraliser-wielding rock stars on the ‘clean eating’ stage, and their first café – a chic, sleek vision in brushed gold, blonde wood and herb-green upholstery – is resolutely on-trend. It’s also a snug fit for Selfridges Body Studio. Buy into the H&H brand via organic gluten-free dishes without refined sugars or hydrogenated fats, and raise a cheer for their health-conscious vegan cooking.

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Marylebone

The Hive of Vyner St

Recommended

Café by day, wine bar by night, ‘East London’s answer to delicious well-being’ champions holistic dining, biodynamic drinking and organic ideology without over-egging the eco issues. Apart from the odd chunk of salmon, the menu’s largely vegetarian and vegan, so expect superfood combos and smoky tempeh sandwiches alongside caesar kale salad and quinoa tabbouleh with raw falafel – all great with a cocktail or a cold-pressed juice.

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Bethnal Green
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Hornbeam Café

Attached to the Hornbeam Centre (a thriving community hub), this cheery daytime café in E17 keeps it local by buying most of its ingredients from the Organiclea workers’ cooperative and organic growers in the area. Cakes and snacks feed the daytime crowd, while veggie/vegan lunches bring everything from seasonal soups to tofu and chickpea patties or dhal with rice and onion pickle. Terrific value.

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Walthamstow

Indian Veg

A popular Indian vegetarian spot on Islington’s Chapel Market, serving an all-you-can-eat buffet in karmic (some might say preachy) surrounds. Since the buffet’s the only option, vegans should tread carefully, although everything ticks the veggie boxes – think vegetable curries, dhals, colourful salads and feather-light parathas. A stalwart for cheap dates, early-evening carb-loading and bargain lunches (cash only).

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Find more vegetarian restaurants in London

Find great vegan restaurants in London

The best vegan restaurants in London

When it comes to vegan-only restaurants, London has got herbivores covered. But what about when you're eating as a group, and only some of you are vegan? Do you all go to a vegan café, or do you all go somewhere mainstream but boring, where your vegan chum has to eat yet another 'veggie-side-as-main-course'? The answer of course is neither. Find hand-picked mainstream restaurants, covering cuisines from Japanese and Thai, right through to Peruvian, which 'cater for all'. 

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By: Time Out London Food & Drink

Comments

21 comments
Max B

WARNING - DO NOT EAT AT VANILLA BLACK !



If I could rate this place zero I would. The staff do not know the definition of the word service. Do not give this place your business!


Time for a juicy review story....


Firstly, we requested a booking of 8pm, which was not available. So we were offered 9pm. On turning up to the restaurant at 9pm, all the tables were set and the place was relatively empty. On the face of it, we should have been seated at our requested booking time. There is no way that the restaurant had been full 1 hour earlier. Not to worry, on to the meal, which will serve you up with a juicy story of incompetence and bafflement.


The meal... On seating, I requested the gluten free menu, due to allergies, which was provided. Once we had made our decisions we went ahead and ordered. A few items from the gluten free menu for myself, and the set menu for everyone else. The server then told us that we could not order this, and that the set menu had to be for the whole table. We told her that was clearly not possible as the set menu had gluten containing items. According to the server, it was not possible to make a gluten free version of the set menu. So, we asked what the reason for this was, and she told us it was a rule of the restaurant she could not change. So who could? Oh, the manager of course!


We requested the manager, and she came over. Once explained the situation she said, like a robot, that the set menu had to be for everyone at the table and it was a rule. When asked what this was, if it was a policy she said "No, it's not a policy, its a rule". Ok, cue 3 people completely baffled by her statement. Obviously, she either did not have a grasp of the english language, or had not been educated to a basic level. I even said to her: "You know, a rule is a policy.", to which she replied: "No, it's not a policy, it's just one of our rules". Geeeeeeeeees, I decided to move on, she clearly was not going to get it.


Next we go from language ignorance to complete idiocy. As the set menu had to be for the table, we posed the following question to the manager: "So, if I went and sat at that table over there I could order the gluten free menu, and my friends could eat the set menu." To which she replied "Yes". Our bafflement transformed into incredulousness. We were all speechless. She then said condescendingly: "I'm sorry you're disappointed". The lack of insight she had was unbelievable. I actually had to correct her, and told her we weren't disappointed at all, just shocked with disbelief. How on earth had this prize idiot managed to make her way to restaurant manager.


Finally, I told her "Are you sure about this? You do know you are going to get 3 bad reviews because of this", and she replied: "That is ok". You literally just can't help some people! We got up and walked out, and found a nearby place where we had a great time.


Despite the pure idiocy of the manager, we were exceedingly cordial and polite, although looking back I wish I hadn't been! This is literally the worst restaurant experience I have ever had. The only thing that would be worse is eating at the infamous Amys Baking Company in Arizona which was on Hells Kitchen. This place is #2 on the list of WORST RESTAURANTS EVER that should be out of business!


Visited August 2017.
Charlotte D

If you're looking for great Vegetarian dishes in East London www.morethancarrots.co.uk has you covered. 

Tracy D

Orchard closed about 18 months ago. If you are going to recycle a list at least check it is still valid..

Alex T

The Elmore Jam supperclub chefs always have a veggie option for their guests 4 courses menu tailored for special dietary requirements - awesome!!!
www.elmorej.am

Rani K

If you are looking for great atmosphere and fresh food then check out Old School Vegetarian Restaurant in West London, Hounslow. Cuban themed with a variety of food to suit all and the best milkshakes around!

Ian H

New generation?! Wild cherry closed down about five years ago! Some research might be nice next time?


There is a new restaurant in its place now, called The Larder.

Tara

Gujurati Rasoi in Dalston is excellent - fresh, tasty, homely veggie Indian cuisine in a light, airy, kitcheny environment. It's a hidden gem, open Wed-Sat evenings.

Charly Lester moderator Staff Writer

Unfortunately I'd rate Ethos as one of the worst meals I've had in London ... great concept, atmosphere and location, but it was like a cheap party buffet, and the desserts tasted like saw dust :( 

Megan W

Food for Thought, obviously. And Riverside Vegetaria in Kingston.

Joanna B

@Megan W Food for Thought closed earlier this year (June?). So sad. 

Zoe M

" whole meal"- vegetarian cafe in Streatham! yum yum yum 


its an local legend- having been run since the 70s. my parents took me there when i was little and i still visit now! 

Ami L

EZ and Moss on Holloway road does a lovely veggie/vegan brunch

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!

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

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

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