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
Soba noodles at Farm Girl
By Time Out London Food & Drink |
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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 our round-up of the crème de la crème of London’s veggie scene.

Got you in the mood for something even greener? Check out our roundup of the best vegan options in town. 

The best vegetarian restaurants in London

Restaurants, Vegan

222 Veggie Vegan

icon-location-pin West Kensington

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.

Restaurants, Cafés

Bühler and Co

icon-location-pin Walthamstow

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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Restaurants, Vegetarian

Ethos

icon-location-pin Fitzrovia

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.

Restaurants, Global

Farmacy

icon-location-pin Royal Oak

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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Restaurants, Cafés

Farm Girl

icon-location-pin Notting Hill

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. 

Restaurants, Vegetarian

The Gate

icon-location-pin Finsbury

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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Restaurants, Organic

Hemsley + Hemsley

icon-location-pin Marylebone

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.

Bars and pubs, Café bars

The Hive of Vyner St

icon-location-pin Bethnal Green

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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The Best Cheap Eats in London, Hornbeam Cafe, Leyton
Ben Rowe
Restaurants, Organic

Hornbeam Café

icon-location-pin Walthamstow

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.

Indian Veg 2016
© Ian Phillips
Restaurants, Indian

Indian Veg

icon-location-pin Pentonville

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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Restaurants, Japanese

Itadaki Zen

icon-location-pin St Pancras

Japanese, vegan… and organic? What’s not to love – and, rest assured, we do love this cool little miracle near King’s Cross station. Only the slurping of noodles disturbs the zen-like tranquillity, as punters dip into a virtuously healthy menu that homes in on a few key ingredients (expects lots of tofu and seaweed). Laid-back staff go with the flow, which helps to make Itadaki even more lovable.

Restaurants, Vegetarian

Kin

icon-location-pin Fitzrovia

With its offer of pleasantly retro veggie/vegan cooking served in quiet, soothing surrounds on Foley Street, Kin certainly has plenty to recommend it. Come here for pick-me-up breakfasts, coffee and cake in the afternoon or working lunches on the go – think salads, sandwiches, frittatas and veggie burgers (Friday only). Service comes with a smile – it’s all very safe and sound.

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Restaurants, American

Malibu Kitchen at The Ned

icon-location-pin Mansion House

A slice of California in the City, Malibu Kitchen promotes guilt-free ‘clean eating’ within the swanky surrounds of The Ned hotel. The menu favours veggie and vegan over meat and fish, although there’s something for everyone – think vegetable and mango rolls with spicy nuts, poké bowls and zesty colourful salads. Wash it all down with some lip-smacking green juice for that full-on LA trip.

Restaurants, Vegetarian

Manna

icon-location-pin Primrose Hill

It's 1967. Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Ravi Shankar are spreading love, peace and good vibrations at Monterey, California; meanwhile, a modest vegetarian restaurant is taking its first steps in Primrose Hill, London. Fifty years on, Manna is now championing the vegan cause, with a host of plant-based goodies on its bountiful menu: check out the lettuce-leaf tacos, the maki rolls and the rainbow panzanella.

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Restaurants, Vegetarian

Mildreds

icon-location-pin Soho

Forget leaden ‘brown’ food and stone-age bread, Mildred’s is all about creative meat-free cookery – an idea it’s been peddling in Soho for nigh on 30 years. Gyoza dumplings, char-grilled artichoke crostini and chickpeas with Persian limes and rose-petal harissa get the vegan juices flowing, with lunchtime takeaways at the salad bar adding some extra healthy thrills. You won’t mind queueing for good stuff like this. There are branches in Camden, King’s Cross and Dalston. too.

The 100 best bars and pubs in London - Coach & Horses, Soho
© Ben Rowe
Bars and pubs, Pubs

Norman’s Coach & Horses

icon-location-pin Soho

Equally famous for the long-gone Norman Balon (‘London’s rudest landlord’) and for Jeffrey Bernard’s booze-fuelled utterances, the Coach & Horses is now a mellow mix of old-time values and progressive ideas – witness the vegetarian/vegan restaurant that now occupies the upstairs room. Where else could you chomp on seaweed-wrapped tofu and chips or celeriac and chestnut sausages to the strains of a pub sing-along? 

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london's best vegetarian restaurants, palm vaults
Jamie Lau
Restaurants, Cafés

Palm Vaults

icon-location-pin Hackney

Plants, plants everywhere… tumbling from the ceiling, sprouting from pots, lurking in corners. If that’s not enough, the menu at Hackney’s most ‘colourful’ café (we don’t mean that as a euphemism) is loaded with plant-based possibilities (‘free-from’ options always available). Expect anything from avocado on toast topped with vegan bacon to spinach dhal, plus a host of cakes, cashew-milk mochas and colourfully jazzed-up coffees.

 

Venue says Independent cafe and catering company.

Restaurants, Indian

Rasa

icon-location-pin Stoke Newington

With its distinctive pink livery and dedication to Keralan vegetarian cooking, the original Stokey branch of Rasa broke the anglicised curry-house mould in 1997 – and it’s still going strong. Get stuck into a chilli and onion rava dosa, the beetroot and spinach achadi or the wonderful moru kachiathu (a turmeric-infused, sweet-sour yoghurt-based dish involving mango and green banana). Outstanding value.

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Restaurants, Vegetarian

Sagar

icon-location-pin Hammersmith

Popular with students and aficionados of South Indian vegetarian cuisine, Sagar has gained renown for its keenly-priced homely cooking, with four outlets now running across the capital. The King Street original is an attractive, smart-looking venue serving a please-all regional menu spanning everything from steamed idli dumplings and bhel puris to dosas galore, uthapams (lentil ‘pizzas’) and assorted veggie curries. Great-value thalis too.

Restaurants, Indian

Sakonis

icon-location-pin Alperton

An Ealing Road landmark, this huge canteen-style outfit is a real hit with local Asian vegetarians – and other streetwise punters. Gujarati and South Indian dishes abound, but top choices include vegan pani puris, masala dosas, punchy chilli paneer, Indo-Chinese hakka noodles and zesty sambar. There are loads of chutneys and salads too, while desserts such as creamy shrikhand finish things off nicely.

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The Best Cheap Eats in London 2015, Snackistan at Persepolis, Camberwell
Britta Jaschinski
Restaurants, Iranian

Snackistan at Persepolis

icon-location-pin Peckham

Proudly located within Persepolis – Peckham’s Persian delicatessen – this colourful, crowded and charmingly bonkers café is a shoo-in for local veggies. Meze and wraps form the bedrock, but the menu plunders Iran, the Levant and North Africa for inspiration (adding some local tweaks along the way). To finish, go for the ‘hot paklava meltdown’ or the divine Turkish delight sundae with Afghan green tea on the side.   

Restaurants, Vegetarian

Tibits

icon-location-pin Mayfair

A global buffet is the main attraction at this branch of a small Swiss veggie chain, and there’s always a staggering amount of wholesome stuff to choose from. Expect around 30 salads and hot dishes ranging from curried quinoa and marinated silken tofu to chestnut, wild mushroom and cashew roast or nasu dengaku (miso-glazed aubergine). Vegan alert: every Tuesday, the ‘food boat’ is 100 percent plant-based. 

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Vanilla Black
Ming Tang Evans / Time Out
Restaurants, Vegetarian

Vanilla Black

icon-location-pin Holborn

The sophisticated Vanilla Black carved out a niche in meatless haute cuisine back in the noughties and diners love its challenging, modernist take on veggie cooking. Full-on vegan options are flagged up on the menu, while ‘normal’ veggies can partake of seaweed broth with fermented turnip, nori, cured quail’s egg and noodles or vanilla-roasted salsify with raspberry, hazelnut and vegetable juice. All very clever. 

Restaurants, Global

Wild Food Café

icon-location-pin Covent Garden

As you’d guess, this dinky first-floor café throws in its lot with the foraging brigade, leavening its menus with sacks of wild greens, fungi and other pickings from ‘pristine ecosystems’. On the plate, WFC’s organic, veggie and vegan offerings are pretty decent – so drop in for a saintly smoothie and a bowl of ‘living’ laksa or worship the ‘autumn goddess’ bowl spiked with kimchi. 

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Restaurants, Vegetarian

Ragged Canteen

icon-location-pin Lambeth

Housed within Vauxhall’s Beaconsfield Gallery (in what was a Victorian ‘Ragged School’), this crypt-like daytime canteen is big on ethically sourced seasonal food. We like the gözleme (filled Turkish flatbread served with chickpea salad and couscous), but the daily line-up spans everything from lemon and goats’ cheese ravioli to rhubarb and polenta cake. There’s always coffee and cake on the go, too, plus brunch at weekends.

Find more vegetarian restaurants in London
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