JANUARY 2020: We’ve added the new Seven Dials flagship branch of meat-free, booze-free and gluten-free Redemption as well as two diet-aware, gluten-free Italians – Ardiciocca in Fulham and Leggero in Soho. Other highlights include Chisou in Mayfair (exceptional Japanese sushi) and Yotam Ottolenghi’s smart-casual Rovi (bright, healthy ideas on small plates in Fitzrovia).
Searching for healthy food in London? You’re in luck. There are loads of protein-packed restaurants across the city catering for those on a calorie-conscious health kick, diet, or detox (as well as those in need of something coeliac-friendly, dairy-free or paleo-style).
We’ve rounded up the best healthy restaurants in London, including spots for vegetarian and vegan eats, raw food specialists and sushi spots. Plus, we've also chucked in ‘regular’ spots that offer healthier dishes, so you don’t have to say goodbye to your gluttonous dining pals altogether. Clean eating can still be little bit dirty.
Healthy restaurants in London
Originally set up by Martin Morales (of Ceviche fame), Andina gives free rein to calories but makes up for it in the healthy-eating stakes, with more than its fair share of Peruvian superfoods plus plenty of gluten-free and vegan options. Fill up on savoury corn-and-feta cakes, zingy ceviches and out-there salads (anyone for sustainable palm hearts and passion fruit tartare with avocado, pea shoots and potato?). Similar stuff is on offer at Casita Andina in Soho.
The owners of this gorgeous-looking Clerkenwell joint want us all to ‘make friends with food’ – and we’re certainly sold on the place, its low-key backstreet vibe, pretty plants in pots and cleverly contrived gluten-free cooking. Everything is nutritionally balanced, from the frittata muffins and sweet potato hash to the luscious cakes made with coconut sugar. Drinks are on-message too. Now open in the evenings.
Gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free… that’s the schtick at this diet-conscious Italian joint from the team behind the Macellaio RC mini-chain. Produce comes exclusively from indie artisan outfits and the kitchen rolls out plenty of decent stuff – from arancini balls and Sardinian gnocchi to surprisingly good pizzas with very thin, flat bases (try the version topped with stracchino cheese and Genoese pesto). To drink, there’s g-f Peroni beer as well as a selection of natural and low-intervention wines.
Those outdoorsy Aussies have taught us a thing or two about healthy living over the years, and the bright and breezy Beany Green café sells Londoners the whole package in a colourful modern setting compete with a hip-hop soundtrack and a funky heated balcony. Expect to find vegetables loaded into almost everything, from daisy-fresh salads, yoghurt flatbreads and high-protein chargrills to quinoa and millet porridge. Also try Beany Green in Little Venice and Regent’s Place.
Although more grown up than Pachamama, this seafood- and veg-centred sibling still magics up a happening vibe. Modish Peruvian small plates play to Chelsea’s carb-avoiding crowd, while specialities along the lines of sea bass ceviche, grilled cabbage with aubergine purée or trout cooked in a banana leaf with red quinoa and mango sauce deliver knockout flavours without troubling size-zero waistbands. It hardly matters that desserts don’t quite cut it – no self-respecting calorie-conscious Chelseaite eats pudding anyway.
Raw fish is manna to healthy eaters and this calming Mayfair Japanese spot shows the way with a fine selection of sushi and sashimi. The chefs at the counter take their art seriously – witness platters of cut rolls tightly wrapped with nori or glistening slices of fish, beautifully presented with slivers of vegetables and dots of wasabi. There’s also plenty of other healthy stuff on the menu, especially if you’re into izakaya-style sharing in the harmoniously neutral dining room.
A Nando’s for clean-living Londoners, Cocotte serves up healthy French-reared rotisserie chicken on wooden boards alongside a choice of homemade sauces, pretty superfood-packed salads and other accompaniments. Sadly, sides of truffled mac ’n’ cheese are out of bounds if you’re sticking rigidly to your regime, but other ideas, such as the gluten-free mango mochi (rice cake), are a deliciously sin-free prospect when it comes to dessert. There’s a spin-off in Hoxton, too.
Cojean is to Paris what Pret is to London: ubiquitous and usually a lunchtime proposition accompanied by a Gallic shrug. Like Pret, it’s also very good at what it does: health-conscious fast food including wholegrain salads, wholesome soups and curries, delicious sandwiches and lots of veggie and gluten-free options. Hardly revolutionary, but a solid lunchtime go-to for anyone on a health regime. You can also find Cojean in Mayfair and Chancery Lane.
Swapping Shoreditch Boxpark for more capacious sit-down premises in London Fields, CookDaily is now thinking big – although the food is still based around bowls of healthy rainbow goodness crammed full of vegetables, tofu or fake chicken on brown rice. Owner/head chef King Cook has Laotian heritage – so expect lots of South-East Asian flavours including ‘da infamous’ (his mum’s green curry from back in the day). Eco-friendly and totally vegan.
Any venue from boundary-breaking cocktail wizard Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan) is bound to be off-piste, but Cub is something different – an eco-friendly bar and diner offering a multi-sensory foodie experience, with bizarre, alluring drinks and plenty of thrills for carnivores and vegans alike. Think nettle, sweet bell turnip and sea truffle or kid goat with spring greens and wild garlic. Boozeless and gluten-free options are also available. We love Cub’s super-savvy staff and rockin’ house-party vibe, too.
A self-service veggie buffet that comes up with the goods from breakfast to lights out, Ethos scours the globe for culinary inspiration. Start the day with a gluten-free egg and spinach protein pot plus a turmeric latte, lunch on Japanese miso-glazed aubergine, seitan sausage casserole or salads exceeding your five-a-day quota, and finish with some raw coconut hearts. Note that you pay for your food by its weight. Ethos now has a second pitch in Selfridges Foodhall.
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, no meat – with lots of plant-based goodies ranging from ‘clean curries’ to macro ‘earth bowls’. Even the most virtuous dishes taste luxurious, especially when eaten in such chic surroundings.
Don’t expect strawberries in December at Farmstand – a clean-lined minimalist diner inspired by the namesake roadside produce stalls of America’s Midwest. Unrefined, GM-free, sustainable and seasonal are its watchwords, and the food’s also healthy without ramming the ethos down people’s throats. Colourful salad boxes and trays are the big sellers, supported by liquid assets including cold-pressed juices, gluten-free lager and filtered water. There are takeaways and online deliveries too.
Bill Granger has the youthful looks and otherworldly serenity of a cult leader – a great advert for his chain of sunny-side-up all-day restaurants. Like at its siblings, the goodness-packed line-up at this branch has a whole section devoted to bowls and grains, plus some really inventive salads and barbecue – there’s even a dedicated ‘allergy menu’ flagging up everything from gluten to sulphur. Granger is also known for giving good brunch – healthy, of course. Branches in Chelsea, Clerkenwell and Notting Hill.
These spiralising sisters need no introduction, and their first ‘clean’ café – a chic, sleek vision in brushed gold, blond wood and herb-green upholstery – is bang 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 – think mugs of their famous Pep-Up broth, a ‘spag bol’ involving spiralised celeriac noodles, cultured ketchups, kale caesar salad and ‘Go to Green’ smoothies.
A pure-food haunt for vegans, flexitarians and everyone in between, High Mood Food infuses all its dishes with beneficial bacteria in the shape of gut-friendly fermented foods. The menu is stuffed with overtly healthy possibilities, but the kitchen isn’t afraid of meat and dairy (it even does a bone broth!). Trust us: HMF’s laidback vibe, vibrant interiors and bubbly staff will put you on a self-consciously virtuous high. There’s an offshoot in Triyoga Chelsea.
A longboard outside the door points up the breezy surfing vibe at this addition to the surging poké roadshow – an airy spot with a clean Asiatic look and a menu of Hawaiian-style raw fish salad bowls. Choose one of the ready-mades or build your own combo from the colourful pick ’n’ mix assembly line. Seating is limited, but Honi is just fine for a grab-and-go lunch or an early-evening refresher. Try the branches in Fenchurch Street, Hammersmith and Marylebone too.
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 makes the most of a few key ingredients (expects lots of tofu and seaweed). Laidback staff go with the flow, while zealous foodie workshops, art exhibitions and live music make Itadaki even more lovable.
With its dietary awareness, officially recognised gluten-free credentials and full-on commitment to artisan ingredients, this easygoing Italian is a good shout for the healthy-eating brigade. Apart from the occasional lamb meatball and salmon ravioli, everything on offer is either veggie or vegan, so get your kicks from the likes of ricotta and spinach gnudi, chestnut pappardelle, butternut squash flan topped with parmesan fondue or almond and orange cake. There’s a second site in Mercato Metropolitano, Elephant & Castle.
Venue says Welcome to the world of Leggero, where Italian homemade tradition meets innovation. The light is on, so let's begin your freedom experience.
What was LLS Café is now Les Filles, but the clean-food ethos is unchanged at this très jolie café and deli near Hampstead Heath. Originally founded by two French filles, it offers an all-day menu kicking off with vitamin-packed smoothies and energy-giving breakfast bowls, such as the mochachia (coffee chia pudding topped with cacao nibs, pecan and coconut cream). After that, expect sandwiches, soups and colourful layered salads with names like ‘Sumptuously Red’. There is another branch in Lancaster Gate.
Venue says Time Out's Love London Award Winner! A health-focused cafe with an easy going attitude to food and drink. Just eat real food!
Lu(cy) and Ma(ria) – the mother-and-daughter team behind this pretty hotel café – preach ‘healthy eating made easy’, which means no hidden surprises and no dodgy labelling. They’ve removed red meat, dairy and refined sugars from their dishes, so diners don’t have to consciously avoid them – most of the menu can be customised to gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan diets, too. Also check the fridge for Lu-Ma’s cold-pressed juices.
A slender sunshine strip of a restaurant promoting guilt-free ‘clean eating’ within the swanky surrounds of The Ned hotel/club complex, Malibu Kitchen feels like a slice of California in the City. The menu favours veggie and vegan over meat and fish – although there’s something for everyone, including fans of raw food. Vegetable and mango rolls with spicy nuts, poké bowls and zesty salads all fit the bill. For a full-on LA trip, wash it down with some lip-smacking green juice.
Clean eating feels like fun at this King’s Cross sibling of Maple & Fitz. Order downstairs, then take your lunch box upstairs to a blond-wood dining area dotted with fairy lights. Vegans should go topping-free (or plump for tofu), which allows more room for the nourishing, healthy salads such as vegan niçoise, Asian slaw ’n’ rice or turmeric-roasted cauliflower in a ‘green goddess’ basil dressing with parsley and currants.
South-west London is well-served by Megan’s, and the Balham branch has all the necessary neighbourhood credentials. During the day, its twee interiors, flower wall and roofed garden are manna for local yummy mummies wanting brunch, coffee and cake, or simply a zesty salad and some invigorating juice. In the evening, thoughts turn to posh deconstructed kebabs, sharing boards and naughty cocktails – although just about everything is given some sort of healthy spin.
Everything is certified gluten-free at this Peruvian-Japanese bar and dining room – a clubby venue where standards are Machu Picchu high and much of the food has a healthy slant. Lean contenders from the regular menu include chirashi sushi power bowls, the house ceviche and sizzling offerings from the grill. Brunch also offers some healthy pickings, although the bottomless booze may knock you off track at the weekends.
An elegant rebrand of Chelsea’s famous old Cheyne Walk Brasserie, No Fifty is a timeless, plush and inviting setting for healthy modern cooking with a touch of class. Creative salad-based dishes and meat or fish from the grill are always worth a punt, but also look for veggie and vegan offerings such as roasted aubergine with pipérade quinoa, honey and soy dressing. Just beware the calorie-laden desserts and the indulgently tempting afternoon tea.
This white-walled homage to flavour is inherently healthy, firstly because founder Yotam Ottolenghi is obsessed with vegetables and grains, and secondly because the sharing plates are so small you’ll struggle to overeat. However, every mouthful of Middle Eastern/Asian fusion food is worth it. Nopi isn’t the greatest bargain in town, so try branches of Yotam’s Ottolenghi café chain for slightly cheaper lunch deals.
A buzzy super-stylish Knightsbridge hotspot that riffs on the cuisines of Central Asia and the ancient Silk Road, Osh is a happy hunting ground for healthy eaters who like to venture to faraway places. The menu is peppered with promising stuff, from hot and cold small plates, such as aubergine tartare with crispy kale and basil dressing, to salads involving Uzbek vegetables and Georgian spices, while shashlik skewers from the grill provide more substantial thrills.
Even if you’ve never heard of Yotam Ottolenghi, you can’t pass the flagship branch of his café-deli empire without stopping to admire the sight. Fronting the long all-white dining room is a huge window display, while each dish is a masterclass of eclectic flavours and textures. Everything looks so naturally healthy, from the jazzy salads to cooked dishes such as chargrilled salmon with chilli and pomegranate salsa. Downsides? Small portions and a not-so-small bill. Branches in Notting Hill and Spitalfields, plus a takeaway in Belgravia.
More spacious than Islington’s Ottolenghi, warmer and buzzier than Soho’s Nopi, this smart-casual outlet from Yotam Ottolenghi sizzles with bright, healthy ideas on small plates. A big chunk of the menu is veg-based, so dive in and lap up the eclectic global flavours, from baked beetroots with green tomato and jalapeño salsa to tempura stems and herbs dressed with mandarin and lime leaf vinegar. Meat and fish are also given the healthy treatment.
With Oreo-laced, sea-salted caramel brownies weighing down its counter, Hackney’s super-cute, pastel-tastic and plant-filled Palm Vaults café might not be the most obvious pick among London’s healthy destinations. However, those in the know order cashew-milk mochas, turmeric-topped avocado smashed on to gluten-free toast with snippets of vegan ‘bacon’, and matcha chia pots scattered with fresh berries as diet-regime comfort. Note: no laptops, please.
Redemption is famous for its meat-free, booze-free, gluten-free and sugar-free approach to things. This may sound virtuous but the food at its swanky new flagship branch in Seven Dials is certainly not lacking in flavour. Seasonal fruit and veg, salads, seeds, superfoods, cakes and pastries are all nutrient-packed superstars, so take the owners’ advice and ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself’. Redemption also cracks the dessert problem with its healthier spin on the calorific sweet stuff. Branches in Notting Hill and Shoreditch.
A bright, clean jewel of an eatery that’s true to the feel-good ethos of hygge, this Scandi café serves up food that sings of rude health and nutritional cred. Naturally vivacious options abound, especially at lunchtime: try a selection of smørrebrød (open sandwiches topped with smoked fish and suchlike) or plump for a Nordic caesar salad, washed down with an ‘immunity smoothie’ or a glass of antioxidant-rich carbonated birch water.
Given the rodent-themed interiors, indoor trees and birdhouse cutlery holders, you might be tempted to go nuts at Squirrel – and there are plenty of opportunities to indulge your inner muncher at this cosy spot. We like the smoked tofu and the various themed bowls (including a zesty guac ’n’ roll riff), and it’s worth dipping into the list of wild and wacky soft drinks, especially the smoothies, cold-pressed juices and kombucha riffs. Also find Squirrel in Market Halls Victoria.
It’s not quite as high in the sky as its big brother in the City, but this Covent Garden offshoot of Sushisamba still mixes great rooftop views with a Brazilian-Japanese fusion menu that appeals to healthy eaters. There are clever plant-based versions of nigiri sushi and maki rolls, plus small plates, including a white corn ceviche – and even some robata-grilled specialities such as heritage carrots with quinoa and tofu emulsion alongside more conventional Sushisamba-style meat and seafood.
Venue says This January, SUSHISAMBA Covent Garden has introduced a new, seasonal pre-theater menu curated by our Executive Chef Andreas Bollanos
Japanese chefs often go where others fear to tread, and nose-to-tail gastronomy is part of their DNA – just look at this offshoot of Yashin Sushi, which serves all manner of esoteric piscine delicacies with a typically healthy spin. The menu is littered with appealing possibilities for diet- and calorie-conscious punters, from clean-flavoured carpaccios and sashimi (without soy) to hot tapas plates and protein-packed specials from the robata grill. Don’t miss the miso cappuccino topped with tofu espuma.
Find more healthy food in London restaurants
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? We've hand-picked mainstream restaurants, covering cuisines from Japanese and Thai, right through to Peruvian, which 'cater for all'. Because the only thing better than eating out, is eating out with all your friends.
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