NOVEMBER 2019: We’ve added a bumper crop of vegan-friendly favourites, from purists to those that offer dedicated plant-based menus alongside an omnivorous selection. There’s Shoreditch’s Pachamama East (which puts an eclectic spin on Peruvian cuisine), Sushisamba Covent Garden (offering a hot-ticket fusion of Brazilian and Japanese flavours) and Crispin (a minimalist canteen-restaurant in Spitalfields). Not forgetting the fabulous Mao Chow in Hackney, where the terrific Chinese street food just happens to be entirely vegan.
Gone are the days of meat and two veg – suddenly, everyone and their nan is a vegan and London is an ethical foodies’ paradise. And it’s not just hemp and chia seeds: from dumplings to fried chicken and pizza, some of the most indulgent food in this city is available animal-free. With so many of our favourite restaurants offering bang-tidy vegan options, plus an ever-growing number of ace vegan-only joints, picking where to eat can be a bit overwhelming. So we tried them all and created the ultimate list. Here are the very best.
Got you in the mood for more plant-based fare? Check out our roundup the best restaurants for vegetarian food.
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Sibling to cured-fish specialist Ceviche, Old Street’s Andina litters its menu with unfamiliar ingredients and unusual combos – but that’s part of the fun. Native Peruvian specialities add extra zest to vegan-friendly dishes ranging from avocado and beetroot ceviche with asparagus shavings and amarillo tiger’s milk to braised aubergine adobo with smoked panca chilli.
The owners of this gorgeous-looking Clerkenwell joint want us all to ‘make friends with food’ – and we’re certainly sold on the place, with its low-key backstreet vibe, pretty plants and cleverly contrived gluten-free cooking. Look for nutritionally balanced dishes ranging from vegan cooked breakfasts to salads and light main dishes with homemade bread. Cold-pressed juices and shots of organic wheatgrass are on-message too
Run as a not-for-profit workers’ cooperative, this ethical vegan-only café and bookshop in Clapton is a top spot for budget plant-based food. The menu always features a ‘beef-style’ seitan and soya-mince burger, a barbecue tofu sandwich, pancakes, curries and meatless lasagne, plus a host of seasonal salad plates involving kale, beetroot, quinoa, noodles and other hip favourites
Vauxhall’s green-living, eco-minded community café – a former squat – depends on a rolling roster of cooperative members/cooks from different nations, who take turns to prepare and serve globally minded vegan/vegetarian food at rock-bottom prices – check the website to see who’s at the stove. Look for lighter options on the menu if you’re on a health kick. Cash only. BYOB (no corkage but 50p donation per glass).
This solo venture from former Pidgin chef Adolfo de Cecco is not only one of the best-value tasting-menu gigs in town but also offers a full ‘vegetable’ menu that’s guaranteed to get those vegan juices going. If combos such as asparagus, lovage and green strawberry or pink fir potato with escarole (broad-leaved endive) and claytonia (winter purslane) float your boat, head down to Casa Fofò and soak up its neighbourly vibe.
Although this small but sexy Peruvian hotspot is known for its marinated meat and fish (hence the name), it also actively caters for those who choose to eschew animal-based products. It even does a vegan ceviche involving beetroot, avocado, asparagus shavings and sweet potato crisps. Otherwise, check out the wild mushroom stew with choclo (Peruvian corn) purée, and don’t miss the cassava fries.
Now firmly bedded down into its capacious new premises near Bond Street, Chisou’s Mayfair flagship is a truly lovely spot, and it’s worth shelling out for its top-notch take on the Japanese classics. Vegan-friendly dishes aren’t flagged up on the menu but be savvy and you’ll find plenty of possibilities – from daikon and red radish salad with ume (plum) dressing to robata-grilled asparagus with yuzu miso.
The vegan offshoot of nearby Comptoir Mezze, Comptoir V promises globetrotting plant-based cuisine with lots of exotic nuances and the odd jokey dish name such as ‘It’s No Jerk’ (a three-bean burger with barbecue sauce). The decor references the Middle East, but the menu covers everything from jackfruit nuggets and beetroot houmous to roti-style curried chickpeas with Moroccan bread. Drinks are vegan too.
Charismatic plant-food champion King Senathit (aka King Cook) is now having a ball at this cool location close to Netil Market, serving up affordable bowls of vegan rainbow goodness crammed full of vegetables, tofu or fake chicken – try the jerk combo on brown rice or the ‘full English’ with scrambled tofu ‘egg’. Order and pay at the counter, then collect when your number is called.
Copita neatly sidesteps the tapas clichés in favour of less familiar ideas, and there are always at least a dozen veggie items on the menu. The flavours are big and often unexpected: satisfy your vegan cravings with a plate of runner beans, olives, citrus and pumpkin seeds or grilled courgette and artichoke with tahini. Be warned, though – Copita can get cacophonous.
A handsome glass and zinc construction on a Spitalfields backstreet, this minimalist canteen/restaurant comes from the people behind the Lundenwic coffee house. Whether you’re here for brunch, lunch or dinner, there’s always a couple of vegan dishes on offer (plus some vegan-friendly veggie options) – think dal with squash, coconut yoghurt and kale or baked cauliflower with yeast and finger lime.
Any venue from boundary-breaking cocktail wizard Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan) is bound to be off-piste, but Cub is something different: a bar-diner offering a multisensory foodie ‘experience’ with bizarrely alluring drinks and plenty of thrills for the vegan brigade (nettle, sweet bell turnip and sea truffle, anyone?). We love Cub’s super-savvy staff and rockin’ house-party vibe too.
Lawyer-turned-cook Asma Khan is now rated as one of the capital’s top chefs, and her first permanent site, in Carnaby, is a showcase for home-style food and family recipes inspired by her Calcutta childhood. There’s always plenty of vegan stuff on offer among the mutton, venison and prawns – try the chana chaat, the Bengali spiced croquettes with beetroot or the Hyderabadi tamarind dhal.
This sleek, glossy offshoot of Dinings in Marylebone follows the original’s Japanese fusion ethos to the letter. Vegans are also in for a treat here, with a smattering of really creative plant-based items on the menu – from grilled shiitake mushrooms to green-tea soba noodle salad with sesame vinaigrette, or soy-creamed seasonal greens with truffle and soy cheese.
A tribute to Bombay’s 1930s jazz age with colourful booths, swinging soundtrack and photos of iconic musicians on the walls, the Kensington branch of Indian mini chain Dishoom puts out a full vegan menu alongside its regular offer. Start the day with ‘The Vegan Bombay’ fry-up, or arrive later for chole puri, Chowpatty Beach-style (‘unbuttered’) corn on the cob, channa chaat salad and the bizarre kala khatta gola ice in kokum syrup.
Owned by well-connected glamour puss Camilla Al-Fayed (of Harrods fame), Farmacy 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 sugar, no additives, no meat, and lots of plant-based stuff lurking in its signature ‘Earth Bowls’. Even the most virtuous dishes taste luxurious here.
The very thought of ‘pan-Asian tapas’ may make you shudder, but this lively Soho spot manages to convince with its clever, well-executed cooking and delightful staff. Vegans should keep their eyes peeled for the morning glory and kale bhajis, as well as plant-based massaman curry (avocado, tempeh, purple potato) and Gamma Gamma mess with aquafaba cream, eggless meringue and Passoã sorbet.
Venue says Gamma Gamma celebrates the flavours and colours of Asia and beyond, tapas and cocktails that are just that little bit special!
Understated, sleek and minimalist, the Marylebone branch of this ‘plant-based pioneer’ still manages to feel super-comfortable and its wide-ranging menu is a good fit for the surroundings. Global themes and influences loom large, and there’s always plenty in the mix for vegans – from tofu red Thai curry or aubergine teriyaki to wild mushroom risotto cake. The restaurant also hosts a monthly, five-course Secret Vegan Supper Club.
Alexis Gauthier is a vegan chef who practises what he preaches. His classy Soho townhouse restaurant satisfies plant-crazy evangelists as well as fans of Gallic gourmandising. The vegan line-up might run from golden glazed swede with citrus marmalade and miso-infused dressing to tempeh and corn with kaffir lime, popcorn and bean shoot salad – all calorie-counted for nutritional impact.
Arguably the best-looking and scene-iest place in west London, fashionable-lifestyle hangout Gold also delivers some surprisingly good food. More than half the menu is taken up with salads and veg-based small plates, so vegans will have a field day dipping into dishes such as roasted delica squash with farro, pomegranate, radicchio and dandelion.
Located above the Wolf & Badger boutique on the upper concourse of Coal Drops Yard, Hicce is home to ex-Murano chef Pip Lacey. Hands-on small plates are the order of the day, and the menu’s ‘veg’ selection is a happy hunting ground for vegans, with plant-based ideas like harissa cauliflower with pistachio yoghurt, quinoa, and feta, as well as charred broccoli with black garlic, taggiasche olives, and potato. Also don’t miss the little jars of colourful pickles.
Vegans can always count on one thing at this super-cute Middle Eastern café in Fitzrovia: incredible falafel. In fact, just about everything on H&Co’s mixed mezze platters is vegan-friendly and there’s always a plant-based main course – perhaps roasted mauve aubergine with a barbecue tahini crust and jewelled rice salad. The menu changes seasonally and we’re hooked on the friendly vibe too.
With its vintage-modern interior and focus on street-food dishes from vegan-friendly Sri Lanka, this offshoot of Hoppers in Soho ticks all our boxes. The eponymous hoppers (bowl-shaped savoury pancakes) are crisp and chewy in all the right places, the karis are full of flavour (try the squash and parsnip version) and the winter vegetable kothu roti is a vegan must-have. Sides and sambals also hit the spot.
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 udon 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). Laid-back staff go with the flow, while zealous foodie workshops make Itadaki even more lovable.
Jamavar’s vibe suggests a smart colonial-era gentlemen’s club, but don’t let that put you off. What makes it worth a serious punt is the food – a succession of luscious, delicately spiced dishes bursting with purity and depth of flavour. And yes, you can eat like a vegan here, especially if you stay with small plates such as the warm barley and corn salad or potato tikki with spiced white peas. Pricey but worth it.
A laidback, minimalist space serving up big helpings of thrilling, Bangkok-inspired food with the help of some genuinely lovely staff, Kin + Deum is also a box-ticker for spice-hungry vegans. The menu is packed with plant-based possibilities, from banyan spring rolls to panang curry with tofu. Many other dishes can also be given a vegan tweak.
Tucked away on a quiet backstreet just off the King’s Road, ex-Trishna and Jamavar chef Rohit Ghai’s first solo venture is a good-looking townhouse restaurant with plenty of polish. Vegan-friendly dishes aren’t flagged up on the menu, but there’s no mistaking the plant-based appeal of the apple dhokla (made with fermented batter), jackfruit kofta with spinach or rice/lentil khichadi with wild mushrooms.
You can take the road to Mandalay without leaving the East End by visiting this achingly stylish Burmese star. You can satisfy your vegan cravings here too. Most of Lahpet’s zingy signature salads are plant-based, but also look out for kidney bean and ginger fritters, silky tofu soup and lentil chow chow (red lentils with glass noodles, sweet potato and chilli jam). Great value and fun.
A friendly pit stop rather than a destination, this Malaysian joint just off Oxford Street is crazy about laksa but offers much more besides. An entire section of the menu is devoted to ‘vegan mains’, from hot-and-sour ramen with mock shark’s fin to melaka curry laksa and deep-fried tofu with spicy mango kerabu sauce. There are rich pickings among the vegetables too.
A vampire-themed pizza restaurant that takes almost all its cues from the eponymous bloodsucking ’80s classic and serves up its pizzas on black charcoal-infused bases, Lost Boys is also a nourishing shout for vegans. Try Kale All Vampires or The Coffin Dodger for size (the latter comes topped with broccoli, artichokes, mushrooms and super-trendy nutritional yeast). Bonus points for the spicy green pineapple relish too.
The London outpost of a small chain that focuses on vegan dishes inspired by pan-Asian cuisine, Loving Hut in Archway professes to use organic vegetables and non-GMO products, with ingredients sourced locally where possible. You'll probably recognise much of the menu – including BBQ veggie ribs and crispy aromatic veggie duck, as well as a vegan cheesecake.
Gordon Ramsay’s hot-ticket reboot of Maze overlooking Grosvenor Square serves as a pimped-up pick ‘n’ mix of all your fashionable pan-Asian faves in well-groomed Mayfair surroundings. Vegans have their own menu, with lots of plant-based dim sum, tempura, salads, sushi and rice dishes along the lines of watercress dumplings with green chilli sauce or warm aubergine with miso and nori. For afters? It has to be the Lucky lollies.
Venue says Spend Sunday brunching in Mayfair. Discover our new 4-course Lucky Cat brunch menu, plus free-flowing sake for £20 or champagne for £35.
A slice of California in the City, Malibu Kitchen promotes guilt-free ‘clean eating’ within the swanky surrounds of The Ned’s hotel/club complex. The menu favours veggie and vegan over meat and fish, although there’s something for everyone here – think courgette and almond flatbread, poké bowls and zesty colourful salads. For that full-on LA trip, wash it all down with some lip-smacking green juice.
From the crew behind Dalston’s Salvation in Noodles, this chummy Vietnamese hangout in Notting Hill is a sleek Hanoi-meets-London mash-up specialising in Vietnamese BBQ with all the trimmings – although vegans can easily find satisfaction beyond its chicken thighs and pork shoulders. There are savoury banh xeo crêpes with tofu, a version of pho with the same stuff, and a rice-based ‘com’ bowl loaded with grilled aubergines and minced soya beans.
It’s never easy to find proper Chinese food in vegan form, but this typically cheery hipster hangout in Hackney really nails it with a short menu of terrific Sichuan dishes. Current hits range from smacked cucumber with black vinegar, sesame oil and crushed garlic to dan dan noodles topped with vegan mince made to a secret recipe. Prices are pay-packet-friendly – just remember it’s cash only.
Born during the 1967 summer of love, this modest Primrose Hill restaurant started out as a veggie pioneer but went totally vegan before it became all the rage. These days, Manna’s bountiful menu is stuffed with a host of plant-based goodies – think lettuce-leaf tacos, jackfruit taquitos, cannellini bean sliders, pasta with ‘veatballs’, meze and sprightly salads, plus ‘vice creams’ and raw carrot cake.
Please note, Manna is currently closed for refurbishment. Please check the website for up to date information. Time Out Food editors, DECEMBER 2019.
‘Clean eating’ feels like fun at this second branch of Maple & Co. 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 nourishing salads such as turmeric-roasted cauliflower in a ‘green goddess’ basil dressing with parsley and currants.
How come this down-and-dirty homage to red-blooded burgers and X-rated booze is on a list of vegan-friendly restaurants? Well, the guys at Meat Liquor are savvy enough to include some plant-based options among the carnivorous dude food. Look for the green ‘PB’ on the menu and you’ll find everything from vegan chilli dogs to the Burgaloo (an awesome patty of spiced potato, beetroot and black beans).
One for the (vegan) ladies who lunch on Parson’s Green in Fulham, Megan’s is famed for its ‘open, deconstructed’ kebabs but you don’t have to go down the doner/chicken route – there’s a plant-based riff involving charred cauliflower and peanut dukkah, as well as one with vegan ‘chorizo’ and pine nuts. There are plenty of vegan possibilities when it comes to flatbreads and pizzas too. Very cute, very cosy.
There are many Buddhists in Vietnam, so it’s no surprise that this café-restaurant in Hoxton is big on vegan dishes. In fact, the extensive menu has around a dozen regular options, from Vietnamese tofu curry served in a clay pot to stir-fried mock ‘beef’ tofu with black bean sauce. Just be sure to check that your chosen dishes are 100 percent free of animal-based ingredients such as fish sauce.
Forget leaden brown food and stone-age bread, Mildreds is all about creative meat-free cookery – an idea it’s been peddling in Soho for nigh on 30 years. Get the vegan juices flowing by ordering some celeriac skordalia with roast leeks, pumpkin and tomatoes or a teriyaki chick’n burger with kale – plus some salads from the bar. No bookings, but you won’t mind queueing. Branches in Camden, King’s Cross and Dalston.
Fusion queen Anna Hansen is no longer in charge, but this cool neighbourhood hangout is still a go-to for Clerkenwell creatives in search of a foodie fix (vegan or otherwise). Expect a roster of eye-opening global dishes tweaked with esoteric ingredients: current plant-based options range from roast cauliflower, artichoke and pistachio salad to miso- and saké-marinated oyster mushrooms with sweet potato, apple and almond gratin.
Laid-back, local and open all day – no wonder they called this leisurely chilled-out brasserie Neighbour. Although the revamped seasonal menu is heavy on burgers, there’s always plenty of plant-based stuff on offer – the salads, in particular, are 100 percent vegan (kale and roast sweet potato with avocado, walnuts, chickpeas, tahini and lemon dressing, say). Brunch includes smashed avo and chilli on sourdough.
Walk into this upmarket sit-down sibling of the Ottolenghi deli-café chain in Soho and you’ll always find plenty of vegan stuff on the menu, from vegetable combos such as green beans, edamame, freekeh, miso and nigella seeds to mains such as shiitake and mizithra mushroom rotolo with bagna cauda and kale. Eating here can be pricey, but it’s never boring.
A Shoreditch offshoot of the Marylebone original, Pachamama infuses classic Peruvian cuisine with exciting ingredients from across the globe – so expect creative small plates piled up with a rainbow of flavours, colours and textures. Vegans can pick ’n’ mix from the ‘soil’ section of the carte or plump for the plant-based tasting menus – how about sweet potato ceviche or spinach with fried leeks, wasabi and citrus dressing?
Dreamed up by Stevie Parle (of Craft London fame), this cheap and cheerful, no-bookings pitstop bashes out small plates of fresh pasta with gutsy sauces. Everything is hand-crafted (of course) and all its extruded pasta is produced without eggs – so vegans have nothing to worry about on that front. You can also find Pastaio at Market Hall West End.
The name means ‘purity’ and that’s what you get at this London outpost of the UK’s first vegan pizzeria. The setting is buzzy, modern and relaxed, while the terrific plant-based toppings involve everything from wood-smoked tofu and shaved seitan to rice-based mozzarella and beetroot carpaccio. You can also indulge in some good old-fashioned gluttony by ordering a wicked Oreo pizza for pud.
A vegan-friendly restaurant called Rabbit? Really? Yes, this fashionable Chelsea sibling of Notting Hill’s Shed is happy to roll out the green carpet by offering a plant-based menu alongside its regular fleshy items. Mouthfuls of breakfast radish with pickle gel might give way to the likes of courgette tartare with chimichurri or seaweed-salted heritage tomatoes with lovage pesto and candied chilli. Not your usual bunny food!
More spacious than Islington’s Ottolenghi, warmer and buzzier than Soho’s Nopi, this smart-casual outlet from Yotam Ottolenghi sizzles with bright ideas on small plates. A big chunk of the menu is veg-based, so vegans can dive in and lap up the eclectic global flavours – from baked beetroot with green tomato and jalapeño salsa to tempura stems and herbs dressed with mandarin and lime leaf vinegar.
This Camden diner serves up hefty portions of US-style junk food. It’s all about the carbs here, with dishes like the Dirty Burger – made using a soya mince patty, fake bacon and cashew cheese – and the Rudy’s Reuben, a vegan version of the classic US über-sandwich usually made with corned beef or pastrami, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. It’s frill-free comfort grub.
Like many of the capital’s coolest restaurants, this Malaysian laksa bar started out as a street food stall. Meat and seafood are the main events, but it also does a full vegan laksa with charred aubergine and sautéed potato – although you’ll fare equally well by ordering a few plant-based small plates such as gado-gado salad or courgette fritters. Cheap, cheerful and great fun.
Born in Malaysia, raised in Sydney and formerly Yotam Ottolenghi’s head chef, Ramael Scully has eclectic blood in his veins and a penchant for global flavours. More than half his seasonal menu is veggie or vegan, so pick from the likes of spiced cauliflower with smoked almonds, celeriac and tahini or yellow date salad with smoked pears, maple shiitake, hazelnuts and bitter greens.
You’ll know what to expect from the name – that’s right, another Peruvian joint specialising in zesty marinated fish and meat. However, Señor Ceviche also offers solace for veggies and vegans: there’s a ceviche made from barbecue jerusalem artichoke, fennel and samphire, as well as a similar riff utilising heritage tomatoes, but also check out other options such as the asparagus and sweet potato anticuchos skewers.
‘Plant-based food that’s delicious enough to turn anyone vegan’ is the bold clarion call at this London outpost of a Cambridge-born restaurant. If you don’t believe it, try a small plate of kimchi pancakes, ‘banana blossom’ mock duck or Sichuan sea-spiced tofu with agave dressing. Main-course bowls, bao and katsu curry are equally compelling, as are the weekend specials and bottomless Sunday brunch.
Venue says Stem + Glory voted best vegan/vegetarian restaurant in London at the Design My Night 2019 awards!