The best restaurants in London for vegans
Sibling to cured fish specialist Ceviche, Old Street's Andina is where you go to feel whole again. Yup, we're talking vegan-friendly dishes made with ancient Peruvian superfoods such as Incan peanuts. Try the ripe plantain fritters with chancaca honey, the tacu tacu pancake with braised aubergine, quinoa and tofu or a salad of assorted seaweed, purple Peruvian potatoes, fermented heritage carrots, pickled red onions and avocado. Superfoods just got seriously super.
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 savoury platters with home-baked crackers. Cold-pressed juices and shots of organic wheatgrass are on-message too.
The beef tendon nuggets, fried chicken chops and bone marrow rice served at Bao’s Fitzrovia branch may be a vegan buzzkill, and even the much-Instagrammed bao are made with milk, but guess what? One of their best dishes just happens to be fully plant-based – we’re talking smoky aubergine with minced tofu and mapo sauce. Also ask about their sweet-savoury vegan cocktail, and don’t miss dream drinks such as the homemade peanut milk.
Run as a not-for-profit workers’ cooperative, this ethical vegan-only café and bookshop in Hackney is a top spot for budget plant-based food that’s healthy too. The ever-changing line-up of salad plates features a whole host of ideas involving perfectly dressed kale, beetroot, pesto and other hip favourites. Their smoky lentil burger is proper comfort food, and don’t leave without trying a syrupy vegan pastry from the counter.
It’s love at first whiff once you step inside this casual offshoot of swish Jamavar. There’s plenty of noisy chatter too, while the smoky aromas lead you toward killer Indian cooking. Veggie dishes are flagged up with a green leaf symbol, and plenty of options are also vegan-friendly: try the lentil sprout curry, the vegetable ‘istew appam’ or the tandoori charred broccoli with tomato dust (minus the cheese). Bombay Bustle is also darned affordable by Mayfair standards.
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. Cakes and other temptations might thwart your healthy mission, but there are always lighter options on the regularly changing menu. Cash only. BYOB (no corkage).
Although this small but sexy Peruvian hotspot in Soho is known for its marinated meat and fish (hence the name), it also actively caters to those who choose to eschew animal-based products – they even do a vegan ceviche with fermented heritage beetroots, grapefruit and sweet potato purée. Otherwise, look for items such as avocado cannelloni with palm-heart salad and chia seed gelée or braised cauliflower with amarillo chilli, puffed rice and olive sauce.
A smoky small-plates joint occupying Peckham Rye’s old ticket office, the Coal Rooms isn’t vegan by default, but they’ll happily amend any of their veggie dishes to fit a plant-based brief – charred cauliflower slathered with garlicky bagna càuda shot through with miso and seaweed seasoning, for example. Some of the best seats are at the counter, but the dining room is super-cool and reassuringly calm by Peckham standards.
The menu at CookDaily in Shoreditch comprises bowls of rainbow goodness crammed full of vegetables, tofu or fake chicken, all served in receptacles made from recycled cardboard. Owner/head chef King Cook has Laotian heritage, and there are lots of South-East Asian flavours here, with standouts including his mum’s green curry and a ‘yoga fire bowl’ (spiced chickpeas, chillies, sweet potato, coconut milk). Genuine, unpretentiously eco, easily affordable and totally vegan.
The menu at this much-loved Soho hangout changes daily, and they always have at least three vegan-friendly dishes on offer. Their plant-based tapas plates may be small, but the flavours are huge – and often unexpected. For committed vegans, that might mean white asparagus with kale and caperberry dressing, roasted aubergine with hazelnuts and tomato ‘honey’ or crispy cauliflower with piquillo sauce. Delicioso.
Any venue from boundary-breaking cocktail wizard Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan) is bound to be off-piste, but Cub is something different. Located above the repurposed Super Lyan bar, this is more like a multi-sensory foodie ‘experience’ with bizarrely alluring drinks and plenty of thrills for the vegan brigade: candy beet, molasses, lemon thyme; celeriac, orange, monks’ beard; barley miso, forced rhubarb, quinoa. 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 niramish vegetables cooked with panch phoron (five) spices or the Hyderabadi tamarind dhal. Come on Monday for a totally meat-free menu.
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, with plenty of plant-based items on the menu, alongside the occasional bespoke special. From grilled shiitake mushroom with yuzu soy (aka vegan sushi) to a salad of assorted seaweed with miso vinaigrette or braised hokusai cabbage with fresh truffle, soy milk and kombu, this is really innovative stuff.
A tribute to Bombay’s 1930s jazz age with colourful booths, a swinging soundtrack and photos of iconic musicians on the walls, this Kensington branch of Indian hotspot Dishoom also puts out a full vegan menu alongside its regular offer. Start the day with a ‘vegan Bombay’ fry-up, or arrive later for bhel pooris, ‘no-butter bhutta’ (corn on the cob, Chowpatty beach-style) and chana chaat – a tumble of chickpeas, couscous and baby sprouts studded with pomegranate seeds.
Plant-based ‘fuel for life’ meets high-end industrial-chic minimalism at Essence Cuisine – an all-day vegan specialist that chimes perfectly with trend-hungry Shoreditch. Breakfast means golden quinoa porridge, coconut parfait with cacao granola or raw pancakes with candied walnuts, while picture-pretty chilled Essence bowls, cauliflower harissa and raw pad thai are savoury highlights later on. Drinks include own-brand Intense juices, nut milks and vegan wines. Want to grab-and-go? Try Essence Express.
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 sugars, no additives, no meat, with lots of plant-based stuff lurking in its signature ‘earth bowls’. Judging by the ridiculously glossy good looks of most of the customers, the idea seems to work.
It may be known for its Deliveroo takeaways, but Firezza has bucked the trend by setting up a decent sit-down joint that can roll with the best of ’em in pizza-heavy Soho. It focuses on a tried-and-tested selection of toppings but shakes up the formula by offering metre-long versions that cut be cut into squares. Vegan and gluten-free options are no problem here – provided you don’t go weak at the knees for creamy tiramisu.
Understated, sleek and minimalist, this Islington branch of the Gate still manages to feel super-comfortable and its backpacking veggie-based menu is a good fit for the surroundings. Global themes and influences loom large, and there’s always plenty for vegans in the mix – from tofu tikka and miso-glazed aubergine to black-bean tortillas and a raw version of pad thai noodles. Also note the ‘health and wellness’ specials.
Calorie-counted dishes and vegan tasting menus ensure that Alexis Gauthier’s classy Soho townhouse restaurant satisfies the healthy brigade as well as fans of Gallic-style gourmandising. The current les plantes offer, for example, promises everything from rainbow open ravioli (purple cauliflower and summer greens, lovage ‘cream’ and crispy shallots) to cherry opaline with tarragon mousse and cherry sorbet. ‘The pure creativity lies with veganism’ says the chef, who is planning to go fully vegan by 2020.
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 Selfridge’s Body Studio on Oxford Street. 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 (puy lentil and beetroot salad with maple vinaigrette, anyone?).
Vegans can always count on one thing at this super-cute Middle Eastern café in Fitzrovia: incredible falafel. Choice varies with the season, but the spiced cinnamon and squash version served with winter tomato and citrus salad is a current favourite. Otherwise, rejoice in the likes of labneh with butternut squash or roasted mauve aubergine with BBQ tahini crust and a jewelled rice salad. We’re hooked on the friendly vibe too.
The Sethi clan (Gymkhana, Bubbledogs, Bao etc) have struck gold again with this small but stylish no-bookings Marylebone restaurant dedicated to ‘hoppers’ – those bowl-shaped savoury crêpes from the Sri Lankan breakfast table. Fillings and toppings can be tailored to vegan requirements, although the menu also extends to ‘string hoppers’ (steamed rice noodle pancakes), dosas and karis (Tamil for curry) – okra and plantain, for example.
‘Bold heat and umami’ is the lure at Ikoyi, a rustic-chic terracotta-walled eatery in Victoria specialising in Nigerian jollof cuisine – although the kitchen uses this as a jumping-off point for cooking that transforms West African food into boundary-pushing hyper-gastronomy. Many dishes can be given the vegan stamp, from slices of plantain festooned with desiccated raspberry dust to a disc of malted barley bread topped with a pine-infused morel and miso ragoût.
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 Michelin-starred 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 the small plates. Try the chatpata salad (masala quinoa, vegetables, chopped apricots and chilli-honey dressing) or crispy lentil dumplings with green chutney and heritage carrot pickle. Pricey but worth it.
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 – BBQ veggie ribs and crispy aromatic veggie duck, plus kung po tofu, tom yam and pimped-up non-meat versions of pad thai.
You’d think that a ‘no-choice’ restaurant would mean no choice, right? Wrong. The peeps at this trendy Michelin-starred Shoreditch hotspot also create pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan menus every day. From the latter, you might find pumpkin, kale and chestnuts with a pumpkin vinaigrette, a plate of calçots with violet artichokes, and a tiny ‘sandwich’ of cinnamon crackers with blueberry compote to finish.
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 vegetable and mango rolls with spicy nuts, 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 1967. Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Ravi Shankar are spreading love, peace and good vibrations at the Monterey Pop Festival in California; meanwhile, a modest veggie restaurant is taking its first steps in Primrose Hill, England. More than 50 years on, Manna is now vegan as well as veggie, with a host of plant-based goodies on its bountiful menu: check out the lettuce-leaf tacos, maki rolls and rainbow panzanella for size.
‘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 the nourishing salads – our faves include Purple Haze (pickled purple cabbage, rice and roasted pumpkin) and a mix of sweet potato, quinoa, kale, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.
How come this down-and-dirty homage to red-blooded burgers and X-rated booze in East Dulwich (one of their many branches) is on a list of vegan-friendly restaurants? Well, the guys at Meat Liquor are savvy enough to include some plant-based options among their Dead Hippie patties and chilli dogs. Look for ‘VG’ on the menu and you’ll find everything from Satan Fingers (battered seitan slathered in chilli sauce) to the Burgaloo (a house-made 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 menu has around a dozen regular options, from tofu rice-paper wraps with peanut sauce 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, Mildred’s is all about creative meat-free cookery – an idea it’s been peddling in Soho for nigh on 30 years. Gyoza dumplings, chargrilled artichoke crostini, and chickpeas with Persian limes and rose-petal harissa get the vegan juices flowing, with takeaways at the salad bar adding some extra healthy thrills. It’s a no-bookings place but you won’t mind queueing for good stuff like this.
Fusion queen Anna Hansen (ex-The Providores) is behind this cool Clerkenwell hangout – so expect a roster of eye-opening vegan ingredients on her eclectic global menus, alongside Asian, Antipodean and British flavours. Current plant-based hits range from roast sweet potato, lemongrass and coconut-milk soup with shiitake mushroom relish to raw kale, kohlrabi, avocado, blood orange and lychee salad. There’s tempting vegan puds too.
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.
More than a veggie haven, New Roots Café is also a community-minded space on Cally Road that donates all profits to two homeless shelters – so you know where your money is going. It’s staffed mostly by volunteers, and vegans have a decent choice – from cucumber, avocado and pickled ginger sushi to a wholesome, full-flavoured vegetable tagine with herbs and Mediterranean couscous. Prices are rock-bottom too.
Like your plates small and your options smaller? Then you’ll love Nest with its seven-dish no-choice seasonal menus, restricted opening times and low-intervention wines. While meat and game are the big players, the dedicated veggie offer can easily be adapted for vegans (just let the guys know in advance). Full marks to Nest’s three fizzingly enthusiastic owners for its cosy neighbourhood vibe, funky soundtrack and Paris-meets-Hackney interiors.
Walk into this upmarket sit-down sibling of the Ottolenghi deli-café chain in Soho and you’ll always find at least one seasonal vegan salad and main dish on the menu – perhaps roasted onion squash with tahini, pine nuts and za’atar. But give them a couple of days’ notice and they’ll raid the archives for something special to wow you. One thing’s for sure: it’ll never be boring.
Hold the front page: Pizza Pilgrims’ £6 ‘marinara’ is already 100 percent vegan, and it’s available at every branch of this trendy pie parlour. Using a bespoke PP base that’s proved for 24-48 hours, it comes lovingly topped with tomato sauce, olive oil, oregano and garlic. There are olives for nibbling, while the Carnaby branch also offers carciofi fritti: deep-fried artichoke hearts with rosemary salt.
Posh vegans should head upstairs to The Providores’ smart dining room in Marylebone for fusion riffs such as dinky dhal-stuffed tofu pockets with yellow courgettes, shiitake and coconut tamarind relish. Others, meanwhile, can plump for the no-bookings street-level Tapa Room, where vegan-friendly options run from plantain fritters to tenderstem broccoli with ginger dressing and sesame seeds or peach and ginger sago with elderflower sorbet, strawberries and macadamia nuts.
A vegan-friendly restaurant called Rabbit? Really? Yes, this fashionable Chelsea sibling of Notting Hill’s equally brilliant Shed is happy to roll out the green carpet if you ask in advance. Recent options have included red endive with black carrot and candied walnut, tempura cabbage crisps, and wild mushroom ragù with celeriac and truffles, plus pear, white chocolate and hazelnut sherbet to finish. Not your usual bunny food!
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 in Fitzrovia not only does the titular basics but also offers solace for veggies and vegans: browse the menu and you might find the likes of maras soltero (pickled fennel salad with roasted butternut squash, popped quinoa, cherry tomatoes and pomegranate vinaigrette). Our tip: bag a table upstairs.
Venue says Join us for free-flowing peach bellinis, Peruvian BBQ, ceviche and many more delights this weekend for our first birthday! Book now!
London’s first vegan pub, in Hackney, has installed the trailblazers from Club Mexicana to manage its food – so expect the unexpected. Their beer-battered ‘to-fish’ tacos are made from tofu, their burritos are filled with barbecued, pulled jackfruit, and they even know how to create fake scallops. To drink? There are 14 taps pouring cult vegan-friendly beers, plus natural wines and tricksy sours using chickpea water instead of egg white to create that frothy head.
Old-fashioned English chop house meets fiery, smoky Indian small plates – that’s the deal at this Covent Garden charmer. If you’re vegan-inclined, navigate your way past the crispy lamb chops and keema naan to find the likes of tandoori roast aubergine with chickpea mayo, pomegranate chutney and spiced cornflakes or a ‘Delhi mix’ of fried lentils, chickpeas, peanuts et al. You’ll be totally won over by the cheery, smiley service too.
Hatched from the same kooky vegan coop as the Hackney original, Temple of Camden also worships seitan (‘meaty’ wheat gluten) and presents it in all manner of cute and clever ways. As a vegan ‘chicken shop’ (yes, you heard right), it peddles bite-sized nuggets and suchlike, although the real star is the Temple Deluxe burger seared to medium-rare and served with tangy sauce, ‘facon’ (fake bacon, obvs) and thick-cut pickle. This branch has indoor seating on classroom-style plastic chairs.
London’s first vegan ‘chicken shop’ (yes, you heard right) was born out of Hackney’s Temple of Seitan street stall. It’s all about ‘meaty’ wheat gluten (aka seitan) here, whether you order peppery popcorn-style nuggets, battered strips or a burger. Their roast roll is also a blast – just add zingy red slaw or vegan mac ’n’ cheese with smoky ‘facon’ cubes for a properly delicious feed. Blaring music, no indoor seating, no booze.
Sophisticated Vanilla Black near Chancery Lane 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, be it baby fennel with creamed lemon, fennel purée, basil and lime salt or fried shiitake mushrooms with pine-nut purée, crispy couscous, Marsala, lemongrass, pickled enoki and pine salt. All very clever.
A sheeny all-day eatery from the guys behind the now-glorious Sebright Arms in Bethnal Green, The Vincent in Hackney serves up everything from late breakfasts to dinners with lots of inventive veggie/vegan trickery – don’t miss their vegan jerk buns (yam, sweet potato, mango salsa and hot sauce) or their fish-free ‘vegeree’ (a regular brunch winner). Just add a house salad dressed with lemon and agave vinaigrette.
An impeccably hip drop-in in Peckham selling seriously delicious pizzas by the slice from 22-inch New York-style whoppers. The hours are long, portions are gigantic and the menu is downright wacky. Bypass the Giorgio Moroder and Hot Mix 5 in favour of Vegan Queen (artichoke hearts, green olives, red onion, sun-blush tomatoes and green sauce), or try a 10-inch ‘brunch pie’ topped with wild mushrooms and cherry tomatoes on a soy yoghurt base.
Venue says This is the fourth Voodoo Ray’s in London, and the remit remains the same: enormous, 22-inch pizzas, available whole or by the slice.
Everything is pitched just right at this stylish veggie and vegan canteen located in Peckham Levels – a multi-storey car park turned multifunctional cultural space. Vegetables are given headline treatment in a procession of creative, thoughtful and very pretty plates ranging from harissa-roasted cauliflower with rich tahini sauce, pomegranate, nuts and seeds to crunchy home-style cabbage with sesame and chilli. Also, don’t miss the cheese-free swede fondue with pickled vegetables for dunking.
A slick restaurant serving traditional Malay food is rare enough in Kuala Lumpur, let alone the moneyed streets of Chelsea, yet Zheng manages to hit the mark. It may be only a Jimmy Choo totter from the King’s Road, but you don’t need to spend silly money here and they’ll happy tailor their veggie options for vegans. For afters, check out the seriously addictive bubur hitam – a pudding made with black rice and coconut milk.
Find veggie restaurants in London
Limp lettuce and tasteless tofu are a distant memory for London's vegetarians. From the very best restaurants in London to London's best cheap eats, check out the creme-de-la-creme of London's veggie scene.