Load up on fresh and flavour-packed vegan dishes, all priced by weight – and save room for the impressive dairy-free desserts.
Please note, Vitao has moved location since this review was written. Time Out Food editors, November 2017.
Punchy, multi-ethnic flavours jostle for attention at this bustling vegan buffet restaurant where the food is fresh and the dishes selection changes daily. Think soups, stews and stroganoffs, grilled vegetables and fresh, zesty salads. There are also fruity smoothies, teas and an appealing range of dairy-free desserts.
Taste-wise it can become a bit confusing if you try to dip into as many dishes as possible, but it soon becomes a game to pick out the flavours from one another. With too many dishes on a plate, cinnamon rubs up against pomegranate, and cumin does battle with lemongrass and coriander. There's more than just a nod to the vegetarian cooking of the past—most of these recipes have been around since at least the 1970s. But there are enough enticing choices to keep things interesting, such as a refreshing dairy-free cheesecake made from mango, coconut and cashew.
Service one our visits has been slightly shambolic, the smiling staff seemingly surprised by the arrival of hungry customers. The pricing is by weight— £1.80 per hundred grams. So although this can be a cheap lunchtime option, loading up your large steel thali plate, all-you-can-eat style, can send the price spiralling up towards the £20 mark (and it's cash-only).
It’s not the most innovative place around, but Vantra Vitao provides a fun, healthy escape from the lunchtime rush of Oxford Street.
25-27 Oxford St
|Opening hours:||Open noon-11pm Mon-Sat; Sun noon-8pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Tottenham Court Rd|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks: around £30.|
|Do you own this business?|
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Initially we intended to visit another vegetarian/vegan restaurant but that was closed so we found this as another vegan restaurant in the area. The first warning sign was that it was cash only, which is a minor inconvenience, and it only went downhill from there.
We had looked at a few reviews before coming and some of the negative ones talked about the chairs. We thought this was needless nitpicking and quite funny. In hind sight they were all too correct about the chairs. They are solid blocks of wood carved into a semi-chair shape but they are very hard, uncomfortable, and not shaped in a way that makes them easy to sit on. Stools would have actually been better.
The second thing of note was the speed of the service. It was slow and inattentive to say the least. Some of us ordered meals from the menu while the others got food from the buffet (which is priced by weight and a little on the expensive side, it was £2.50 per 100g at the time of our visit not £1.80 as the main page states, so be careful when piling up your plate). Those of us that ordered from the menu had to wait an excessive amount of time for our meals and only got them in the end after we reminded them that we were waiting. In this time those that had chosen to eat from the buffet had already finished.
The food itself was very variable, my meal was very nice but also very small considering the price, and left me unfulfilled. Others had worse luck, with one person's meal being very unpalatable to all at the table.
Then it came to asking for the bill. We asked one member of staff who then seemed to completely forget about us (it's a small place and we were right in the middle, they had to walk past us any time they went anywhere but still couldn't remember us) so after 10 minutes or so we asked that same member of staff again, still nothing. We then asked a different member of staff and it looked like she was going to get the bill but again went back to serving other people so we asked her again and still waited, only when we actually put on our coats and started getting up to leave did we finally get the bill.
I would strongly recommend against visiting, especially given the wealth of other fantastic restaurants in the area.
Oh boy, where to begin.
The service is bad. And I know when people say 'the service is bad' you don't usually think much of it - but it was truly appalling. It took well over half an hour to produce three dishes (those of us eating the buffet had already served ourselves and eaten). The (overpriced) juices we ordered took about half an hour to arrive too.
We asked for the bill three times (incidentally it's cash only. What sort of place is cash only nowadays?). I think we were waiting for well over 20 minutes. They only brought it to us when we were literally putting our coats on ready to leave, fed up of the charade.
It's expensive, bland food and not worth the stress of visiting. The chairs are also stupid.
So I have a problem where I am currently on a sugar and wheat free diet which sent me spiraling into a slight depression because I thought my taste buds and social life flies out the window. But then I found out about Vantra and I love it! There is so much choice for me there and the food is delicious! The staff are really friendly and the owner Lenny is super knowledgeable. I'm converted and have been recommending Vantra to everyone!
I am not a vegan, not at all. BUT Vantra has definitely won my attention for weekdays' healthy lunches. They offer a large selection of salads and hot dishes, all are super tasty and seem to have been made with love. Their juices and cakes are nice and raw-diet friendly as well.
The system is simple: you get a box, you fill it with whatever you like, and you go (don't forget to pay)! You can also sit at one of the wooden tables behind the bar, which offer some quiet lunch space in the middle of Oxford Street's craziness.
My husband and I recently visited Vantra on Oxford Street to partake of some of their deliciously healthy cuisine. The owner clearly has mastered the art of making healthy food very tasty. The buffet offers so many choices, and it was refreshing, as a vegan, to be able to choose all options, worry free. I had developed such an aversion to many restaurants, because even vegetarian options were not always so healthy, as they are laden with dairy products. Knowing what I know about pus cell count in milk (thus must include cheese, yoghurt and other dairy products), or my dear friend reminding me that eggs are aborted chickens, I realised that my body would be cleaner without such products clogging it up. It is also a reason that many vegetarians may not always be as slim as they would like (myself included).
As I poured over the multiple sumptuous choices of potato salad made with soy rather than dairy, chickpea curry that smelt so fabulous (oh I do LOVE chickpeas!), and many other enticing options, I found myself piling rather alot of food on my very large plate that they provide (similar to when you have a thali in an Indian restaurant).
I thoroughly enjoyed the nachos made with flaxseed far more than the conventional nachos, which I abhor! The seed cheeses are simply THE BEST I have ever tasted, and I have been to some great raw restaurants (well, all the raw restaurants in London). My husband rapidly consumed the fresh and zingy raw lasagne with gusto. This was his first experience with raw food, although he adores salads, and juices. Oh...the juices...oh my! We both loved the juice blends, so fresh and will have you going back for more!
The restaurant is fairly priced, unlike many raw restaurants. The food is good and wholesome. The vegan unraw options are steamed and then have oil added on top to avoid carcinogens. See, they thought of everything, so you don't have to. You can just emerge feeling incredibly nourished and looking forward to going back for more!