Being vegan and eating out can be hard. Maybe you ask the waiter if the tomato soup is vegan, he says ‘obviously’, and then it turns up with six dollops of cream. Or maybe for the office dinner someone picks a place with vegan ‘options’, that turns out to be one sad superfood salad with extra lettuce. Because you’re vegan, lettuce is your staple, right? Hemp is your messiah, no? Or maybe, just maybe, you’re sick of leaving early to eat three boxes of oreos after a complete stranger overhears ‘vegan’ and asks you about your iron levels. Again.
That’s why we’ve made this guide. So that you can eat out without having to worry about options, play another game of menu detective, or utter the fateful words, ‘please can you leave the cheese off that’. Again. Here are the best places to eat in London if you’re vegan.
Stretch too suddenly in Mao Chow and you may take someone’s eye out, or if you’re lucky, you may accidentally find another table’s dumpling in your hand. Because what this tiny Hackney spot lacks in space it makes up for in flavour. The menu is a selection of seven or eight all-vegan Chinese dishes, like oyster mushroom bao or sesame dan dan noodles, and all of them have got good things going on. You’ll want to get there early if you’re with more than one other person as it’s no reservations, but it’s worth the squeeze either way.
Andu Café in Dalston is one of the easiest choices for a vegan meal in London for every good reason imaginable. Firstly, you can only order one thing: a six dish platter with injera or rice. Secondly it’s as cheap as chips (£7 for one, £12 for two) but with a lot more flavour than chips. And, thirdly, it’s BYOB.
Fitzrovia’s Rovi is all about vegetables, fire, and a celeriac shawarma that’ll bring you some serious joy. This Ottolenghi spot does serve meat but there’s plenty of vegan options on the menu, excellent cocktails, and a bar we’d happily spend a decade at.
The menu at this Peruvian restaurant in Shoreditch is split into soil, sea, and land, which means that from the moment you sit down you can just direct your eyes to the soil section and know you’re in safe hands. They’ve also got a full vegan tasting menu for £30 per person, that involves dishes like mushroom ceviche, caramelised aubergine, and chilli mayo. It’s a casual, cool place that’s perfect for a catch up with friends over brunch, date night at the bar, or swinging by for a plate of brussels sprouts with wild rice after work.
There are five Dishooms in London, all serving up excellent Indian food. And importantly, Indian vegan food too. They have everything from The Vegan Bombay full breakfast, to small plates like chickpea curry, to vegan lassis, and a whole host of other options. Unless you’re rolling with a group of six or more, dinner at Dishoom operates on a walk-in basis, but the King’s Cross site is often your best bet for beating the queues.
Ethos is an all day restaurant in Fitzrovia with an… ethos. And that’s meat-free, plant-based food with a self-service, pay-by-weight system. As well as vegan classics breakfast menu, a vegan Sunday brunch menu, and plenty of takeaway options, they also do a vegan afternoon tea. Basically, whether you’re after a grab and go lunch or a sit-down dinner of barbeque seitan ribs, Ethos has got you covered. Plus, eating here is like being in a forest designed by organic, fashion-loving pixies, which is fun.
In the beginning, there were vegan burgers, hot dogs, and tacos. That’s the story at Genesis, an entirely plant-based diner on Commercial Street. It has a long menu of quick comfort foods, think everything from a seitan shawarma to an ice cream sundae. Will you resent paying £45 for dinner for two with counter service? Yes. Will the jackfruit hoisin taco make up for it? Absolutely.
The food at Cook Daily mainly consists of Thai dishes like jungle curry, pad thai, and noodle bowls. The food at Cook Daily also happens to be vegan, cheap, and really excellent. It’s a very lowkey dining situation under a railway arch in London Fields, but with some of the best vegan food in London available you probably won’t care that the seats are a bit basic. Be warned, this place has a pretty astounding following so expect queues, and a packed restaurant.
This restaurant’s slogan is ‘plant based pioneers established 1989’, which sounds like a truly horrible collaboration between Taylor Swift and Alan Titchmarsh. But, this Islington spot (with branches in Hammersmith and Marylebone) really does have a lot of experience when it comes to creating tasty animal-product-free food. It’s one of those places where you’ll find flavours from across the planet on the menu, including everything from cauliflower with smoked paprika tahini to a beetroot cheese burger. They also serve a vegan roast on Sundays.
Mildred’s have been serving vegetarian food since a time when the general public probably thought quinoa was a musical instrument. These days most of their menu is vegan friendly, and as well as bean burgers there are dishes like tandoori mock chicken, dumplings, and Sri Lankan curry.
Okay, we hear you. Wolves are not generally known for their vegan lifestyle. But, as soon as you get past the name of this casual all-day Chelsea spot, you can appreciate their menu of burgers, pasta, pies, wraps, and importantly, a dairy-free cheesecake. Everything here is vegan, and although it isn’t the most atmospheric place on the planet, if you sit upstairs you can have an alright sit-down experience. Otherwise swing by for one of their grab-and-go options at the counter.
Full disclosure: this place only serves one vegan dish. Which yes, means it probably, technically, shouldn’t be in this guide because otherwise we’re submitting to your uncle’s logic that you can go to a steakhouse because he’s ‘sure the side salad is vegan’. But, crucially, the one vegan dish at Voodoo Ray’s is pizza, and there will obviously come a time in your life where you’re in east London and need a pizza. It’s inevitable. The Queen Vegan is covered in artichoke, green olives, sun blush tomatoes, red onion, and is covered in their green sauce. Plus, you can either get it as a whole 12-inch pie, by the slice, or delivered. Lovely.
Stem And Glory is quite a dramatic name for a casual, lowkey vegan restaurant in the City, but, having tried their meatballs, we’ll let them get away with some theatrics. They serve things like rainbow bowls, kimchi pancakes, smoothies, blue corn tacos, and a bao burger that’s entirely worth getting jackfruit down your t-shirt for. At the weekend they’re open from ten and do a full brunch menu including a ‘VLT’ (see what they did there), but if you happen to work nearby their takeaway menu is prime lunch food.
Finding a good, vegan pasta dish at a restaurant is like finding a unicorn. A beautiful, parmesan and butter free unicorn. Martello Hall in Hackney only has two vegan mains on their menu but one of them is a handmade beetroot gnocchi that’s very decent. They’ve also got their classic red chilli Vegan Viking pizza, plenty of distilled spirits and beers to choose from, and are open until three on Friday and Saturday.
We’re not big fans of this spot in Covent Garden but for the sake of utility and some decent beetroot ketchup, we’re going to tell you about it anyway. By Chloe is an entirely vegan fast-food, counter restaurant that attempts, and often fails, to make vegan versions of British classics. Why is it in this guide then, you ask? Because like sales shopping and an all you can eat buffet, By Chloe needs a very specific game plan to work. Stick to dishes like the spicy Thai salad that aren’t pretending to be anything else, expect it to be busy, and prepare your corneas for the fluorescent ‘Guac Save The Queen’ sign.