Delicious Vegan-friendly Restaurants in London
|Photo credit: Adam Jaime|
London is an amazing place to be a vegetarian or vegan.
There are many exciting and unique restaurants offering delicious and creative vegetarian/ vegan food fare across the city. Whilst this is great when you get together with other vegetarians, what about those occasions where you’re going for food with a big group of meat-eating friends and you all have different desires?
Whilst I’m not a totally strict vegan, I don’t eat milk or cheese for health reasons, and I usually prefer not to eat eggs either, so eating out can sometimes be a pain for me. For a long time I hated being that fussy girl that's like, "oh sorry to be a pain but do you have a dairy-free menu?". I've now come to accept that a moment of embarrassment in the restaurant is way more appealing than a week of feeling like sh*t after eating something with hidden cheese or cream.
Here are a few of my favourite restaurants in London that offer delicious vegan options, as well as satisfying your carnivore friends too.
This is one of my favourite restaurants in London. The food is utterly delicious, it’s reasonably priced and there’s always a buzzing atmosphere. Be prepared to queue for a table though! When it comes to vegan food, ask to see their dairy-free menu. This highlights what is dairy-free and what can be made dairy-free with an easy to follow colour co-ordinated system. The menu is a modern take on Indian cuisine inspired by the old Irani cafes of Bombay. I highly recommend the Chole Bhatura — it's a wholesome bowl of spiced chickpeas served with rice. I also love the veggie samosas — they are so damn tasty!
Thai food is always a good shout for vegetarians and vegans — think stir-fried veg, fragrant curries and succulent spring rolls — just be sure to double check that no fish sauce is used to make your meal! I recently went to Busaba Thai in Shoreditch (they have a few around London and across the UK) and they offered quite few vegetarian and vegan options. There was Pad Thai, an aromatic vegetable curry and a couple of stir fries to choose from, and there's plenty to please meat-eaters too! I wouldn't say it's the best Thai restaurant ever (but hey, I've been spoiled after living for 6 months in Thailand!), but it's a great place to catch up with friends — think Thai Wagamama's.
This vegan Thai street food stall in Shoreditch's Boxpark is my favourite lunch time spot. I work across the road from Boxpark so every day is a battle to resist spending all my money at this place! Especially when you can get a big vegan bowl and a smoothie combo deal! I love the Yoga Fire bowl — it's a rich and flavoursome dish filled with spiced chickpeas and a sweet potato curry, served over the restaurant's staple 50/50 brown rice and quinoa mix — it's a dream! If you're eating with meat-eaters, Boxpark is great because you can each go to your favourite restaurants and meet by the outdoor heaters on the communal benches in the middle of each section. There's always a queue here (the sign of a good restaurant!).
Okay so it doesn’t technically serve any meat. But it is the place I take ALL my meat-eating friends when they’re feeling open to trying some vegetarian food. The meals are DELICIOUS, and no one I’ve ever taken has been disappointed. (Can you tell my enthusiasm from all the caps?) The sweet potato Sri Lankan curry is heavenly, and the chocolate peanut butter vegan brownie is next level. Taste. Sen. sation. If you’re a vegetarian and you haven’t been — go now! Again, there’s usually quite a wait for a table (like every restaurant on this list!). But that just means there’s more time to enjoy an organic glass of wine at the intimate bar while you wait, what could be better?
Not a restaurant per se but an amazing takeaway. Firezza create incredibly tasty thin-based, stone-baked 1/4 metre square vegetarian and vegan pizzas, as well as meaty pizzas too. I'm talking melt-in-the-mouth vegan cheese; a crispy thin base and a rich tomatoey sauce topped with artichokes, field mushrooms and butternut squash. I always add black olives (because let's face it, what is a pizza without black olives?!) It's a firm favourite on Deliveroo for me.
I know it’s a chain restaurant that can be found all over the country. But their pizzas are so delicious, and I really missed them when I stopped eating cheese. In the last year, they’ve brought in a new vegan cheese made from coconut and it is divine! Possibly the best vegan cheese I've tried. They have a vegan-friendly menu where you can create your own pizza from scratch – I love adding artichokes, black olives, red peppers and rocket to mine (there's a theme emerging here and it involves pretty pretentious pizza toppings). It’s great that you can go here and not feel like too much of an outsider; you don’t have to ask them to do any crazy food swaps or be the awkward one at the table – meaning you just get to enjoy your evening and your company.
Cosy, intimate and authentic: the original Rasa is a firm favourite amongst vegetarians all over North London. It's earned the title of Best Vegetarian Restaurant in London from Time Out twice, and the menu is bursting with flavoursome and exciting combinations. And the best thing? It's so cheap! It may not serve meat, but honestly, I think most Indian food loving meat-eaters would be sold as soon as they step in the door. There's also the sister restaurant, Travancore, next door which serves meat and seafood cuisine as well as vegetarian dishes so you can compromise and still enjoy some delicious food!