12 Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants To Try In London

Amico Bio

Amico Bio

Even with the wealth of restaurants we have in the capital, those wanting to avoid meat and fish can find themselves short of options. Here’s a selection of 12 restaurants where you’re guaranteed to find more than a measly mushroom risotto. And as many of them aren’t fully vegetarian, they should keep carnivorous chums and omnivorous other halves happy, too.

Amico Bio, Smithfield & Holborn
London has two branches of this Italian restaurant which is not only vegetarian but organic, too. The owner, Pasquale, imports ingredients directly from his family-run farm in rural Italy and carefully sources the likes of cheeses and oils to ensure maximum flavour. This attention to detail shines through in the food we’ve tried, with plump, ripe tomatoes and tangy olives proving simple is often best. The generously topped pizzas and stuffed pastas are high points.

Gauthier Soho, Soho
French food can be something of a minefield for vegetarians, but here chef Alexis Gauthier seems determined to give vegetables a bit of love. What makes it particularly special is the inclusion of an all-vegetarian tasting menu, which has recently included the likes of cauliflower velouté with truffle parmesan, and candied beetroot carpaccio. The eight-dish tasting menu comes in at £60, and by all accounts is a fairly stunning affair that’s fitting of the restaurant’s Michelin star, though cheaper à la carte and lunch options are also available.

Grain Store, King’s Cross
An absolute favourite among many a vegetarian diner, this opening from Bruno Loubet at newly developed Granary Square puts vegetables firmly in the limelight. That’s not to say it’s meat free, with many of the vegetable dishes offset by the likes of bacon, game or chorizo, but rest assured that vegetarian options are plentiful and creative. So, expect mushrooms served with buttermilk and caraway braised cauliflower and grapes rather than in a risotto.

Manna, Primrose Hill
The menu at this almost half-a-century old restaurant is entirely vegetarian and largely vegan and organic, with a bit of raw food thrown in for good measure. For some this might be a bit much (maybe you’d rather have dairy cheese in your jalapeno croquettas instead of cashew ‘cheese’, for example) but for others it can offer one of the most accessible menus in London. Either way, the cooking is reliably sound and the potential blandness of no meat or dairy is carefully curtailed with herbs and spices.

Mildred's

Mildred’s

Mildred’s, Soho
A Soho institution, Mildred’s serves a dizzying array of vegetarian dishes ranging from burritos to burgers via pastas and curries, and has been doing so for over 20 years. Though such a diverse menu seems over ambitious, somehow this busy, buzzy spot pulls it off, managing to create dishes that although unfussy are reliably well-made and strongly-flavoured. That portions are on the large size and prices on the low is a bonus. Most of the options here are organic and you’ll find plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, so it’s also incredibly inclusive. The only downside to this is that when combined with a no-bookings policy, you should expect to queue.

The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell
Chef Anna Hansen trained under Peter Gordon of The Providores, who’s known in the industry as the ‘king of fusion food’. She has certainly developed his knack for breathing vibrant life into salads, vegetable dishes and meaty options alike. It’s how good the vegetarian dishes here are, rather than the sheer number of them, which makes it stand out from the crowd for the veggie diner: try some black cumin roasted sweet potato with pomegranate, truffled cheese fritters, Persian lime and cardamom yoghurt, for example.

The Providores, Marylebone
More fusion flavours abound at this slick but fun restaurant from Peter Gordon where you’re promised a rollercoaster of flavours whether you’re eating meat or not. Asian and Antipodean ingredients lead, though absolutely nothing is off limits. The vegetarian take on a Sunday roast here deserves points for creativity: a crisp tofu skin pouch is stuffed with a spiced dahl made with aubergine, spinach and tomato, and dressed with a yellow-bean sauce. No monotony here.

Nopi, Soho
To many, Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe books have helped prove that vegetarian food need never be bland, whether at home or in a restaurant. Here, meat and fish options sit alongside fresh vegetable-led dishes of burrata with blood orange, and courgette fritters with spiced yoghurt, as well as the likes of baked savoury cheesecakes and truffled polenta. Breakfasts are also a strong point.

Ottolenghi, various locations
Also from Yotam, this eponymous mini-chain is an obvious inclusion in any veggie-friendly recommendation. These deli-come-restaurants in Islington, Notting Hill and Belgravia offer feisty salads and creative bakes, enlivened with spice, nuts and fruits. Though meat options are available, they take a firm back seat. There’s a good line in sweet treats for afterwards, too.

Vanilla Black

Vanilla Black

Vanilla Black, Chancery Lane
For many a vegetarian, all-veggie restaurants are a less attractive proposition than those all-rounders that also cater for non-meat eaters. Most will admit that Vanilla Black is an exception. Here, the likes of butternut squash risotto or goat cheese salads are a firm no-no, with creative dishes such as brie ice-cream, whipped jacket potato and whey poached celeriac replacing them on a menu of foams, pureés, towers and stacks galore. This is confident, clever cooking, if occasionally overblown, and though £39.50 for three courses feels somewhat steep given there’s no meat or fish involved, there’s no other vegetarian restaurant quite like it in London.

The Windsor Castle, Clapton
The kitchen at this hip pub is headed up by chef Oliver Rowe, who formerly ran Konstam near King’s Cross, which was the focus of a BBC documentary due to Rowe’s attempts to source everything he served from within the M25. He doesn’t go quite so far here, but locality, seasonality and sustainability are still at the core of The Windsor Castle’s constantly changing menu, and he uses veg as far more than an accompaniment to a bit of flesh. That said, there’s plenty of meat for those who want it.

Zilouf’s, Islington
The menu here blends Asian and European influences to interesting effect, scoring highly with vegetarians for the number of perky salads and vibrantly flavoured, unique dishes that just happen to be meat free. The slightly more clichéd Sunday nut roast also comes recommended.

We’re sure there are plenty more restaurants out there that do a sterling job of catering for vegetarians. Let us know about them in the comments and we’ll add them to this feature, or compile a fuller one down the line. 

This article is part of our Best of London Food and Drink series. Visit the page for more recommendations of where to enjoy the capital’s top food and drink, categorised by cuisine, food type and more.

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  • MattFromLondonist

    Finally off to Grain Store for a meal this week, and looking forward to it. But a bit confused. Everyone says how veggie friendly it is, but the menu they’ve got online only has 2 out of 10 main courses as vegetarian (http://www.grainstore.com/menu/lunch-and-dinner). I’ve been to meat-centric places with more options than that for veggies.

    • Ben Norum

      That’s interesting. I’ve been a couple of times and the menus have definitely had more veggie options than that. Strange to have an unrepresentative menu online, though. I’m going to put a call in…

      • Ben Norum

        On phoning Grain Store, they say that they usually have “many more” than two vegetarian dishes on offer (and sounded a bit confused as to why the menu online didn’t). They also said that a lot of the meat and fish dishes can be made vegetarian if required.

        • MattFromLondonist

          Aha, cheers for clearing that up.

          • r k

            grain store has decent veggie options but Andina is way way better!

  • John Harltey

    For a more reasonably priced (and simpler) meal than at Vanilla Black, try Orchard in Sicilian Avenue http://www.orchard-kitchen.co.uk/. Good veggie food by the same people who run Vanilla Black. I believe they don’t take bookings so get there early!

  • Emi

    I’m surprised you omitted The Gate, Vantra, Tibits. All terrific places. Anyway, nice list and perfectly timed. I was literally about to book Vanilla Black, and I’ve already been there a few times, when the article popped up on FB. Love Just-In-Time inspiration!

  • http://www.killertomato.co.uk Killer Tomato

    Ahem must be time soon for a feature on veggie street food too…?

  • Del

    no mention of Woodlands near Piccadilly?

  • Richard the Big Bunny

    The Gate in Hammersmith really is quality — and consistency — I’ve been going there for over a decade.

  • HoiPoloi

    222 veggie vegan on North End road is outstanding, I’m always surprised that it doesn’t come up in veggie food lists. Amazing all you can eat buffet from 12-3pm for £7 as well. Great value and very creative food. Food For Thought in Covent Garden is excellent. Despite being a new restaurant, the veggie options at Andina are surprisingly creative – nearly half their menu is vegetarian!

  • Lise Smith

    Shout-out to Morgan M in Barbican (closed for refurbishment but reopening soon) for its fantastic “From the Garden” vegetarian tasting menu. So delicious my non-veggie Mum likes to have it, and stylish enough for a special birthday treat!

    Also +1 on The Gate. Great weekend brunches as well as a-la-carte lunches and dinners.

  • kb

    The gate in angel is excellent – excellent attention to detail with good portion sizes, reasonable prices and good service.

  • HoiPoloi

    Sushi Samba surprisingly has an excellent separate vegetarian/vegan menu that is just as inventive as their main menu. As a strict vegetarian I was surprised. The more well known places tend to lack creativity with their vegetarian dishes but I was pleasantly taken aback by the amount of choice and the type of food that is offered on their Vegan menu. Definitely recommend it!