London's Best Vegan Restaurants

By Londonist Last edited 8 months ago
London's Best Vegan Restaurants
Photo by Helen Graves.

Kerstin Rodgers writes the blog Ms Marmite Lover and is the author of V is for Vegan.

Vegan foods in the UK are still somewhat in the dark ages in terms of choice, which is surprising considering the very word ‘vegan’ was coined in Britain. But London is improving all the time. One thing we do have is plenty of Indian restaurants, many of which are vegetarian so it’s often possible to find vegan options there. Here is a list of London’s best vegan restaurants. I’ve visited most of them and where I haven’t, I’ve taken a straw poll from my vegan mates.

East

Black Cat Cafe used to be hit and miss. But now their food is vibrant, well proportioned and good to look at, from dirty vegan burgers with sweet potato chips to fantastic soy milkshakes, good curries and cakes. You can also buy a selection of vegan ingredients. The anarchist political atmosphere of yore seems to have subsided, and there's been a simultaneous boost in professionalism.

Black Cat Cafe, 76 Clarence Road, Hackney, E5 8HB

The Black Cat Cafe. Photo: Kerstin Rodgers.

Carnevale is an economically priced vegetarian Mediterranean (Italian/Sicilian/Middle Eastern) restaurant with quite a few vegan options.

Carnevale, 135 Whitecross Street, EC1Y 8JL

Rasa has two shocking pink branches, across the road from each other in Stoke Newington. One, Rasa Travancore, is ‘normal’; the other is vegetarian/vegan. The prices at this Keralan/South Indian restaurant are low and the food excellent.

Rasa, 55 Stoke Newington High Street N16 OAR

Cook Daily: vegans love this fast food place at the trendy Boxpark (a series of shipping containers) near Brick Lane.

Cook Daily, Unit 55, Box Park, 2-10 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6GY

North

You'll find the Primrose Hill set at Manna but don’t let that put you off. It was originally vegetarian but is now entirely vegan. The cooking takes inspiration from around the world and is flavoursome and well presented.

Manna, 4 Erskine Road, Primrose Hill, NW3 3AJ

Indian Veg sells seriously cheap Indian buffet food. All but one of the curries (a paneer curry served on Wednesdays and Fridays) are vegan. This place is packed after a political march in town — at these prices, even activists can afford to eat out. The food is canteen style but tasty and wholesome, especially if you time it so that a fresh batch has just been placed on the bain marie. While you eat, you can look at the posters of Indian beauty queens and Bollywood stars, or read the slogans exhorting you to a flesh free diet (‘vegetarians keep it up longer’). You can eat as much as you want here for £4.50. They also serve organic colas and Indian beers.

Indian Veg, 92-93 Chapel Street Market, Islington, N1 9EX

Itadakizen is a refined vegan Japanese restaurant in King's Cross. I’ve enjoyed the vegan sushi, the agedashi tofu, home made kimchi, the bamboo leaf and buckwheat teas. Set meals range from £12-£29 including a special seaweed menu. Students get 10% off.

Itadakizen, 139 King's Cross Road, WC1X 9BJ

The Gate is another high end vegan/vegetarian restaurant. The menu is international: Greek, Thai, Indian, Japanese and British seasonal cooking.

See website for branches.

Loving Hut. There is a tradition of vegan food in Buddhism, using gluten to make mock meats such as duck, chicken, prawn and lamb. The Loving Hut does a pan-Asian influenced menu including Mock duck, ‘chicken’ satay, stir fries, Thai and Vietnamese dishes, vegan dim sum, veggie burgers for those who aren’t keen on Asian food, plus milkshakes, juices and desserts.

See website for branches

Central

I must admit I have never been to Mildreds, which must be one of the most well known vegetarian restaurants in London. They now have a cookbook out and I’ve always heard good things about the place. They do vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free dishes, all clearly marked on the menu. Like many veggie restaurants, the food is international. This is usually a bad sign in a normal restaurant but a vegan diet has restricted ingredients, therefore you have to reach out to foreign cuisines for variety.

Mildreds, 45 Lexington Street, W1F 9AN

Mildred's: one of London's most famous vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants. Photo courtesy of Monica Shaw via the Londonist Flickr pool.

Vanilla Black is a very posh vegetarian restaurant with modernist plating (asymmetric, powders, droplets, shards and fragments) with a vegan menu also. I ate there a couple of years ago and while I liked the food, the vegan menu did all look a bit brown. The chef Andrew Dargue is doing refined vegan food, and it’s the sort of place you can take your parents or have a business meeting at. Classy. He also has a cookbook out.

Vanilla Black, 17-18 Tooks Court, EC4A 1LB. Read Londonist's review from last year

Amico bio is an Italian vegan restaurant. Italian food is one of the easiest to convert to vegan so this is one to try. I’ve heard mixed reports about this place, so I must try it myself.

See website for branches

Govinda’s is a Hare Krishna run restaurant, therefore they claim to serve ‘karma free’ food. While the food is very good, it’s under seasoned and contains no onions, garlic or mushrooms either. Take your own salt. I always have a little tin of Maldon salt in my handbag.

Govinda's, 10 Soho Square, W1D 3DL

Tibits is a popular vegetarian restaurant run by three Swiss guys, the Frei brothers. You fill your plate from the buffet then have it weighed. Tuesday nights is completely vegan.

Tibits, 12-14 Heddon Street, W1B 4DA

West

Woodlands serves Southern Indian vegetarian cuisine but also has a specific vegan menu with idli, dosa, utthapam, soups, thalis. They also do a Jain menu which is vegan food without onion or garlic (they excite the body!).

See website for branches

Nama Foods is an entirely vegan and raw food (no cooking above 42 degrees) menu. Lots of dishes claiming to be pasta but made out of vegetables (although I rather like courgetti).

Nama Foods, 110 Talbot Road, W11 1JR

La Suite West is a hotel restaurant with a difference; the menu is vegan and often gluten free and raw. The plating is gorgeous and the food is high end.

La Suite West, Queensway/Bayswater, 45-51 Inverness Terrace, W2 3JN

Pomodoro e Basilica is a vegan pop up run by Italian chef Sara Mittersteiner. I’ve heard great reports about this place. She also does street food at Camden from time to time.

Pomodoro e Basilica, 7 Lothrop Street, Queen's Park, W10 4JB

222 Veggie Vegan. Here, chef Ben Asamani cooks low salt, low fat, non-GM vegan food. Lunch is a buffet and dinner is à la carte. This restaurant is highly rated by reviewers generally.

222 Veggie Vegan, 222 North End Road, West Kensington, W14 9NU

South

Greenz is a Caribbean and African influenced vegan restaurant in Tulse Hill which also does cooking classes and events such as a book club. Sensitive to diabetic diets.

Greenz, 5 Station Rise, Tulse Hill, SE27 9BW

Veg Bar serves a classic vegan menu using vegan cheeses, seitan, tofu. Also a late night speakeasy.

Veg Bar, 45 Upper Tulse Hill, Brixton, SW2 2TJ

Ms Cupcake. A vegan bakery in Brixton where you can buy ‘afters’.

Ms Cupcake, 408 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8LF

South East

The Waiting Room. I’ve been hearing many good things about this restaurant. Vegan drinks include micro beers, cocktails and there's vegan food such as burgers, hot dogs, bagels and Chef Wayne’s famous vegan sausage rolls.

The Waiting Room, 142 Deptford High Street, SE8 3PQ

Have you any suggestions for our vegan list? Any unknown gems? Please let us know in the comments.

Last Updated 17 January 2017

SallyB2

Well, Persepolis ain't bad for vegan food... http://www.messyvegetariancook...

Laura Bowers

How could you not list Wild Food Cafe here?!!! It's the best of the bunch :)
Www.wildfoodcafe.com

msmarmitelover

Do add your suggestions, I'm sure I've missed out some good ones!

Greg Tingey

WOT?
No Diwana Bhel Poori House ( Drummond Street )
Why not?

Brian

You've left out vegan cafe/restaurant Vantra! Healthy vegan food at a great location just next door to Tottenham Court Road Station. I'd also add (being pedantic) that the article should be called "London's Best Restaurants for Vegans" and not "London's Best Vegan Restaurants" as clearly some of these recommendations are not vegan.

Dolina

The Bonnington Cafe in Vauxhall is well priced run as Co-Op need to book in advance by their website http://www.bonningtoncafe.co.u... mains are usually £8 starters and desserts £3. BYOB 50p per head corkage. All chefs prepare vegetarian but not all vegan

Cortney Busch

Wild Food Cafe and Fed By Water (massive vegan pizza selection)! Also, Ruby's Cakes at Greenwich Market are divine.

Charlotte

Ooo you should definitely check out Phil T's Kitchen at The Black Heart. Though they're not all vegan they're worth a visit. I've had the vegan crabcakes and the vegan cauliflower buffalo 'wings' with vegan blue cheese and both are incredibly tasty. They also have vegan puff pastry pizza and keep an eye on the special board; the vegan hoi sin jackfruit steamed bun that's currently on it sounds so good!

www.Facebook.com/PhilTsKitchen
Instagram.com/PhilTsKitchen

I've been to a few you've mentioned in this list but I can't wait to try the others!

Mary Ites

If you're in Camden this is inexpensive and very tasty
http://www.happycow.net/review...

Jenny

I agree with Brain's comment that you've left off the BEST vegan restaurant in not just London, but the whole of the UK! Vantra Vitao is vegan heaven. And never been to Mildred's?! You should remedy that immediately! :)

Fab Stefan

you are missing out www.fedbywater.co.uk :-) A must for vegans!

Ellie

Way to go if you wanted to help ingrain the myth that veganism is bland, boring and inaccessible. Stating that '' a vegan diet has restricted ingredients, therefore you have to reach out to foreign cuisines for variety'' is absurdly irresponsible, and untrue. Sure, the variety of cooking styles showcased in cuisines from around the world is what makes eating out in London great, but this certainly isn't restricted to vegan food. There are tens of thousands of edible plants worldwide: I'd call that a fair case for variety. Please don't make veganism out to be restrictive- not only is it incorrect, but simple feeds people's irrational prejudices about vegan cuisine, which is not a restriction- but a joy.

Jacqui

You missed out two of the most obvious and well-known: Wild Food Cafe in Covent Garden, and Vantra on Tottenham Court Road. Excellent food at both but the vibe is a bit too 'homely' and dated for me. My favourite is Ethos on Eastcastle Street, W1, both for the food and its cleaner more contemporary decor. It's vegetarian/vegan and there are always loads of vegan choices. It's eat in or take-away and buffet style, but don't let that put you off as it is restaurant-quality food with the expected choices and more unusual. It's expensive, though; it's charged by weight so if you pick heavier foods or have a large appetite, you can easily spend £10-12 for a take-away lunch. If you pick lighter foods and only half-fill the (ample) box it's about £6.

leah

Honey Hive vegan cafe in south east london!

Jade Loves Veg

... Why did you include places you haven't tried? Surely you should visit every restaurant on your list before publishing? It's not like London has that many vegan restaurants..

A vegan food blogger reviewing something they haven't tried is like a chef serving something they haven't cooked. It's lazy and makes this listicle useless and redundant.

getemenu

Fantastic list of fab restaurants. Must visit
at these restaurants. Digitize your Resturants menus by Gtemenu Digital
resturant menu apps for andriod and ios devices - See more at: .
http://getemenu.com

Guest

Cafe SoVegan opening in Clapton https://www.facebook.com/CafeS...

Terry

Or if you want RAW food delivered to you then try www.myfood.co.uk

Sara Shah

What is missing from this list is LoveGift Vegan!
Delicious stews, grains and greens that change everyday. Wheat meat and Mac and cheese made with homemade cheese. Not to mention an array of dessert and raw cakes.
Well worth a visit!

108, Brockley Rise, SE23 1NH
Closest station is Honor Oak Park.
Open Tuesday- Sunday.
https://m.facebook.com/lovegif...

Cristian Camilo Garcia

This is the best application to find near vegan and vegetarian restaurants. GREEN RESTAURANTS https://play.google.com/store/...

Truly S.

There is no food that has an effect on autism. No evidence base to support it, despite what some woo-peddlers say about fermented or nutritionally dense foods. They're just trying to sell stuff.

Roy Woodhoo

Your South list is looking a bit sparse. The Calabash of Culture in Sydenham Rd is pretty busy.

Richard Corby

Vegan Hippo in Soho needs to be on the list too!
https://m.facebook.com/Vega...

Karen Hatch

Is this an old article? I looked up Greenz and Veg Bar in Tulse Hill as recommended and they are both permanently closed. Shame as they sounded good. Maybe next time someone could check the recommended restaurants are actually still open. This also happened with your recent article about vegetarian restaurants and the one in Kensington I looked up had also closed!