12 Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants To Try In London

12 Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants To Try In London
Gauthier Soho

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.

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 both all-vegetarian and all-vegan tasting menus, which have recently included the likes of cauliflower velouté with truffle parmesan, and candied beetroot carpaccio. The eight-dish tasting menu comes in at £75 for the vegetarian and £65 for the vegan, and by all accounts is a fairly stunning affair, though cheaper à la carte and lunch options are also available.

Gauthier Soho, 21 Romilly Street, W1D 5AF

The Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green

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Londonist's Ruth Hargreaves continues to champion this tiny cafe, tucked away in Bethnal Green and run by community charity St Margaret's House. Exhibition house, event space and home to a cracking selection of  vegan dishes, the thoughtful menu is not extensive but dishes such as jackfruit tacos and pancake breakfasts are full of flavour and good value. What's more, all profits go straight back into the charity, so your rumbling stomach isn't the only reason to give this wonderful spot your custom.

The Gallery Cafe, 21 Old Ford Road, E2 9PL

Manna, Primrose Hill

The menu at this 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 jalapeño 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.

Manna, 4 Erskine Road, NW3 3AJ

Mildreds, Soho

Mildreds

A Soho institution, Mildreds 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. There are also outlets in Camden, King's Cross and Dalston, although you should expect to queue — they only take bookings for large parties, while Soho has a total no-booking policy.

Mildreds Soho, 45 Lexington Street, W1F 9AN

NAMA, Notting Hill

Not content with simply being meat-free, NAMA also ticks the dairy-free, wheat-free and gluten-free boxes. In fact, it's cooking-free too. It may divide opinion — raw food doesn't appeal to everyone — but Londonist's Ruth Hargreaves is a stalwart supporter as when NAMA gets it right, the offerings are bold, beautiful and seriously clever. To be clear, the term 'raw food' means food that hasn't been treated above 42°C, so don't let the thought of cold dishes put you off. The salted caramel chocolate cake is divine.

NAMA, 110 Talbot Road, W11 1JR

The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell

The Modern Pantry

Chef Anna Hansen MBE trained under Peter Gordon of The Providores (below), 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 deep-fried cornbread with black bean puree, golden beetroot cheese fritters and yuzu baba with strawberry sorbet, for example.

The Modern Pantry, 47-48 St John's Square, EC1V 4JJ

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 ever-changing menu deserves points for creativity. While we miss their vegetarian take on a Sunday roast, we are somewhat placated by their miso-baked aubergine that arrives with dates, pine nuts, feta and is all kinds of sticky-sweet deliciousness.

The Providores, 109 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4RX

Nopi, Soho

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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 lavender honey, and courgette fritters with spiced yoghurt, as well as the likes of baked savoury cheesecakes and truffled polenta. Breakfasts are also a strong point.

Nopi, 21-22 Warwick Street, W1B 5NE

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, Belgravia and Spitalfields offer feisty salads and creative bakes, enlivened with spice, nuts and fruits. Though meat options are available, they take a firm back seat.

Ottonlenghi, various locations

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 cep mushroom fudge, malted barley potato cake and homemade lemon ricotta replacing them on a menu of foams, pureés, towers and stacks galore. This is confident, clever cooking, if occasionally overblown, and though £41.50 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.

Vanilla Black, 17-18 Took's Court, EC4A 1LB

The Windsor Castle, Clapton

Locality, seasonality and sustainability are at the core of The Windsor Castle’s constantly changing menu, where veg is used as far more than an accompaniment to a bit of flesh. Proof that 'hearty pub food', as they themselves describe it, can be done meat-free. That said, there’s plenty of meat for those who want it.

The Windsor Castle, 135 Lower Clapton Road, E5 8EQ

The Gate, various locations

For quality and consistency that has lasted almost 20 years, Londonist's Ruth Hargreaves recommends The Gate. With locations in Marylebone, Islington and Hammersmith, The Gate serves gourmet vegetarian fare that hits the mark on nearly every front. Whichever menu you're ordering from, you can be assured of ingredient-packed international dishes that rove from aubergine schnitzel to miso-glazed aubergine, raw pad thai to tortillas filled-to-burst with black beans, sweet potato and guacamole. The service is good, the prices are reasonable and there is a refreshing lack of meat substitutes.

The Gate, various locations

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.

Last Updated 08 January 2018

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.... I've been to meat-centric places with more options than that for veggies.

John Harltey

For a more reasonably priced (and simpler) meal than at Vanilla Black, try Orchard in Sicilian Avenue http://www.orchard-kitchen.co..... 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!

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!

Sarah

The Gallery Cafe is a completely vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Bethnal Green.

Veggiefanatic89

I've recently launched a vegetarian blog detailing the best places for vegetarian and vegan food in London. If you are interested then please take a look and feel free to comment:

https://wheresmyveg.wordpress....