Looking for vegan food in London? Whether you're after comforting dishes, indulgent junk food, quick lunches or fancy vegan dining options, we've got you covered. A lot of these places offer delivery and takeaways if you're not comfortable eating in restaurants, or if restrictions change.
Vegan comfort food: for when the mercury plummets
January's no time to be messing about with detox diets and clean-eating crazes. It's a time for something hearty and soulwarming, for flaky-crusted pies soaked with thick gravy, bright curries or rich stews.
For the former, it's got to be Young Vegans, whose pies are available in Planet Organic branches at Tottenham Court Road, Goodge Street and Muswell Hill, and can also be ordered online, for those extra-grey or extra-hungover days. For crunchy-edged dosas and rice dumplings, make a beeline for the south Indian food at Sagar (with branches in Hammersmith, Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Harrow), which serves up both veggie and vegan dishes.
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The menu at international vegan restaurant 123V near Bond Street station hops from salads to sushi to quesadillas. For a winter warmer, order the Red Yuzu bowl, which features watermelon sashimi, pineapple, wakame seaweed, spring onion, green peas, crispy shallots, sesame seeds, yuzu sauce, and sushi rice, served in a rich warm broth. The restaurant's by Alexis Gauthier of Gauthier Soho (which has also gone entirely vegan), so you know it's going to be good.
The menu at Persepolis in Peckham is regularly changing but consistently incredible; if the peach, chilli and barberry panfry dessert's on offer when you visit it'll make your January feel like Christmas all over again.
And with a similarly changing menu there's entirely vegan Cafe Van Gogh in Brixton — expect winter classics like soups, stews and stuffed squash, with a not-for-profit remit that ploughs all the revenue back into their community projects.
See also: London's best vegan and vegetarian fish and chips
Vegan junk food: for starting the year like you mean to go on
Proving that veganism doesn't have to mean a life of self-abnegation and cold salads, London has enough brilliant plant-based burgers, Kentucky fried seitan and vegan chilli-loaded fries to keep you elbow-deep in plant-based decadence every day of Veganuary.
Biff's (various locations across London and beyond, and available on Deliveroo) and Rudy's Dirty Vegan Diner in Camden and Islington (delivery available) are dishing up vegan Americana by the huge, fake cheese-heavy plateful — or order a DIY kit to create your own Rudy's experience at home.
When it comes to burgers, you can roam freely around the 100% vegan menus at Karamel in Wood Green, Mooshies in Brick Lane (and currently in a collab with Hard Rock Cafe Oxford Street) and Temple of Seitan (Camden, Hackney, Brixton, King's Cross). Likewise The Vurger Co in Shoreditch, Canary Wharf and Brighton, where they've nailed the often-tricky vegan brioche. North London's Ready Burger is worth a mention too — its menu items are packaged suspiciously similarly to a certain fast food chain, and the prices are happily similar too — but the entire menu is 100% plant-based.
See also: London's best vegan desserts
Vegan lunch spots: for something plant-based and portable
Street food's your friend here. And few places in London have a better collection — or higher concentration — of vegan street food traders than Greenwich Market. Among them the cakes and savoury pastries at Vegan Garden London, more vegan burgers via Veganauti, and Mediterranean-rooted quiches and tarts from the Arapina stall.
Vegan pub food: for after-work bites and Sunday roasts
It's thankfully getting easier to find a decent vegan option on your average London pub menu. But some pubs are taking it next level, with feature-length vegan menus or sometimes completely vegan kitchens. As you'd expect from pubs, they're all turning out substantial bar snacks for soaking up after-work boozing — and taking Sunday lunch seriously.
The Full Nelson in Deptford has an entirely vegan kitchen, and it's a favourite with punters for plant-based takes on poutine, and chilli cheese fries, and a decent selection of 'chick'n' and 'beef' burgers.
The Spread Eagle in Homerton claims to be London's first 100% vegan pub. After past takeovers by the likes of Club Mexicana, they've now taken the food in-house, focusing on minimal waste and local produce, while churning out dishes such as nut roast, beet wellington and sticky toffee pudding.
Vegan pizza: daily, nightly, ever-so-rightly
Pizzerias are usually a great bet for impromptu vegan pitstops. Cheeseless menu standards like the marinara will be on offer (and brilliantly done) at any decent pizza joint: reliable favourites include Theo's (Camberwell, Elephant and Castle), Pizza Pilgrims (branches across London) and L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele.
But for those days when you want to go to a pizza joint and just stab your finger at the menu, knowing everything you land on will be vegan? London has a handful of great pizzerias shoving 100% plant-based offerings into their woodfired ovens. Purezza in Camden is a regular favourite with vegans. We've heard good things about the Young Vegans Pizzeria in Bethnal Green (advance booking highly recommended), and did you know about the entirely vegan Pizza Express branch now open on Aldywch, right near Somerset House? It opened in late summer 2021, and serves plant-based versions of the chain's favourite dishes.
Special occasions: for when you need to push the plant-based boat out
If a birthday, anniversary or big promotion comes along during Veganuary, you're still covered. London's special occasion options for vegans range from elaborate tasting menus to informal, candlelit spots.
Tendril's residency in Soho runs till February, and it's one of the best value tasting menus in London imo — the fact that it's vegan feels like a sidebar, because we don't know any meateaters (and we're among them) who don't fall for it just as hard as herbivores do.
The tasting menu at Gauthier Soho is a vegan treat, though it's closed until 18 January 2022, which rules it out as an option for a lot of Veganuary — sister restaurant 123V at Fenwick of Bond Street is open throughout, with a far more casual vibe.
Mid-range options include long-serving darling of London's plant-based dining scene, The Gate, throwing as much artistry at their vegan menu as at their standard, all-vegetarian offering. And all-vegan deli and restaurant Manna in Camden has a neighbourhood restaurant vibe, but attracts punters from across London with its British-Med-Asian mash-up menu.
Mexican restaurants and taco joints are usually a great bet for plant-based dining, but Mestizo in King's Cross goes next level with a vegan menu — and caters smoothly for other dietary restrictions like nut-free and lactose intolerant.