The Best Places To Eat With A Vegetarian When You Aren’t One

16 restaurants without a portobello mushroom in sight.
The Best Places To Eat With A Vegetarian When You Aren’t One image

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

If Food, Inc. is a documentary that’s meant to make you reconsider eating meat, then a portobello mushroom option on a menu makes you do the opposite. Thankfully, London restaurants have come a long way since those limp days and most restaurants cater to a vegetarian diet as much as anything else. That said, if you’ve got a mix of taste buds around the table, you want a consistent and delicious mix of options. Which is exactly what all the spots on this guide offer—these are the best restaurants for vegetarians when you aren’t one.

Heads up, some of these spots also cater for vegans but if you’re looking for places that just serve vegan or vegetarian food, we have guides for that too.


photo credit: Koray Firat

Modern European

Notting Hill

$$$$Perfect For:BirthdaysCatching Up With MatesDate NightVegetariansPrivate Dining
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Gold is a huge three-storey pub and restaurant in Notting Hill that’s far more glossy than your average boozer. We’re talking plush, tan banquette seating, arty murals, foliage, exposed brick, and an open-roof conservatory that is basically the Garden of Eden if Marie Kondo gave it a good tidy up. It’s also a people-pleaser, with a menu that includes things like roasted sweet potatoes with chimichurri, braised short rib agnolotti, as well as a feta, grape, and shallot salad. There’s Amalfi lemon tart for pudding too.

Dalston is a pretty useful area when it comes to restaurants that will please all hungry people. There are a tonne of brilliant Turkish options, a few Ethiopian spots, and there’s also Oren, a Greek and Israeli-influenced small plates restaurant doing all manner of delicious vegetables, fish, and meat straight from its charcoal grill. Be it an understated tomato salad, marinated artichokes with oregano and top-notch olive oil, or a velvety hummus—this place does the simple things very well. Come on a date. Come with friends. Come and order the grilled sweetbreads, if you’re allowed to.

Having a mouthful of this and a handful of that at Zeret Kitchen is always a good time. Whether you’ve got a meaty platter of injera, misir wot, and lamb tibs, or a vegan platter of shuro wot, azifa, salad, and more, there is nothing about this brilliant Ethiopian spot in Camberwell that won’t please your table. There’s a constant vinegar-y hum from the injera, deep spicing and smokiness from the stews, and handfuls of salad to cut through the lot. As far as communal eating goes in London, Zeret Kitchen is second to none.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



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Yes, we're very into the lamb chops at Fatt Pundit. But the best thing about this Indo-Chinese, Covent Garden spot is the fact that the vegetarian dishes are sometimes even better than the rest of the menu. Think deep-fried spinach leaves covered in a sweet yoghurt, date, and plum sauce, and pomegranate seeds. A refreshing vegetarian dish with the fun factor of popping candy. The spicy vegetable fritters are so addictive they’ll get snatched up as soon as they hit the table. You’ll bring your friend here so that you can eat lamb chops and end up stealing half of their food, because it’s just that good.

Lahpet already have their original restaurant in Shoreditch, but in our opinion their Covent Garden spot is bigger, better, and importantly, tastier. Downstairs you’ve got a buzzing open kitchen and big sharing tables that are perfect for anyone who’s on a solo mission to eat some excellent noodle soup. Upstairs, the lighting is a little moodier and there are lots of two-person tables that will suit a date night involving sweetcorn and shallot fritters, several small plates, and a round of their pickled tea take on a classic martini. Expect great vegan options, gluten-free numbers, and enough ginger to shock you out of your urban blues.

Sohaila, a Lebanese-influenced wine bar and restaurant, is good for many reasons. First and foremost because it’s run by Fat Macy’s, a social enterprise that trains Londoners to help them move from hostels into their own homes. Secondly, because it’s the kind of inconspicuous, quietly lovely restaurant that isn’t particularly common in Shoreditch these days. The restaurant makes for an intimate dinner space, ideal for sharing chewy flatbread with chilli butter-laden labneh, plates of mushroom kebabs, and some sneaky meatball ravioli.

It’s inevitable that there will be a meal in the future that Mangal II will be spot on for. It’s also inevitable that their delicate handmade mushroom manti dumplings with sweet preserved tomato and yoghurt will be fought over, by non-meat and meat eaters alike. But that’s a good thing, right? The fact of the matter is that this modern Turkish restaurant in Dalston is very good. Very good for dates with someone who runs a 10k daily and considers making their own granola fun. Or just as good with all your family who want to see at least three herbivores on their plate.

Your pal is always telling you horror stories of fake sausages that taste like something a showbiz dietitian would force on Beethoven the St Bernard in the midst of a comeback. Take them to Mr. Bao in Peckham, where the shiitake mushroom bao is not only the best thing on the menu, but the kind of fluffy, teriyaki-packed bun we’ll travel across London for. On top of excellent veggie bao, this proper little charmer of a restaurant has rustic wooden tables, holiday-feel tiling, and everything from fried chicken with miso mayo to plum wine negronis on the menu. It’s an especially good shout if you’re rolling with someone who’s vegan, as they’ve got a whole separate menu available. 

Much like Billie Eilish’s career and the return of scrunchies, Padella’s popularity really shows no sign of slowing down. But it’s good reason that you’ll pretty much always find a long queue outside of this London Bridge spot. Their handmade pasta is top-notch, and conveniently the two best pastas here are the eight-hour beef shin ragu pappardelle and the very much meat-free cacio e pepe. There are also cheesy raviolis and plenty of vegetarian starters to choose from. Just be sure to let them know that you won’t want any parmesan on your pasta. 

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

This spot is Permanently Closed.

Look, we’ll be honest. It’s pretty hard to do proper fine dining in London without having to Google ‘Seabuckthorn?’ and ‘breeds of British pigeon’, to be sure booking that special occasion spot won’t end in tears for your beloved vegetarian. But Mere in Fitzrovia is different, because as well as their classic tasting menu, they also have a vegetarian tasting menu—and ding, ding, ding, it’s also cheaper. They can do equally magical things to an aubergine and a great cut of Herdwick lamb, and the setting is quiet but perfect for a grown-up anniversary or dinner with your parents. 

You’re totally fine living meat-free to support your partner. Sure, sometimes you secretly run down to your local chicken shop at 2am like a Colonel-possessed werewolf, but mostly you’re, you know, absolutely fine. But when you’re not, there’s Master Wei. Our favourite dish at this casual Xi’anese spot in Bloomsbury is the traditional cold liangpi noodles, that come packed full of soft tofu and covered in a chilli oil that we’re addicted to in a very not-casual way. But if that craving for some meat hits, get involved in the spicy beef biang biang noodles. Either way, you’re set for an excellent and affordable meal for two. 

They’re helping to save the planet while committing to never eating a kebab after their fourth pint, and you’re the dickhead who took them to a steakhouse called The Sad Moos last time you met up. Offer an apology in the form of dinner at Rovi. This Fitzrovia spot is the best of the Ottolenghi restaurants—a chef who should probably be awarded some kind of gold plated vegetable for how he can turn celeriac into one of the best things we’ve ever eaten. From beef carpaccio to onglet skewers, there’s always some meaty things on the menu, but really you want to get involved in everything else.

There are vegetarian options all over the menu at Noodle & Beer, including a couple of favourite things to eat at the Chongqing noodle and Sichuan spot in Spitalfields. You’ll find said things in the small eats section of the menu. Firstly, the tian-shui mian (udon noodles in a sweet, spicy, sesame sauce) and also the lang-ya tu dou (chips). Obviously these aren’t just any chips, they’re brilliantly spicy stir-fried chips. There are noodle soups, dried noodles, and other bits too. The hong-tang ciba (stick rice cakes) are an excellent way to finish.

If you aren’t a vegetarian and someone tries to sell you on Eat Vietnam, you might be a little sceptical. It’s a Vietnamese grill restaurant in Deptford, where the whole sea bream, marinated quail, and tender pork kebabs coming off the grill are, quite simply, sensational. And that all sounds great, if that’s what you eat. But even if meat and fish aren’t your thing, Eat Vietnam is excellent. There’s bánh xèo chay (crispy Vietnamese pancakes with tofu and mushrooms), bánh cuốn nhân chay (soft rice batter rolls filled with taro, mung beans, and wood ear mushrooms), and of course, phở, bún, and a whole lot more.

Much like having a neighbour who fosters extra fluffy puppies or a post office that always has short lines, you absolutely want Pophams to be in your neighbourhood. And if it isn’t, the Marmite pastry and sea salt twist will make you more than willing to pretend you do. By day this industrial but comfortable bakery is all about Ozone coffee and some of London’s best pastries. By night, expect a short list of very decent pastas, the better of which tend to be their vegetarian options. Keep this place in mind for breakfast, brunch, or lunch with a vegetarian. For every bacon and maple syrup danish, there’s a passion fruit and mango custard croissant that you should absolutely get involved in. 

Think of Hunan as your own personal magic genie of a restaurant. There isn’t a menu at this classic Chelsea spot, they just ask your wishes—or, you know, preferences—then make you a casual 12 courses of excellent Chinese food. Simple. As well as being able to ask for vegetarian or vegan options, you can also choose your own spice limits and let them know anything you definitely don’t want on your plate, in case you have a vendetta against lettuce or something. The restaurant itself is a little plain and dinner will set you back £90-ish per person (lunch is less), but it’s completely worth it for a special occasion meal that suits everyone. Or just to eat a spinach and sesame roll that comes with one of the most chuggable meat-free sauces in this city. Magic lamp, eat your heart out. 

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Suggested Reading

A group of vegan dishes including mushroom skewers and tiramisu at Tendril in Mayfair.

The 19 Best Vegan Restaurants In London

Our favourite restaurants serving vegan food in London.

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Our favourite places to get a good sit-down meal for around £10-£15.


Where to eat when you want more options than a side order of salad. These are the best vegetarian restaurants and best vegetarian-friendly restaurants in London.

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