Being vegan and eating out can be hard. Maybe you ask the waiter if the tomato soup is vegan, he says ‘obviously’, and then it turns up with six dollops of cream. Or maybe for the office dinner someone picks a place with vegan ‘options’, that turns out to be one sad superfood salad with extra lettuce. Because you’re vegan, lettuce is your staple, right? Hemp is your messiah, no? Or maybe, just maybe, you’re sick of leaving early to eat three boxes of oreos after a complete stranger overhears ‘vegan’ and asks you about your iron levels. Again.
That’s why we’ve made this guide. So that you can eat out without having to worry about options, play another game of menu detective, or utter the fateful words, “please can you leave the cheese off that”. Again. Here are the best places to eat in London if you’re vegan.
With an upbeat dining room painted a cheerful pink, Chuku’s in Tottenham has the ability to create loud and proud unforgettable flavours and make it look oh-so easy. And the best part is that these are flavours for everyone: the meat is halal, the gluten-free options are endless, and all of the small plates are vegan. The spot even provides a valiant service for anyone who is hungover or experiencing a brutal dose of the Sunday Scaries with its plantain waffle weekend brunches. So it’s the perfect option if one half of the party is vegan and the other half claims to be “allergic” to vegetables.
Lahpet’s original restaurant is in Shoreditch, but in our opinion its Covent Garden spot is bigger and better. Downstairs, there’s 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 lentil chow chow, several small plates, and a round of Lahpet’s 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.
The reincarnation of tiny vegan Chinese spot Mao Chow, Facing Heaven is just around the corner from the original Hackney location and a little bigger, though you’ll still get cosy with your neighbours. Lip-tingling dishes also remain: plump mock-pork dumplings drenched in kicking chilli flake-infused oil, garlic-heavy, stir-fried chrysanthemum and chunks of tofu-based black pudding, and bouncy cold noodles which have had a XO bath. The red and green lighting, single (fake) roses on tables, and disco ball in the bathroom add to the slightly-chaotic-but-fun charm. Head here for date night, mates night, or just a solo bowl of noodles.
One of our favourite pizza places in London, this Spitalfields spot specialises in super-thick Detroit-style, cheese-crusted, marinara-heavy pizzas. Any of the vegetarian options can be made vegan on request, making it an excellent choice in the area. Hit this place up for the kind of lunch that will have you needing a nap afterwards, or better yet pick up a whole 8x10 inch red stripe pizza (our favourite pick) and take it straight home to eat in bed.
This shiny, slick Turkish restaurant off Carnaby Street focuses on the food of Istanbul, which means the mezze, both hot and cold, is spectacular. Luscious muhammara, sweet with peppers and pomegranate, is made for scooping up with the crisp and warm wood-fired pide. Give us bread and a bucket of this and we're happy. A good portion of the mezze, which is the best part of a meal here anyway, is vegan. So order a selection, get more than enough pide, and try one of the house cocktails while you’re at it.
This all-vegan Chinese spot on Upper Street is heaving seven days a week, as everyone tucks into house-made silken tofu in Sichuan sauce, mock meats like Chongqing chicken, and dim sum like soupy xiao long bao stuffed with tofu and mushroom. And it’s all really, really good. The space is so big that it spills out onto the pavement, much like the sizzling fish-fragrant sauce that will likely fall from your greedy spoonfuls. And considering the scarcity of actually good places to eat on the Angel-end of Upper Street, it’s no wonder this place is as bustling as it is.
Along with misconceptions that being vegan means you’re exceptionally healthy all the time and that 90% of your paycheck goes on Linda McCartney sausages, another is that being vegan means you have to miss out on some of London’s best restaurants. Restaurants exactly like Bubala. Luckily this Spitalfields spot isn’t only serving some of the best all-vegetarian food in London, but it has plenty of vegan options too. This Middle Eastern restaurant looks like the design brief undoubtedly contained the words ‘zen’, ‘foliage’, and ‘more foliage’, and you’re in safe hands no matter what you order—but if you leave without getting the fried aubergine with date syrup you’re doing it wrong.
Mr Bao is basically the David Attenborough of restaurants. If you don’t like it then you’re probably a bit weird, hate puppies, and have an online dating profile that’s full of pictures of you from 10 years ago. OK, that’s a bit harsh, but honestly between the cool and casual interiors and excellent Taiwanese food, it’s pretty much impossible to not like this little Peckham spot. On the vegan menu, you’ll find things like tofu bao, sweet potato chips with a vegan sriracha mayo, and our favourite thing here, the shiitake mushroom bao.
Much like if you watched Good Will Hunting because you’re into fresh game, or were expecting a tale of a Tango Rolex from A Clockwork Orange, sometimes names are misleading. It’s understandable that you might not expect a plant-based chilli dog, one of London’s best vegan burgers, and a bunch of other vegan dishes from a place named Meatliquor, but that’s exactly what you’ll find here. This loud and proud part-diner part-dive bar is just up from Oxford Circus and is open every night until 3am, so whether you need some black bean chilli fries in the midst of shopping, or several rounds of ‘satans fingers’ after several rounds of drinks, this place has got you covered.
Andu Café in Dalston is one of the easiest choices for a vegan meal in London for every good reason imaginable. Firstly, you can only order one thing: a six-dish platter with injera or rice. Secondly it’s as cheap as chips (£7 for one, £12 for two) but with a lot more flavour than chips. And thirdly, it’s BYOB.
Despite the number of extended family members who are deeply concerned that being vegan means that you won’t have enough vitamin B12, what they should actually be worried that you don’t have enough options in restaurants. Luckily, the vegan menu at Fitzrovia’s East Street has everything from Singapore noodles, to a kale and coconut stir-fry, to pad krapow tofu, and importantly, enough options so that you too can spend 45 minutes staring at a menu stuck in indecisive terror. This big spot has a street market look with plenty of neon signs and it’s just as perfect for a solo bowl of yaki udon as it is for a big group meal.
Fitzrovia’s Rovi is all about vegetables. And fire. This Ottolenghi spot does serve meat but there are plenty of vegan options on the menu, excellent cocktails, and a bar we’d happily spend a decade at.
There are five Dishooms in London, all serving up excellent Indian food. And importantly, Indian vegan food too. There’s everything from The Vegan Bombay full breakfast, to small plates like chickpea curry, to vegan lassis, and a whole host of other options. Unless you’re rolling with a group of six or more, dinner at Dishoom operates on a walk-in basis, but the King’s Cross site is often your best bet for beating the queues.
The menu at this Peruvian restaurant in Shoreditch is split into soil, sea, and land, which means that from the moment you sit down you can just direct your eyes to the soil section and know you’re in safe hands. There’s also got a full vegan tasting menu for £45 per person, that involves dishes like mushroom ceviche, caramelised aubergine, and chilli mayo. It’s a casual, cool place that’s perfect for a catch-up with friends over brunch, date night at the bar, or swinging by for a plate of brussels sprouts with wild rice after work.
Mildred’s has been serving vegetarian food since a time when the general public probably thought quinoa was a musical instrument. These days most of the menu is vegan-friendly, and as well as bean burgers there are dishes like tandoori mock chicken, dumplings, and Sri Lankan curry.
Okay, we hear you. Wolves are not generally known for their vegan lifestyle. But, as soon as you get past the name of this casual all-day Chelsea spot, you can appreciate the menu of burgers, pasta, pies, wraps, and importantly, a dairy-free cheesecake. Everything here is vegan and although it isn’t the most atmospheric place on the planet, if you sit upstairs you can have an alright sit-down experience. Otherwise swing by for one of the grab-and-go options at the counter.
Full disclosure: this place only serves two vegan dishes. Which yes, means it probably, technically, shouldn’t be in this guide because otherwise we’re submitting to your uncle’s logic that you can go to a steakhouse because he’s ‘sure the side salad is vegan’. But, crucially, the vegan dishes at Voodoo Ray’s are both pizzas and there will obviously come a time in your life where you’re in east London and need pizza. It’s inevitable. The Queen Vegan is covered in artichoke, green olives, sun blush tomatoes, red onion, and their green sauce. Plus, you can either get it as a whole 12-inch pie, by the slice, or delivered. Lovely.
Stem & Glory is quite a dramatic name for a casual, low-key vegan restaurant in the City, but, having tried the meatballs, we’ll let it get away with some theatrics. It serves things like rainbow bowls, kimchi pancakes, smoothies, blue corn tacos, and a bao burger that’s entirely worth getting jackfruit down your t-shirt for. If you happen to work nearby, its takeaway menu is prime lunch food.
Finding a good vegan pasta dish at a restaurant is like finding a unicorn. A beautiful, parmesan- and butter-free unicorn. Martello Hall in Hackney only has two vegan mains on the menu but one of them is a handmade beetroot gnocchi that’s very decent. There’s also a red chilli Vegan Viking pizza, plenty of distilled spirits and beers to choose from, and the place is open until 3am on Friday and Saturday.