Long gone are the days when vegans were left to pack their own lunch or stick to a bowl of chips and house salad when heading out for a meal with friends. The plant based world has upped its game in recent years, and offers everything from classic comfort dishes such as loaded cheeseburgers and decadent mac 'n' cheese, to Middle Eastern style salads full of nutritious grains and veg. It’s easier than ever to find the best vegan restaurants in Cardiff, as something that was once deemed a ‘trend’, is now proving it's here for the long run.
Plant based restaurants are now loved by vegans and meat eaters alike, as flavours continue to evolve and the level of skill and components involved often make it hard to distinguish whether it’s even actually vegan or not. More than just meat replacements of seitan sausages and branded meat free burgers, you can also find vegetables cooked in inventive ways like toasted bhaji wraps filled with pickles and chutneys, or colourful buddha bowls loaded with nutritious ingredients.
If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, there’s no need to suffer through the same coconut flavoured bakes drizzled in dark chocolate, as there’s now a vegan alternative to most ingredients that make it almost impossible to differentiate between them and a cake made using animal products. Think indulgent donuts and moreish cookies, to prove that vegans really can have their cake and eat it.
So, to take the hassle out of wading through a menu at restaurants to find one or two dishes that fit within your diet, we’ve narrowed down a list of what we think are the best 100% vegan restaurants in Cardiff, including everything from independent bakeries to delicious Indian restaurants - and even one that practises a pay what you can policy.
What: Anna Loka set the trend for plant based food within the city, as it became the first 100% vegan cafe to open in Cardiff. Now, it’s popular with vegans and meat-eaters alike for its varied menu and relaxed surroundings. Think vegetable and tofu dumplings, seitan patty burgers, and Arabian wraps with beetroot kofta. This is one spot where you’re guaranteed to find your favourite comfort dishes, but without having to worry about any of the guilt.
Where: 114 Albany Road, CF24 3RU
Book now: Anna Loka
What: Atma is a cafe, shop and yoga studio all in one, acting as somewhere that can feed your body and your mind. Environmentally conscious beyond just ingredients, it is also committed to being plastic-free, using only eco-friendly packaging. Expect plates of homemade bhajis, koftas and samosas, as well as toasted bhaji wraps, and curries. Or, for those with a sweeter tooth, there are a selection of vegan cakes and cookies to enjoy.
Where: Queen Street, CF10 2HQ
Book now: Atma Lounge
What: The vision behind Aubergine was to empower autistic people through accessible environments and innovative working practices, as it has been started by a small team of autistic adults. To eat, there is nutritious and affordable plant based food, such as toasties, baguettes, and a hot meal of the day. Not only is this cafe vegan approved, but it’s hosted by one of the friendliest teams in the city.
Where: 26 Clare Street, CF11 6BB
Book now: Aubergine
What: The Moon is a music venue, bar, club and vegan kitchen all rolled into one. You can expect gigs, club nights, fundraisers and workshops, but most of all, you can expect delicious plant based food. Offering an impressive selection of comfort food, you can get dishes such as the Moon Burger, which comes with a beefless burger, bacon, gherkins and onion rings, plus a homemade burger sauce. Or, there is a Sunday roast, with seitan sausages, all the trimmings and plenty of rich gravy.
Where: 3 Womanby Street, CF10 1BR
Book now: The Moon
The Naked Vegan
What: Long gone are the days where vegans had to suffer without delicious desserts, especially for the locals of Cardiff favourite, The Naked Vegan. Each baked good is full of flavour, without any of the compromise. You’ll find everything from doughnuts and cheesecakes to cupcakes and cookies. Plus, if you’ve got a special occasion coming up then The Naked Vegan can even create a bespoke celebration cake for you. Turns out vegans can have their cake and eat it.
Where: St Mary Street, CF10 1AU
Book now: The Naked Vegan
Alex Gooch Bakery
What: Alex Gooch grew up in a family of bakers, and remembers living off toast as a child. Now, that passion has stayed firmly with him as he’s moved on to open his own bakery in the heart of Cardiff. For bread, you can find sourdough, focaccia and cinnamon buns, then pastries see options like fruit squares and the infamous crocs. These are balls of laminated pastry that has either been rolled in cinnamon sugar or has a chocolate centre, and is then finished with icing sugar once baked.
Where: 45 Whitchurch Road, CF14 3JP
Book now: Alex Gooch Bakery
Fancy travelling further afield? Why not check out our guide to the best restaurants in Cornwall?