A few years ago, vegetarians barely got a look-in on the restaurant scene in London, or anywhere else for that matter. Happily that’s changing, with plenty of great restaurants offering a strong array of delicious meat-free dishes, as well as a gradual rise in the number of all-vegetarian restaurants to choose from.
So, whether you’re a full-time meat denouncer, or just somebody who fancies a rich veggie curry form time-to-time, we have 22 vegatarian dishes you have to try.
From vegan laksa to sweet potato taquitos, there’s a little bit of everything on offer for our plant-loving pals at these vegetarian restaurants (or veggie-friendly places, where not wholly vegetarian).
1. Berber & Q: Cauliflower shawarma
Why: Healthy and hearty, this stand-out dish has become pretty popular since Berber & Q introduced it to its menu – and for good reason. A whole roasted cauliflower is given the star treatment with a shawarma-spiced butter, tahini sauce, pomegranate molasses, dried rose petals, pine nuts and parsley.
Where: 46 Exmouth Market London, EC1R 4QE
2. Smoke & Salt: New potatoes with chimichurri and gorgonzola
Why: Smoke & Salt pay as much attention to their treatment of vegetables as they do meat, which leads to beautiful cooking. Although their menu changes with the season they always have incredible little plates of veg on offer. A recent favourite of ours has been the new potatoes which were served up with a fragrant chimichurri sauce and rich, creamy gorgonzola.
Where: 49 Brixton Station Road, London SW9 8PQ
Why: Sweet, sticky, and savoury all at once, this bao filling is everything you want it to be. Enjoy the aubergine in one of Flesh & Buns’ signature fluffy bao and we guarantee you’ll be pretty close to heaven.
Where: 41 Earlham St, London WC2H 9LX; 32 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3LR
4. Padella: Cacio e pepe pasta
Why: There’s a reason people queue round the block for the pasta at Padella, and their Pici Cacio & Pepe is that reason. It cemented cult-status pretty early on thanks to the perfect, but simple, combination of cheese, butter and pepper tossed through handmade rough, and slightly chewy pasta shapes.
Where: 6 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TQ
Why: This is a vegan burger on steroids. The patty is made from Beyond Meat, which is flavoursome and juicy, and toppings include smoky vegan cheese, chipotle vegan mayo, mustard, red onions, pickles and lettuce.
Where: Various locations across London, as well as a recent opening in Manchester
6. Hoppers: Kothu roti
Why: This comfort food classic is made from chopped up roti bread mixed through with vegetables. Hoppers get the spicing for the dish just right, with it not being too hot or too mild, and the zingy garnishes ensure each mouthful feels exciting. Definitely not one to be missed.
Where: 49 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4SG; 77 Wigmore St, Marylebone, London W1U 1QE
7. Kricket: Samphire pakora
Why: The genius team at Kricket have combined two of our favourite things: Veg and batter. Adding a crunchy coating to salty samphire makes it become beautifully savoury, and the texture is completely moreish. We think this makes the perfect bar snack, so even if you’re just popping in for drinks don’t miss out on this treat.
Where: 12 Denman St, Soho, London W1D 7HH; 41-43 Atlantic Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8JL
8. Sambal Shiok: Vegan laksa
Why: Somehow Sambal Shiok manage to keep the rich, umami flavour of a classic laksa stock without adding prawns or fish sauce, it’s really quite a mystery. But a good one. Green beans, soft aubergine and springy tofu pieces complete the picture for a bowl of goodness we’d happily slurp our way through any day of the week.
Where: 171 Holloway Rd, London N7 8LX
9. Homeslice: Mushroom pizza
Why: This isn’t just any mushroom pizza, this is a mushroom pizza with added pizazz. Everything is topped off nicely with ricotta, pumpkin seeds, chilli, and garlic oil for a lip-smacking treat that you won’t want to share with the table. So make sure to order your own.
Where: Various locations across London
10. Mildreds: Tandoori tikka
Why: Why settle for one thing on your plate when you can have six? The mock chicken tandoori at Mildreds is smothered in a flavoursome tikka marinade and comes with lots of delicious sides, a little like a thali plate. Expect a rich black dahl, refreshing raita, homemade mango chutney and a delicious nigella seed-topped salad, as well as the main event.
Where: 45 Lexington St, Soho, London W1F 9AN; 9 Jamestown Rd, Camden Town, London NW1 7BW; 200 Pentonville Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9JP; Thomas Tower, 1 Dalston Square, Dalston Lane, London E8 3GU
11. Spice Box: Cashew and coconut chicken’ korma
Why: This vegan curry house started as a street food stall, and with the opening of their first permanent site in January 2019 their popularity only continues to grow. Their creamy ‘chicken’ curry is made rich with cashew nuts and coconut milk and packed with seasonal veg for a really moreish, comfort food feed.
Where: 58 Hoe St, Walthamstow, E17 4PG
12. Wahaca: Sweet potato and feta taquito
Why: Soft, sweet potato combined with salty feta makes up the filling for these tasty taquitos, which are then deep fried for that signature crunch. As with lots of Mexican foods it’s the little extras that make these incredibly tasty. Alongside the main event you can expect caramelised onions, salsa and smoky chipotle mayo.
Where: Various locations across London
13. Bonningon Café: The entire menu
Why: Bonnington Café is a community-run vegetarian café in Vauxhall. With a rota of local cooks on duty no two days are ever the same, but you’ll always find a selection of tempting vegetarian and vegan dishes on offer. Prices are really affordable, at £9 for a main, and it’s BYOB too.
Where: 11 Vauxhall Grove, Vauxhall, London SW8 1TD
Why: There’s no need to skip a hearty start to the day if you’re not eating meat. Stem and Glory’s vegan English breakfast is packed with incredible substitutes for your usual eggs and bacon – think scrambled tofu, tempeh bacon, mushrooms, spinach, avocado, beans and sourdough. Plus, everything is beautifully presented for added bonus points.
Where: 60 Bartholomew Close (Barts Square), City of London EC1A 7BF
Why: The smoky marinade on this burger, mixed with the strangely meaty texture of jackfruit nearly tricks you into thinking this is actual pulled pork. Served up with coleslaw and sweet potato fries this dish is pleasingly predictable, giving you that nostalgic burger and chips hit with a healthy twist.
Where: 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ
16. Club Mexicana at The Spread Eagle: To-fish tacos
Why: This dish, somehow, is more than just the sum of its parts (which are already pretty great). When they come together the beer battered ‘tofish’, pickled cabbage, sour cream, salsa verde and pickled chillies play off each other for zingy mouthfuls. We’d suggest you might want to order a double portion.
Where: 19 Great Eastern St, Hackney, London EC2A 3EJ
Why: A vegan pizza can sometimes feel like it’s just a regular pizza with the cheese removed. Not in the case of the Queen Vegan. Any absence of cheese is overlooked when faced with luxurious toppings like artichoke hearts, sun-blush tomatoes and green olives scattered onto a rich tomato base. Everything is topped off with red onions and a herby green sauce, for flavour-packed mouthfuls.
Where: 95 kingsland high street, London, E8 2PB; units 1-3, boxpark, 2 bethnal green rd, London, E1 6GY; 285 rye lane, london, SE15 4UA
18. The Gate: Aubergine schnitzel
Why: The crunch is critical for a good schnitzel, is it not? This version is crisp and golden, giving the perfect texture. Inside the breadcrumb coating you’ll find meltingly soft grilled aubergine layers with smoked cheddar, basil pesto, roasted peppers and tomato. Sweet cuts through savoury with the use of these ingredients for a harmonious dish.
Where: 22-24 Seymour Pl, Marylebone, London W1H 7NL; 370 St John St, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4NN; 51 Queen Caroline St, Hammersmith, London W6 9QL; 87 Allitsen Rd, St John's Wood, London NW8 7AS
19. Temple of seitan: Temple Deluxe burger
Why: This is a properly dirty burger, with vegan burger sauce, cheese and bacon all piled on top of the Seitan patty. The sauce is creamy and tangy all at once to cut through the richness of the mock cheese and bacon, and with added lettuce and pickles everything has a pleasing crunch. We’re sold.
Where: 10 Morning Ln, London E9 6NA
20. Rosa’s Thai: Butternut and cashew stir-fry
Why: If you’ve recently converted to being veggie you might be missing some classic meaty meals. Rosa’s Thai have taken their famous chicken and cashew stir-fry and replaced the chicken with butternut squash to make it suitable for everyone. This sweet and savoury stir-fry is topped with crunchy cashews and chillies for a really fresh, zingy finish.
Where: Various locations across London, as well as one restaurant in Leeds
21. Nopi: Chickpea pancakes
Why: Nopi is well-known for being a purveyor of plant-based cooking, and one of the mains that regularly graces its ever-changing menu is this chickpea pancake dish. The pancake is generously spiced and savoury, and topped with fresh tomatoes, pickled chillies and yuzu for that sharp and salty hit that makes for such a satisfying plate of food.
Where: 21-22 Warwick St, Soho, London W1B 5NE
22. Farmacy: Farmacy Benedict
Why: Is there a more luxurious way to start the day than with an indulgent Benedict? Despite its rich flavour this version will make you feel saintly with its toasted seed muffin, marinated Portobello mushroom topping, seasonal greens, guacamole and Farmacy hollandaise. That’s a serious five-a-day contribution.
Where: 74-76 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5SH
Looking for something a little more saintly? Discover our pick of the best vegan food in London