Veganism is no longer a rarity among London diners, with many people in the capital making the decision to ditch animal-based products either full- or part-time. People decide to go vegan for a variety of reasons, which may include an attempt to lessen their carbon footprint and help to save the environment, because they are morally opposed to the use and slaughter of animals for the benefit of human beings, or simply because they want to try and live a healthier, more natural lifestyle.
Whatever reason people have for switching to a vegan diet, there is no denying that veganism has been on the rise in recent years. Although there are far more vegan restaurants in London now than there were a few years ago, finding a suitable restaurant can still be tricky and if you follow a plant-based diet, it can be particularly difficult to find restaurants in central London that cater to your needs.
While it is true full-blown vegan restaurants are prominent in certain trendier areas of London, such as Shoreditch and Hackney, it can seem at first glance that there are far fewer options for plant-based diners in central London. If you dive a little deeper into Soho’s bustling restaurant scene though, you will find that there are a handful of top-notch restaurants dedicated exclusively to animal-free cuisine, and there are also an array of wonderful dining rooms offering exciting and delicious vegan options, which means you can bring along your non-vegan friends or fussy eaters and not have to worry about what is on your plate.
Read on to discover our pick of the best vegan restaurants in Soho, as well as vegan-friendly places in the area. Our options range from high-end fine dining to indulgent comfort food joints, so there should be something for everyone.
Vegan restaurants in Soho
Find yourself hungry in Soho? Plant-based diners are well catered for at these dedicated vegan restaurants in Soho. Check them out below
Why: Who says vegan food has to be casual? At this French fine-dining spot, head chef Alexis Gauthier has been vegan since 2016, after protesters outside his restaurant demanded he stopped serving the controversial foie gras. Since then, he has overhauled his menu accordingly, but without compromising on flavour, authenticity or style. Guests at Gauthier Soho can dine from a vegan tasting menu, trying dishes such as wild mushroom tortellini and saffron-roasted butternut squash with a plantain crumble. The dining room looks like someone’s moneyed front room, crammed with white-clothed tables.
Where: 21 Romilly Street, W1D 5AF
Why: If you’re seeking out comfort food, Leggero is the place to be. The restaurant’s USP is its 100% gluten-free Italian menu, which is also suitable for vegans and veggies alike, as well as being allergy-friendly. Pasta is famously gluten-heavy, but the team at Leggero has found a way (it won’t reveal its secret) to make the pasta taste just as good as the original using no gluten at all. Indulgent dishes to choose from include tagliatelle with mushroom and truffle oil, and courgette rolls stuffed with tomato breadcrumbs and vegan parmesan. Weekend brunch is available too.
Where: 64 Old Compton Street, W1D 4UQ
Why: Mildreds has been a Soho fixture for nearly three decades, with its inventive globetrotting vegan and vegetarian menu, which even tempts omnivores through its doors. There’s a lot to love at this place, which now also has branches in King’s Cross, Camden and Dalston. The super friendly staff can help you navigate your way through a menu that features dishes such as smoked tofu with white bean ‘sausages’, accompanied by mash, and gravy. The delicious and rich mushroom and ale pie topped with crisp pastry is also a solid winner. More creative dishes that don’t try to replicate the originals include mango, brie and jalapeño quesadilla with avocado and sweetcorn salsa. Vegan wines complete the line-up.
Where: 45 Lexington Street, W1F 9AN
Soho restaurants with vegan menu options
Not every restaurant in Soho has turned its entire menu into a plant-based one, but more and more Soho restaurants are taking their vegan offering increasingly seriously. Here are some of the best Soho vegan menus and vegan options you can find in restaurants
Why: The queues outside Dishoom Carnaby don’t seem to end, with hungry Londoners constantly craving the Indian comfort food. Vegans can join the queue now with Dishoom's plant-based menu spanning breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Vegan Bombay is a plant-based take on the full English, for instance, whereas the Chole Puri chickpea curry is a treat. Friendly staff are also on hand to help out with answering questions about making standard-menu dishes into vegan ones, if preferable. The interiors are similar to the other Dishoom branches – colourful and with a kitsch, 1960’s Bombay nostalgic feel and the atmosphere is suitably buzzy. Cocktails are another forte, so ideal for a party – go in a group of six or more to be able to book a table.
Where: 22 Kingly Street, W1B 5QB
Maison Du Mezze Leicester Square
Why: Lebanese food lends itself nicely to plant-based cooking and the vegan menu at Maison Du Mezze Leicester Square features both a hot and cold mezze menu bursting with hummus, labneh, tabbouleh, falafel and vegetable moussaka. We would make it a priority to try the Bamia Bil Zait – okra cooked with tomatoes, garlic, coriander and olive oil – and the Spinach Fatayer - Lebanese pastry boats, filled with spinach, cinnamon, onions, pine nuts and lemon juice. The Middle Eastern charm and hospitality is evident across the two floors, which are decorated with Arabian carpets and intriguing artworks. There’s even an outside area for warmer nights, with views over Leicester Square.
Where: 14 Leicester Square, WC2H 7NG
Why: We have found that the vegan offering at Ugly Dumpling is one of the better ones of the non-vegan restaurants in Soho. Its vegan dumpling platter, which comes out on colourful plates, features eight pieces for £11, for instance. There are several plant-based options on the rest of the menu, too, including tempura aubergine with golden syrup and peanuts and ‘ugly’ noodles with seasonal vegetables. The two-floor restaurant is elbow-rubbingly small, but decorated simply, so if you don’t mind intimate, you’ll be alright. The food at this place is ideal for sharing, so bring a group (vegans and omnivores alike) and head down.
Where: 1 Newburgh Street, W1F 7RB
Old Compton Brasserie
Why: Turning out classic European dishes, Old Compton Brasserie has several vegan dishes on its menu. The PB Burger looks intriguing with its Moving Mountain patty, shiitake bacon, vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, gherkin and avocado mayo with fries, but we also like the sound of the Belgian chocolate truffle cake with mango sorbet. Burnt orange chairs and atmospheric lighting help cosy-up this industrial-looking place.
Where: 36-38 Old Compton Street, W1D 4TT
The Real Greek Soho
Why: The dedicated vegan menu at The Real Greek Soho is extensive and exciting, spanning both hot and cold mezze. Using well-loved Greek ingredients in new and innovative ways to ensure the plant-based option is just as good as the standard one, you can expect to find treats at The Real Greek such as jackfruit stifado (slow-cooked with button mushrooms, shallots and aniseed), and Santorini fava (yellow lentils cooked with herbs and spices and topped with Santorini capers). Trust us, you’ll be transported to a Greek holiday island in no time.
Where: 50 Berwick Street, W1F 8SJ
Why: We know what you’re thinking - Dirty Bones, a temple of meat, grease and US-style diner food with a handful of sites around London, is surely a no-go for vegan diners? Well, think again because on the menu here you can find a decadent vegan burger that will satiate any comfort food cravings. The Vegan Classic sees a plant-based patty topped with vegan cheese, red onion, gherkin and vegan mayonnaise on a soft seeded bun. Sounds dreamy to us.
Where: 14 Denman Street, W1D 7HJ
What: Budget-friendly Banana Tree has long been a favourite on Londoners’ ‘cheap eats’ lists and plant-based diners will be glad to know that the restaurant offers a dedicated vegan menu. Dishes to try from the Thai-leaning menu include crispy vegan gyoza with a sweet chilli dip, a sweet and sour stir fry that swaps out meat for pineapple chunks, and tamarind spicy aubergine pepped up with chunks of spiced tofu.
Where: 103 Wardour Street, W1F 0UQ
What: We’d be pretty confident in betting that when you think of American-style diners, vegan cuisine is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind. Forget about your preconceptions though, because The Diner delivers beyond expectations and has helped to make vegan fast food a reality, thanks to its array of plant-based dishes; think vegan takes on a classic hotdog, a stacked burger and an even a vegan version of cheese-topped fries. Wash it all down with a dairy -free vegan shake.
Where: 18 Ganton Street, W1F 7BU
What: Indian restaurants are well known for offering great vegetarian and vegan options and Kricket is no different. While heat-seeking vegans won’t find the kind of dishes that will blow your head off here (spices appear to have been tempered for Western palates), there are a handful of delicious vegan options to enjoy - think the likes of samphire pakoras slicked with date and tamarind chutney and a chilli garlic mayonnaise.
Where: 12 Denman Street, W1D 7HH
Need to expand you reach? Browse through our list of the best vegan food in London