Being vegetarian in London is a breeze
London is no stranger to vegetarianism. Once named the world’s most vegetarian-friendly city by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), London’s vegetarian restaurant scene remains on the cutting edge in 2018.
Though the diet’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, vegetarianism is nothing new in the United Kingdom. Founded in Ramsgate in 1847, the Vegetarian Society led the charge with its commitment to ethical living, questioning societal norms in a time when the concept of animal rights was much less widespread. A little less than a century later, 23 passionate activists founded the world’s first Vegan Society in Birmingham, quickly spreading their message across the UK and further afield.
This way of life didn’t take long to take off in London vibrant food scene. With the city’s large Indian community, it was – and is – easy to find restaurants that cater to vegetarian tastes (Indian cuisine is renowned for being vegetarian-friendly). But Indian restaurants are just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, London’s vegetarian restaurants serve cuisines from across the globe, whether it’s South Indian, French, American or anything else in between.
The vegetarian restaurants in London have come a long, long way since 1847 – so, we just can’t wait for you to taste what’s in store. Take a look at our nine favourites below and take on Meatless Monday the right way.
Mayfair and Bankside
If you’re a vegetarian, you’ve almost certainly heard of tibits. And no, that’s not a typo – tibits doesn’t capitalise its name because it’s just that cool.
With two locations in London (and several more in Switzerland) including one on Mayfair’s Heddon Street and another in Southwark, this restaurant has taken the London food scene by storm, attracting vegetarians and omnivores alike.
You can look forward to fully vegetarian breakfast, lunch and dinner options at both of the tibits locations. The restaurants also feature separate vegan menus for those following a fully plant-based diet. tibits’ offerings change seasonally, so look forward to new dishes every few months. Whether you go for one of their famous bowls, a vegetarian pie or a handmade veggie burger, you’re certain to leave with a smile on your face.
Now here’s a restaurant with a setting that’s as artsy as the food it serves. This Brixton restaurant is focused on more than vegetarian cuisine – it’s committed to serving food that’s healthy, all natural and simply unique.
If you’re skeptical about eating healthy food, KataKata will turn everything you think you know on its head. We’re not exaggerating here. KataKata even made it into a New York Times article and has been name-dropped by numerous famous food blogs. This colourful, relaxed cafe rejuvenates diners with fresh juices, smoothies and clean food that leaves you feeling fulfilled afterward.
KataKata is famous for its crepes, so don’t miss out on one of the sweet or savoury varieties on the menu. There are options for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free diners alike. It’s simply a must-visit for any London vegetarian.
3. Old School Vegetarian
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Perhaps the name says it all. At Old School Vegetarian, they keep it real. Really real. So real, in fact, that at times you’ll even feel like you’re eating actual meat. But if meat look-alikes and taste-alikes aren’t your cups of tea, no worries. Old School Vegetarian’s menu is brimming with dishes that are made using whole foods like vegetables, grains, rice and seeds too.
If you have a hankering for burgers but still want to keep it cruelty-free, order one of Old School Vegetarian Restaurant’s takes on the American classic – believe it or not, the Quarter Pounder tastes just like the burger from that one fast food restaurant… And if you really want to splurge, order a chocolate and peanut butter milkshake (make it vegan, too!)
4. The Gate
Hammersmith, Islington and Marylebone
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One big name in the vegetarian dining scene is The Gate. Since 1989, this restaurant has become synonymous with superb vegetarian cooking that’s dished out in three locations across London (in Islington, Hammersmith and Marylebone).
In all of The Gate’s locations, you’ll find sleek, modern furnishings and a atmosphere that straddles the line between upscale and relaxed. Each location has its own special vibe to offer, but the ethos remain the same.
Whether you order the aubergine schnitzel, tacos with red mole sauce or the fresh broccoli and almond salad, you’ll be met with some of the boldest flavours to come out of London’s vegetarian restaurants. Be sure to try one of The Gate’s banquets to get the most out of your experience.
5. Manna Vegan Restaurant
Manna in Primrose Hill is known for being one of the oldest gourmet vegetarian restaurants in Europe, so it’s no wonder they made it to our list. With over 50 years under its belt, this restaurant is a legend around the world and it’s a must-visit restaurant for veggie tourists travelling to London.
This is the type of place that’s perfect for special occasions, whether it’s an anniversary dinner, first date or birthday celebration. Manna Vegan Restaurant also has a location way across the pond in sunny Los Angeles and there it is well known for its upscale vegan dishes that are perfect for sharing.
Next time you want to celebrate a special occasion in your life, put Manna Vegan Restaurant at the top of your list.
6. Crispy Dosa Restaurant – Greenford
Crispy Dosa Restaurant is one of those local spots where you always know what you’re going to get: fresh, hot dosas and some of the best vegetarian Indian cuisine in town. The dining space is casual and simple, and we like it because it allows us to dive fully into our dining experience without any distractions.
Believe us, you’ll want to mindfully savour your food here. Chew slowly and savour every single bite – become fully engrossed, if only for a moment. The dosas feature fillings like grated cheese, classic potato masala and onion, and kids can even get on board with one made with cheese and sweet corn.
If you’re not in the mood for a dosa (although we don’t know if that’s even possible), order one of the vegetarian curries or a snack platter to share.
Maloko is a Camberwell creperie that we can’t get off of our minds. This casual spot is ideal for a sit-down meal or even for grabbing something quick on the way to work. With a drinks menu packed with coffee, teas, fresh juices, smoothies and other delights, Maloko keeps London vegetarians going.
We love Maloko’s galettes, free-form flat pancakes that resemble crepes in texture and include an array of different fillings. If you want something out of the ordinary, we recommend trying the Jerk Goat – don’t fret, it’s only goat cheese! Packed with mushrooms, butternut squash and goat cheese, this particular galette boasts a flavour profile you don’t want to miss.
As the name suggests, Ethos is serious about what they do. This restaurant does its absolute best to ensure that what the restaurant keeps things sustainable, including reducing waste to an absolute minimum.
The chefs at Ethos make every dish from scratch, never using a microwave or any pre-packaged products or sauces in the ingredients they offer. This Eastcastle Street restaurant does an excellent afternoon tea packed with savoury and sweet light bites and teas. It’s appropriate for vegans and gluten-free diners too, so you can invite the whole gang to this spot.
9. Ram’s Restaurant
Ram’s Restaurant is something of an institution in Kenton. The folks behind this vegetarian Indian restaurant are passionate about serving meat-free cuisine to their diners. This is one of those London vegetarian restaurants that attracts people no matter their dietary preference. Meat lovers and hardcore vegans alike head to this restaurant for some of the best curries in the city.
Ram’s Restaurant serves Indian cuisine from all over the subcontinent, ranging from Punjabi cooking from the northern part of the country to spicy food from the south. Vegans have many possibilities here too, just ask your server what’s on offer.
Ready to take on Meatless Monday?
No matter what your dietary preferences are, London’s vegetarian restaurants are worth checking out. After all, the restaurants here are some of the best in the world. Go with an open mind and explore the exciting world of tempeh, tofu, seitan or just good ol’ fashioned veggies at our picks above. You’ll be glad you gave it a shot.