Vegan food, once apparently kept for joss stick-burning, tie dye-wearing folk, has long proved itself as more than just a rehashed millennial fad. So popular is it now that even dedicated meat-eaters are keenly pouring over the courses with the little “V” beside them. Even McDonald’s is getting in on the act.
And so: there’s no shortage of choice for fully vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the capital. The question is no longer “where?” but “which?” and for the past few years, @thisvegancity have been pulling together their favourite finds.
Here, the two hungry vegans behind the guide, Laura Pearson and Emma Ewbank, have narrowed down their tried-and-tested list of the best vegan restaurants in London to their 25 favourites. Tuck in.
Put the Deliveroo app down, get out of your trackies, put on something fancy and get ready for a truly special dining experience at Gauthier Soho. Alexis Gauthier, known for his work on MasterChef and who for years held a Michelin star at his eponymous restaurant, confessed his midlife crisis could have resulted in him purchasing a Harley Davidson but, instead, he decided to go vegan and turn his already successful fine dining restaurant into something fully plant-based. With a 10-course tasting menu, expect to be wowed.
12 Romilly Street, W1, gauthiersoho.co.uk
Stem & Glory
In the heart of the City, with its clean, light, Danish-inspired interior, this restaurant plucks flavours from around the world. Start your journey with the fluffy kimchi pancakes, a Korean favourite, then take a trip to Morocco with a harissa-grilled tofu steak tagine, or opt for the Sri Lankan golden curry, before finishing with an induglent dairy-free affogato.
60 Bartholomew Close, EC1, stemandglory.uk/london
Here’s another hit from the vegan man of the moment, Alexis Gauthier, but one that doesn’t quite pull on the purse strings as much as his fine dining restaurant. This breakfast and lunch cafe and, most excitingly, sushi bar is in the basement and on the terrace of department store of Fenwick’s of Bond Street. It works all kinds of magic with beetroot and carrots, creating remarkably realistic looking tuna and salmon sashimi pieces that also taste the part. If faux-fish is not for you, fear not; there is a bounty of brunch options that are equally delicious.
Lower ground floor, Fenwick of Bond Street, 63 New Bond Street, W1, 123vegan.co.uk
Vegan hero, BLM activist and reasonably fast driver Lewis Hamilton has backed this neat little chain of burger bars dotted around London. The decor screams “Instagrammable” with plants and neon lights, and the menu is 100 per cent riffing off McDonald's, but if fast-food is what you are after, it doesn’t really come better than this. Using the Beyond Meat range for their Big Stack, Chick’n patties or nuggets, hot dog and Filet-No-Fish, all your junk cravings will be satisfied here.
Across Lonon, neat-burger.com
If you want to rub shoulders with a vegan celeb or two, Om Nom is the place. This Islington restaurant, which also has a mindfulness and yoga studio, counts numerous stars among its patrons. For every meal or yoga class you attend, Om Nom will donate money to feeding a child a hot, healthy nutritionally balanced meal in the developing world. It helps that the Eastern-inspired cuisine is damn good, too.
Islington Square, 116N Upper Street, N1, omnom.com
Clean Kitchen Club
Bursting onto the vegan scene only a couple of years ago, set up by YouTube star Mikey Pearce and Made in Chelsea’s Verity Bowditch, Clean Kitchen Club started by delivering food during the pandemic. It now has a bricks and mortar base in Camden as well as outposts in Battersea Power Station, Notting Hill, Soho and Wembley. The meatball wrap is our favourite, with other menu options including burgers, katsu bowls, mac ‘n’ cheese, doughnuts and more.
Across London, cleankitchen.club
Itadaki (‘to take the food of life’) Zen (‘to fix or mend’) is a small, understated Japanese restaurant with a Korean twist in King’s Cross. With quirky decor including a Japanese garden at the front and walls lined with cute trolls and trinkets, it serves up food faithful to a real Japanese experience, with classics such as vegan sushi, gyoza, noodles, and tofu-steaks. If you can squeeze in dessert, we loved their mochi ice cream.
139 King’s Cross, WC1, itadakizen-uk.com
The Fields Beneath
Taking its name from a book — which you can geek out on, if the history of Kentish Town is your thing — this small but mighty café has bags of charm in addition to pure vegan goods. Home baked pain au chocolat, salads and cakes are among the favourites, while the breakfast baps filled with squidgy potato hash brown, a tofu egg and mushroom bacon with a kick of spicy tomato sauce and chilli relish are heavenly. It also sells plants and natural wines.
52a Prince of Wales Road, NW5, thefieldsbeneath.com
Ethical vegan? This is your homeland. Unity Diner aims to promote the vegan lifestyle and animal welfare, with profits going directly towards animal rights work. They even opened up an animal sanctuary in the Midlands at the end of 2020. In addition to that the food is delicious, with a crowd-pleasing menu of burgers, hot dogs, loaded fries and more.
60 Wentworth Street, E1, unitydiner.co.uk
What The Pitta
We were never one for a kebab at 2am, but trust us when we say the vegan döner is among the most sublime wrap you will ever get your mitts on: spiced soya pieces with salad, tzatziki (made from soya yoghurt), homemade hummus and chilli sauce all wrapped in delicious freshly made bread. This is a bold claim, but we’d consider ordering this as our death row meal. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Gyros, baklava and the obligatory box of chips are also available.
Brick Lane, Brixton, Croydon, whatthepitta.com
The name of this place stands for We Are Vegan Everything, and they certainly are. Delightful, varied menu with not a burger in sight, you can expect nori-marinated carrots with cream cheese and watercress in a bagel, or seitan spaghetti carbonara and a tofu-based Malaysian curry for a heartier affair. Wave goodbye — geddit — to your willpower for dessert, too, with croissants, cakes and even a peanut butter hot chocolate. Check out their supper clubs, as well.
11 Dispensary Lane, London E8, weareveganeverything.com
222 Vegan Cuisine
This small, beloved restaurant in Fulham was been serving up plant-based cooking way before kale became cool. Opening its doors in 2004 as a vegetarian restaurant, it is now fully vegan and has an understated confidence that can only come from over a decade of experience. Tofu and bean pancakes, almond cheese, stroganoff, and the spaghetti polpette are among our favourites. Make sure you leave room for dessert as the menu is extensive and, trust us, you’ll want to try all of it.
222 North End Road, W14, 222vegan.com
The cash was splashed on this Notting Hill based establishment before it opened, and the re-branding of veganism began where others would follow. The owner Camilla (daughter of Mohamed Al-Fayed) has created a beautiful, airy space that champions healthy, seasonal, sustainable food. Comfort food classics with a twist in a beautiful environment make this a very special dining experience.
74-76 Westbourne Grove, W2, farmacylondon.com
Wulf and Lamb
Situated in the pretty cobbled street of Pavilion Road just off Sloane Square (and with a second site in Marylebone too), menu options here range from gyoza stuffed with smoked tofu, kimchi and king oyster mushrooms to steamed bao with baked aubergine, vegan mayo, carrots and spring onion.
Chelsea and Marylebone, wulfandlamb.com
Building its reputation over the years as a veggie and vegan establishment, this restaurant is now almost fully vegan, situated in Hammersmith (with branches also in Islington, Marylebone and St John’s Wood). Offering beautifully presented dishes with French and Italian influences as well as clever takes on British classics, The Gate is the perfect place for a special occasion. While food is on the expensive side, its atmosphere is a relaxed one, with friendly staff always willing to share their favourites from the menu. It’s always packed, so be sure to book ahead.
51 Queen Caroline Street, W6, thegaterestaurants.com
This pretty veggie and vegan spot on Embassy Gardens is not just a restaurant, but also a hair salon and spa. You might want to indulge and make a full day of it, with services from massage and osteopathy right through to botox. After you are fully zen from your treatment, relax in the beautiful flower-adorned space of the café which offers an a la carte menu as well as bottomless vegan brunches, a vegan brunch basket and vegan afternoon tea.
Embassy Gardens, 2 Union Square, Nine Elms, SW11, linnaean.co.uk
Situated on south London’s lovely Northcote Road, VE Kitchen is a welcome addition to an area that hasn’t exactly catered for vegans in the past. Serving Moving Mountains burgers, the menu also features hot and cold bowls designed to balance, energise or shred. As such, the friendly spot is the perfect place for both the health nut and the junk-food vegan to dine.
39 Northcote Road, SW11, vekitchen.com