In celebration of all things vegan, veggie and meat-free, The Resident rounds up the best restaurants and cafes in north, west, south east and south west London for great vegetarian food
1 Maple and Fitz, Fitzrovia
Fitzrovia’s healthy restaurant, Maple & Fitz, offers diners healthy but delicious and largely vegetarian food. Having trained at Le Cordon Bleu and studied nutrition, Canadian chef Adria Wu serves up salads, grain bowls, cold-pressed juices, and guilt-free sweets, such as the salted caramel brownies made from medjool dates, almonds, raw cocoa powder and chia seeds. All the salads are meat-free but come with an option to add protein.
36A Berners Street, Entrance on Mortimer Street, W1T 3LY; mapleandfitz.com
2 Sagar, Hammersmith
Despite its almost Scandinavian interiors, Hammersmith vegetarian restaurant Sagar has its roots firmly planted in South India, it’s chefs coming from the state of Karnataka. The menu takes its lead from there, more specifically Udupi a small coastal town although it lists many of the vegetarian South Indian food you’re likely to be familiar with – dodas, idli, samba and coconut chutneys. There are also thalis, including the Udupi thali, a tray of half a dozen dishes, with two puffy poori, popadoms and chutneys.
157 King Street, Hammersmith W6 9JT; sagarveg.co.uk
3 The Gate, Hammersmith (and Islington)
Tom Parker Bowles rates it and so do we. When a restaurant has been serving happy Hammersmith locals (and many from further afield too) for 25 years, it must be doing something right. If you’re searching for an innovative vegetarian restaurant, serving unusual combinations of Indian, Arab and Jewish cuisines with French and Italian influences, The Gate is just what you need.
51 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith W6 9QL; 020 8748 6932; thegaterestaurants.com
4 Tibits, Mayfair
Titbits is all about fresh, delicious and easy salads. At this cosy self-service vegetarian restaurant, you’ll find all day dining. For spring, menu items include a nourishing leek and sage risotto, and every Tuesday the dishes are completely vegan. To top it all off, you pay by weight, so you can take as much or as little as you want!
12-14 Heddon Street, Mayfair W1B 4DA; tibits.ch
5 Rainforest Creations, Chelsea
Rainforest creations prides itself on top quality vegetarian Caribbean, raw and organic foods. The Rainforest Box is crammed with fresh ingredients. Find the stall at Duke of York Square on Saturdays.
80 Duke of York Square, Chelsea SW3 4LY; rainforestcreations.co.uk
6 Little H, Parsons Green
Parsons Green’s Little H is the little sister café to Hallys. As with the first venue, Little H takes its lead from sunnier climes, including California and Cape Town – two places where healthy eating is top of the agenda. Serving breakfast, lunch and snacks, all with a wholesome theme, Little H sells the likes of vegan bircher breakfast pots and smoothies and daily changing salads. It’s not entirely meat-free, but enough to make it on this list. The café has space for 12 to eat in surrounded by flowing fauna and funky décor, and also offers takeway.
267 New King’s Road, Parsons Green SW6 4RB; hallysparsonsgreen.com
7 Good Life Eatery, Chelsea
London’s first free-standing cold-pressed juice bar in Chelsea serves glossy south west Londoners – fresh from their yoga class – protein-rich smoothies, vegetable juices, healthy baked goods and superfood salads. Interiors channel a casual LA vibe with an emphasis on sustainable living – think reclaimed scaffolding and industrial furniture – that’s echoed through the menu. It’s best-selling dishes include ‘Clean and Lean’ a bowl of quinoa, kale, roasted sweet potato, two poached eggs and almond pesto, while spelt scones and vegan muffins go down just as well.
59 Sloane Avenue, Chelsea SW3 3DH; goodlifeeatery.com
8 L’ETO Caffe, Belgravia (and other locations)
L’Eto’s best-selling honey cakes – six layers of honey-dipped cake, filled with sweetened sour cream – are legendary and worth the visit alone. If you’re opting for a savoury menu, the colourful salads are hugely varied and they focus largely on vegetables and spices. Both the Belgravia and King’s Road branches run an-all day menu: for breakfast try one of the delicious apple pancakes with fresh berries, vanilla cream & fruit compote, and Granny Smith apple sorbet.
9 Nama, Notting Hill
As any health expert will tell you, eating raw food is the best way to retain the vitamins lost from cooking and over processing food. Nama’s menu is packed with mouth watering food, like Italian Pizza with seed cheese, caramelised onions and marinated mushrooms with a courgette and walnut base. Nama also offers a day-by-day raw foods cleanse of juices, smoothies and foods including wraps, salads and pastas to have at home.
110 Talbot Road, Notting Hill W11 1JR; namafoods.com
10 (Currently under renovation until Spring 2017)Tanya’s Café, Chelsea
Intent on spreading the message of living a healthy lifestyle, Tanya’s café in Chelsea is the place to go for a completely organic menu, which by chance also happens to be vegetarian. Tanya, who has been hailed as one of the UK’s top holistic coaches, first opened the café when she found that there were very few options for a fully raw or fully organic meal in London. The menu at Tanya’s is all natural and gluten free. It includes cold pressed juices and nut milk coffees for the mornings and superfood cocktails for later in the evening.
35 Ixworth Place, Chelsea SW3 3QX; tanyascafe.com
11 222 Veggie Vegan, West Kensington
222 Veggie Vegan in West Kensington sits opposite an imposing blocks of flats and a rather unappealing Holiday Inn, but don’t let that put you off. This vegetarian restaurant is often listed in round-ups of London’s best vegetarian restaurants, and rightly so. Bean and tofu pancakes, avocado soup and oyster mushroom and spinach raclette are the types of dishes that have been grabbing vegetarians’ attention since it opened in 2004.
222 North End Road, West Kensington W14 9NU; 222veggievegan.com
12 Vanilla Black, Holborn
Vanilla Black is one of London’s best vegetarian restaurants and it’s little wonder when you see starters like crisp rye, grapes and puffed wheat on the menu, along with wholesome mains, such as the lemon dumplings with crispy buckwheat crumbs. Its menu is worlds away from the ubiquitous mushroom risotto or roast butternut squash, instead, Vanilla Black’s vegetarian dishes have a creative flare, while still being healthy.
6 Laystall Street, Holborn EC1R 4PA; vanillablack.co.uk
13 Ottolenghi, Islington (and other locations)
Ottolenghi is an obvious inclusion in any veggie-friendly recommendation. Chef and founder Yotam has been at the forefront of London’s vegetable revolution since opening his first restaurant in Notting Hill in 2002. Now he has four eponymous London venues (Islington, Notting Hill, Belgravia and Spitalfields), and the wonderful Nopi. The deli-come-restaurants offer colourful, vibrant salads and delicious pastries, laden with spice, nuts and fruits, hailing from Yotam’s native Jerusalem. Though meat options are available, they take a firm back seat, overshadowed by the vegetarian ingredients. ottolenghi.co.uk
14 Grain Store, King’s Cross
Grain Store takes over a vast Victorian warehouse in Granary Square, in which French chef Bruno Loubet and his partner Tony Conigliaro cook up vegetable-focused dishes and herb-infused drinks. The menu is filled with poetic sounding offerings like Charentais melon ‘Gaspacho’ with flowers and a touch of ginger; salted watermelon, with borage flowers, pink grapefruit, crab mayonnaise and curry oil, and mango, fresh herbs and rice vermicelli Indochine salad with seared beef (Grain Store isn’t completely meat-free, but supports initiatives like Meat Free Week and Loubet has hinted at taking meat off the menu).
Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, King’s Cross N1C 4AB; grainstore.com
15 Itadaki Den, King’s Cross
Itadaki Zen is a very rare establishment – vegan, organic and Japanese. Gone are the slithers of delicate sashimi and skewers of chicken yakitori, and in their place are grilled spring rolls with soft mashed tofu fillings, light vegetable tempuras and noodles made from sweet potato starch. Even dessert takes on a healthy theme, with sugar-free options like pumpkin cake and the tadaki-Zen cake, a light and soft cake, made with Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), jujube and chestnusts and topped with tofu and vanilla cream.
139 King’s Cross Road WC1X 9BJ; itadakizen-uk.com
16 Amico Bio, Smithfield & Holborn
London has two branches of this Italian restaurant, which is not only vegetarian but organic, too. The owner, Pasquale, imports ingredients directly from his family-run farm in rural Italy and carefully sources the likes of cheeses and oils to ensure maximum flavour. The vegetarian dishes pack some serious punch in the flavour stakes, with each ingredient standing out against the other. Choose from the likes of spelt, pumpkin and wild onion timbale with rocket salad and spinach spaghetti with rice milk mozzarella and herb pesto.
17 Manna, Primrose Hill
The menu at this Primrose Hill restaurant is entirely vegan and largely organic, with a bit of raw food popping up too. Basic cashew cheese croquettes sit alongside a raw lasagne made from layers of courgette noodles, cashew cheese, rocket pesto and Manna’s special raw marinara sauce. There are also salads and sharing plates, making this a pretty versatile venue, pop in for a quick bit post-work out or take a gang and make an evening of it – there are organic and vegan wines too.
4 Erskine Road, Primrose Hill NW3 3AJ; mannav.com
SOUTH WEST LONDON
18 Wholemeal Café , Streatham
Wholemeal Café brings vegetarian and homemade together in a delicious array of fresh flavours and a homey atmosphere, with a focus on mindfully sourced ingredients from New Covent Garden market.
1 Shrubbery Road, Streatham SW16 2AS; wholemealcafe.com
19 Lu-Ma, Wimbledon
This lovely spot is perfect for a guilt-free meal, specialising in vegetarian and vegan options. The philosophy of good food education is spread throughout the business, from sustainable coffee to compostable product packaging.
143 Worple Road, Wimbledon SW19 4JZ; lu-ma.co.uk
20 Bonnington Café, Vauxhall
Vauxhall’s Bonnington Café started life as a squat – you’d never know that now. The south London restaurant, set in peaceful community gardens, is now a comfortable, homely venue that serves excellent value vegetarian food. Price start from £3 for puddings and starters, while mains are £8.
11 Vauxhall Grove, Vauxhall SW8 1TD, bonningtoncafe.co.uk
21 Tide Tables Café, Richmond
Nestled under the arches of Richmond Bridge, Tide Tables is the go-to café for TW9’s hungry vegetarians. With riverside views and an entirely veggie menu, it is open for breakfast, lunch and early supper.
2 The Arches, Richmond TW9 1TH; 020 8948 8285; tidetablescafe.com
SOUTH EAST LONDON
22 Persepolis, Peckham
Persepolis, Peckham’s Persian deli, recently opened a little cafe serving Iranian and Levantine food. At the moment everything is vegetarian, with lots of wraps and soups and meze plates, as well as the likes of baked sweet potato filled with Persian baked beans and halloumi, and eggs scrambled with plantain and harissa. Save room for the Turkish delight sundae…
28-30 Peckham High Street SE15 5DT; 020 7639 8007; foratasteofpersia.co.uk
23 Ganapati, Peckham
Owner and chef Claire Fisher set up Ganapati after a trip to south India – a largely vegetarian region – left an indelible impression. An array of flavours and textures served up on a banana leaf and communal eating are just two of the experiential elements that Claire wanted to share with south Londoners. The huge masala dosas are a must (lentil pancakes stuffed with spiced mashed potato), as is the vegetarian banana leaf thali, which comes with various curries, pickles and accompaniments.
38 Holly Grove, Peckham SE15 5DF; 020 7277 2928; ganapatirestaurant.com
24 Domali Bar & Kitchen, Crystal Palace
Domali Bar & Kitchen – previously Domali Café – recently reopened after a major refurb. Palatians were up in arms when they discovered that buggies have been banned, but the controversy seems to have died down and children are still very much welcome. The real story here though, is that the once exclusively vegetarian and pescetarian menu now has a few meat dishes on it. This is no bad thing, after all, if your non-veggie mate wants a pork chop, they’re just going to drag you to a restaurant where they can get it. You can still enjoy a mean vegan curry, or bubble and squeak with poached eggs and Portobello mushrooms. The mushroom pate did disappear from the menu, but after complaints from regulars, it has now been reinstated! In the summer, Domali opens its delightful back garden, where dogs are welcome.
38 Westrow Street, Crystal Palace SE19 1RX; domalicafe.co.uk
25 Blue Brick Café, East Dulwich
Renovated from a Victorian dairy and formerly a greasy spoon, East Dulwich’s Blue Brick Café opened as a veggie establishment in 2010 with the ethos of locally sourced seasonal produce. The concise and ever-changing menu contains daily delights such as feta, walnut and butternut squash salad, and spring risotto with courgettes, leeks and peas, as well as a very tempting dessert offering.
14 Felbrigg Road, SE22 9HH; bluebrickcafe.com
26 Return to Shashamane, Greenwich Market
Return to Shashamane at Greenwich Market is a haven for fresh, worldly vegan cuisine, with an array of colourful salads and more hearty fare on offer. With choices of wraps or salad boxes, expect to see an exciting and fragrant menu with dishes such as kidney beans with cardamom and parsley, tabouleh with sprouts and basil, home-made hummus and roasted sweet potatoes.
Greenwich Market (Saturdays and Sundays) SE10 9HZ; 07714 512 208
27 The Waiting Room, Deptford
The Waiting Room in Deptford is a seriously cool coffee bar and veggie and vegan friendly café that opened in 2011. A vibrant hub just across from Deptford station, the food on offer is amazing for such a small set up (the veggie burgers are particularly good). The cafe even makes its own hot sauce with habanero peppers. It’s especially spicy and is loaded onto their hot dogs and the Spicy Maiden bagel (veggie sausage, mustard, Polish pickles, cheese and crispy onions).
142 Deptford High Street SE8 3PQ. Twitter: @WaitingRoomSE8
— Alice (@diplodocutie) October 16, 2016