London’s 10 Best Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants
London is a fantastic city for vegetarians. Not only will you find veg versions of British classics like fish and chips and the full English breakfast, you’ll also enjoy foods from around the world since the Big Smoke is packed with expat and immigrant entrepreneurs. Here’s a list of my favorite veg-friendly restaurants in London. Most are not veg-exclusive, but have solid offerings for vegetarians.
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Best vegetarian restaurant
The Gate. The best place to go for vegetarian and vegan dining when you want to get a little bit fancy. For nearly 30 years, The Gate has focused on fresh, local food. Not only that, they give back to the community by working with schools and other charity work, are Fairtrade, and recycle almost everything. Multiple locations.
Best vegetarian buffet
Tibbits. If you like to mix healthy veg food with naughty treats like jalapeño poppers, go to Tibbits. They serve food via a buffet and you pay by the weight (I always lose control and spend more than I expect). The Heddon Street location is tucked away in a quiet corner that is great when you need a break from the crowds around Regent and Oxford streets.
Best vegetarian tasting menu
Pollen Street Social. Vegetarians often miss out on the fun of tasting menus, but not at Pollen Street Social. It’s not cheap, but if you have something special to celebrate (or just want to indulge), this is an experience to remember. I went when my mother visited me and have fond memories of playing an ice cream flavor guessing game.
Best Indian fusion
Dishoom. Interestingly, Dishoom pays homage to cafes that Iranian immigrants opened in Bombay in the 1900s, and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Try the black daal, which tastes so deliciously rich it feels sinful. If you’re going for dinner, get there really early or really late because they don’t take reservations and the queue gets ridiculous. Multiple locations.
Wahaca. Founded by the winner of Masterchef in Britain in 2005, this chain serves tasty, seasonal food Mexican market food. They source direct from cooperatives that support local farming communities, and offer plenty of tequilas and mezcals from family-run businesses. When I was planning my trip to Oaxaca, I wondered why I couldn’t find anything on it when I was googling ‘Wahaca.’ Multiple locations.
Beijing Dumpling. If you’re hanging out in Soho and looking for a place to eat, head to nearby Chinatown. My favorite Chinese restaurant there is Beijing Dumpling, where you’ll see them preparing the food in the front window. Try the veggie dumplings (I always say ‘no soup’), vegetarian Singapore noodles, and garlic broccoli. Yum!
Best place to eat before you take the train back to Heathrow airport
Bizzarro. This used to be my local pizza place when I lived in Paddington, which looks like a dodgy neighborhood near the train station, but it’s actually quite nice once you turn the corner. Anyway, the guys working there will treat you like family and all the food is good, not just the pizza.
Best gastro pub experience
The Windsor Castle. Come to eat and/or drink in this old world tavern, and you’ll discover low wooden doors that used to separate the well-to-do patrons from the common scum. Outside, there’s a lovely beer garden for both drinking and dining (reserve a table if you can) that has heat lamps during colder weather. They serve a delightful Bloody Mary. Also, supposedly the bones of Thomas Paine, who’s literature helped inspire the American Revolutionary War, are buried in the basement.
Best Sunday Roast
The Mayflower. Dating back to 1620, this is the oldest pub on the Thames, and you can see where the actual Mayflower (yes, the pilgrim ship) was moored. I love this cozy pub for Sunday roast, which includes a delicious mushroom Wellington for vegetarians.
Best vegetarian fish and chips
George and Vulture. England is famous for its fish and chips, and this pub lets vegetarians get in on the action by serving a fried halloumi version. Charles Dickens used to come here, so the pub has that charm. The service was a bit grumpy when I ate lunch here, but then they tried to make up for it toward the end. Perhaps I walked in too late for them. The hours are bizarrely limited to 12-2 p.m. weekdays only.
Best high tea
Bea’s of Bloomsbury. Perhaps the most mouth-watering and reasonably priced high tea in London. There are several locations, all pretty small so booking ahead is essential. If you want all your savory sandwiches to be vegetarian, just let them know. The scones are amazing. You’ll probably have to take some of your sweet treats home with you.
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