London Vegetarian Restaurants Guide



Avoid the confusion and find your perfect veggie place by using this dedicated London page. You can search near points of interest, e.g. Buckingham Palace, or on a map, or just by typing in where you want to go. Use our quick links below to see our top picks.


           

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Is London a vegetarian paradise?

London has something for everyone and this is no less true than of eating places for vegetarians. There are vegan places, raw food places, veggie places; cheap eat places, fast food places, smart places; places just for veggies and places for everyone that also serve good veggie options. There are well over 100 places from which to choose.


So why do we need a veggie guide?

Veggie places tend to be lumped together on listing sites. It's almost as if one should be grateful there is a vegetarian restaurant at all, never mind whether it is better for lunch or dinner. And some places only open at lunchtime or in the evening anyway. Whilst it's true a few places can cater for all requirements some places are more suitable for a quick bite than a romantic dinner.


And what about those occasions when you fancy a Chinese or an Indian or a Thai meal? We have compiled a list of our favourites, to save the searching. The lists serve a useful starting point for those not familiar with London eating places. As with all lists, whilst we have tried to be fair, it is still subjective to a certain degree. We have also taken the liberty of making a list of our top five as we are asked this question so often.


You would think that with so much choice a guide such as this is unnecessary. In fact, the editor of one of London's most well known listing magazines told me there is no need to have a separate section for veggies or indeed, a veggie restaurant reviewer as "Everywhere caters well for veggies nowadays!" If only this were true.


Misconception number one: All vegetarians eat cheese

Nearly every Italian restaurant in London uses Parmesan cheese made from animal rennet, so how can that be vegetarian? And do you want to eat eggs that are from a battery farm? Or noodles or pasta or puddings made from the same? Of course not. Perhaps you are vegan and don't want - heaven forbid - eggs or cheese - or maybe you just don't want cheese with every veggie option or just don't like eating in places where meat is served. And for the three hundredth time, no we don't eat fish. No, not even tuna. "Almost vegetarian" is not good enough for most of us. Use our guide to help you on your way


Misconception number two: Gourmet vegetarian is just doing something clever with an aubergine

Gourmet veggie catering is a real hit and miss affair, even in London. Veggie food is so much more than just cooking without meat and fish. Vegetarians want something special too: something more imaginative than risotto or pasta with the ubiquitous mushroom and a nod towards vegetarian nutrition would be appreciated. Protein is not just cheese: tofu, beans, seitan can all be used successfully, but unfortunately so rarely are. There are a handful of gourmet gems in London: let us guide you through the minefield.




London Travel

If you don't mind a lazy start, an off-peak Travelcard for use after 9.30am will get you on most of London's tubes and buses for around £5 per day. Get free bus and tube maps from the main train stations. You see more from a bus but the tube can be quicker. Of course, walking is best and sometimes it makes sense to walk rather than change tubes as there is a long walk between platforms anyway. See www.tfl.gov.uk for up to date information on London Travel


London accommodation - self catering

Vancouver Studios Hotel
Vancouver Studios
We have stayed in many places in London over the years and never found anywhere relatively inexpensive that was nice enough to recommend, until last month that is. We were looking for self catering as we were eating out - sometimes three times a day - to do this guide. The Vancouver Studios in Bayswater, a short walk to the tube into central London, was a marvellous find. We had a room on the second floor at the back. The only sound at night was the chiming of a nearby church bell. The room was spotlessly clean and the fridge and small kitchen area meant we could have hot drinks and a simple breakfast quite easily. The room is very small but you can opt for a larger (more expensive) one at the front. Since we were not in the room much, size in this case did not matter. There is a guest lounge downstairs and small garden. Our bijou room was £125 per night.


London accommodation - special occasion

Dorchester Hotel
Dorchester Hotel
If money is no object or you have something special to celebrate, the Dorchester is hard to beat. Room service breakfast is a revelation. A trolley complete with linen table cloth glides into the room rather like the Marie Celeste in full sail. A fresh red rose in a silver vase accompanied what is the best hotel breakfast I have ever had: Bircher muesli, organic egg white herbed omelette and warm home made bread rolls being the highlights. (You choose what you like so vegans should have no problem). After breakfast you scramble out of your seven foot wide bed to take a bath in a marble tiled bathroom bigger than my double bedroom, replete with Floris toiletries. Whatever you do, don't eat anything else here. (The Grill Room is bleak, expensive and disappointing) Get a cab, like we did, to one of the excellent restaurants we recommend. They sometimes do deals, especially at the weekend, so do check first before accepting the rack rate


Picnics and eating outside

Hyde Park
Hyde Park
London has some glorious parks: Regent's Park, St James Park, Green Park and Hyde Park are all centrally situated. On a nice day there is nothing better than getting some food and perhaps a bottle of wine and eating it al fresco. Pret a Manger do some good veggie sandwich options and use organic milk for their hot drinks. They also offer soya milk. Marks and Spencer has a reasonable selection for veggies, in particular I can recommend the sandwiches and wraps, jellies, prepared fresh fruit and jummy biscuits. Their V symbol is reliable. Whole Foods Market and Planet Organic have more for vegans and do a good takeaway selection. Many Cafes on our list offer takeaway, notably Beatroot, Vitaorganic, Govindas, Chi and Tibits, all centrally placed.


Credit Crunch Savvy

If you are feeling the pinch, and want to go somewhere special, we suggest you try to go out for lunch rather than dinner. Not only is it nearly always cheaper, but many places offer special lunch time deals: Vanilla Black and Saf spring to mind as well as Rousillon.


Your Suggestions Welcome

If you have any suggestions for new places to add to our list, or if you want to add a review for an existing place then either mail us at info@veggieplaces.co.uk or sign in to Veggie Places to add a place or review.


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