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London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Skip Garden in King’s Cross

London’s Best Vegetarian Restaurants

Amazonian-inspired cuisine, pioneers of the city’s vegetarian scene, and more

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Are London’s best vegetarian restaurants necessary?

For all their singularity, vegetarian food is now so mainstream that most London restaurants offer good vegetarian options — and even entire menus; vegetarians find it easier than ever to dine out with omnivore friends. That mainstreaming sits alongside the sharp rise of veganism, which leads to a sharp rise in vegan restaurants, which are not the same as vegetarian restaurants and often more attuned to — or entirely controlled by — current meat-free trends.

These two things actually explain why vegetarian restaurants are so important. First, mainstream restaurants may unwittingly use ingredients with hidden meat or fish in dishes, such as cheeses with animal rennet, gelatine, lard, chicken stock, fish sauce and so on. Vegetable dishes may be cooked in the same pan as meat, as any vegetarian eating chips that taste vaguely of chicken knows.

Additionally, fellow diners may unthinkingly dip their forks and chopsticks into shared dishes when eating out with vegetarians. And while omnivores are able to eat meat-free small plates from a shared menu, vegetarians cannot eat their counterparts, which can lead to awkward situations. And many vegetarians don’t want the processed nut cheeses, non-dairy milks, egg substitutes and meat substitutes of vegan restaurants.

This round-up of London’s best vegetarian restaurants is centred first and foremost on places that serve good food; even the few here that have ‘wellness’ or sustainability at their heart shine with superb cooking. Restaurants that focus on single cuisines have been deliberately left out, otherwise the list would just be dominated by Indian restaurants and falafel joints.

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The Gate St John's Wood

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What would London’s vegetarian dining scene be like if it had been the Indian-Iraqi Jewish brothers Adrian and Michael Daniel who had landed the Guardian vegetarian column? After all, the founders of The Gate — now a four-strong chain — had been serving zhug and tagine, and scattering pomegranate seeds and crumbled feta on their dishes for decades before Yotam Ottolenghi came along. This cavernous St John’s Wood branch opened a few months ago: a handsome-looking place with large wrap-around windows and potted plants that give it a conservatory feel. The chain is famous for fungi dishes such as wild mushroom risotto cake in creamy cep sauce, dense and earthy as the forest floor; and there are now more Asian influences on the menu. Try delicate, tempura-like courgette flower if it’s available: stuffed with own-made ricotta and perched on a hillock of beluga lentils, it is exquisite.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include The Gate in St. John’s Wood

Mildreds Dalston

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This newest branch of the popular vegetarian mini-chain is located in large, bright Dalston Square just behind the Dalston Junction train station. The menu travels the globe; and the cooking at this branch is particularly vibrant. Stand-out dishes include wood-roasted cauliflower with charred leeks, skordalia and turmeric almonds; and substantial, spicy-sweet jerk tofu with rum guava glaze, coconut rice and peas, mango slaw and fried plantains. Fans of the Polish beetroot and white bean burger with pickled red cabbage and gherkins – it’s back on the menu, though it’s now served in a brioche bun so tastes a bit different.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Mildreds in Dalston

Oliveira Organic Vegetarian Kitchen

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The first thing to be said about this homely, two-room East Sheen venue is that, although it is vegetarian, it uses some cheeses with animal rennet, including Parmesan — chef-proprietor Emerson Amélio de Oliveira strongly believes these have a superior flavour. That said, the eco-friendly venue, with sustainability at its heart, has by far the most inventive vegetarian menu in London. Oliveira comes from a Brazilian-Italian background; and this is reflected in dishes such as hand-made pastas and risottos, alongside the use of Amazonian fruit and veg. There are plenty of dishes with breadfruit and jackfruit sourced from Tooting market; and speciality items such as dende oil, phytoplankton, and vegan faux gras. Some of the over-ambitious dishes don’t quite come off, but ‘nduja sausage’ made from jackfruit seeds and flesh, cassava, and smoked paprika impresses with its subtle spiciness; and a trio of Amazonian fruit sorbets made from açai, cupuaçu and pitaya taste like frozen nail polish — in the nicest possible way. A new site in Shoreditch is coming soon.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Oliveira in Richmond

Miranda Café

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This trendy vegetarian venue in Crouch End with bare brick walls may have healthy eating at its heart, but the food is so tasty and skilfully made the health angle is barely discernible. There are several international dishes such as expertly made, ethereal spring onion gyoza; jackfruit in beautifully spiced tomato sauce with coconut rice, black beans, guacamole and grilled plantains; and dense, mealy arepas with a soft crumb. Cakes include three-layered tiramisu sponge; plus there are Latin American breakfasts, Buddha bowls, burgers and cocktails. A real neighbourhood gem.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Miranda Cafe in Crouch End
Miranda Cafe

Skip Garden

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Hidden away at the very back of Kings Cross’ Granary Square development, past the Coal Drops Yard, Skip Garden, is a beautiful community garden created entirely of fruit, veg, flowers and plants growing in skips. It’s run by Global Generation, an educational charity that helps young people in the area; and this vegetarian café, located by the entrance, is part of the project. Although there’s some indoor seating, it’s best to visit in sunshine when lunch can be eaten on one of the many wooden tables outside, surrounded by greenery. The straightforward menu encompasses a hot dish, a soup, salads and sandwiches, made using some of the ingredients grown in the garden. A quiche of ‘London blue cheese,’ labneh and kale stalks is wonderfully savoury, and salad may include a mix of British-grown spelt grains, roasted fennel, slow-roasted tomatoes, cavolo nero and pickled leeks. Freshly baked cakes and pastries are also a strong point here, especially the plump scones.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Skip Garden in King’s Cross
Skip Garden

Secluded in one of the labyrinthine side streets behind Goodge Street tube station, this chic, cosy vegetarian café has tempting displays of colourful salads, hot dishes, cakes and pastries by the entrance; and a miniscule seating area at the back. Originally set up by a father and son duo, the venue shut down for a few months last year, and has recently reopened with a new owner. It’s notable for currently being the only vegetarian venue in London to showcase cooking with broadly Ottolenghi-esque Middle Eastern influences. Regularly changing dishes may include quinoa, pepper and tomato-stuffed courgettes, and salads such as turmeric-golden cauliflower; mixed peppers with chickpeas, spinach and coriander; wild rice with borlotti beans and pomegranate molasses, and — best of all — roasted aubergine discs topped with tahini sauce, pumpkin seeds and shallots.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Kin in Fitzrovia
Kin

Tide Tables Cafe

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Tucked underneath Richmond Bridge inside converted arches, the main attraction of this vegetarian café is its location and river views. Food is ordered at the counter and eaten outside on a huge sandy terrace overlooking the Thames ferry dock. There are a large number of pastry dishes, such as spicy Mexican bean roll, and a spiral filo pie stuffed with spinach and ricotta. Also on the menu are lively salads made livelier with pickled red chillies, baked potatoes, standard international fare such as chickpea curry and falafel wraps, and a lot of cakes. Visit on a hot weekend and make a day of it with a riverside walk, a boat ride, a visit to nearby Duck Pond food market, and Hollyhock Café down the road that’s owned by the same people.

Tide Tables Cafe

Hollyhock Vegetarian Fairtrade Cafe

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A sister café to Tide Tables nearby, this cosy venue serves an abridged version of the same vegetarian menu, but it’s worth visiting because of its idyllic location. Perched on a small grassy mound in the Terrace Gardens on Petersham Road, and decked out with twinkling lights, it looks like a fairy tale wooden cabin. It’s easy to while away a leisurely afternoon on its curved wooden terrace overlooking the flower garden. Hot food such as deep-dish butternut squash pie is very good, but go for the cakes after eating at the Tide Tables: date and pecan, and raspberry and coconut, are particularly lovely.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Tide Tables Cafe in Richmond
Hollyhock Vegetarian Fairtrade Cafe

Pritchard & Ure

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Climb a wide wooden staircase in a plant-filled room like a green-fingered celebrity to get to this airy, high-ceilinged vegetarian café that sits majestically on top of the Camden Garden Centre. The centre is part of a community enterprise for disadvantaged young people; and so is the café. High-quality suppliers are at the heart of its philosophy, including Oliveology, Seven Seeded bakery, Workshop Coffee and Postcard Teas. The menu is mostly made up of things on toast, either with eggs or without. An over-enthusiastic use of dried oregano peps up an otherwise straightforward Cretan salad of dakos (barley rusks), multi-coloured cherry tomatoes, red onions and capers. A deep smokiness underscores strapatsada – a mushy, grainy scramble of eggs with tomatoes, peppers and feta. Even simple, very thick-cut marmalade on sourdough toast is beautifully rustic; and there’s no holding back on olive oil and butter in the cooking here.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Pritchard & Ure in Camden
Pritchard & Ure

The Greener Man

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Fizrovia’s renowned cider pub The Green Man became fully vegetarian, relaunching as The Greener Man earlier this year. Local office workers, dating couples and the odd hen party lend the immensely friendly place a lively vibe. The menu is made up of global small plates, ranging from a Beyond Meat burger, to tender cauliflower ‘shanks’ on a bed of North African-spiced lentils with pomegranate seeds, pomegranate molasses, raisins, spring onions and mint leaves — best eaten with salty halloumi fries in alternative mouthfuls. For the uninitiated, cloudy Rosie’s Pig rhubarb cider is a sweet, easy-drinking delight.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include The Greener Man pub in Fitzrovia
The Greener Man

EZ & Moss

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A little too ramshackle and homely to be properly trendy, this small café on Holloway Road is part of a rising number of new vegetarian and vegan venues focussed on good coffee. Cold brew in a glass tumbler clinking with ice cubes is a must on a hot day, particularly when paired with stunningly delicious, feather-soft, dairy-free banana and walnut cake. Main course dishes include a slender, cheesy quesadilla stuffed with thinly sliced roasted peppers and onions, topped with a poached egg, with freshly made guacamole and salsa on the side. There are a few other mains, grilled sandwiches, breakfast items and baked goods cooked on-site — but really, it’s all about the coffee and the cakes.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include EZ & Moss in Holloway
EZ & Moss

The Gate St John's Wood

What would London’s vegetarian dining scene be like if it had been the Indian-Iraqi Jewish brothers Adrian and Michael Daniel who had landed the Guardian vegetarian column? After all, the founders of The Gate — now a four-strong chain — had been serving zhug and tagine, and scattering pomegranate seeds and crumbled feta on their dishes for decades before Yotam Ottolenghi came along. This cavernous St John’s Wood branch opened a few months ago: a handsome-looking place with large wrap-around windows and potted plants that give it a conservatory feel. The chain is famous for fungi dishes such as wild mushroom risotto cake in creamy cep sauce, dense and earthy as the forest floor; and there are now more Asian influences on the menu. Try delicate, tempura-like courgette flower if it’s available: stuffed with own-made ricotta and perched on a hillock of beluga lentils, it is exquisite.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include The Gate in St. John’s Wood

Mildreds Dalston

This newest branch of the popular vegetarian mini-chain is located in large, bright Dalston Square just behind the Dalston Junction train station. The menu travels the globe; and the cooking at this branch is particularly vibrant. Stand-out dishes include wood-roasted cauliflower with charred leeks, skordalia and turmeric almonds; and substantial, spicy-sweet jerk tofu with rum guava glaze, coconut rice and peas, mango slaw and fried plantains. Fans of the Polish beetroot and white bean burger with pickled red cabbage and gherkins – it’s back on the menu, though it’s now served in a brioche bun so tastes a bit different.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Mildreds in Dalston

Oliveira Organic Vegetarian Kitchen

The first thing to be said about this homely, two-room East Sheen venue is that, although it is vegetarian, it uses some cheeses with animal rennet, including Parmesan — chef-proprietor Emerson Amélio de Oliveira strongly believes these have a superior flavour. That said, the eco-friendly venue, with sustainability at its heart, has by far the most inventive vegetarian menu in London. Oliveira comes from a Brazilian-Italian background; and this is reflected in dishes such as hand-made pastas and risottos, alongside the use of Amazonian fruit and veg. There are plenty of dishes with breadfruit and jackfruit sourced from Tooting market; and speciality items such as dende oil, phytoplankton, and vegan faux gras. Some of the over-ambitious dishes don’t quite come off, but ‘nduja sausage’ made from jackfruit seeds and flesh, cassava, and smoked paprika impresses with its subtle spiciness; and a trio of Amazonian fruit sorbets made from açai, cupuaçu and pitaya taste like frozen nail polish — in the nicest possible way. A new site in Shoreditch is coming soon.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Oliveira in Richmond

Miranda Café

This trendy vegetarian venue in Crouch End with bare brick walls may have healthy eating at its heart, but the food is so tasty and skilfully made the health angle is barely discernible. There are several international dishes such as expertly made, ethereal spring onion gyoza; jackfruit in beautifully spiced tomato sauce with coconut rice, black beans, guacamole and grilled plantains; and dense, mealy arepas with a soft crumb. Cakes include three-layered tiramisu sponge; plus there are Latin American breakfasts, Buddha bowls, burgers and cocktails. A real neighbourhood gem.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Miranda Cafe in Crouch End
Miranda Cafe

Skip Garden

Hidden away at the very back of Kings Cross’ Granary Square development, past the Coal Drops Yard, Skip Garden, is a beautiful community garden created entirely of fruit, veg, flowers and plants growing in skips. It’s run by Global Generation, an educational charity that helps young people in the area; and this vegetarian café, located by the entrance, is part of the project. Although there’s some indoor seating, it’s best to visit in sunshine when lunch can be eaten on one of the many wooden tables outside, surrounded by greenery. The straightforward menu encompasses a hot dish, a soup, salads and sandwiches, made using some of the ingredients grown in the garden. A quiche of ‘London blue cheese,’ labneh and kale stalks is wonderfully savoury, and salad may include a mix of British-grown spelt grains, roasted fennel, slow-roasted tomatoes, cavolo nero and pickled leeks. Freshly baked cakes and pastries are also a strong point here, especially the plump scones.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Skip Garden in King’s Cross
Skip Garden

Kin

Secluded in one of the labyrinthine side streets behind Goodge Street tube station, this chic, cosy vegetarian café has tempting displays of colourful salads, hot dishes, cakes and pastries by the entrance; and a miniscule seating area at the back. Originally set up by a father and son duo, the venue shut down for a few months last year, and has recently reopened with a new owner. It’s notable for currently being the only vegetarian venue in London to showcase cooking with broadly Ottolenghi-esque Middle Eastern influences. Regularly changing dishes may include quinoa, pepper and tomato-stuffed courgettes, and salads such as turmeric-golden cauliflower; mixed peppers with chickpeas, spinach and coriander; wild rice with borlotti beans and pomegranate molasses, and — best of all — roasted aubergine discs topped with tahini sauce, pumpkin seeds and shallots.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Kin in Fitzrovia
Kin

Tide Tables Cafe

Tucked underneath Richmond Bridge inside converted arches, the main attraction of this vegetarian café is its location and river views. Food is ordered at the counter and eaten outside on a huge sandy terrace overlooking the Thames ferry dock. There are a large number of pastry dishes, such as spicy Mexican bean roll, and a spiral filo pie stuffed with spinach and ricotta. Also on the menu are lively salads made livelier with pickled red chillies, baked potatoes, standard international fare such as chickpea curry and falafel wraps, and a lot of cakes. Visit on a hot weekend and make a day of it with a riverside walk, a boat ride, a visit to nearby Duck Pond food market, and Hollyhock Café down the road that’s owned by the same people.

Tide Tables Cafe

Hollyhock Vegetarian Fairtrade Cafe

A sister café to Tide Tables nearby, this cosy venue serves an abridged version of the same vegetarian menu, but it’s worth visiting because of its idyllic location. Perched on a small grassy mound in the Terrace Gardens on Petersham Road, and decked out with twinkling lights, it looks like a fairy tale wooden cabin. It’s easy to while away a leisurely afternoon on its curved wooden terrace overlooking the flower garden. Hot food such as deep-dish butternut squash pie is very good, but go for the cakes after eating at the Tide Tables: date and pecan, and raspberry and coconut, are particularly lovely.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Tide Tables Cafe in Richmond
Hollyhock Vegetarian Fairtrade Cafe

Pritchard & Ure

Climb a wide wooden staircase in a plant-filled room like a green-fingered celebrity to get to this airy, high-ceilinged vegetarian café that sits majestically on top of the Camden Garden Centre. The centre is part of a community enterprise for disadvantaged young people; and so is the café. High-quality suppliers are at the heart of its philosophy, including Oliveology, Seven Seeded bakery, Workshop Coffee and Postcard Teas. The menu is mostly made up of things on toast, either with eggs or without. An over-enthusiastic use of dried oregano peps up an otherwise straightforward Cretan salad of dakos (barley rusks), multi-coloured cherry tomatoes, red onions and capers. A deep smokiness underscores strapatsada – a mushy, grainy scramble of eggs with tomatoes, peppers and feta. Even simple, very thick-cut marmalade on sourdough toast is beautifully rustic; and there’s no holding back on olive oil and butter in the cooking here.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include Pritchard & Ure in Camden
Pritchard & Ure

The Greener Man

Fizrovia’s renowned cider pub The Green Man became fully vegetarian, relaunching as The Greener Man earlier this year. Local office workers, dating couples and the odd hen party lend the immensely friendly place a lively vibe. The menu is made up of global small plates, ranging from a Beyond Meat burger, to tender cauliflower ‘shanks’ on a bed of North African-spiced lentils with pomegranate seeds, pomegranate molasses, raisins, spring onions and mint leaves — best eaten with salty halloumi fries in alternative mouthfuls. For the uninitiated, cloudy Rosie’s Pig rhubarb cider is a sweet, easy-drinking delight.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include The Greener Man pub in Fitzrovia
The Greener Man

EZ & Moss

A little too ramshackle and homely to be properly trendy, this small café on Holloway Road is part of a rising number of new vegetarian and vegan venues focussed on good coffee. Cold brew in a glass tumbler clinking with ice cubes is a must on a hot day, particularly when paired with stunningly delicious, feather-soft, dairy-free banana and walnut cake. Main course dishes include a slender, cheesy quesadilla stuffed with thinly sliced roasted peppers and onions, topped with a poached egg, with freshly made guacamole and salsa on the side. There are a few other mains, grilled sandwiches, breakfast items and baked goods cooked on-site — but really, it’s all about the coffee and the cakes.

London’s best vegetarian restaurants include EZ & Moss in Holloway
EZ & Moss

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