Top 10 Vegan Restaurants in London
The best meat & dairy free restaurants in town
Our list of the top 10 London vegan restaurants that will convince even the most committed carnivore
There's no better time than now to act on those little niggles in your head telling you to ditch the dairy and get rid of the meat in your diet. You can't avoid it, Instagram is full of plant-based photos, the it-girls are all trying it and experts can't deny the skin-glowing, energy-boosting, plant-saving benefits of an animal product-free lifestyle.
The statistics prove it: veganaism has grown by 350% in the last ten years (according to new research by the Vegan Society and Vegan Life Magazine). And London is at the core, with over 100,000 people committed to cutting out any animal by-products.
If you want to know what going vegan is all about, you're in the right place. With so many alternatives to meat and dairy, whether it's a cashew nut cappuccino, a hearty bowl of overnight oats with cinnamon and maple syrup, or a warming tofu curry, there's so many ways to replace those staples in your diet.
So if you're curious, a flexi-vegan not quite ready to cut out the cheese, or looking for a place to take your friends to convince them there's more to being vegan than just salad, we've got you covered. Here is Culture Whisper's list of the top vegan restaurants in London who go above and beyond to prove that a diet without animal products is anything but boring.
110 Talbot Road, London W11 1JR
A tried and tested favourite, Nama is an oasis in the heart of Notting Hill which offers not only delicious and nutritious meals, but also cleansing programmes and raw food cookery courses. The philosophy behind going raw is that food cooked above 115°F begins to lose vital vitamins and minerals, and that just won't do. Our beloved Deliciously Ella is 'obsessed' with the raw desserts on offer here, and with the sole aim of Nama being to promote wellbeing through nutrition, it's no wonder. Their dishes are balanced and nourishing, and are sure to have you feeling healthy in body and mind.
Eat: Lasagne, pad Thai, tiramisu and an intriguing vegan cheeseboard...
Top Banana: The Fermented Blueberry Cheesecake for gluttony without the guilt
Bad Apple: It's only open till 5pm between Monday and Wednesday, meaning we can't pop in after work
Mildred's, 45 Lexington Street, Soho, London, W1F 9AN
Good old Mildred, the great aunt you didn't know you had. Founded in 1988, it's the stalwart of the vegetarian restaurants. But the vegan selection is also top notch. We rather like Mildred's and so does Deliciously Ella who told us that it makes even the mightiest of meat-eaters go dewy-eyed at the taste of it's food. It's the mixture of influences which makes Mildred's such a standout on the vegan scene, with inspiration being drawn from Sri Lanka, Thailand, China and Mexico. With all this choice, you're sure to find something you love.
Eat: A side of chargrilled cauliflower with tahini and lemon, pinenuts and pomegranate seeds. It's fresh and elegant with a zesty kick
Top Banana: Expect the classics: pasta, burrito, curry in the form of a sweet potato sambal
Bad Apple: You can't book, it's busy and you might find yourself in a dangerously hungry queue
The Gate, 51 Queen Caroline Street, London W6 9QL 9 (also in Islington and now open in Marylebone)
Got a date? Take them to The Gate. Opened the year after Mildred's but with vamped-up interior decoration at the Hammersmith location. The Indo-Iraqi founders are influenced by French and Italian cooking styles, so there's a mix of cuisines sympathetically blended, rather than a Giraffe-style jack-of-all-cuisines approach. They do a mean curry, too.
Eat: Braised carcofini — it's lentil-filled artichoke braised in rich tomato and red wine sauce served with lemon and garlic gremolata
Top Banana: Mediterranean cuisine with a difference
Bad Apple: It's celebrating 2016 as the 'year of pulses'. Is that a little bit naff?
Tibits, 12-14 Heddon Street, London, W1B 4DA
Did someone say 40-dish buffet? This Mayfair offshoot of Zürich's famous vegetarian restaurant, with an exceptionally broad selection of dairy and egg free dishes, will disprove any preconceptions of vegan dining as meagre, measly or unsatisfying. At Tibits you'll find yourself eating much more than just titbits. The buffet is one of the best in London, read more about it here.
Eat: Everything! It's a buffet! But look at that beautiful avocado lemon rice
Top Banana: On Tuesdays the buffet is entirely vegan
Bad Apple: It's priced by weight, so dense nut roasts will cost you
Manna, 4 Erskine Road, Primrose Hill, London NW3 3AJ
Manna has to be included because not only did we love it, it's 100% vegan, including the cheese. The menu boasts a nice selection of right-on-trend raw dishes, including maki rolls and cheesecake with figs. However, Manna is actually famous for... bangers and mash. Their vegan take is 'fennel and pumpkin seed sausages on a bed of parsnip & carrot mash served with cavalo nero on a red wine, leek & thyme jus'.
Eat: Nori wraps of parsnip 'rice', beets, avocado and carrots, served with tamari dip and pea & wasabi coulis
Top Banana: The desserts are top notch
Bad Apple: Presentation not always that slick
Ms Cupcake, 408 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8LF
And for dessert, London's first entirely vegan bakery whips up the kind of light fluffy treats that will make bakers everywhere think "who needs butter?". There's much more than just cupcakes, but they are certainly a highlight. There're 18 new flavours for spring including 'The Ambassador', an indulgent Ferrero Rocher flavour, and pink lemonade.
Eat: A massive peanut slab to which no future snickers bars will ever compare. And, obviously, cupcakes!
Top Banana: With a seasonally-changing menu, there probably will be a top banana flavour soon
Bad Apple: There isn't a bad apple flavour... yet
Wild Food Café
1st Floor, 14 Neal's Yard, Covent Garden, WC2H 9DP
Embrace your inner hippy in Neal's Yard as you perch at a communal table and marvel at the range of colours displayed on your plate. Wild Food is all about inner health, and they offer a raw masterclass and even a retreat for those who want to take their dedication to plant-based living the extra step. Founded in the 1970s, Wild Food Café sources their produce from local independent suppliers wherever possible and makes its food on site daily. We think it's delicious.
Eat: Raw pizza, falafels and banofee pie
Top Banana: The raw veggie burger with gluten and soya-free ingredients such as olives, shiitake mushrooms, dulse and butternut squash
Bad Apple: It's a busy little spot
My hotel, 35 Ixworth Pl, SW3 3QX
Chelsea's premier raw food destination is one of our tried-and-tested top picks in London this World Vegan Month. Here, you'll find ethically sourced and gluten-free, refined sugar-free treats which are handpicked and organic, all in a hipster-hangout. Tanya's menu offers up breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes which will heal the heart and nourish the soul as well as offering a guilt-free solution to that rumbling tummy. See the menu here.
Eat: Chai porridge, acai bowls, avo un-toast, thai curry and...cake!
Top Banana: Medicinal mushroom lattes, which Deliciously Ella told us 'sound weird, but taste amazing.'
Bad Apple: We're not sure yet. With so much to choose from, we'll have to go back to test the rest...
The Canvas Cafe
42 Hanbury Street, E1 5JL
The canvas cafe is a destination in itself. Just off Brick Lane, it markets itself as a social and creative hub and London's very first Happy Cafe where guests can write on the walls and engage in on-site mind-healing classes if they so wish. The homemade food here is ethically sourced and, we must say, delicious. Not everything in here is vegan, but the choice for plant-based foodies is broad, and they'll do whatever they can to provide for you if you don't fancy what's on offer that day. The raw cakes are delicious and contain no nasties whatsoever, and are all made right there by the staff. See the menu here.
Eat: The smashed chickpea and avocado on sourdough with chilli and spinach, banana bread, on-the-day salads
Top Banana: The vegan freakshakes are a must-have, the Canvas Cafe claims to be the home of this delicious, guilt-free treat
Bad Apple: They sometimes over-pepper
Our number 10 is a little different...it's your kitchen!
Our resident foodie, Stephanie Achar says 'people are becoming more and more aware that a plant-based diet will make you feel good, lose weight and stay healthy'. So if you want to find out more about how to go vegan, start in your kitchen with one of her recipes.
Ditch the dairy with this guide to making your own nut milk here, or perhaps you want to boost your energy with a raw bar. Maybe you're looking for a spicy dinner, in which case hold off the cheese and tuck into these healthy burritos, or enjoy a lighter meal with this cauliflower and samphire summer salad. For pudding, tuck into these scrumptious Nordic ginger biscuits, and wash it all off with a healthy detox juice.