This is our vegan restaurant hub, so whether you want to find the best vegan restaurant in the world, you are looking for a great vegan restaurant near you, or you just want to find a small vegan café for a quick lunch, we’ve got you covered. We’ve also got information on chain restaurants, takeaways and non-vegan restaurants that happen to offer great plant-based foods should you be dining out with non-vegans.
As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also got information on the vegan offerings at all the major fast-food restaurants out there, including the plant-based Whopper at Burger King, which, sadly, for Whopper fans, isn’t actually vegan! We’ll be adding city guides too, so if you want to find a vegan restaurant near you in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Cambridge or other similarly vegan-friendly cities, our guides will prove a great resource and make you look like a person with their finger on the pulse of the vegan food scene.
Vegan Restaurant & Fast Food Chains in the UK
If you became a vegan because of the health benefits of veganism or you are on a raw vegan diet then this section might not be for you. However, most people, and yes, even most vegans, occasionally hanker after something a little bit dirty. Whether your guilty pleasure is a kebab, a burger, a pizza, or anything else, you can pretty much guarantee there is a delicious plant-based version of it.
There are loads of amazing independent takeaways, pop-ups, food trucks and cafes doing brilliant versions of traditional fast food dishes. Here though, we are focussing on what you can easily find all over the UK via the main fast food chains.
Vegan “Chainettes” in the UK
Some people love restaurant chains, some people loathe them. But there is no doubting the fact that they have their strong points. Our guide will help you find a nice indie vegan restaurant near you but it is always good to have a reliable standby that is available in multiple locations where you know what you are going to get. That is where the chain restaurant comes in.
There are not a huge number of 100% vegan chain restaurants in the UK right now but that is something we are certain will change. Quite how many vegans are in the UK we cannot be sure of but what we do know is that the number has been growing year on year and continues to do so. As those numbers increase, the prospect of catering specifically to vegans becomes more and more attractive and before long big business will take note.
At the moment, we are mainly limited to what we call “chainettes” – small, regional chains that perhaps own just three or four restaurants. We look at this matter in more detail in our dedicated feature on vegan restaurant chains. There you will also find information on chains that, though not purely vegan, are at least vegan friendly. By that we mean that they offer a good number of vegan dishes and are very clear with their labelling and marketing, making them good choices for vegans just wanting something quick and easy that they can be sure is wholly plant-based.
Vegan Restaurant City Guides
There are great vegan restaurants up and down the country, with plant-based establishments popping up all the time. We’ll be looking at all of the best options in the biggest cities to provide the perfect city guides for vegan eating across the UK. If we’ve missed off your favourite, give us a shout! You can access all of our current city guides via the links below and we’ll be expanding this section to cover more and more cities and more and more brilliant vegan restaurants near you. Coming soon!
Vegan Restaurants Near Me
Of course, there is a certain well-known website beginning with “G” that might be able to find a vegan restaurant near you. However, to borrow from Neil Gaiman, whilst Google can bring you 100,000 answers, there no guaranteeing any of them are right… and we can hopefully bring you the right one!
We’ll be expanding and developing this section of the site to enable you to easily search for a brilliant vegan restaurant near you. We will also offer you the facility to book a table, see reviews and get our thoughts on what’s on offer as well. In other words, everything you need to make an informed decision, book a table and enjoy some great, local vegan restaurants.
Vegan Restaurant FAQ
If you have any general queries about vegan restaurants and eating out, hopefully we can answer them here. You will find more information about specific foods and ingredients in the Is It Vegan? area of our site.
Q. Should I only eat out at 100% vegan restaurants?
This comes down to personal choice. You may feel that you do not want to support companies that cook and sell meat and other animal products. However, if you apply the same logic to all your purchases things become very tricky. Entirely avoiding all animal products and all companies that use them is essentially impossible in the modern world and most vegans are happy to focus on their own direct actions.
Q. If an item is marked as vegan on a menu, can I trust it?
Ultimately we would say, yes, and really you have to trust it. Unless you prepare food yourself, from scratch, you cannot be 100% sure that it will be entirely vegan friendly so there is always an element of trust involved. If you have any doubts then asking a member of staff about their vegan procedures and/or the ingredients and cooking methods of the dish may be wise.
Q. How will I know if a dish is vegan?
Restaurant menus use a range of codes and symbols to tell customers about their dishes. This may include symbols indicating potential allergens, nutritional information and whether the dishes are suitable for vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians or anybody else.
Confusingly, there is no universal system, so a leaf that means a dish is vegan in the great vegan restaurant near you may mean it is only vegetarian somewhere else. Equally a “V” could stand for both, as could “VG”, “Ve” or other things that restaurants use. Most restaurants have a key explaining the codes though, but if not, just ask the staff.
Q. Should I tell the staff I’m vegan?
As the old (and unfunny) joke goes, “how do you know if someone is vegan? Oh, don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” But this kind of sentiment puts some people off letting restaurant staff know they are vegan. Don’t worry about it! As long as you are polite and do it casually, there is nothing wrong with this.
The worst-case scenario is that the staff thinks you are “one of those vegans” but that is a lot better than the worst-case scenario otherwise where you end up eating a dish containing meat. If you are in a restaurant with a very clearly labelled menu that shows exactly what items are and are not vegan this may not be necessary but, otherwise, a simple way to let staff know is by asking “This is vegan, isn’t it?” when you order a seemingly plant-based delight.
Q. Will vegan food be cooked using separate grills, pans, fryers, etc?
A good vegan restaurant should make sure that vegan food is cooked separately from non-vegan items. So, a hot plate used to char veg for a vegan dish should not also be used for meat, chips served with vegan dishes should not be fried in the same oil used for fish or other non-vegan items and so on.
And, of course, you need to make sure items are not fried in animal fat, such as lard or beef dripping. Once again, if in doubt it is worth checking, especially if this is very important to you.
Q. Is there always a risk of cross-contamination in a non-vegan restaurant?
As with the previous question, we are assuming you are eating a vegan dish in a restaurant that is not 100% vegan. If that is the case then, yes, there will always be at least some risk of cross-contamination if the restaurant is handling meat, fish, eggs, dairy and other animal products.
Once again, where you stand on this is a personal decision but most vegans tend to feel that a negligible risk of a tiny amount (perhaps a few microscopic particles) of non-vegan food inadvertently ending up in their dish is acceptable. If you have an extreme allergy to dairy, shellfish, eggs or anything else, or even if you feel very strongly about the matter, asking the restaurant what steps they take to avoid cross-contamination is advised.
Q. Are there lots of vegan restaurants?
Yes, and more and more are being opened virtually every day. The vast majority of decent-sized cities and towns in the UK have got at least one dedicated vegan restaurant, with many more in the suburbs and more still that, whilst not 100% vegan, are at least vegan friendly (in that they have a decent selection of meals suitable for vegans).
Q. Is it easy for a vegan to eat out?
Once again, yes! With so many purely vegan restaurants to choose from, if you are eating with other vegans, or at least not dedicated meat-eaters, then you will have no problem at all. If you have not chosen the restaurant and are at a “normal” (for want of a better word) restaurant, then the vast majority of restaurants should have at least a couple of vegan options and some will offer a really good range of excellent plant-based dishes. Often this will be purely for commercial reasons but even so, it at least means more choice for vegans.
Q. Should I tell the restaurant I am vegan when I book?
Obviously, if you are eating at a fully vegan eatery then this is not necessary. If it is a restaurant that serves non-vegan food as well then this cannot hurt, especially if you are especially concerned about cross-contamination.
Even if you are not, if you have not seen the menu, or you have and do not like the look of the vegan options, calling ahead can be a good idea. If they do not offer any vegan options you can change your plans, or an accommodating kitchen has advance notice and can make something for you. There is certainly no harm done by calling ahead.
Q. Are vegan restaurants expensive?
Some parts of society and the media like to paint veganism as an option only for elite Hollywood types and the wealthy. If we can generalise massively, the truth is that plant-based foods are cheaper than animal options.
Obviously, that will not be the case if you compare organic asparagus with bargain-basement turkey twizzlers, or world-leading Japanese strawberries with the cheapest sausages at the cheapest supermarket. But, in general, plants are cheaper than animal products and, in general, vegan restaurants are cheaper than omnivorous ones.
Q. Does vegan “fine dining” exist?
Yes, it does! We have already mentioned ONA (the name comes from Origine Non-Animale, animal-free origin) which has a Michelin star but there are also vegan tasting menus offered by a number of the best restaurants in the world, including Michelin-starred establishments, such as Simpsons and the Pollen Street Social. With reference to the question above, these are (as far as we are aware) always cheaper than the restaurant’s tasting menus that include meat, seafood, cheese and so on.
Q. Can I get a great vegan burger?
There are so many great vegan burgers out there and if you are a burger fiend you will have no problem getting hold of a cracking plant-based burger in a restaurant. In fact, such burgers from the likes of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are mainstays of the menus of many non-vegan restaurants.
Q. What about fish and chips?
Vegan fish, sometimes called vish, is a growing area of vegan cuisine and there are a range of vegan fish and chips options. These are less common in restaurants but we expect that to change in the coming years.
Q. Is alcohol in restaurants vegan?
Many alcoholic drinks are naturally vegan, including most spirits and many modern, craft beers. Most restaurants will label beers, ciders and wines as vegan on the menu if they are. If in doubt just ask as most restaurants these days will have at least some vegan drinks options, simply because there are so many being made.
Q. Can I get a good dessert at a vegan restaurant?
Once again the answer is a resounding yes! Whilst many desserts do contain dairy, eggs or other non-vegan items, and often all of the above, it is perfectly possible to make a sensational vegan dessert. There are loads of vegan chocolates, vegan ice creams and brilliant vegan cake recipes, as well as more obvious fruit-based options too. If you have sweet tooth, fear not!