Plant-based eateries are becoming increasingly popular. As a nation, we’re growing evermore concerned with our health and the impact our food has on the environment. And with popularity growing, it’s no surprise that the standard of plant-based food on offer is also increasing.
We’ve taken a look at the best plant-based restaurants and cafes across the country. Here’s our definitive guide to some of the yummiest plant-based, environmentally friendly and cruelty-free grub you can find!
What is a Plant-Based Diet? Isn’t it the Same as Veganism?
If you’re thinking about a plant-based diet you may find many conflicting ideas of what this means. The main consensus is that it consists of foods derived from whole foods and plant sources. These include fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, legumes and nuts.
So far, so vegan. But whereas a vegan might eat processed foods such as Quorn burgers, someone on a plant-based diet would tend to exclude these foods as they’re processed, and not whole. This is usually for reasons of health.
When following a specialist diet, it can be difficult to eat out with friends and family. But with the popularity of plant-based diets on the rise there are now many high quality restaurants that everyone can enjoy. There’s food so delicious that even your meat eating mates will want to go back time and again.
Plant-Based Dining Around the UK
Here’s our roundup up of some of the best restaurants in the UK offering fresh, plant-based food.
Hendersons – Edinburgh
Hendersons is the UK’s longest running vegetarian restaurant. It has been serving veggie goodness since 1962. They now also have a fully vegan bistro and an online shop. A popular choice is the baked potato with a choice of three salads from the extensive salad bar. Another firm favourite is the vegan haggis and root mash! When in Scotland…
El Piano – York
Awarded York ‘Cafe of the Year’ four years running, El Piano is not to be missed. They offer exclusively plant-based food which is also gluten free. With a cookery school, cookbook, B&B, shop and takeaway menu, El Piano is most definitely leading the way in plant-based dining experiences in the North of England. You can be satisfied that your tasty meal is as locally derived as possible too. The menu includes a key indicating the percentage of your meal that was sourced within 30 miles.
Milgi – Cardiff
With a specifically plant-based menu, Milgi focuses on “everyday eating and creating dishes that are satisfying and flavour rich”. They have dishes bursting with flavour, such as their very own Migli Thali. There is also a popular lunch offer with a build your own wholefood bowl for £6.50 – what a bargain!
The Warehouse Cafe – Birmingham
The Warehouse Cafe is committed to sustainability and recycling as well as plant-based food. They even use bicycle couriers and deliver ‘on foot’ to cut down on emissions. They are also trialing a new scheme whereby they use “allotment produce gifted by friends and supporters”. This plan will enable The Warehouse to give absolute clarity on their supply chain and the locality of their produce. This will enable fresh produce “from earth to kitchen within an hour of harvesting”. You can’t get fresher than that!
The South West
Rabbit – Exeter
Rabbit is the first cafe in Exeter to be completely plant-based. Their menu enticingly comprises of ‘Vice’ and ‘Virtue’ options. This allows diners to decide whether they go naughty or nice when choosing from the equally delicious meals. Their cakes have earned them a place on Peta’s list of top 12 Vegan Sweet Treats across the UK.
The South East
Purezza – Brighton
Founded in 2015, Purezza was the first Vegan pizzeria in the UK. By their own admission they are “revolutionising Italian food through cruelty free ingredients”. They offer pizzas to rival their traditional alternatives and if the reviews are anything to go by they’re achieving that and then some. Purezza also has a new London restaurant in Camden.
Happy Friday Kitchen – Oxford
Oxford’s only 100% vegan restaurant, Happy Friday Kitchen has a menu inspired by Californian plant-based comfort food. Cosy menu options include mac and cheese, pizza and burgers.
Farmacy Kitchen – Notting Hill
Farmacy Kitchen offers complete plant-based meals free from additives, refined sugar and chemicals. Their dishes are inspired by cuisine from around the world. Choose from a full English breakfast, a selection of probiotic jars or a huge spread for the perfect brunch – something Farmacy is famous for. Whilst you’re there, why not indulge in some goodness with one of their ‘syringe shots’.
Temple of Seitan – Camden and Hackney
Recommended by Vogue, Temple of Seitan is a known hotspot for vegan fast food. They make delicious – and infamous – fried “chicken”. Of course, the chicken is not made of chicken; it’s seitan, a vegetable protein that mimics the texture of meat. If you haven’t tried this plant-based alternative to soya then this is the place to go. But, as the queue is often round the block, be prepared to wait!
Mildred’s – Soho, Camden, King’s Cross and Dalston
This popular vegetarian restaurant has had over 20 years of success and it’s Dalston branch is home to the Moving Mountains B-12 burger. Other notable dishes include the sweet potato curry and the mushroom and ale pie. From very small beginnings in the 80’s Mildred’s has now grown to four outlets across London. Be sure to give them a visit.
These selections are merely scratching the surface of what’s available in the way of quality, flavoursome, plant-based dining. We encourage you to try some of these out and be inspired to recreate some dishes at home this summer. Perhaps take some doubtful friends along with you and who knows? You may have some converts on your hands by the time they are full of delicious plant-based goodness!