London restaurants where vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters can all eat well together
Eating out with a group of friends with diverse dietary needs can be a cause for some serious head-scratching. What do you do when some are vegetarian, some vegan and others barely touch their greens? Unfortunately, it often results in an unequal compromise where the plant-based eaters are left with a half-hearted salad while the meat-eaters have the entire menu to choose from.
It can be tough to convince lifelong carnivores to try something out of their comfort zone, meaning a full-on vegan restaurant might be a step too far. As part of World Vegetarian Day, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite places where veggies, vegans and meat-eaters can break bread together – and where the latter will be left staring in envy at the plant-based dishes being served up.
Dark Arts/I Will Kill Again, Homerton
Arch 216 27a Ponsford Street, E9 6JU
Open Weds – Sun 10am-4:30pm
It might be packed out every weekend, but this incredibly popular café serves up possibly the best veggie and vegan brunch options going in East London. As you might expect from a roastery, the coffee is exceptional, and the no-bullshit, tasty AF approach to the food makes it well worth the wait to get a table. Did we mention the vegan pastries?
Taco Queen, Peckham
191 Rye Ln, London SE15 4TP
Open Weds – Sat 12-4pm, 6-10pm, Sun 12-4pm
Reopened at the bottom of Rye Lane after a residency in Rye Wax, this Peckham establishment serves up homemade nachos and, in the words of Omnom Issue #1 interviewee Neil Pearson, ‘the best put together taco programme’ going. The menu is fairly evenly split between veggie/vegan and meat options, with the spicy tofu and battered avocado tacos both firm favourites among the Omnom team. While it gets busy during the evenings, the staff are super-friendly and you can grab a drink at the bar while you wait.
5 Brockley Cross, London SE4 2AB
Open Tues – Sat 5:30-10pm, Sun 4:30-9pm
Recently celebrating its third birthday, Masala Wala is a mother-daughter restaurant that celebrates the incredible flavours and ingredients found in Pakistani cuisine. Its seasonal menu focuses on no more than a few dishes at a time, with at least half of the main dishes veggie/vegan. Even better, all dishes are dairy and gluten-free – meaning there’s something for every palate.
279 Upper St, London N1 2TZ
Open Mon – Sat 12-11pm, Sun 12-10:30pm
Billed as ‘Vietnamese little plates with vegan options’, Nem Nem’s menu is split between a ‘regular’ meat- and fish-based menu and an equally sizeable vegan offering including tofu pancakes, vegan pho and homemade seitan. With generous portions and great flavours, this place is ideal for encouraging others to give a veggie/vegan dish a go alongside more familiar non-vegan plates.
The Birds, Leytonstone
692 High Road, Leytonstone, London, E11 3AA
Open Mon – Thurs 11pm-12am, Fri – Sat, 11am-1am, Sun 12pm-11pm
While there are loads of pubs in London that will serve good vegan options these days, The Birds is one of the few that leads with vegan on its menu. As well as a weekday burger and fries menu with vegan, vegetarian and a couple of meat options, they also serve up some of the best looking vegan roasts in London every Sunday. It’s also an Alfred Hitchcock-inspired bar, which can only be a good thing in our books!
Is there anywhere we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below…