Sustainable Gastronomy 3 minutes 19 April 2024

The Best Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in the UK

Embrace plant power with The MICHELIN Guide's recommendations of where to eat the best meat-free food

As more and more of us consider how we can connect with and protect the planet, now may be the perfect time to embrace the humble vegetable and all its culinary potential. So often shunned to the sidelines, vegetables are the base of some brilliant cooking, but are rarely given a starring role. Reducing our everyday meat and fish consumption is also a great way to respect and look after the planet. The following restaurants are a wonderful gateway into the world of vegetarian and vegan cooking, showing just how exciting plant-led cuisine can be.

Bubala, London

Situated in the bustling and trendy Spitalfields – with another site in central Soho – Bubala offers colourful Middle Eastern dishes and a relaxed atmosphere. The small plates range from oyster mushroom skewers to the obligatory falafel and hummus; the ‘Bubala Knows Best’ set sharing menu is the way to go if you want to sample as many dishes as possible, while the scaled-down ‘Bubala Mezze’ is available on weekday lunchtimes and offers great value. Both set menus come in vegetarian or vegan forms.

Gauthier – Soho, London

One of the country’s most formal and highly-priced vegan or vegetarian restaurants, this long-standing Soho spot comes from experienced Chef Alexis Gauthier, who transformed his entire business and approach to cooking after adopting a plant-based diet. There’s a creative streak running through the tasting menu – which is entirely vegan – as well as some more traditional French elements. Linen-laid tables and smooth, professional service add to the feeling of classical luxury that is rarely found in meat-free restaurants.

Hendersons, Edinburgh

This Edinburgh institution has been serving the city's vegetarian diners for over 60 years. Today, it's run by original founder Janet Henderson's grandson Barrie, who is pushing the restaurant forward in a new location near Bruntsfield Links. The cooking, which is almost entirely vegan, mines plenty of flavour from its plant produce, be it celeriac, beetroot or king oyster mushrooms. If you're a proud Scot, or just an avid haggis fan, then their vegan version is not to be missed. Come midweek for their £10 lunch deal, which is an absolute steal.

Hear from Barrie Henderson on his meat-free mission.

Land, Birmingham

Turnip is paired with kimchi, and onion with dashi, at this modern vegetarian restaurant with a discernible Asian influence. As you can guess from the name, the produce of the land is at the heart of the menu, with a highly seasonal approach taken to ensure its quality. Grab a seat at the raised rear table to see Head Chefs Adrian and Tony at work, helping those natural ingredients to shine using influences from across the globe. An intimate spot with sleek modern design, Land is nestled within the grand, Victorian-era Great Western Arcade in the heart of Birmingham.

Naïfs, London

South Londoners looking for plant-based cooking will be well looked after at this friendly vegan bistro. It adopts a relaxed and simple approach to dining, helping to create a homely feel perfectly befitting of a neighbourhood restaurant. Dishes from the set menu arrive all at once, with the likes of grilled shiitake mushrooms or braised golden beetroot on offer. Dishes prioritise bold, hearty flavours and are prepared with great care and pride, along with a few dashes of originality too. Their green credentials are boosted by produce coming largely from small farms, with much of it organic and grown using sustainable agricultural techniques.

Oak, Bath

If the reason you’re cutting down on your meat is to help the environment, then Oak should be the first stop on your list. As well serving a completely vegetarian menu, the restaurant also holds a Michelin Green Star – our award for role-model establishments that are leading the way in sustainable gastronomy. It’s a simple and friendly place, which adds to its appeal, as diners gather for a selection of sharing plates that ‘put the soil first’. Everything is done with the planet in mind, including the menu changing regularly to reflect the best seasonal produce available.

Prashad, Drighlington

Indian restaurants are often a great go-to for flavour-packed meatless dishes, and this colourful family-owned spot is no exception. For over 30 years, the Patel family have run Prashad with love and pride, using their Gujarati heritage to guide the menu. Head Chef Minal has taken the cooking from strength to strength since her arrival, being awarded a Bib Gourmand along the way. The solely vegan and vegetarian dishes offer big, authentic flavours with some beautifully judged spicing and an appealing price tag. Ingredients are sourced locally where possible to enhance the restaurant’s commitment to sustainability.

Tendril, London

‘Mostly vegan’ is how a lot of people striving for a plant-based diet probably describe themselves, and this West End spot echoes the sentiment with its veg-led cooking that is fully vegetarian and about 90% vegan too. The menu is designed for sharing, comprised of small plates that fuse influences from around the world – including chipotle mushroom skewers, ‘Chinatown’ purple potatoes and grilled celeriac with kimchi. For those yet to go ‘full vegan’, the baked brie will be mightily appealing.

Vanderlyle, Cambridge

If you want to cut down on your meat but don’t want to lose the joys of a multi-course tasting menu, then this restaurant fits the bill. Chef Alex Rushmer has brought a local and sustainable ethos to the 10 course vegetarian menu, which changes monthly to make the most of fresh seasonal produce. Sparks of imagination and originality light up dishes that also boast an impressive purity of flavour. In an interesting twist on the wine flight format, you can choose between soft or alcoholic pairings to complement your food.

Hero Image: Tendril

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