The popularity of veganism in the UK is hard to ignore. In fact, according to Sainsbury’s Future of Food Report 2019, one quarter of the entire British population are set to be vegetarians and vegans by 2025.
Far gone are the days where vegan diets were stereotyped as a boring blend of salads, vegetables, lentils, and chickpeas. Now, supermarkets and restaurants are stacked full of tasty plant-based alternatives.
With this in mind, we’ve listed 10 of the best vegan-friendly cities across the UK. From hearty brunches and sweet treats, through to fine dining and takeaways, there’s always something new and exciting to try.
1. Brighton and Hove
While you might think that veganism has only come into play in recent years, the southern city of Brighton and Hove has been home to various vegan restaurants for over 30 years. Brighton has acquired a reputation for being one of the best areas for vegan eating and has various restaurants with menus built entirely on plant-based foods.
The Roundhill is an exclusively plant-based gastropub with a charming atmosphere. Everything on the menu is freshly prepared and changes with the seasons. Alternatively, family-owned Smorl’s Kitchen in Brighton’s Open Market is another favourite. Their entirely vegan menu features delicious dishes including homemade falafel, Hasselback sweet potatoes, filled pitas, and colourful salad bowls.
Other highlights include Planet India where advance booking is advised due to its high popularity, and Purezza – the UK’s first vegan pizzeria which serves an exciting range of Italian plant-based dishes cooked by top Italian chefs.
Glasgow is an ever-evolving scene of vegan restaurants and eateries. Rose & Grants offers everything from a full English vegan fry up, to sweet treats that are perfect for a quick coffee break. Judging by reviews, their vegan version of the Scottish favourite square sausage is a must-try.
Suissi Vegan Asian Kitchen serves a fun sharing-style menu with everything from vegetable gyozas and spring rolls, to Thai curries and sweet and sour mushrooms. If you have a four-legged friend with you, then consider The 13th Note which is an entirely vegan bar, cafe, and live music venue that welcomes dogs. So much so in fact that staff are happy to supply beds, biscuits, water bowls, and hugs!
For fine dining, award-winning restaurant Red Onion is worth a visit. It’s popular for casual gourmet dining and has an extensive vegan menu alongside the à la carte. Alternatively, set in a gorgeous Victorian terrace townhouse is Hotel Du Vin & Bistro which offers various vegan options made from the best local Scottish produce.
If you fancy a more casual takeaway, there’s plenty of options to choose from. From tasty burgers and loaded fries at Trusty Buck’s, to vegan chippy spin-offs like aubergine fritters and Tofish and chips from HOOKED Fish & Chips.
Although it’s known as the UK’s best-preserved medieval city, Norwich’s historic roots don’t stop it from also being a top destination for the modern vegan trend. In fact, there’s even a group in the city known as Norwich Vegans, which was founded in 2014 and has played a huge role in the rapidly expanding popularity of veganism in the city.
Located in the heart of Norwich is The Tipsy Vegan, which serves world-inspired vegan dishes. With a main focus on tapas and sharing boards, guests can enjoy a range of delicious nibbles like slider burgers, mushroom tacos, chorizo croquettes, and sundried tomato arancini.
Moorish Falafel Bar offers a delicious vegan menu inspired by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours. Alternatively, if you fancy some Indian cuisine, then why not head down to Namaste Village? Alongside the delicious plant-based Indian family recipes that it serves, Namaste Village is also a great destination for a few cocktails or mocktails.
If you’re after a quick bite, then you could head to Tofueri, which is a vegan deli, coffee shop, and the UK’s first micro soya dairy. It claims to transform the ‘humble bean into wondrous things’ and offers various drinks and snacks including pizza, (soy)sage rolls, chocolate, ice cream, and cakes. If you’re after a classic takeaway, then consider choosing Great Wall, which serves delicious vegetarian Chinese dishes.
Newcastle is a popular city famous for its industrial heritage and vibrant nightlife. Luckily, it’s also home to many vegan restaurants with fun and imaginative menus too.
Little Green Social is a family-run health bistro and food shop. Its fully vegan menu is stocked with locally sourced and organic ingredients, offering delicious dishes from mac and cheese, to vibrant salad bowls, and sesame baked tofu. In the heart of the city just a one-minute walk from the station is Super Natural Cafe, which is another favourite. It’s a great place to grab a light breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Plus, if you visit on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, it transforms into a fun music venue too.
Other highlights include The Ship Inn where the fully vegan menu is consistently met with top reviews. Various independent restaurants also cater to plant-based eaters. Zapatista is the place to go for Mexican food, while Ury offers delicious Indian cuisine – and at Pani’s Cafe Bar you’ll find a delicious spread of Italian food with a Sardinian twist.
Newcastle is also host to a few vegan-inspired events. Vegan Festival UK (VFUK) for example, is a family-run, multi-award-winning vegan festival with interesting speakers, information, and a huge selection of vegan food, drinks, and clothing. The festival is usually held annually in November.
Whether you’re in Belfast for a city break or a day trip to its renowned Titanic museum, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to vegan-friendly eateries. If breakfast is your favourite meal of the day, then head down to Maggie Mays, which serves all-day breakfast and dinner. Their five delicious vegan milkshakes are also the perfect fix to wash your food down with.
Jumon offers a delicious Asian plant-based menu centered on healthy balanced food and drink. And Baba – where half the menu is dedicated to vegan dishes – is the place to head for Eastern Mediterranean mezze and charcoal-grilled food.
If you’re looking for something a bit more formal, then celebrated chef Michael Deane’s Michelin star restaurant Deanes EIPIC is one for the list. Though the vegan options aren’t as extensive, they do offer some mouth-watering plant-based options on their tasting menu.
And of course, a list of top eateries in Belfast wouldn’t be complete without the appearance of a traditional Northern Irish pub. Hidden away in the oldest quarter of Belfast is The Cloth Ear – a vegan-friendly bar that celebrates the city’s rich Victorian heritage. They offer everything from comfort curries and tempura veggies, to fun fishbowl cocktails.
Although the vegan trend seems to have only taken the world by storm in recent years, in Leicester it can actually be traced back much further. Interestingly, the word ‘vegan’ was coined in Leicester in 1944 when the Vegan Society was established by first vegan activist Donald Watson.
In line with its plant-based roots, the vegan food scene in Leicester is fun, vibrant, and full of choice. For some wholesome vegan food made from scratch at a reasonable price, head down to The Good Earth. It’s an independent, family-run restaurant in the heart of the city and has been a favourite with locals since it first opened in 1965.
Another place to grab some delicious fresh vegan food is Healthy Louisa which features everything from tropical smoothies and buddha bowls full of rainbow veg, to curried chickpeas and tofu. Guests can also enjoy sitting in the restaurant’s swinging chairs while sipping on some top-notch coffee and cake.
Alternatively, if you’re after a bit of fine dining, consider heading to North Bar and Kitchen. It offers a modern British dining experience with a French twist. Even better, their vegan tasting menu is available to pair with wine or gin tasting too.
Or, if you fancy eating somewhere with scenic views, then Prana Cafe is a good option. It’s set in a beautiful Grade II listed historic building and serves delicious vegan food full of organic ingredients.
Bristol is home to one of the highest concentrations of vegan eaters in the UK, and restaurants across the city have upped their game accordingly. From exclusively vegan restaurants and cafes, through to fun food markets and the nation’s first vegan vending machine, Bristol isn’t short of plant-based options.
For a quick takeaway lunch, The Spotless Leopard is a long-standing popular vegan food truck. With chai-latte cakes, cinnamon rolls, and plant-based reuben sandwiches, the food here is enough to get anyone’s mouth watering.
Or if you’re still not convinced, then head to Koocha, which has been dubbed one of the best places for converting meat-eaters. Its entirely vegan menu is full of Persian mezze plates, seitan kebabs, and Persian-themed cocktails – all complemented by the restaurant’s buzzy atmosphere.
Eat Your Greens (a cafe by day and restaurant by night) has a fun seventies vibe. You can grab hearty breakfasts full of hash browns, crispy tofu, and soy-sausages, or opt for some comfort foods like Hasselback new potatoes, confit jackfruit, and rich red onion gravy.
Other highlights include Fi Real – a Caribbean-inspired cafe offering delicious food, cakes, smoothies, and Caribbean drinks. And VX, where the entirely vegan menu of ‘ground beef’, ‘kebab meat’, and ‘chicken nuggets’ could easily leave guests a little puzzled, is the place to be for ultimate vegan ‘junk food’.
Cardiff is another great destination for vegan foodies. From replicas of traditional Welsh cakes, to Cardiff’s indoor food market, luckily the majority of hotspots are located in the heart of the city, so you can hop from one place to another.
Anna Loka was Cardiff’s first entirely vegan cafe and is still the go-to place for a varied choice of food. During the week you can grab all the burger, wrap, and hotdog favourites, or visit at the weekend to enjoy a hearty Sunday roast. With choice of either a nut or seitan roast, your meal will be topped with delicious roast potatoes, parsnips, Yorkshire puddings, seasonal vegetables, and homemade gravy.
If you’re heading out for breakfast, brunch, or just fancy a sweet treat, Blanche Bakery is the place to go. It offers made-to-order vegan cupcakes, croissants, cookies, and cakes, as well as a variety of sandwiches and specialty coffee. Alternatively, for a relaxed street-food theme, why not stop off at popular family-fun restaurant Got No Beef? It serves loaded fries, tots, wings, and all your other favourite fast foods.
Due to its impressive architecture and history, Edinburgh has long been a popular tourist destination. So it’s just another plus that the vegan food scene there is just as exciting.
There are many places to start the day right in Edinburgh for a hearty vegan breakfast. Black Rabbit offers vegan twists on breakfast classics like tofu benedict royale and buttery croissants, while Seeds For The Soul is popular for its breakfast wraps, avocado and ‘bacon’ on toast, and maple syrup pancakes. Alternatively, for a quicker on-the-go breakfast, Go Go Beets serve delicious vegan porridge topped with coconut milk, fruit compote, and seeds.
For a cosy cafe, consider trying Bites and Leaves, or Beetroot Sauvage, which both offer a range of lunch options and sweet treats. At Novapizza you’ll find a range of delicious Italian food topped full of vegan cheese, vegan pesto, vegan salami, and mozzarella. And Harmonium is an entirely vegan comfort food stop offering all the classics from pizzas, burgers, and macaroni cheese, through to inventive options like mushroom ‘scallops’.
If you’re just after a refreshing drink or something a bit different, you could head for a drink at Bellfield Brewery which is a vegan and gluten-free beer brewery and garden in the heart of the city.
As one of the greenest cities in Europe, it’s only fitting that Sheffield has upped its vegan game in recent years. It’s home to various vegan-friendly restaurants, as well as a supermarket that hosts one of the UK’s most extensive stockings of 100% vegan products.
South Street Kitchen is a great place to kickstart the day with a tasty vegan cake, specialty coffee, or an all day brunch. V or V is Sheffield’s first fully vegan and vegetarian restaurant. Suitable for brunch and dinner, it prides itself on dishes full of exciting flavours.
For a quick lunch, you won’t be disappointed by Middle Eastern restaurant Just Falafs, which serves an array of delicious falafel, shawarma, and tofu options in pitas and hummus bowls. Make No Bones is another favourite for Sheffield locals, which serves chicken-style burgers, wings, stew, pesto fries, and seitan ribs, as well as all vegan wine, beer, and cocktails.
If you fancy some Asian cuisine, then why not give Dishi a go? With a menu that changes daily centered on seasonal vegetables from local producers, there’s always something new to try. There’s also DANA Cafe, which serves an array of Indian and Mexican dishes, from bhajis and samosas, to sweet corn fritters with dips on the side.
The market for plant-based food is constantly on the rise. Luckily, the days of having to settle for bland salads are long gone as new and exciting vegan-friendly eateries continue to appear across the UK.
From hearty comfort food, to sweet treats, and award-winning restaurants celebrating worldwide cuisines, as this article has hopefully shown, vegan food is anything but boring.
For more vegan inspiration, why not check out our article, 10 sweet and savoury vegan dishes?
What are your favourite places for vegan food and drink? Have you discovered anywhere new recently? We’d love to hear from you. Join the conversation on the food and drink section of the Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below.