By Sam Cohen
Vegetarianism is rapidly growing in popularity as people wake up to the devastating ethical and environmental effects of meat farming. There are now 1.14 million vegetarians aged 15 and over in Britain, and veganism has grown by 360% in the last ten years – and even those who don’t want to transition to a completely meat-free diet are moving towards a more plant-based style of eating. A flexitarian, or semi-vegetarian diet is no longer derided as ‘vegetarianism with cheating’ but is seen as a realistic, sustainable diet which is to be encouraged at all costs. It’s predicted to be the biggest food trend of 2017.
But this cultural shift doesn’t mean that eating out is always easy. While London does have several very good vegetarian-only restaurants, if you’re eating in a mixed group with meat-eaters, it’s not so easy to find somewhere worthwhile. Too often, the vegetarian option is limited to one or two sad-looking salads or wilting soy escalopes. So we’ve put together a list of the best restaurants in London for groups including vegetarians – which make eating vegetarian a pleasure, rather than a compromise.
La Bodega Negra, Soho
Mexican food is always a great option for vegetarians, and La Bodega Negra is a fun, fresh take on the classic cuisine in the heart of Soho. The décor is as bold as the cuisine, with sex-shop inspired neon signs and embellishments – but after a few bites of your meal, you won’t even notice your attention-grabbing surroundings. Vegetarian highlights include Quesadilla Rustica, with quarto queso, roasted tomato &epazote, char-roasted mushroom tacos and cactus tostadas. It’s a little pricier than our other options but you certainly won’t go hungry, and neither will your carnivore companions.
Banana Tree, Angel
Banana Tree has multiple locations across London (and a few outside), but the Angel branch is our personal favourite. So much more than your typical Thai restaurant in Angel, Banana Tree serves cuisine from across the entire Indochina region, so expect all your favourites (Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, Malaysian and more!) in one place. But best of all, Banana Tree offers a full, separate menu of vegetarian options. Choose from regional specialities like Chilli, Ginger and Basil Stir Fry, tasty Blackened Monks Noodles or Tamarind Spicy Aubergine – and more. With highly reasonable prices and a plethora of options to choose from, this is a guaranteed people-pleaser.
Jai Krishna, Finsbury Park
This unassuming little café in Finsbury Park has become a North London cult classic due to its astonishingly low prices, authentic Indian cuisine, delicious dishes and extensive vegetarian menu. You wouldn’t expect much from the décor, but this hidden gem hides a seriously talented chef, and with rock-bottom prices you can order plenty to share. Our favourites include the Nut Cutlet, PaneerDosa and Mixed Beans Curry.
Whatever your favourite type of cuisine and whichever area you’re heading to, we’ve got you covered –these London restaurants all offer a fantastic array of vegetarian options. So no more bickering amongst mixed dietary need groups – there’s something to please everyone here!