It’s a common misconception that eating out as a vegan is difficult – but the 350% increase in the number of people following a plant-based diet has meant that restaurants have had step up their game and cater, making it easier than ever before to eat out as a vegan.
More and more restaurants are offering vegan friendly dishes – whether it’s a whole separate menu or a couple of options, it’s all a step in the right direction. Whilst in some places it may still be limited to stereotypical dishes like falafels and hummus (that definitely doesn’t stop it from it being one of my favourites or prevent me from repeatedly ordering it), it’s so amazing to see plant-based diets gaining more recognition.
London is definitely a hot spot for vegan eateries but the rest of the country is finally starting to catch up as high street restaurants including Wagamamas, Pizza Hut, Cafe Nero and Costa have all launched vegan menus or options whilst most places are happily willing to make adjustments to cater for vegans.
Food is something that should be enjoyed in the company of others – there shouldn’t have to be a worry about whether the next family meal or girlie dinner out will be able to suit your dietary needs, and the increase in vegan friendly options means that it’s easier and more stress free than ever before to eat out. I’ve rounded up the top 5 vegan friendly restaurants along with my favourite starter, main, side and dessert from each, to make eating out on a plant-based diet as easy as possible.
The local pub is probably the last place that you would expect to be able to get a delicious plant-based meal, but it’s become my favourite. Vintage Inns are located nationwide and offer a vegan menu that is definitely a step up from traditional pub food; they offer such a variety of different dishes and everything is always so good! I’m slowly making my way through their menu and can vouch that the chickpea burger, wholefood salad, falafels and roasted vegetable tart are all incredible. And their dessert selection never fails either, with alternatives to your traditional favourites including panna cotta and apple pie. It’s a great location for a family meal or group outing as it’s well suited to those who aren’t plant-based too – as a family we visit a particular location regularly and we’re always so impressed with how good the food, drinks and service are and so when we recently tried another of their locations we weren’t surprised at the fact that we yet again couldn’t fault it.
- Starter: pine nut and carrot falafels
- Main: wholefood winter salad
- Side: roasted sweet potato and butternut squash
- Dessert: pecan tart with coconut sorbet
Everyone knows this high street chain – with takeaway or sit in options, it’s a great choice if you’re heading out for lunch. With veggie Pret stores which exclude meat and fish completely alongside an expanding vegan menu, there’s something to suit everyone – with a focus on healthy and fresh ingredients they offer a range of lunch options from sandwiches to salads and their own plant-based take on mac and cheese. Most days they offer a vegan friendly soup and they most recently launched their vegan cookie which caused quite a bit of excitement.
- Starter: carrot and coriander soup
- Main: mac and greens
- Side: crisped kale
- Dessert: chocolatey coconut bite
Italian food has got to be one of the best and although a lot of dishes are traditionally based around cheese, Zizzi’s offers an ever-expanding range of vegan alternatives which makes enjoying Italian food on a plant-based diet so easy and delicious. Their vegan menu first launched in 2016 and they really are the high street chain that keeps on giving, as they continue to add more new dishes – most recently launching their own vegan Christmas menu. Famed for their chocolate dessert tart and customisable pizzas, this is a great one if you’re heading out for a girlie dinner.
- Starter: garlic bread
- Side: tuscan potatoes
- Dessert: vegan dessert calzone
You can’t go wrong when it comes to a good pizza – Pizza Express were one of the first high street chains to offer a vegan cheese alternative and have since expanded their range to include jackfruit pizza, dough balls, cake and there’s even a vegan espresso martini on offer too.
- Starter: dough balls
- Main: puttanesca (jackfruit) pizza
- Side: marinated olives
- Dessert: carrot cake
A chicken restaurant might not be the first place you’d think of going to as a vegan, but Nandos have added several veggie and vegan friendly options to their menu over the past year. They offer everything from salads to burgers, wraps and pittas – just remember to ask for no mayo. Classic sides like their corn on the cob can easily be veganised by asking for no butter and their sweet potato wedges are an absolute dream.
- Starter: houmous with peri peri drizzle
- Main: supergreen burger
- Side: sweet potato wedges
- Dessert: mango gelato
Where are your favourite vegan friendly restaurants? I love hearing your recommendations so let me know in the comments below and if you try any of these, don’t forget to tag me in your photos on Instagram using @nourishingyas or #nourishingyas.