I have a big family and getting everyone together can sometimes be difficult. Luckily we all share a love of good food. Meeting up therefore usually involves one of us cooking for each other, birthday dinners, or just catching up over the table at a favourite restaurant. However, having such a close-knit extended family means that there is inevitably a wide range of different dietary requirements and preferences. This means finding a restaurant, which not only has great and generally affordable food but also caters for everyone, from vegetarian to vegan to full- out carnivore is a necessity.
So to mark the end of #NationalVegetarianWeek, I thought I would share some of my family’s favourite veggie friendly restaurants in London.
To celebrate my father’s 70th birthday last year I wanted to find a relaxed yet sophisticated restaurant and The Manor really hit the spot! The Dairy and The Manor are sister restaurants in Clapham and both create the most beautiful seasonal dishes. Some of the vegetables are even grown on the roof of The Dairy! The plates are beautifully presented and really do justice to the fantastic seasonal produce. The Manor was also very accommodating to dietary requirements and was able to cleverly adapt the veggie tasting menu to be egg-free for my aunt.
- The Providores – Contemporary Fusion ££
This is without doubt my favourite restaurant in London! I’ve been a huge fan of Peter Gordon since the 90s and the Sugar Club days so I was thrilled when this all day eatery opened in Marylebone. It’s open all day and is great for lunch and dinner or even just for a coffee and snack. The downstairs restaurant ‘Tapa Room’ is equally fantastic. However, it has a no booking policy, which means you run the risk of queuing for up to an hour at busy times but if it’s not too busy I’d recommend waiting it out! The menu is a blend of Asian fusion and Mediterranean dishes and changes seasonally, which means there is always something new and exciting but old favourites firmly remain. I love their creative salads, soups and tortilla and always try to recreate them at home. The staff are also very good at adapting dishes to suit your individual dietary needs.
- The Grain Store – Quirky/ Vegetable Based/ Fusion ££
I always meet out of town guests here as it’s right by King’s Cross and the food is slick, inventive and is suitable for most dietary requirements. There are lots of vegan dishes such as the stunning Seaweed & vegetable dashi, mushrooms, gluten free pasta and citrus miso, which is a personal favourite!
- Nopi/ Ottolenghi - Middle Eastern/ Asian Inspired/ Sharing Plates ££
Nopi is the flagship branch of the Ottolenghi chain and while it is glossier than it’s more cafe like counterparts, the Middle Eastern inspired food is equally if not more stunning. The burrata with coriander seeds is amazing and there are also lots of tasty aubergine and butternut squash dishes suitable for vegans.
- Gauthier Soho – Modern French Cuisine £££
Classically French food is often a no go area for vegetarians but my cousin, a vegetarian and fantastic baker, introduced me to Gauthier Soho. They have an amazing vegetarian tasting menu featuring beautiful salads and a light and fresh risotto that is unlike any I’ve tasted. The refined restaurant setting and impeccable service are also perfect for impressing elderly relatives and those who can be hard to please and the desserts are to die for!
- The Modern Pantry – Grown- up Fusion ££
Anna Hansen trained with Peter Gordon so there is some similarity in the fusion style and concept of all day dining. I love the original restaurant in Clerkenwell as it’s inside a beautiful townhouse and the clean and minimalist interiors really compliment the fresh and vibrant dishes. There are delicious snacks such as tempura, which is always on the menu and a wide range of seasonal salads. Brunch and afternoon tea are also spectacular and great for celebrations!
- Murano – Modern Italian £££
Murano is a Mayfair classic and its stunning Italian food speaks for itself. I could easily fill myself up on the beautiful handmade bread and dips alone! But do make sure to save space for the next few courses! Although the dishes are Mayfair prices, the service is amazing and in my opinion, the experience is worth every penny. We went here for a vegetarian cousin’s 50th birthday and ever since then I’ve been looking for an excuse to go back!
- La Chapelle – Modern European £££
La Chapelle in Spitalfields is the third restaurant to be opened by acclaimed chef brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin. It sits in the most beautiful converted church and it is worth a visit just for a chance to see the building! Fittingly, the modern take on classical European food is as exquisite as the surroundings. Every dish is seasonal and I appreciated the special attention given to the wine pairing and the opportunity to sample different wines. I was lucky enough to go there for my cousin’s 40th and 50th birthdays and I’m hoping it will become somewhat of a family birthday tradition!
- Arabica Bar and Kitchen – Middle Eastern ££
Hiding underneath an old Victorian railway arch in Borough market, this lively and friendly restaurant features some of the best falafel I’ve had in London. It’s a great place to catch up with friends and family and share delicious plates of grilled vegetables, dips, pastries and salads (along with some cocktails!). They are also renowned for their amazing lemonade and the food and prices means that it is a good option for eating with children. Booking is necessary, which is testament to just how popular it is!