My year in London has come to an end, and, in some ways, it’s been the best year of my life. Although this year has been about a whole lot more than food, I definitely made it my mission to try as many great plant-based and plant-eater-friendly places as I could.
I’ve decided to share with you here my favorite food spots from this year. On the one hand, because I’ve been getting more frequent requests for recommendations, and, on the other, because I want to relive some of the most glorious food moments from this past year instead of rechecking the footnotes for my dissertation.
Some places you may have been to or heard of, but I’m willing to bet you haven’t tried my insider tip 😉 (Warning – it’s a long scroll down!)
This was THE first plant-based place I tried out in London, and it will always have a special place in my foodie heart. It is wonderfully decorated, bright, full of plants, the staff is friendly, and the menu is full of incredible things from the Earth bowls (the Middle Eastern is the best), pancakes, waffles, pizza, the epic Nice Cream Brownie Sundae and the even more epic Sticky Toffee Pudding (probably my favorite dessert I’ve ever had – just saying 😉 ). It’s almost 100% plant-based [there are one or two dishes with eggs] and the desserts are refined sugar-free. They also have amazing drinks (definitely try the Adaptogenic Latte – and maybe go for a syringe shot if you need an extra boost?).
Note: It gets really busy on weekends for brunch – aim to go 20-30 min before you actually want a table.
I actually discovered it on Google Maps while getting directions for Farmacy, as the Notting Hill Redemption is just around the corner from it (there’s another near Old Street Station). Everything is plant-based, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and, most importantly, delicious! I’ve loved everything from the Buddha Bowl pictured below, the Tokyo Salad to the buckwheat pancakes and the best (!) banoffee pie. The only thing I haven’t liked is their pulled jackfruit burger, which was too smokey for me, but everything else has been incredible. As they don’t serve alcohol they also have tons of interesting mocktails.
FED by Water
This is the place for vegan Italian food – the menu features all kinds of fantastic options, notably pizza and pasta. The first time I went I had the Tricolore pizza (with broccoli cream, asparagus, homemade cashew mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes, topped with mixed seeds) – you get the choice between a white, green (hemp) or black (charcoal) base as well as soft or crispy! (This only affects how soon they take it out of the oven). I had the soft charcoal one and it was a DREAM. This is also where I held my farewell dinner with some of the amazing people I’ve met over the year, and everyone was most impressed by the quality – and quantity! – of the food. The Erba Fresca (pictured below: tomato sauce, homemade cashew-mozzarella, smoked tofu, capers, leccio olives and wild rocket) that I had on a soft hemp base was absolutely divine!
This is a really lovely little place near Chalk Farm with an intimate feel and, it seems, an all-vegan menu. There are dishes with all kinds of influences – Italian, Asian, Mexican, Caribbean, as well as the option to build your own dish out of the delicious sides. Too much choice! I had the quinoa maki rolls and the incredible (!) buffalo cauliflower tostada. I also tried some of my boyfriend’s flavorful caribbean platter. Dessert couldn’t be passed over with Sticky Toffee Pudding on the menu! Although the Farmacy one I had later actually topped this one, it was still fantastic and an absolute must!
Deliciously Ella Deli (formerly the Mae Deli)
This was one of the places I was most excited about visiting when I moved to London, as I’d been fervently cooking my way through Ella’s recipes. There are three delis meanwhile: Seymour Place, Weighhouse Street and The Kitchen Counter in Herne Hill. The menu changes over time, but popular items do, luckily, make appearances again. My absolute favorite dishes are the butter bean and cauliflower falafels (I ate 46 of them over the course of a 4-day festival where I worked for the Deli – don’t judge me until you’ve tried them!) and the apricot and lentil dhal. There are also delicious desserts and lattes (the turmeric is the best I’ve had anywhere).
Jaz & Jul’s Chocolate House
This little gem is located in Chapel Market near Angel. Run by lovely ladies mad about chocolate, there are lots of hot chocolate options (my favorite is the Madagascar 100% with almond milk), chocolate to buy, as well as amazing brunch options such as vegan french toast, waffles with peanut butter, banana and chocolate sauce and also smoothies with granola. It’s not fully vegan, but there are many options, including some of the cookies and cakes on display. (Also, can we just appreciate how photogenic their food is?!)
I’ve written about this awesome little pizza joint near West Brompton before, in my post on plant-based pizza in London, so check that out for more information. Let me just say that their Vegan Temptation (vegan mozzarella, kale, broccolini, almond ricotta and blueberries) is probably my favorite pizza in the world. They have a variety of bases to choose from, and my go-to is the hemp, which is such a delight.
Be aware that there’s hardly any seating, so it’s more of a take-away option.
Malibu Kitchen (The Ned)
Incredibly flavorful and healthy Californian food in a stylish atmosphere. While not fully plant-based, it’s got great options and is absolutely perfect for taking non-vegan friends or family. I definitely recommend the forbidden rice bowl, the courgette and almond flatbread with tomatoes, olives and oregano (absolutely incredible!), and the raw chocolate tart is not to be missed! While I loved the raw chocolate tarts from Wildfood Cafe and 222 Veggie Vegan (both below), this one was definitely the most unique. The toasted buckwheat in the base gave it a wonderfully unusual note, in the best possible sense. (Sadly not the best lighting though, so no photo here).
This little zone of Zen is centrally located in Neal’s Yard and focuses on raw food. I’m not a huge fan of raw places, I have to say, except for when it comes to the dessert menu. Wildfood will always be dear to me, because of this epic raw chocolate tart (recipe is available here). The menu is seasonal and changes accordingly. The current dessert menu features a marvelous-sounding Salted Caramel Slice and Cosmic Blueberry Cheesecake.
Note – it’s quite small and does get popular, especially on weekends. A friend and I once waited over an hour to get a table for dessert (totally worth it, needless to say).
222 Veggie Vegan
Just down the street from Pickywops is this amazing fully plant-based restaurant. I had an incredible burger and a raw chocolate tart that rivaled the Wildfood Cafe one (above). This place is quite small, so I definitely recommend a reservation.
Located in Notting Hill (i.e. brunch central), this bright and modern place is great for smoothie bowls and avo toast. They also have a huge variety of juices (really loved the Ikigai – cucumber, aloe water, celery pineapple and lemon) and other enticing plant-based options like vegan sushi and matcha cheese cake.
Farm Girl Cafe
This is another Notting Hill brunch classic (expect a wait on the weekend). I’ve had the acai bowl, which was delicious but very expensive, totaling £12.50 (!) with the optional (not really, let’s be honest) toppings of almond butter and granola. The vegan donut is also fantastic, and there are so many amazing drinks to choose from – Butterfly (i.e. blue) Matcha anyone?
Mildred’s is always a great option. This vegetarian classic is in King’s Cross, Soho and Camden, and never disappoints. I’m obsessed with the hummus with rose harissa and super-soft chargrilled flatbread, and it’s also great for brunch – the quinoa, oat and blueberry waffles were a dream! There is definitely something for everyone here.
This fabulous little place in Chelsea has great acai bowls (I went for the acai verde with cacao granola), salads and sandwiches, and sweet treats. This caramel bar was sinfully satisfying!!
This trendy nice cream haunt in Shoreditch is the place to be this summer – forget regular vegan ice cream (sorry Yorica), it’s all about the nanas. Nanabar serves delicious nice cream made from frozen bananas, nut butters, and not much else. The result is delicious, indulgent-tasting ice cream that leaves you feeling nourished and satisfied. Open all day, you literally can have this for breakfast, lunch, dinner (I’ve definitely done this on occasion), or as a snack. Favorite flavors: Peanut Butter Cup and Rocky Road – they now let you create your own flavors though, choosing between 5 bases (including salted peanut and cacao almond), various sauces and toppings.
Note: Their current location on Charlotte Rd is temporary (till the end of September), but keep your eyes peeled for where they relocate to next.
Currently a pop up but with a permanent location in the (hopefully near) future. They describe their vegan burgers as ‘soul-satisfying’, and I can 110% confirm that they deliver on this. The ‘MLT’, which I’ve had three times, is absolutely insane (walnut and sundried tomato pesto, mushroom and bean patty, incredible bun and vegan cheese); they also do truffle mac & cheese which I still want to try when I next get the chance! If you only ever have one burger again in your life, it’s got to be this one!
But speaking of burgers, these are also definitely worth a visit:
This little place in Soho serves incredible pulled jackfruit burgers! So messy to eat though, it’s not even funny.
This Brick Lane burger joint offers four different vegan burgers as well as some tasty sides (definitely go for the chickpea bites!). The Fillet-Om-Phish (battered aubergine, tartar sauce, nori seaweed, vegan cheese and lettuce) I had was so satisfying, and my friend was very happy with his jackfruit burger.
To stop this post from becoming longer than the dissertation I should be finishing off, let me keep it even shorter now. Just mentioning some other amazing places I also definitely recommend:
Cookies and Scream – forget healthy, this is serious vegan indulgence! The chico pie (basically a chocolate chip cookie pie) and the banoffee were to die for. They have a bakeshop in Holloway as well as a stall at Camden market.
The Gate – situated in Islington, near Marble Arch and Hammersmith, this vegetarian restaurant has delicious vegan options, including this blissful banoffee pie:
Raw Press – blueberry waffles and smoothie bowls – need I say more? (they also have a breakfast counter till 11 am).
26 Grains – known for porridge and all things ‘hygge’, they also do a mean beetroot hummus sandwich.
Salad Pride – right next to 26 Grains (Wildfood cafe is also nearby), great for salads, obviously, all day breakfast and they have a fridge full of yummy treats.
Ethos – a pay-by-weight vegetarian buffet near Oxford Circus; also a beautiful space.
Tibits – another pay-by-weight vegetarian buffet, off Regent Street. I prefer this to Ethos actually, but haven’t been as much, as I know it from Switzerland.
Romeo’s Sugar-free Bakery – homestyle vegan pizza and some yummy vegan desserts (the brownie was delicious).
Nama – raw food place in Notting Hill; best hot chocolate (‘Chocolate Submarine’) and a fabulous dessert menu. I also really liked their very unique, raw pancakes and this wrap.
Leggero – a gluten-free Italian place in Soho with vegan options clearly labeled; I loved their hemp tagliatelle! (see my post on their relaunch).
Club Mexicana – I had the To-Fish Tacos at Wilderness Festival and was so impressed! The jackfruit burrito my friend had was also incredible.
Vx – this little vegan shop near King’s Cross has the most indulgent Salted Caramel Brownies.
Sushi Samba – great for special occasions; views over London, and there’s a vegan menu (you get better views from Duck and Waffle, also in Heron Tower, but at the cost of less plant-based-friendly fare).
Planet Organic – they deserve a mention for their amazing lattes (matcha and pitaya are my favorite, along with the superfood coffee) and this dreamy pitaya bowl. Note: they do a 10% student discount so make sure to make use of that if you can!
Good Life Eatery – not all vegan, but lots of great options like this Goodness Bowl (without the feta):
… and finally:
*Top Insider Tip*
Leather Lane Market is a Mon-Fri food market near Chancery Lane tube station, where you’ll find the ultimate falafel wrap! It tastes so fresh and homemade, is bursting with flavor and absolutely enormous – such great value at only £3.50! I’ve literally been having it every Tuesday and Friday for the past weeks, after my workout classes (my Gymbox was perfectly situated on Leather Lane). It’s sold by Kitchen8, (light green stand at the end of the market, close to Clerkenwell Rd), which also has a permanent location nearby (17 Elm St). You can also create your own salad box (not sure how many of the options are vegan, but there is usually sweet potato, hummus and lots of veg) – during ‘happy hour’ (around 2 pm) you get a salad box for only £3.
There is an Italian vegan stall at the other end of the market (close to where Leather Lane meets Greville St) with delicious grilled polenta and beans, as well as wraps with, usually, lentils and avocado.
I’ve also had an incredible tempeh curry from this market, although this stall isn’t always there.
And, if you’re not full from that: the market also hosts Crosstown Doughnuts on Friday, who always have a vegan option (they have other locations that are open daily, but vegan donuts are currently only available Fri/Sat/Sun). The chocolate truffle one was sheer bliss – it contains coconut oil, chia seeds, oat milk and silken tofu, and tastes like a proper donut, but without making you feel gross. Don’t leave it too late, though, or they’ll have sold out!
That’s it for this year folks! I think I only just realized how much food I actually ate…
I hope you enjoyed reading yourself into a food coma and please let me know if you try any of these places or have any recommendations of your own. I definitely will be back to London, ready for my next foodie adventures. Till then, I’ll be seeing what Switzerland has to offer 😉