There are many amazing places for vegan food in London – we’re so lucky! As someone who likes their food, whilst I don’t eat out a lot, I often enjoy meals out with my vegan sister, Rosie. And because she often comes into my area to meet, we’ve visited a fair few restaurants. I have to check that for each one, they definitely do vegan options; it’s only polite. So I’ve rounded up my favourite vegan food in Islington from take-aways, to pizza and pasta, and ice cream!
Whether you’re vegan or just keen to reduce your animal product intake, there are so many more options around than before. And lots of them do veggie and meat options too if your dining companion isn’t persuaded to ditch the animal products entirely.
Little Viet Kitchen
I first met Thuy at a Supper Club at her house and it’s been fantastic to see her first branch out into Supper Clubs at local bistros and gastropubs before opening up The Little Viet Kitchen on Chapel Market. With a gorgeous interior (she’s the only person I know who would, against all odds, have flooring on the ceiling to match her vision!) and intimate setting, the flavours are fresh and authentic. But that doesn’t mean it’s boring. There’s things on the menu which I’ve not seen before at a typical Vietnamese restaurant as Thuy loves to add her own personal twist to dishes. I’ve had their vegan pho and tofu lunch bowls before which were both delicious, as well as several other non-vegan items on the menu.
Top tip: Items on the menu do change seasonally so call up before to make sure there’s something to suit your taste before you go.
The Little Viet Kitchen is at 2 Chapel Market, London N1 9EZ.
The Blacksmith & The Toffee Maker
The one time I’d been to this pub several years before, the menu was pretty meaty! So it’s interesting to be back and see what their fully vegan menu has in store. For Veganuary 2018, they decided to try a vegan menu and it proved so popular, it’s now here to stay. Hurrah! With ‘cheese’ sandwiches, ‘chicken’ burgers, mac and cheese sandwiches and more, it’s an establishment which is high on comfort food. The menu is small but it all looks very tasty! I tried their Green Mac and Cheese and Rosie had their ‘Chicken’ burger. I’m keen to see whether their menu changes seasonally too, as it looks like it could be a bit heavy for summer.
The Blacksmith & The Toffee Maker is at 292-294 St John St, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4PA
Formerly Stringray, this Highbury pizza and pasta restaurant is cosy with an ever expanding menu. Prices have risen (I fondly remember the days you could get a Margherita and beer for less than £7) but they’re not extortionate and have some great lunchtime deals. They’ve also added a good rage of vegan options, from carbonara to bolognaise, to Hawaiian and Mexicana pizza. There’s also a really tasty Superfood salad.
Top tip: Make sure you check out their specials as they often have a vegan option there too.
Dear Pizza is at 36 Highbury Park, Highbury East, London N5 2AA
Situated practically opposite The Little Viet Kitchen, this is a long-standing veggie establishment. I was taken here YEARS ago by a boy I was dating who was vegan (I was very much not impressed as at that time I couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to go without sausage and mash. Or chicken pie. Or fish and chips. Or cheese. And his cooking was terrible too. He also liked to wear tights and pirate hats. Which I was more impressed by.) This is definitely not fine dining but it’s an interesting place to go and is renowned for its all you can eat buffet for £7.95. Some dishes are veggie but the majority are vegan. All around the walls are signs and newspaper cuttings about the benefits of a vegan and veggie diet – so if the person you’re with is a little boring, you’ll have enough to keep you amused. The buffet selection is always changing so you may want to go several times…
Indian Veg is at 92-93 Chapel Market, N1 9EX
Rosa’s Thai Cafe
I first went to Rosa’s by Spitalfields and it became a firm favourite, mainly because Thai food is one of my favourite cuisines. It’s certainly not the cheapest Thai food around but it is consistently tasty. They have a number of veggie dishes on the menu which they’re happy to adapt for a vegan diet and whenever I’ve been here, I’ve only opted for the vegan options as they’re just as tasty as the non-vegan dishes. I have a fond memory of coming here with my little one when he was still too young to eat solids and him grabbing at the rice… I’m pretty sure he’s going to be a Thai fan too…
Rosa’s can be found in a variety of locations but the Islington branch is at
6 Theberton Street, Islington, London, N1 0QX
I feel like The Gate was one of the first successful high-end veggie restaurants in London. It took me several years to visit this place even though I lived so close by, but honestly, I wasn’t that ‘into’ veggie food all those years ago. I was also of the mindset that veggie food should be cheaper than meat dishes but I’ve since come to appreciate that that’s not the case at all. My priorities are now on tasty food, rather than an analysis of the ingredients.
I’ve been several times now to The Gate. I very much enjoy the creative dishes but have found a couple of the dishes a little on the salty side and when I went before Christmas I was served up an Eton Mess which was all cream and a tiny piece of (vegan) merengue. However, when I went there last for a post-Christmas meal with my father and the family, the food was delicious so maybe it was just an off-day. If it’s on the menu when you do go though, be sure to get the Dark Chocolate Snowball. It’s amazeballs.
The Gate Islington is at 370 St John Street, London, EC1V 4NN
Niche is a small understated little cafe on the corner facing The Gate. It’s USP is for its gluten-free offerings (the whole menu is gluten-free) but it also has a decent selection of vegan meals too. It describes itself as serving up ‘modern British comfort-food’. The food is good and whilst the decor is minimalist, it does seem to lack a cosiness which you’d expect for comfort food. However, I suspect that its interior design really comes alive in the summer months.
I tried the Glamorgan sausages, which are less like the traditional sausages that you might expect and more like oversized croquettes. I personally enjoyed them, especially with a side of crisp and crunchy chips (some of the best I’d had in a long time!) My sister went for the Superfood Salad which was humungous and it was so good, she didn’t want to share. We also had the Angel Pate and Butternut Squash soup to start with, both of which were very tasty (again, Rosie didn’t seem to want to share; always a sign of a good meal).
Niche is at 197-199 Rosebery Ave, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4TJ
Zing Zing is the only Chinese take-away on this list! I don’t normally think of Chinese take-aways as having particularly great veggie options, let alone vegan options but Zing Zing has decided to change all that. There’s 12 specifically vegan items on the menu and several other veggie options. You can have a proper vegan feast! We tried a whole bunch of dishes (ok, so we might have tried them all…) and absolutely loved the Miso Aubergine, Sweet Potato Rendang and the Sweet Sesame Tofu.
Find Zing Zing at 142 Blackstock Rd, London N4 2DX, or get them to deliver if you’re feeling lazy.
The first time I went to a Mildreds was YEARS ago at the Soho restaurant. It then took me several more years to get back there (I had several thwarted attempts as it was always too busy). I’ve since been several times to the one by Kings Cross and I firmly found my favourite dish – the Sri Lankan curry. I haven’t yet been able to order anything else… although I’ve done some dabbling with the starters and puddings. I’ve also just seen they’ve added a Katsu curry to their menu… I may have to stray from my usual to try that… The food and service is also consistently good.
There are several Mildreds restaurants around but the Kings Cross one is at 200 Pentonville Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9JP
Salt the Radish
This is a gorgeous little cafe, first opened in May 2018. It’s bright and airy inside and serves a whole host of dishes with fantastic names. For example, the Sophie Dahl anyone? Whilst their menu isn’t all vegan, they’ve got some tasty little numbers, including the avo on toast with vegan feta. Their Sophie Dahl is a big favourite with me too. They also serve up Kokoa hot chocolate (choose the dark option and nut milk to make it vegan) and have some tasty sweet treats too. It’s pretty packed on weekends so get there early if you want prime position. Prices are also very reasonable and you get a discount on your drinks if you share a photo of your food on Instagram!
Salt the Radish can be found at 45 Blackstock Road, London N4 2JF
This cafe sprawls out over several floors and has a nice back garden. Whilst their menu doesn’t have a lot of options for vegans, they do a full English which is pretty tasty. Called the Gandhi, it includes tomatoes, mushrooms, avocado, tofu, asparagus, homemade baked beans and sourdough toast for less than a tenner. It goes down a treat with fresh OJ. My only bugbear is that it comes served on a metal tray which cools down quickly and makes the rest of the food cold.
Blighty Cafe is at 35-37 Blackstock Rd, London N4 2JF
It’s dangerous having Udderlicious a 20 minute walk away. I always wondered just how long they’d last when they first opened up as let’s face it, an ice cream shop doesn’t do the best business in winter. Several years on, they’re still there and I’m so glad. Fun and quirky (they have a big chair swing inside), they are constantly changing their flavours (submit a new flavour and if you get your suggestion turned into an ice cream for the next month, you also win a whole stash of free ice cream. Hurrah!) and they have a great selection of vegan options. My favourite is the dark salted chocolate (apparently it’s a bestseller amongst everyone, not just vegans) but some of their sorbets are just too good too. Their staff always have a smile on their face and if you’re a proper ice cream fan, you can even order ice cream cakes (I’m going to move my birthday to the height of summer just so I can have one).
Udderlicious can be found at 187 Upper St, London N1 1RQ
I can’t believe I’ve not been here more. Especially as it’s just up the road from me. Rasa N16 is the first in the Rasa restaurant family and has twice won the Timeout Best Vegetarian Award. It’s small and cosy and has an extensive menu, with a specialism in South Indian food. Even though I’ve just had lunch as I’m writing this, it’s making me hungry. I can’t remember what I had when I went all those years ago, but I remember how tasty every single dish was – I think we went for the Kerala Feast (the best option to go for if you don’t know what you specifically want but kind of want everything…) Not all the food on the menu is vegan so make sure you ask first.
Rasa N16 can be found at 55 Stoke Newington Church Street London N16 OAR
Ginger & Lime Juice Bar
Ok, so not strictly a foodie place, this juice bar just has to deserve a mention. It has pretty much any juice or smoothie you can imagine and if nothing takes your fancy, you can make up your own. They have an easy to navigate menu which takes you through fruity options, super healthy options, breakfast smoothies (no 67 is a surprise favourite – who knew PB and acai went went together…?!), superfood smoothies, protein smoothies and extra boosters you can add for, well, a boost.
You can find Ginger & Lime at 191 Upper St, London N1 1RQ