Veggie friendly posh restaurants in London?
January 15, 2009 4:00 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a restaurant in London that is a) upmarket, b) romantic, c) most importantly, vegetarian friendly?

I know we've got our fair share of good restaurants, but what I'd like to find is one where some thought has gone into the vegetarian options on the menu, i.e. more than just a token risotto. It doesn't have to be all veggie at all, just somewhere where a veggie doesn't feel like they're getting no choice and second best, just because they don't eat meat or fish.

This is for a birthday meal, so ideally it should be somewhere a little special, and budget is unimportant. I'm open to suggestions from any cuisine, but I guess modern european would be preferable.

Thanks in advance.
posted by iivix to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
It's vegan, not vegetarian, but this website has a pretty comprehensive list.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:53 AM on January 15, 2009

I'm a vegetarian and have always had good luck at Providores.
posted by methylsalicylate at 4:59 AM on January 15, 2009

Best answer: I know you're not necessarily looking for a vegetarian restaurant, but the two nicest in London are probably Manna and The Gate (most of the places on Happy Dave's list are cheapish, unpretentious cafes). I'm don't know whether they'll be "upmarket" enough for you - it being always a relative term - but you'll be able to get some idea about that by looking at the menus, and I can recommend them both (Manna being my own favourite).
posted by cincinnatus c at 5:02 AM on January 15, 2009

How about Manna Restaurant (website and review).

It's a 100% veggie restaurant in Primrose Hill. I've taken vegetarian dates there. The restaurant itself is well set up for a romantic meal for two. Plus you could always wander around Primrose Hill before and after.

posted by laumry at 5:05 AM on January 15, 2009

If you like Thai, I would have to say the Blue Elephant. I was taken there for my birthday meal a while back and couldn't find any vegetarian main dishes on the menu. So I was grumpily trying to choose a couple of side dishes ("grr you'd think they could have checked the menu when it's MY birthday meal grr!") when I saw the magic words "Vegetarian menu available on request". Seriously, the veggie menu was at least as big as the normal one. It was amazing!

The only problem was that I'm not used to having to choose between about three veggie options. So it took me forever to decide what to have! Everyone was starting to get irritated by my indecisiveness...

I didn't pay, so I'm afraid I don't know how expensive it was. It’s a beautiful restaurant, though, the food was amazing and the staff were very nice. Highly recommended by this vegetarian! (And the rest of my family were very happy with the meat options, if that's a consideration.)
posted by badmoonrising at 5:10 AM on January 15, 2009

Seconding The Gate (linked by cincinnatus c) -- their website photo makes it look unremarkable, but it's a lovely restaurant, easily romantic if that's the way you want it to be, and the food is amazingly delicious.
posted by obliquicity at 6:02 AM on January 15, 2009

More ideas.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:23 AM on January 15, 2009

iivix, you're looking for Ottolenghi's Islington branch. Lots of veggie options (plenty of meat too, though), excellent (not just by London standards, genuinely excellent) modern European food, great staff, and a nice low-light, happy feel. Did I mention the excellent food? It's excellent.
If you want to make sure you've got a table for two, you might have to book ahead...there's a large communal central table that I usually sit at when I go, but there are smaller tables as well.
posted by Kreiger at 6:24 AM on January 15, 2009

Vanilla Black: I've been there twice so far; both times were amazing.
posted by ahughey at 9:25 AM on January 15, 2009

Dans Le Noir has a vegetarian menu option, and is supposed to be really fun and romantic. It's got the quirk that the dining room is completely lightless and the waiters are all blind, but it's supposed to be fantastic. I haven't been, but have a few friends who have and were astonished.
posted by Night_owl at 11:17 AM on January 15, 2009

Best answer: OK, this might be slightly off track but how about going to Terre á Terre in Brighton which is, by many accounts including mine, the best vegetarian restaurant in the UK? I even know a couple of serious carnivores (inc. my gf) who rate it as their favourite.

You can get to Brighton in 49 minutes from Victoria and if you get your train tickets in advance it's £6 return (use the National Rail fare finder or National Express' planner to get the best deals.).

Well worth the journey and you can make a trip/day out of it.
posted by i_cola at 1:23 PM on January 15, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Going on reviews around the web, it looks like Manna or the Gate are probably the ones to go for.

Asking around my other veggie friends though, it seems like Terre á Terre does indeed have that massive a reputation, so that's one for another day I think.
posted by iivix at 1:21 AM on January 19, 2009

I used to live about 30 seconds walk from Manna and still I would make the 45 minute journey to The Gate in Hammersmith for my awesome vegetarian.

Manna is romantic, it's lovely to go for a walk on Primrose Hill afterwards, but I found the food a little better than average and the prices (which I know you're not worried about, but I'm about value) are higher than they should be.

The Gate is where I take people who say that have always shunned vegetarian restaurants. The food is exceptional, the service has always been great, Hammersmith Bridge is my favourite bridge in London and walking along the Thames is wonderfully romantic.
posted by quiet at 4:26 PM on January 22, 2009

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