I get asked a lot how I find eating out at restaurants, and I know that whilst I was transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, this was a big concern of mine. I love to eat out with my boyfriend, and I love food! Luckily with the help of the internet I was able to research the best restaurants to visit, and what to order.
It’s not as gloomy and plain salad filled as it might seem, eating Vegan at a non vegan restaurant can be as fun and tasty as you make it!
If you head to a restaurant that is veggie friendly, you will find it easy to ‘make up your own’ from the sides and starters. For example you could simply order a side of rice, or potatoes (even fries) throw on some veggies (make sure they don’t put butter on it) throw them both onto a salad add in some french dressing or barbecue sauce and you have a very tasty meal, just be sure to ask if there is any sneaky dairy in the sauces! You also save a lot of money eating out vegan, as all of the veggie options will no doubt be much, much cheaper than the meat options (and tastier too)
5 Top Tips –
Don’t be afraid to ask -If you see something you like, but it has say, cheese on it. Ask them to remove it, or swap it for something else. Same goes with asking to check ingredients.
Pick a veggie friendly restaurant – This one is quite obvious, you won’t find many veggie options in a steakhouse… So always go for restaurants that are veggie/vegan friendly
Make your own! – Make up your own meal from the sides or starters. I usually do this when the only vegan options are smothered in cheese or have dairy products cooked into them.
Go for vegan friendly cuisine – The most vegan friendly cuisine (that I have found) is, Indian, Mexican, Lebanese and African.
ALWAYS Check the cocktail menu! – If you are going to indulge in a cocktail (or four) make sure you double check the ingredients of the one you want. Many cocktails are made with egg or dairy proctors… so always check what you order!
I find dining out as easy now as I did when I wasn’t vegan, and I want to share with you some of my favorite places to eat in London on a Vegan lifestyle, chain and independent. <3 Bon Apetit! (I will add too this section as I visit more restaurants)
Zizzi |The Strand, London
Zizzi recently introduced a Vegan menu to their restaurants, and ever since I heard the good news, I had been dying to try it out!
Vegan melty cheese on a gluten free pizza base sounds like absolute heaven to me, and they take Tastecard, so it’s a win win!
So I headed to Zizzi on The Strand with my boyfriend, and right away we ordered 2 Vegan cheesy garlic breads (we were very hungry) and 2 Vegan gluten free pizzas with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms and of course Vegan cheese! Now I don’t know about you, but whenever I attempt to make cheesy vegan pizza at home…. the cheese is a little bit stubborn at wanting to melt… even when I purchase special vegan cheese for pizza, it just doesn’t quite do the job. However, the vegan cheese at Zizzi is not only absolutely delicious, but so stringy, melty and creamy all at the same time! Ah its making me hungry just thinking about it! And the garlic bread is TO DIE FOR! But that isn’t all they offer, they also have a vegan spaghetti in fresh tomato sauce, and a selection of olives and a vegan bruschetta on the starter menu. I would like to see more options on the vegan menu, possibly some salads with vegan mozzarella and sundried tomatoes, or a nice cheesy vegan pasta. But they have made a great start by becoming the first chain restaurants int he UK to offer a Vegan cheese alternative. And for that, I applaud them!
Nandos | London Bridge
Ah the Cheeky Nandos, a staple restaurant for any young Essex lad or ladette before heading to the Empire Cinema in Bas Vegas, in your brand new all white Nike Air Max, and black Nike Baseball cap.
Also now for Vegans too! Yes you heard me right, us vegans can also enjoy a cheeky Nandos. Tim Sheiff, is an English Professional Free-runner and dedicated Vegan, he has a video on his YouTube channel telling you is vegan at Nandos…. and you would be just as surprised as I was by how much you can eat. Check out his video here –https://youtu.be/kgm1qV_iSLI
Whenever I go, I order –
Halloumi Wrap | Swap the halloumi for pineapple and minus the mayo with Mango and Lime dressing
A Side of Macho Peas and either Garlic Bread (their butter is vegan!) or chips.
You can also have –
Spicy mixed olives, all marinades are Vegan, Hummus with Peri Peri and pitta, Peri Peri nuts, that delicious wrap I mentioned earlier 🙂 Quinoa or Mediterranean salad with no feta of course, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, char-grilled veg, Peri salted chips and the Passion fruit Gelato!
Sauces (the bottled ones you take to the table)-
Now, I am not too sure about these. It is very hard to find any allergen information anywhere on the Nandos website or anywhere else on the internet that tells you weather they contain dairy or eggs. But I am going to update this section soon during my next visit to Nandos!
Mayfair Pizza Co. | Bond Street
I had my first experience at this restaurant recently, and I have to say… It was extremely pleasant. Situated down a cobbled secluded alleyway off the busy Oxford Street above a bar this light was this airy very appealing little pizza restaurant. The rest of the bars/restaurants in the area were so busy, I was worried we wouldn’t get a seat! But we were sat at the back of the restaurant in a quiet room with only 2 other small tables.
To drink I ordered the Sicilian lemonade, this was the NICEST lemonade I have ever tasted! Fresh lemonade, with a hint of Basil & Mint. Who’d of thought it! Well worth the £4 I would say!
For starters I had the Bruschetta , that was topped with fresh tomatoes and olive oil. This was ok, nothing special. I just ordered it as it was the best looking Vegan option on the starter menu. Then I hit up the Calzone Funghi for main, but I asked for the base to be the Vegan, Gluten free option and was told that they cannot do the gluten free vegan base as a Calzone, so i had it opened pizza style instead (which I prefer) and swapped the cheese for artichokes. I would give this pizza a 6/10, the base was a little soggy and chewy. I think this is down to it being the gluten free vegan option as my boyfriends pizza base was crispy and thin…. but overall still a very nice pizza! We also had some shoestring fries between us, these fries are delicious, just not worth the £4… the portion is tiny!