Five a day, eight a day, ten a day, meatless Monday, vegetarian week... it's never been a better time to celebrate the best of Britain's fruit and veg. And happily, lots of London's newest restaurants are embracing the challenge to create vegetarian options and menus that won't leave anyone feeling short-changed. Here's our tip of the best new vegetarian-friendly restaurants in London to seek out, whether you're strictly veggie, or just cutting down on fish and meat. And if you want to check out last year's round-up you'll find that here.
The Italian Job
Palatino, Luca and Popolo
Always a good option for veggies – now there are some excellent new places to try: we recommend Stevie Parle's Palatino, with some gorgeous pastas and utterly unmissable gnocchi alla romana: soft, pillowy and about 85% butter.
Just around the corner there's Luca – the new opening from The Clove Club's Isaac McHale. Sadly, the wonderful Parmesan fries aren’t suitable for vegetarians, but the seasonally-changing pastas are all beautifully made.
We're also fans of Popolo in Shoreditch, with a consistently excellent menu of small plates, freshly made pasta and wonderful risotto.
Treves & Hyde and Sparrow
There's no escaping the trend for small plates which arrive when the kitchen is ready. But places that do this well are definitely worth celebrating. We love the beautiful design and confident cooking at Treves & Hyde, where a recent visit included a fabulous red pesto arancini with black sourdough crumb, asparagus with confit egg yolk and wild garlic and a vegan baked beetroot with onion and almond cream. Pictured is their pepperoncini peppers with saffron aioli.
Further south, Lewisham's Sparrow restaurant has a pair of ex-St John chefs in charge, and the green risotto with goats curd and hazelnut dukkah is worth travelling across the city for.
Breddos and El Pastor
What's not to like about a great taco? Breddos' new Clerkenwell joint has plenty of veggie options, including tacos with smoked sweet potato and chamomile or organic egg with macadamia nut mole, hoja santa and queso fresco. Or try a tostada with chanterelles, cavolo nero and black mole vinaigrette. This (pictured) is their churros french toast on the menu for weekend brunch.
Down in Borough, El Pastor also offers a decent veggie choice: try the roast squash and queso fresco taco with grilled corn and radish salad on the side.
Feast like a king
Picture and Chicama
We're loving seeing so many all-vegetarian tasting menus on offer: we'd recommend Picture Marylebone, which has a six-course feast including ricotta gnudi with baked tomato, capers and pecorino and spiced carrots with yoghurt, kale and cracked wheat (pictured).
In Chelsea's King's Road, Peruvian-inspired Chicama has a veggie feast menu which features vegetable ceviche with crispy samphire, fried aubergine with plantain miso and pecans, and sprouting broccoli with a coffee and chilli dip.
So good, they opened it twice
Duck & Waffle Local and Clipstone
We love a good spinoff. And Duck and Waffle's new place in St James' market is certainly a good spinoff, from early visits. It might be all about duck, but there are six excellent veggie dishes on the menu, from a wonderful braised lentil and onion with buckwheat, to roasted beetroot with harissa and yoghurt.
Of course Clipstone, by Portland's Merlin Labron Johnson is a destination in its own right, but go for the standout veggie dishes like tempura leeks with lemon and sorrel mayo, or asparagus with morels and sabayon.
Honey & Smoke, Shawarma Bar and Bala Baya
Book early to make sure you get a table at Honey and Smoke, the latest venture from Itamar Srulovic and Sarit Packer – like everything else they do it is generous and delicious, with some of the best veggie food you'll find in town. Go for the roasted cauliflower, home made amba and tahini, the silky, smoky babaganoush with seeded flatbread, and the sweet potato baked in embers with almond tahini and date honey (pictured).
Also recommended: Shawarma Bar in Exmouth Market where the cauliflower shawarma, the silky bowls of hummus and the broad bean dak dak salad and the mejaderah rice and lentils with fried onions will send you away happy. And Bala Baya in Southwark is worth seeking out too – we especially love the lunchtime pitta, lovingly baked on the premises and stuffed with roasted cauliflower, tahini, pomegranate and fresh herbs.
And Bala Baya in Southwark is worth seeking out too – we especially love the lunchtime pitta, lovingly baked on the premises and stuffed with roasted cauliflower, tahini, pomegranate and fresh herbs.
Friends and neighbours
Perilla and Dandy
Stoke Newington is fast becoming the area to visit for great food: new to the area are Perilla Dining, offering some mindblowingly good cooking – you can order a veggie tasting menu or go a la carte with dishes like spring veg with jersey royal dumplings and goats butter sauce, or grilled courgettes with pecorino and basil.
Across Newington Green is the new home of Dandy, which has set out to be as veg-centric as it can. Don’t miss the excellent sourdough with a starter of grean peas, courgette and salsa verde, or the asparagus with parmesan custard and semi dried tomatoes (pictured).
Lorne, Timmy Green, Rail House Cafe and Hai Cenato
Victoria, once a desert for decent places to eat: our top choice would be the excellent Lorne where a recent visit included a splendidly large raviolo filled with fresh ricotta and herb, with asparagus and broad beans.
In the Nova development, there are salads a-plenty at Timmy Green where breakfast dishes include these seasonal greens with poached eggs, halloumi soldiers and balsamic dust (pictured). Alternatively try a decent truffled mac and cheese at the Rail House Café, and a great choice of veggie pizzas at Hai Cenato.