There’s nothing worse than being invited out for dinner then getting there to find you are stuck with a plain side salad and a portion of fries… Luckily, many chain restaurants now include a vegan option or two and most are happy to veganise vegetarian dishes. Inspired by my ‘How To Eat Vegan In Norwich‘ post, I thought it would also be useful to have an article which covers restaurants spanning the whole of the UK. So, to make dining out a little easier (you’re welcome!) I have listed below all UK chain restaurants along with what vegan options they have.
(The restaurants are ordered by restaurant type, then listed alphabetically)
**PS. This list is based on current menus – always check each restaurant’s allergen menu (usually available online and in store) for new dishes!
PIZZA / ITALIAN
Starters & Nibbles: All breads and olives except the garlic bread speciale and the cheesey garlic bread. Olive tapenade, spicy tomato dip and the zucchine fritte side. NONE of the starters are vegan. Mains: The only option is to go for a pizza – Siciliana (no cheese, no creme fraiche) or Verdure (no cheese). Desserts: Mango sorbet.
Starters & Nibbles: Olives, ciabatta (without the garlic parsley dip), rosemary and sea salt pizza bread and flatbread, soup of the day, bruschetta and Insalata Rosso (tomato, black olive and onion salad). Mains: Choose a veggie pizza and ask for no cheese, or create your own from the toppings list. There’s a portabello mushroom burger which is vegan if you hold the mayo and goats cheese. Their Barbabietola Rossa superfood salad is also vegan without the ricotta cheese. Sides: Chips, roasted veg and mixed salad. The onion rings don’t contain dairy or meat but are fried in the same oil as the fish. Desserts: Lemon or raspberry sorbet.
I messaged Cafe Rouge for an up-to-date allergens menu but never received a reply. They are well-known for being crap when it comes to vegan options and looking at their menu it seems the only vegan option is (potentially) bread and a tomato soup (although this is likely to have cream in). Every vegetarian option is cheese upon cheese upon cheese… I would say avoid!
Carluccio’s actually have a separate vegan menu – just ask your waiter/ waitress for it. Starters & Nibbles: Bread, olives, bruschetta and caponata aubergine stew. Mains: Spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce. Sides: Tomato and red onion salad, green bean salad, mixed salad, Verdura Fritta (battered courgette, aubergine and peppers) – although these are fried in same oil as non-vegan foods. Desserts: Lemon, mandarin or melon sorbet.
Pizzas: Gluten-free, classic or pan bases, no cheese, vegetable toppings. Sides & Dips: Mixed leaf salad (no dressing), garlic bread (‘may contain traces of dairy’), potato wedges, chips, hot pepper sauce, BBQ sauce, sweet chilli, ketchup. Salad bar should be mostly OK and obvious as to what is vegan – just watch out for creamy dressings. Desserts: None!
Starters & Nibbles: Olives, roasted tomatoes, dough balls with no garlic butter – replace with oil and balsamic vinegar. Mains: The Pianta pizza comes with no cheese but you can also have any veggie pizza with no cheese or bring your own vegan cheese (e.g. Violife mozzarella) and they’ll use that! Leggera Superfood Salad, hold the mozarella and dressing and ask for oil and balsamic instead. Sides: Potato Nocciola without cheese, mixed salad (no dressing), Broccolini (hold the butter and cheese). Desserts: Raspberry sorbet.
Starters & Nibbles: Only olives, all bread contains milk and none of the starters are vegan friendly! Mains: Veggie pizza without cheese. Arrosto salad (although no goats cheese and no bread). Sides: Fries and truffle fries (without cheese topping), mixed salad, Penne Arrabbiata (& Penne Arrabbiata Light). Desserts: None!
Starters & Nibbles: Olives, breads with oil and balsamic, garlic and parsley flatbread. Mains: Veggie pizza without cheese, goats cheese salad without the goats cheese (ha) and check if the dressing is vegan. The market salad offered at some restaurants is vegan. Sides: Fries and rosemary potatoes.
Zizzi have recently been the talk of the (vegan) town thanks to their introduction of ‘Mozzarisella’ – mozzarella style cheese made with rice milk. They even have a separate vegan menu now which can be viewed online. Starters & Nibbles: Olives, vegan bruschetta, vegan garlic bread. Mains: Spaghetti Pomodoro – essentially a tomato pasta that you then add toppings to (artichokes, roasted peppers, mushrooms, olives, chilli, onion, spinach). Pizzas: It’s the same idea for the pizzas – you start with a margarita base made with the rice milk cheese and add whichever toppings you want. Pizza toppings also include butternut squash and roasted garlic. Rumour has it, you can now have any pizza from the menu and swap the cheese to vegan cheese – check with your server!
Sides: Tenderstem broccoli, Mixed leaf, tomato & spring onion salad, Green beans, Italian naked slaw of rocket, fennel & beetroot and Tuscan potatoes. Dessert: With the new vegan menu came a new vegan dessert! Vegan Nectarini – Two nectarine halves, filled with coconut & mango swirl gelato & fresh mint. You can also have the coconut and mango gelato on its own, as well as lemon or strawberry sorbet.
Chipotle is a big favourite of mine and I’ll always swing by to grab lunch or dinner whenever I’m in London. I had my first Chipotle in America but sadly their tofu ‘sofritas’ filling hasn’t made it to the UK yet, but it’s still delicious without! You basically choose a burrito (wrap), burrito bowl (all the filling with no wrap), crunchy taco or salad base then add fillings. You choose a main filling which is meat or roasted veg for UK stores, then add white or brown rice, black beans, pinto beans, salsa (choose from 4 different kinds!), salad, guacamole sour cream and cheese. Just hold the last two to veganise. You can have as little or as much as you like of everything, although beware – the portion sizes are HUGE!
According to Chiquitos allergen menu, the only vegan options are the popcorn and the skin on fries! This is likely to be because it groups all ingredients in a dish together, when realistically you can scrap the cheese etc to veganise. Looking at the menu, I would assume the following are OK without the cheese and sour cream (although double check with your server) – Starters: Bean chilli tacos. Mains: Veggie volcano burger (no mayo), feta & roast veg wrap (no feta), veggie chilli taco, veggie chilli burrito, veggie chilli chimichanga, veggie chilli quesadilla, roasted veg fajitas. Sides: Fries, onion rings, (no mayo), corn on the cob, roasted veg and lime chilli broccoli. Desserts: Chilli pineapple without ice cream, lemon sorbet and fruit taquito (no ice cream).
This Mexican chain has a separate vegan and vegetarian menu, with everything clearly labelled. Starters & Nibbles: The Taco sharing tray can be made vegan, as can the Quinoa Ensalada. For mains there’s mushroom fajitas, cranberry and avocado salad, Moqueca (coconut curry) and Chilli con Verduras. Desserts: Mango sorbet and coconut pudding are both vegan.
Similar to Chipotle, Tortilla offers tacos and burritos stuffed with a range of fillings. Exactly the same fillings pretty much with roasted veg, rice, pinto and black beans, salad, jalapenos, guacamole and salsa. YUM.
Another chain just like Tortilla/ Chipotle, you can build your burrito or taco (crispy or soft) with fried veggies and guacamole included as standard. Add your extras and you are good to go!
A relatively new Mexican chain, Wahaca offers a few vegan and vegetarian options. I couldn’t find an allergens menu for Wahaca, so please check with your server! Starters & Nibbles: Tortilla chips with guacamole or salsa, plantain (no feta), black bean & tomatillo (no cheese), sweet potato, rice and beans (no cheese), corn and bean salad. Mains: supercharged salad tortilla bowl. Desserts: Mango or passionfruit sorbet.
Japanese fast food chain Itsu was created by the same people behind Pret. They serve sushi boxes, grab and go lunches and hot noodle soups. There are a few different vegan sushi options (including avo rolls and veggie maki rolls). The ‘Garden Shed’ (fresh ginger and greens on seasoned rice) is vegan, as are the vegetable dumplings, edamame bean pots, hip humble healthy salad, miso soup (with silken tofu, wakame & shaved green leek) and detox miso (harusame noodles, shaved green leek, wakame, tofu & 2 vegetable gyoza dumplings in miso soup).
Pho (pronounced ‘fuh’) is the Vietnamese national dish; an aromatic rice noodle soup served with a side plate of fresh herbs to add to your taste. Most of the vegetarian dishes are also vegan. Veggie summer & spring rolls and tofu and mushroom pho are vegan with veggie or spicy stock. Some of the dishes contain fish sauce so mention you are vegan when ordering and ask for no fish sauce. Watch out for ‘Nuoc Cham’ which is served with the bun dishes as it’s made with fish sauce – ask for ginger soy instead.
Starters & Nibbles: All edamame, wok fried greens, aga dashi, raw salad, veggie (yasai) dumplings, miso soup and veggie pickles and Japanese pickles. Mains: Yasai Surandra’s curry, Yasai Itame and warm tofu chilli salad. Other dishes can be veganised if you leave out or switch the egg, fish sauce and egg noodles. None of the desserts are vegan friendly.
Yo Sushi offers sit down meals, either picking your plates from the conveyor belt or ordering from the menu, as well as takeaway sushi boxes. There’s a few vegan options: miso soup, miso dumpling ramen, sumo miso dumpling rice, firecracker rice, veggie yakisoba, tofu katsu curry, sumo tofu katsu curry, pumpkin katsu, veg gyoza (dumplings), baked aubergine, pumpkin katsu curry, Inari pocket, kaiso gunkan, cucumber maki, edamame salad, kaiso salad, aubergine salad, sunomono salad and fresh fruit for pud!
BURGER JOINTS/ DINERS
Burger joints are never going to be a vegan’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean it’s not impossible to find something in some places! Starters & Nibbles: Bryon’s olives, tortilla chips and nachos (no cheese or sour cream) are vegan as are their fries, chips, sweet potato fries and onion rings. Mains: Mushroom burger (no aioli, no cheese), avoid bean burger (egg in) and avocado quinoa and tomato burger – you can swap the bun for a salad if you want too. The avocado and quinoa also comes as a main salad. As for sauces and toppings, you can have the house dressing, hot sauce, jalapenos, fried onions, mushroom, roasted red pepper and avocado. No desserts are vegan.
Popping up all over the place, Ed’s only vegan main the chickpea and quinoa burger burger (ask for no Diner Sauce as this has egg in). The cajun veggie burger has egg in the patty. Fries and onion rings are all good and the side salad is vegan without the dressing which contains milk. Not much choice here I’m afraid folks!!
No luck here either – even the burger buns contain milk and eggs! Your only option here is fries…
Frankie and Benny’s
Starters & Nibbles: Rosemary bread and dough balls (without dips). Mains: Their only veggie pizza is covered in cheese, so hold the cheese and you’re looking at tomato sauce on bread… There are more topping available on the veggie calzone, so you could always ask for them on a normal pizza with no cheese. The Penne Arrabbiata and spaghetti pomodoro are OK (no mozarella). The Caprone salad could be veganised by scrapping the cheese (and check what’s in the salsa verde with your server). Sides: Roast rosemary potatoes, golden fries, herbed potatoes, zucchini frittas and olives. Desserts: Lemon or mango sorbet
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Options are also limited here (as I said, burger joints aren’t exactly the best hangout for vegans!). Your only option is the falafel burger with no garlic mayo and no bun (contains egg) – exciting… not. The homeslaw is surprisingly vegan, as is the char-grilled corn. The fries are vegan but are cooked in the same oil used to cook products containing egg.
*Update* GBK apparently offer a vegan burger, hilariously called the ‘Hippy Dippy’ burger (‘cos all us vegans are hippies, dontcha know!). It includes a pineapple ring and a peanut satay sauce. There’s a little confusion as to whether it is actually on their menu or not – apparently you can ask for it even if it’s not on the menu.
Handmade Burger Company
The brioche and gluten free buns are a no-go but the sourdough bun is vegan. The falafel pitta is vegan but you have to scrap both the tikka masala sauce and the raita (mmm dry). There are a few burger options: cajun veg & bean, spinach & lentil, sweet potato & bean and chickpea & quinoa. The veg skewers are also vegan, as are all fries. The house salad and super salad are good too, and you can add an extra topping of chargrilled veg. As for sauces, you’ve got sweet chilli and BBQ.
Don’t even bother!! The only vegan dish is the fruit cup – two scoops of orange sorbet with fresh fruit. Avoid…
All Bar One
Starters & Nibbles: Avocado and tomato bruschetta, fries, onion rings, sweet potato fries, house salad with giant cous cous and pomegranate and lentil tabbouleh. Mains: Miso rice bowl (Pak choi, broccoli, peppers, sugar snaps. Topped with a carrot, peashoot & sesame salad and served with sriracha and soy). Or you can go for the Superfood Salad with mixed leaves, giant couscous, beetroot, pomegranate & lentil tabbouleh and butternut squash. Topped with roasted seeds and served with pineapple and lemongrass ginger dressing. No desserts are vegan.
There are different menus for different Beefeater restaurants, so you’re probably going to have to check with your server here. All restaurants should have an allergens menu printed out to show you when you are making your choices. Looking at an example menu, the starters are all no good but there are veggie enchiladas which could be veganised if scrapping the cheese and sour cream. The veggie burger is Quorn, so that’s no good sadly. For sides, it’s the usual – chips, onion rings, side salad and corn.
Again, the menus at Cote Brasserie change regularly and they often have different menus for different locations. So check with your server on arrival or call up beforehand to see what’s what. This is often a boycotted restaurant by vegans as it’s notoriously crappy for options and they don’t offer an allergens menu on their website. I found it really difficult to eat here vegetarian (let alone vegan..), so don’t hold out much hope on this one!!
Starters & Nibbles: Olives, edamame beans. Mains: Giraffe have recently added a couple of vegan options – tofu and squash laksa or tofu and broccoli goan curry. Sides: Steamed veg, onion rings, fries and wedges. Dessert: Fruit sorbet.
Starters & Nibbles: Sweet potato and red onion skewers. Mains: The veggie burger has milk in, so your only option is to create a meal from the one starter, the harvester buffet salad (avoiding coleslaw, creamy dressings etc) and sides – onion rings, fries, ‘dirty’ rice, green beans (no butter), jacket potato (no butter), crispy spiced cauliflower and sweet potato fries. So there’s no main, but enough small plate stuff to work with to create a bigger meal! No vegan desserts though.
La Tasca offers the option of tapas dishes or larger main courses. There’s only one vegan main, but there are a couple of vegan tapas options. Starters & Nibbles: Bread and oils, rustic garlic bread, rustic ciabatta with tomato, olives, almonds, Pimientos de Padron, homemade tortilla, beetroot, carrot & butternut squash salad Mains: Paella Verduras. Desserts: Lemon, strawberry, passionfruit and mango sorbet.
Healthy fast food chain Leon’s manu is inspired by the flavours, variety and natural healthiness of Mediterranean cooking. They have a few different vegan options: Brazilian Black Bean box, Rainbow Roasted Vegetable Salad, Vegan SuperClean Quinoa Salad, Rainbow Roasted Veg Mezze, Black Bean Mezze, Houmous pot, Fresh Slaw, Leon Baked Fries, Flatbread. As for sauces, you can have the ketchup, chilli sauce, vinaigrette or chimichurri. There’s also some vegan snacky bits like popcorn and dark chocolate with different flavours.
Don’t bother… This fish restaurant doesn’t cater well for vegetarians so vegans stand no chance! You are looking at olives, chips and plain side salad. YUM.
I’ve recently done a whole blog post about eating vegan at Nandos, as it’s often a popular choice for a meal out with friends! This Portuguese restaurant segregates the meat from the non-meat products and all spice glazes are vegan. There’s a whole bunch of starters, burgers, wraps and salads that are vegan, so you will be spoilt for choice! View the full list on my How To Eat Vegan At Nandos post 🙂
Slug & Lettuce
The bread and olives are OK but the houmous is apparently a no go.. What animal products are they ruining houmous with?! All chips, wedges and fries contain ‘egg or egg derivatives’. You can treat yourself to a low calorie butternut squash salad (‘cos all vegans like salad, right?!) but that’s about it.
Table Table clearly mark which dishes are vegetarian and vegan – which unfortunately is just the chips!
The Real Greek
If you fancy a Greek dinner, you’ll be pleased to know The Real Greek has a fair few bits on offer for vegans. You can have the olives, flabreads, dukkah, crudites, houmous, Melitzanosalada (smoked aubergine, garlic, shallots and lemon salad), Green Pea Fava (Mashed green peas with olive oil and lemon, topped with red onions and tomato), Revithia (chickpeas with handfuls of herbs, olive oil and lemon), Gigandes Plaki (Hearty giant beans, slow-cooked in a rich and herby tomato sauce), Dolmades (vine leaves stuffed with rice, tomato and fresh herbs), grilled aubergine, new potatoes, and chips. There’s a couple of sorbets on the menu but it doesn’t state whether vegan, so double check with your server.
Carvery? Vegan?? Yep, I hear ya. I was surprised too! They actually have a few vegan options and many of the sides are good to go too. Starters & Nibbles: Garlic mushrooms (I guess they use oil instead of butter?) and bread. Mains: Butternut and kale crumble, lentil cottage pie and a spiced carrot and chickpea wellington. The roast potatoes are vegan, as are most of the veg sides (but check with your server). There’s even a vegan chocolate and cherry cake for dessert!
Not always the first choice for dining out, Wetherspoons can be a good option when trying to eat (and drink) somewhere super cheap. You can actually download separate vegan and vegetarian menus from here. Options are sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry (without the naan bread), nachos (if you skip the cheese and sour cream), Pasta Pomodoro, chips, side salad (no creamy dressing), vegetables, corn (no butter), onion bhajis and vegetable samosas.
Starters & Nibbles: Foccacia, dough balls (no garlic butter) and olives. Desserts: Mango or raspberry sorbet. Mains: The pizzas bases are vegan, so just ask for no cheese and add whichever veggie toppings you want. The superfood and goats cheese salads are both vegan if you leave out the cheese – just ask for more veg! Sides: Chips, salad and green beans if you ask for no butter.
GRAB AND GO
EAT clearly label their products in stores, and are currently working on a full allergens list for their website. As the food changes so regularly, it’s best to check in store. Examples of vegan options they’ve had before include – Tomato and basil and Thai butternut squash soups, Chilli Non Carne, houmous and avocado sandwich, sesame shiitake mushroom broth pot and usually a couple of salads too. Grab some fresh fruit, crisps or popcorn as a side.
Le Pain Quotidien
This American breakfast/ lunch chain is springing up in a few places across London now which is great – I was always a big fan whenever I was visiting the States. All the breads are vegan except for the brioche; avoid pastries, croissants and scones etc. Omega & Berry Pinhead Porridge is vegan and there is always a good number of vegan soups, tartines, salads, hot meals (e.g. quinoa cakes, chilli, quinoa risotto), and small plates that are vegan. E.g. roasted veg and houmous pots. There are even a few desserts – Tart Tartin, Chia Seed & Coconut Milk Pudding, Cocoa & Pear Cake Slice and Coconut & Chocolate Chia Pot.
Pret A Manger
PETA UK Vegan Food Award winner and national fast-food chain Pret also changes up its menu every week. Some of the vegan items on at the moment include avocado, olive and tomato baguette, five grain porridge (and compote), crispy kale, nuts, popcorn, crisps, fruit, falafel mezze, houmous, super green sandwich, four different soups, edamame beans, coconut yoghurt, avocado and chipotle chickpea wrap and a Mexican flatbread.
Baked potato on the go? It’s not that exciting but add beans, no cheese, no butter and voila!
There’s egg in the veggie patty, so your only option is to go for the veggie delite with no cheese. Fill up your subway with as many salad items as you want and don’t be shy to ask for more if they are being stingy!!! I often ask for a little more of everything, pointing out how it’s my only filling… I love everything apart from the red onion, so I can usually get my sub pretty chunky! When it comes to bread, you can have all but the flatbread and Italian herb & cheese. As for sauces, you can have BBQ, honey mustard (for those that eat honey), hot chilli, sweet onion, teriyaki, sweet chilli, mustard and ketchup!
The West Cornwall Pasty Company
Although mostly filled with meat-stuffed pasties, they do offer one vegan option – the Wheatmeal Vegetable which has won a PETA food award in the past for best vegan pie/pasty!
One of these recently popped up in Norwich, but I am yet to check it out. They offer the ‘Marrakesh’, a Falafel and Hummus wrap. I would assume that their rice, beans, onions & peppers, guacamole and salsa in the burritos are also OK, but there’s no allergens menu online so you’d need to check with the staff.
AMT Coffee was the first national coffee company to support Fairtrade. They offer soya milk coffees and organic teas. The porridge is made to order, so can be made with soya milk, and there’s usually fresh fruit pots. The toasties, sandwiches and paninis all have cheese, check with the staff about the soup as it’s occasionally vegan.
Caffe Nero have soya milk, but unfortunately they still charge for it. In terms of food, there’s a houmous and falafel wrap that’s vegan as well as a falafel and tabbouleh salad, soup and ciabatta roll and vegetable Arribbiata pasta and a few snacky bits like popcorn and crisps.
Coffee Republic apparently charge for soya milk too – there isn’t one near me so I don’t know! They don’t have any information about food they offer on the website either, so I guess this one is a case of checking labels when in store…
Looking at their online allergens menu, Costa don’t seem to have any vegan lunch options – aside from fruit. Nice work, Costa. They do offer soya milk at no extra charge though.
Starbucks have also scrapped their extra charge for soya milk and now offer coconut milk for 40p. There’s fruit (obvs) and soya porridge, a gluten-free houmous wrap, and fruit and nut bars.
Tip for coffee shops – ask the servers whether there is dairy in your syrup of choice. All Starbucks syrups are vegan EXCEPT for caramel. There’s a wide variety of syrups across stores, so check with your server!
I hope this list proves useful when deciding where to eat, or what to choose should you be invited to a meal at a chain restaurant. If you have found this post useful, please SHARE – someone else might too!