*Updated May 2016*
I’ve been running this blog for nearly two years now, and during all of that time I’ve wanted to do a vegetarian post, but feel like my knowledge isn’t as extensive as I’d like.
I’m always happy to go to vegetarian restaurants, and tend to eat out a lot at Japanese, Korean and Indian restaurants, which by their nature offer extensive vegetarian choices (Thali Cafe and Teohs are my personal favourites), but even so it seems only fair to have a fully fledged vegetarian give their thoughts about the best of what’s on offer. And so it was that I asked my friend and fellow blogger Kim to collaborate on this piece.
Kim has been a vegetarian for 14 years, and a Bristol resident for four. She lived in Bath for seven years before that, so she’s had plenty of time to find the best meat-free places to eat. She blogs sporadically at bristolvegetarian.tumblr.com and tweets as @BristolVeggie – so once you’re done reading this post go over and see what else she’s been reviewing!
Stalls and pop-ups
Gopal’s Curry Shack
Indian street food with a modern twist – bubble and squeak samosas anyone? You’ll spot Gopal’s Curry Shack at markets all over Bristol, including Whiteladies Road on Saturdays and Temple Quay in the week; they often pop up at Love Food Fest events too. The Aloo Tikki Chaat comes highly recommended.
Whether it’s the stall by the fountains or the shop on Cotham Hill, Falafel King is surely a cornerstone for most vegetarians and vegans in Bristol. The sturdy falafel & salad wraps come in two sizes (we’re yet to finish the large one in less than two sittings) with a selection of sauces, plus there are also muffins and baklava if you fancy a sweet treat.
The Spotless Leopard
The Spotless Leopard van can be found on Alma Rd from Tuesday to Thursday, and on Gloucester Road on Saturday, serving vegan sandwiches, salads and wraps, as well as warm offerings such as spanakopita or lentil burgers. There’s also cake; lovely, lovely cake. Lots of wonderful cake. The coconut, lime & raspberry variety is a personal favourite.
A strong contender for the best falafel in town, Edna’s Kitchen is situated on the edge of Castle Park near The Galleries and is open every day from 10am until 5pm. Everything on offer here is vegetarian or vegan; as well as falafel there are halloumi wraps, sabiche (aubergine and egg), and eija (herby frittata). Fresh, quick and very tasty.
Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen
Hands down, the best vegetarian food to be found in Bath or Bristol – and among the best food in general for that matter. It’s a little expensive, but it’s worth it for the imagination and skill that goes into the food. Dishes often comprise hot, warm and cold elements. Expect menu items such as steamed beetroot with blackcurrant sorbet, truffled broccoli with cauliflower pannacotta, or glazed mushrooms served with cheese-filled profiterole-style pastries. When it comes to dessert, the salted chocolate tart is out of this world.
A new addition to Bristol’s veggie fine dining scene, and worth visiting for their halloumi ‘fish’ and chips alone. The interior is simple and sophisticated, and their £10 lunch deal which includes wine is worth a look.
Bristol’s latest vegetarian restaurant, this place is a good mix of sophistication and cosiness. Choose from a variety of seasonal plates such as stuffed aubergine, courgette spaghetti or Vietnamese style spring rolls, or go for the tartines topped with ever-changing combos including beetroot hummus, labneh or broad bean & mint. The cocktails are also bang on.
In addition to their Northern thali which includes a yummy paneer curry, they also do a dairy free thali, alongside numerous veggie snacks and sides such as mango and paneer shish kebabs, masala dosa, uttapam and crunchy salads.
An unassuming Caribbean cafe/restaurant opposite Sofa Project on Old Market. Curry, stew and rice’n’peas are the order of the day, as well as fresh juices, smoothies and cakes. Everything is vegetarian, if not vegan. Expect a friendly welcome.
Up until recently, pizza was the nemesis of all those who had to avoid dairy, but not anymore. Pepe Nero can be found at The Beer Emporium on King St or The Full Moon on Stokes Croft and are proud purveyors of pizza which aims to cater to everyone, whether they be carnivores, vegetarians or vegans. The menu is extensive, and as well as pizza also pasta, light bites, soups and desserts.
Bristol’s original vegetarian hotspot, Maitreya is not as well known for its fine dining options these days, but is still a local hub for reliably good food. The breakfast menu in particular is great, and the cafe itself has a calm and casual feel, a welcome retreat from the bustle of St Marks Road.
Other amazing places to check out which aren’t exclusively veggie but offer a brilliant choice of vegetarian & vegans dishes include Souk Kitchen (modern Middle Eastern with a bright, fresh menu -every dish bursts at the seams with flavour), No. 1 Harbourside (just check out their Twitter to see what I’m on about – incredible stuff) and Wilks (this Michelin-starred establishment has a veggie trump card up its sleeve – Sunday’s five course vegetable tasting menu!).
Green Rocket Café
This Bath café offers wholesome, imaginative food, most of which is vegan, and there’s even a raw option. Choose from standard cafe fare such as soup, sandwiches and cake, or larger meals such curry, noodles and mezze platters. Everything we’ve tried there has been lovely.
Roll For The Soul
A bike workshop, community hub and cafe in one – RFTS offers more than most city centre cafes. The menu is entirely vegetarian, with a strong presence of vegan dishes too, popular choices include their stuffed khobez flatbreads, curries and anything from their epic cake selection.
A focal point on Stokes Croft – vegan-centric Kino attracts a loyal fan base regardless of their diet with its wholesome and homemade menu, ranging from their spicy burgers, to vegetable stews and curries, through to a mouth-watering range of cakes, tarts and biscuits. They also run a great programme of events, including gigs, talks and workshops.
Kale and Kettle
A recent addition to Stokes Croft, this slick and relaxed cafe boasts an exciting-looking menu including noodle pots and akkras (black eyed pea fritters) in a bun.
Chapel Arts Cafe
An unassuming location in the crypt of a chapel in Bath, but the food here means this place is always busy. The wholly vegetarian menu is mainly geared towards gorgeous flatbread pizzas with an array of toppings, or huge mezze platters.
Vegan junk food you say? Count us in! Having started in London, VX have opened their second branch on East St in Bedminster and are serving up all manner of meat and dairy free filth including hot dogs, kebabs, nachos and huuuuge cake.
We’re also lucky to have several excellent local chains which provide impressive vegetarian and vegan options, including Friska, Bagel Boy, Biblos and Boston Tea Party – check out their websites for more menu information.
Pubs and bars
Not exclusively vegetarian, but included in this round-up for its wide range of veggie pizzas and salads. The vegetarian ‘fish’ (ok, halloumi) and chips is a good choice, but we’ve heard good things about the meat-free Sunday roasts too.
Fresh and adventurous food which wears its eco credentials on it sleeve. Poco does a broad selection of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern inspired tapas dishes, such as spanakopita, fattoush, various homemade dips and seasonal cheeses.
Laid-back cafés with at least one – but often more – veggie version of everything on its menu. You’ll find the usual suspects here: falafel burger, lentil curry, paninis, and there’s often a vegetarian special. The Lounges do a good breakfast too, with lots of choice for non-meat eaters, and there’s also an entire menu just for vegans.
Hopefully we’ve given you enough choices to consider, but where are your favourites? Did we miss anywhere off?
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