Our roving restaurant critic, Lucia, has undertaken the laborious task of testing out Bristol’s finest vegan dining spots. It’s a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it.
Eating out as a vegan can be a bit of a minefield. No one wants to be the bore that stays in while everyone else has dinner plans. Equally, abstaining from eating in a restaurant capn make you come across as a bit sanctimonious. It will also make you hungry.
So we usually settle for an exceedingly polite state of awkwardness instead. We brush off concerns that there’s nothing for us to eat (even though we’ve just been confronted with the heart-sinking realisation that the soup of the day is sausage stew), avoid the waiter’s judgmental gaze when we tentatively ask if the risotto can come without the cheese, and eventually cobble together a thoroughly disappointing ‘meal’ from the menu’s side dishes (salad and chips are a vegan’s best friend).
Thankfully, times are a-changing, with restaurants and chefs starting to cotton on to the growing demand for meat, dairy and egg free options. Whether it’s the result of Bristol’s role last year as the European Green Capital, greater awareness surrounding health and nutrition, or its growing population of hipsters, our hometown has developed a fantastic veggie and vegan food scene over the past few years.
So next time you’ve got a hot date, look no further than our carefully curated guide to the best places to eat vegan in Bristol. These include old favourites as well as new kids on the block, and have been chosen with every creed of foodie in mind – vegan, raging carnivore and everything in between.
Where to go for…
2 Picton Street, Bristol, BS6 5QA
Hands down the best vegan Full English in town – just what the doctor ordered if you’ve had a few too many the night before.
108 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3RU
Kino is a 100% vegan café and community space ideally positioned in the heart of Stokes Croft. Order their homemade cinnamon rolls to fuel a shopping spree in the surrounding vintage shops.
34 St Nicholas Street, Bristol, BS1 1TG
Although avocado on toast is something that can easily be made at home – and, dare we say it, is even becoming a bit passé – The Stock Exchange’s homemade sourdough takes it up a notch.
Venues across Bristol
Boston Tea Party have recently added lots of new vegan options to their menu. We applaud the genius who thought to put avo and hummus on toast, and recommend washing everything down with one of their delicious smoothies.
61 Gloucester Road, Bristol, BS7 8AD
Try the “Mediterranean fusion” breakfast, featuring scrambled tofu, grated tomato with toasted seeds and fresh herbs, avocado, two vegan sausages and freshly made vegan baked almond feta with spinach.
6. Phoenix Café
All Saints Street, Bristol, BS1 2LZ
Creative hub Phoenix has been busy raising money for their newly opened café space, which serves entirely vegan and veggie food. Watch out for their crowdfunding events for special edition three course vegan brunches.
7. Eat a Pitta
St Nicholas Market, The Exchange, Corn Street, Bristol, BS1 1JQ
After a lot of debate, we think this is Bristol’s best falafel. Deep fried to perfection and served with generous helpings of creamy hummus and fresh, crunchy salads.
8. Falafel King
Falafel King, 6 Cotham Hill, Bristol, BS6 6LF
Another great falafel joint, also serving up a good selection of vegan-friendly mezze and cakes. Bonus points for the atmospheric setting, which includes lanterns galore, an abundance of sequinned cushions and a delightful purple LED canvas of some camels.
62a Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3QU
You may have noticed by now that we like falafel. We’re also a fan of Biblos’s creamy baba ganoush – a nice alternative if you ever get sick of hummus (like that’s possible).
10. Primrose Café
1 Clifton Arcade, Boyce’s Avenue, Bristol, BS8 4AA
Primrose Café do pretty good falafel too. We promise we’ll stop now.
11. The Folk House
40a Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5JG
We always head to the Bristol Folk House for their nourishing soups, stews and curries, served with crusty homemade bread in artsy surroundings (a great spot for eavesdropping on the fascinating conversations of creative types).
12. The Lido
Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2BJ
Speaking of nice surroundings, there’s no better setting than the Lido for tapas in the sun. Opt for the charcoal grilled calcots with romesco sauce.
39 Cotham Hill, Bristol, BS6 6JY
Nutritious, feelgood food that doesn’t compromise on taste; we love the raw vegan lasagna – a healthier take on the classic comfort food dish, made using avocado cream, sun-dried tomato pesto and cashew cheese.
85 Park Street, Bristol, BS1 5PJ
The recently opened Pinkmans has already developed a cult following. There’s always a vibrant selection of salads on offer alongside every type of bread under the sun, and their raw vegan brownies are to die for.
15. Kale and Kettle
25-27 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3PY
The menu at this newly opened vegetarian café in Stokes Croft may be short, but it packs a punch. Choose from akkras (blackeye pea fritters) in a bun, the noodle pot or a salad box with a side of katzu fries.
16. Thali Café
Venues across Bristol
Indian food is a godsend for vegans, and nowhere in Bristol does it better than Thali. Start with the Mumbai city snacks before demolishing the dairy free Thali.
17. Souk Kitchen
Venues across Bristol
More Middle Eastern food! Share a selection of mezze with friends, or hog the whole lot to yourself with a vegan Souk plate.
7 Cotham Hill, Bristol, BS6 6LD
Another of Bristol’s award-winning restaurants, Bravas is the real deal when it comes to authentic Spanish tapas – and, perhaps even more importantly, authentic Spanish wine.
1 Canon’s Road, Bristol, BS1 5UH
No. 1 Harbourside’s inclusive menu features both a vegetarian and vegan section alongside meat and fish options. There are always three delicious, seasonal dishes to choose from in each category, meaning everyone is satisfied.
20. The Gallimaufry
26-28 The Promenade, Gloucester Road, Bristol, BS7 8AL
The Galli’s tapas plates are the perfect accompaniment to a spot of live jazz. Try the polenta, wild garlic, leek and dukkah with some fennel salted chips.
25 West Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0DF
Live music, theatre, a bar, a bakery and vegan food – is there anything the Old Market Assembly doesn’t do? An impressive two thirds of the menu is vegan and vegetarian. We’re particularly keen to try their pearl barley risotto with vegan smoked crème fraîche.
22. Flour and Ash
203b Cheltenham Road, Bristol, BS6 5QX
We’re usually of the opinion that pizza without cheese isn’t worth the bother, but Flour and Ash may have just changed our minds thanks to their delicious sourdough bases and seasonally inspired toppings.
9a, The Haymarket Walk, Bristol, BS1 3LN
The Haymarket seems to be a popular choice for restauranteurs at the moment, with vegetarian eatery Flow being the latest venue to join the burgeoning gastro scene. A seasonal and culturally diverse menu in a relaxed, candlelit setting.
21 Cotham Road South, Bristol, BS6 5TZ
We feel very lucky to have Bulrush as our local! With advance notice, their incredibly talented chefs can rustle up vegan variations of the à la carte dishes, as well as the full works tasting menu. We’re still dreaming about the melt-in-your mouth tofu dumplings they made for us last time we were there.
The General, Lower Guinea Street, Bristol, BS1 6SY
Fine diners rejoice, as Michelin-starred Casamia is also happy to veganise its menu with a bit of warning – evidently these top chefs like a challenge! Sue was blown away by the exquisite meal they prepared for her on her last visit.
And last but not least…
26. Miller Green
Eating out is always nice, but there’s no place like home! So for those days when you just feel like staying in, why not give us a ring and get some delicious vegan food delivered straight to your door?