Eating Out Guide

It's becoming easier and easier to eat out when you're vegan these days; it just needs a little bit of know-how. With growing awareness of (and respect for) this lifestyle, many establishments are making the effort to cater for vegans very well. It makes good business sense, because the number of vegans in the UK has risen exponentially to well over half a million in the last few years!

Many UK chains now offer vegan options! Check out: Bella Italia, Carluccios, Cosy Club, Handmade Burger Co, JD Wetherspoons, Las Iguanas, Loungers, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut, Pret, The Stable, Toby Carvery, Wagamama, Wetherspoon & Zizzi (even Greggs just introduced a falafel salad!) [The featured image is of the new veggie/vegan Pret in London - a trial that has been so successful they may open more!]

Our top tips for eating out:

  • When you’re looking for somewhere to eat ask the online vegan community for places they’d recommend. You can also check our lifestyle directory and find places though our Facebook or Twitter channels. People love to help!
  • While you may wish to head for vegan restaurants and cafes as a first choice, remember that most vegetarian eateries understand and cater very well for vegans too.
  • Some of the larger UK restaurant chains are now on board with catering for vegans too! Many have vegan menus or sections on their menus. They understand much more and can veganise vegetarian dishes with ease if you just chat to them when you go in.
  • If eating out with a large group of people perhaps offer to organise where you go so that you can check it will be vegan-friendly and have some great food options. Other people may end up trying them too!
  • Let technology work for you and make use of great search websites such as Happy Cow and Yelp as well as apps including VegginOut.
  • Certain cuisines have dishes that are vegan by default – try: Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Caribbean, West African, Turkish and Greek (but check for ingredients such as meat stock and ghee [clarified butter] in Indian cuisine, for example).
  • A little homework can really help. Check online for menus and call places in advance to see what they can prepare for you. Have a couple of suggestions in mind as to how they might ‘veganise’ something.
  • Never be afraid to ask how something is prepared and to also see if they might cook you something specially.
  • Keep your approach friendly. The vast majority of establishments are happy to help and anywhere with a good chef should relish the opportunity to create something different and delight a customer.
  • If the menu isn’t clearly labelled, and staff are unsure, then ask to see the allergen details for the dishes. Every establishment must have this by law now and it can help you to easily find vegan dishes or those that can be amended very simply.
  • Relax in the knowledge that there’s usually something you can create from the most challenging of menus! (Even if it’s a baked potato and a salad from the side orders.) It means that you can still eat with your friends and family at pretty much most places.
  • However, if a place has either very little or zero vegan food to offer you, you may wish to post a (constructive) review on social media or a consumer site such as Trip Advisor, to advise how they can improve. You can also tell us if you like and our experienced team will be happy to help them with some ideas.
  • Share your happy vegan dining experiences with others online, so that we can all benefit from them! (And if any vegan/vegetarian restuarants aren’t listed with us then please tell them and let us know!)
  • Remember to thank establishments that have been helpful – it’s a great way to encourage them to do more!
  • If you really can’t find anywhere (extremely rare) then have a couple of handy snacks packed in your bag/car to keep you going until you can get to somewhere more helpful.