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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

5 Foodie Highlights in London For Vegetarians

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If there’s one place in the world where it’s easy to be a vegetarian, it must be London. England’s capital has an absolutely amazing foodie scene – both for carnivores and vegetarian alikes – and everytime I visit, I arrive with a whole list of restaurants that I want to try out. I’ve been living on a primarily vegetarian diet for quite a while already, but recently made the switch to a complete vegetarian lifestyle. Being a vegetarian in London doesn’t feel restrictive at all and today I wanted to share some of my favorite places in the city for tasty vegetarian food.

Some of these restaurants have been favorites of my boyfriend and me for a while already and others we have only recently discovered, but all of them get the stamp of approval from a long-time vegetarian and a veggie newbie that used to really like eating burgers. Most of them cater to vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, so you can easily take your veggie-dubious friends with you and show them that vegetarians don’t just eat salad.

1. Homeslice

Homeslice makes the best pizza on earth. Or at least the best pizza I've ever eaten. It's a small restaurant tucked away in the Seven Dials District of Covent Garden and always seems to be crammed with people. There is only pizza and each one measures a whopping 20 inch in diameter. You can 50/50 the pizza and choose a different topping for each half. Options go from absolute classics to interesting new creations, but whatever you do, try to Caprese pizza. I still dream about the tomatoes.

The atmosphere is very, very relaxed and casual. You eat your pizza from paper plates and without cutlery and you sit at long wooden communal tables that almost don't have enough room for all the big pizzas. The emphasis is on the food and not on decorum and yet it's a super stylish restaurant, though very laid back. It's probably not the ideal place for a quiet, romantic dinner, but the best place if you all you want to do is eat some really, really good pizza. Find them here

2. Pizza Pilgrims

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Speaking of pizza… If you’re looking for a place with a little bit more privacy than Homeslice that makes just as great pizza, Pizza Pilgrims is for you. Located in the middle of Soho, this place is just as crammed as Homeslice and makes fantastic thick-crusted pizza. You may have to wait for a table, but it’s worth every second and service is really speedy. I’ve only been once so far, the last time I was in London, but this place is becoming a staple! Find them here.

3. Mildred's 

Mildred's is located in Soho as well and a fully vegetarian restaurant, serving all different kinds of dishes, from curries over pasta to burritos. There are many vegan and gluten-free options as well and even avid meat fans will probably find a dish to love. The gyoza dumplings were absolutely amazing as was the gluten-free polenta cake - a lovely sweet treat that doesn't leave you feeling like you need to take a very long nap. Mildred's is more chic than the first two restaurants and also a bit more expensive, but still has a lively and relaxing atmosphere. Find them here

4. Honest Burgers

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Back when I still ate meat, my favorite thing were burgers. I have visited my fair share of Burger restaurants all over London, but I know next to nothing about veggie burgers. Many restaurants offer Portobello Mushroom Burgers instead of veggie patties, but Honest Burgers is a great place for vegetarians that don’t really care for mushrooms, but still have a craving for a great veggie burger.

The pattie is a fritter of cauliflower, corn and many different delicious (but hot) spices and the burger is served with the most delicious rosemary fries (they are worth the visit alone!). Probably not the healthiest meal you’ll ever have in your life, but if you’re traveling, you might as well eat for your soul as well, right? My boyfriend said it was one of the best veggie burgers he ever said and - trust me - he has had many. Honest Burgers has a couple of locations around town and is pretty affordable and laid back. Find them here.

5. Masala Zone

My boyfriend and me both absolutely love Indian food. Vegetarianism is very wide-spread in India, therefore there's barely a cuisine that better (and more creatively) caters to vegetarians. Over time, we have become big Indian food snobs, though, and not every Indian restaurant satisfies our tastebuds anymore. Masala Zone has quickly become our favorite Indian restaurant, though, and we leave grinning and stuffed every single time. 

You can order a single curry or go for a traditional thali, which includes several small dishes with your curry, and is undoubtedly the better deal for your money. We always have our thali with rice, order a Naan bread and wash it all down with a Mango Lassi. Masala Zone is very affordable by London standards and the thali is a giant portion that is not going to leave you feeling hungry. There are couple of locations around London, but our favorite is the one in Covent Garden. Find them here.

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Granted: With all the delicious pizza, eating out in London isn’t always the best thing for the waistline, but if you’re not going to indulge on your vacation, when will you? I would recommend all of the restaurants above without reservations, whether you’re a vegetarian or not, and just writing this post has made me want to eat a curry!

What’s your favorite vegetarian-friendly restaurant in London?

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This week’s Travel Tuesday highlight is on Alyson from Starting Over @ The DirtyThirty. Alyson wrote a post about a skiing trip to Colorado with her family that made me want to go skiing again as well. I haven’t gone skiing in many years, but I’m sure it would be fun to start again!

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