The popularity of a vegetarian diet has exploded in recent years, helped considerably by the ease of veggie products available in the supermarket, plus much more choice on restaurant menus. As veganism continues its meteoric rise too, vegetarians have increasingly more and more options when it comes to eating and drinking out.
Here’s a selection of the very best vegetarian (and some vegan) joints in Manchester and further afield…
The Walled Gardens
One of the Guardian’s top 20 UK restaurants, Eddie Shepherd’s Walled Gardens is unique in that it’s literally set-up in his home kitchen. The entirely vegetarian concept combines the mastery of the award-winning chef, with exclusive, one-off dishes that promote social dining and passion for the entire cooking process. Expect dry ice, experimental cooking and a totally unique dining experience at this epic culinary adventure.
We all know about Bundobust now surely? Brave the drug dealers at Piccadilly Gardens and you are welcomed by a fantastic space with a varied vegetarian menu of traditional Indian street food dishes. Many of the dishes are also vegan and gluten free so there’s plenty to choose from. If you’ve got some mates, or are a greedy bugger, you should get the ‘Combo for 6’ which is every dish on the menu.
Bundobust, 59 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 1RG
The Gherkin is a vegetarian bar and bistro in the heart of Levenshulme serving food made fresh every day by its expert chefs. The Gherkin concept was born with a vision to bring healthy, sustainable, vegetarian and vegan food to Levenshulme in a space that would bring people together for events that cater for all members of the community. The restaurant also aims to be as sustainable as possible by sourcing all produce from local Manchester businesses.
The Gherkin, 312 Slade Ln, Levenshulme, Manchester M19 2BY
Eighth Day Vegetarian Cafe and Shop
Eighth Day on Oxford Road offers a wide range of organic vegetarian and vegan food, as well as bodycare, medicines and household goods that are veggie friendly too. They also have a cafe on-site offering a range of daily specials, butties, salads and smoothies should you get peckish on the way to The Footage.
Eighth Day Vegetarian Cafe and Shop, 111 Oxford Road, M1 7DU
Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
Located not just in Ashton anymore but also Chorlton and Ancoats, Lily’s is a vegetarian’s dream. The food here is about as authentic as you can get this side of the Suez Canal with many specialities including dosas, chaats and those vibrant, lovely looking sweets that you’re too afraid to try as you walk past on the Curry Mile. Everything in here is completely vegetarian and super tasty – you can’t go wrong.
Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Restaurant, 75-83 Oldham Road, Ashton OL6 7DF
Lily’s Deli, 102 Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9SZ
Lily’s Deli, Unit 2C Henry St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5BA
0161 339 4774
Greens has been part of the West Didsbury scene for absolutely ages now, and it’s still offering inventive gourmet vegetarian dishes in a nice, homely setting. Between presenting Sunday Brunch, Simon Rimmer owns Greens, so you can expect a large menu full of appealing veggie delights. It can be a bit pricey but it’s a great place to take someone for a proper romantic meal if you’re trying to get off with them or looking to extend your doomed relationship for another week. Soon to be opening in Sale too.
Greens, 41-43 Lapwing Lane, West Didsbury, M20 2NT
This & That
Legendary Northern Quarter curry house This & That isn’t primarily a vegetarian joint, but every day they will offer punters a choice of 3 veggie-friendly curries to go with their rice. So expect plenty of chickpeas, spinach, lentils and potatoes getting thrown around to create some of the best curry in the city. It’s cheap as chips too for the veggie-only option, so not only will you be saving the world, you’ll also be saving your money. Saving to buy some booze probably – you dirty alchy.
This & That, 3 Soap St, M4 1EW
From 100% vegan Salt and Pepper Prawns to award-winning stacked burgers and Chikn n Waffles, Wholesome Junkies has grown to be a must-visit destination for veggies and vegans of Manchester and beyond. The junk food specialists have also just announced a new site about to open near Victoria Station – where there’ll be a more relaxed, sit down vibe, instead of the grab and go takeaway set-up at its stalls in the Arndale and Warrington markets.
Wholesome Junkies, Arndale Market, 49 High St, Manchester M4 3AH
Wholesome Junkies, Warrington Market, 2 Time Square, Warrington WA1 2NT
The independent, Manchester-based eatery, Herbivorous is known for its inventive and gorgeous plant-based street food dishes, so good that they are enjoyed by vegans and non-vegans alike, leading to Herbivorous coining the new catchphrase “Vegan Food Envy”. It’s all about delicious comfort food that is better for you and better for the planet. On its menu you’ll find fan favourites such The Big Kahuna Burger and the seitan Fried ‘Chicken’, alongside its irresistible cashew cheese loaded fries.
Herbivorous, Unit 7, Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED
Herbivorous, 445 Wilmslow Rd, Withington, Manchester M20 4AN
Four Side Pizza
Chorlton’s Electrik is already a mint space to booze and boogie, but it also has a cracking food offering in the form of Four Side. The pizza joint serves an array of delicious vegan, Detroit-style pizzas using unique focaccia-like dough, topped with fresh tomato sauce and then vegan cheese, plus an impressive array of toppings; from miso-buttered spinach and tofu to house-made vegan ‘Nduja’.
Four Side Vegan Pizza, Electrik, 559 Wilbraham Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 0AE
A Chinese restaurant specialising in everything vegetarian and vegan, Ruyi combines the wonders of Chinese and Oriental cooking – without using meat! Throughout years of hard-work and refinement, the restaurant’s chefs have stumbled across the best meat substitutes, from soya to authentic vegetable goodness, the menu is extremely accessible and packed with all your usual favourites! If we were to recommend anything, though, it would have to be the salt and pepper ‘chicken’. It truly is one of those dishes that you’ll never be able to get enough of.
Ruyi Vegetarian, 101 Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9GA
If you find yourself in Withington; perhaps you’ve got lost trying to find the bloody post office, you should pop into Fuel Cafe Bar and check out their fully vegetarian menu. I have eaten here quite a few times and have always been impressed with the food, especially their Halloumi Fish and Chips and Falafel Burger. They also do a cracking veggie (and vegan) breakfast. On top of this you’ve got a top selection of booze and coffees, as well as plenty of gigs, open mic nights and other arty-farty things. Oh, and if anyone wants to challenge me to a game of Connect 4 in here – any time.
Fuel Cafe, 448 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 3BW
100% plant based Neapolitan pizzas right in the heart of the Northern Quarter. Purezza took over the old Dough unit a while back and have been impressing vegans and meat-eaters ever since. Vegan cheese can sometimes be a struggle to get past – but the quality of their dough and toppings mean that these plant-based offerings are some of the very best in the city.
Purezza, 75-77 High St, Manchester M4 1FS
The Vurger Co
If you’re into getting your hands dirty whilst chowing down on big burgers, you must pay The Vurger Co a visit. The ‘Honey Chicken Burger’, containing a crispy ‘chicken’ patty, coated in their house-made sweet vegan honey glaze, honey mustard aioli, tangy pink slaw and gherkins is probably already making you salivate at your desk. It’s also gluten free! The New York Melt is to be worshipped, too, featuring a beyond Meat patty, topped with double vegan cheese, gherkins, tomato and house-made burger sauce.
The Vurger Co, Unit 2, Transmission House, 11 Tib St, Manchester M4 1AE
The Otto Vegan Empire
Stockport’s stunning Mediterranean and Middle Eastern vegan empire has a special place in the hearts of both meat and non-meat lovers. Set up by James Lavin from the Ötto-Men, the restaurant’s dishes that bring a healthy, modern take on some vegan classics, including the Otto Veggie Kofta – beautiful balls of plant-based goodness baked traditionally with OTTO’s homemade ragu – and the Sexy Pie, which is a pastille of 8 seasonal roasted and confit vegetables and OTTO supergrains rolled in baklava filo pastry. So good.
The Otto Vegan Empire, 26A Bramhall Ln S, Bramhall, Stockport SK7 1AF
What the Pitta
It’s been a whirlwind few years for the vegan kebab specialists, taking over a spot in the heart of the Northern Quarter back in 2021 and also appearing on BBC’s Britain’s Top Takeaway’s earlier in the week! Their menu doesn’t just feature kebabs, but also plant-based Chicken Nuggets, Falafel, ‘VFC’ Burgers and some banging sides, including their homemade vegan tzatziki, homemade hummus and their freshly baked flatbreads that are made in-house every single day.
What The Pitta, 42 Back Turner St, Manchester M4 1FR
Northern Quarter’s Sicilian NQ isn’t strictly vegetarian, but its menu has an incredible line-up of dishes if you’re keen to avoid meat. From full to the brim balls of Arancini to Pesto Gnocchi, Sicilian NQ serves us with a truly tantalising taste of summer! They also offer a bottomless brunch option every Friday and Saturday, where you can pair a dish with unlimited Prosecco, Aperol Spritz or Lemoncello for £50 per person.
Sicilian NQ, 14 Turner St, Manchester M4 1DZ
This Charming Naan
A very clever play on that Smiths tune that gets played to death in 42s, The Charming Naan is much better than its musical counterpart. The restaurant serves veggie / vegan Indian Street Food that’s full of authentic flavours, from curries named ‘Girlfriend in a Korma’, to burgers and hot dogs with equally fitting names, alongside loaded triple cooked chips with various tasty toppings.
This Charming Naan, The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor St, Manchester M1 7HE
V Rev made the genius step to move into ‘dirty’ food a few years back, but with 100% vegan burgers, chicken, hotdogs and butties all piled high and ready to gorge on. Make sure you bring your stretchy pants because you’re going to be full, scoffing on such beauties as the Donut Have A Cow, Man! which comes loaded with 2 ‘beef’ patties, ‘cheese’, ‘bacon’, crispy fried onions and BBQ sauce. Their shakes are equally delicious, and they sell booze.
VREV, 20-26 Edge Street, M4 1HN
Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen
Located down Withington end, Lotus offers a massive selection of all of your favourite vegetarian and vegan Chinese dishes. You can eat in or get it delivered straight to your fat face, and there is a selection of dishes almost as long as Andre the Giant’s inside leg. Many dishes offer a selection of vegetarian and vegan ‘meats’ made with soya proteins, soya fibres, wheat proteins and mushrooms so if you’re a veggie or even vegan then there’s plenty of choice. BB recommendation – the Aromatic Crispy Veggie Duck.
Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen, 536 Wilmslow Road, M20 4BY
Masterchef winner Simon Wood’s flagship restaurant on First Street isn’t just one for meat eaters! Alongside head chef, Zara, the duo have been working on an impressive vegetarian version of the restaurants tasting menu, which features some incredible dishes including Koji Carrot, Wasabi Leaf, Preserved White Asparagus and Furikake and Summer Courgettes with Truffle, Confit Yolk and Pomme Soufflé. The dessert menu is also packed full of unique flavours such as the Exton Rosé Strawberries, Marigold and Cereal Milk and Brown Butter Artichoke with Black Apple. The menu costs £105 per person, making it a great destination for vegetarian fine dining.