More and more of us are deciding to become vegan whether for health reasons, animal welfare, environmental factors or all three. According to The Vegan Society, more than 600,000 people in the UK were vegan in 2019, and restaurants and delivery services in Manchester have seen a huge increase in interest in vegan dishes.
January offers people the chance to have a go at being vegan for a month. ‘Veganuary’ involves trying a plant-based diet for the month of January cutting out meat, dairy and other animal derived products. Loads of Manchester restaurants and bars offer up new menus and offers for Veganuary to help people out and we’ve put together a list of good ones.
Here’s a selection of Manchester’s best vegan options for Veganuary and beyond.
Manchester Veganuary offers and deals and specials 2023
- Albert’s Shed – Two courses for £14.50 including lots of vegan options. From 10 Jan Tuesday-Thursday 12-10pm, Friday 12-7pm and Saturday 12-5pm.
- The Allotment – 20% off food in January.
- Almost Famous – The new ‘Blame it on the vegan’ burger (vegan cheeseburgers, wonderdusted waffle fries, vegan chorizo, vegan ‘bacon bacon’ mayo and more) has been added so there are now three burgers for veegs and it’s 50% off in Jan.
- Byron – Mex-It-Up burger with Meatless Farm vegan chicken breast, smashed avo, pickled jalapeños, chipotle ketchup and spiced vegan cheddar with lettuce and tomato.
- Ducie Street Warehouse – 50% off new Veganuary menu. All-day from Tuesday-Thursday, from 3-31 January. Online booking in advance is recommended.
- The Flat Baker – An oat milk and a vegan cinnamon swirl for £5
- Greens – Three dishes for £15. Available Mondays 5-8:30pm and Tuesday to Friday 12-6:30pm throughout January. Offer applies to Didsbury and Sale branches.
- The Gherkin – 23% off food Tuesday-Sunday and kids eat free all month. Pay as you feel on Mondays.
- Fat Hippo – New vegan special Sloppy Faux (with Beyond Meat Sloppy Faux sauce) joins the existing line up of five vegan burgers.
- Fountain House – Special menu launched for Veganuary includes torched leek with peanut butter clusters and truffle sherry dressing, and a celeriac steak with soy and sweet chilli onions.
- Maray – ‘Green January’ 50% off vegan and vegetarian dishes. Available Monday-Thursday throughout January with a reservation.
- Nell’s Pizza – Veganuary specials include ‘Bring your own squash roquit’ pizza with squash, roquito peppers and vegan burrata (!) as well as foccacia sticks with that burrata and vegan raspberry ripple ice cream cookie sandwiches. Launches 5 Jan.
- Pastan – Any pasta dish for £10. Lunch only, Monday-Friday throughout January. Diners should mention the offer when ordering / paying.
- Purezza – Bring a non-vegan friend and get a free pizza (only if you are on their mailing list).
- Wholesome Junkies – 50% off burgers for the whole of Jan.
- The Real Greek – Four dishes from their vegan menu for £11.95 in January.
- Yard & Coop – For Veganuary has launched three new burgers including a Viet’nom burger with seitan fried chicken, sriracha mayo, sweet and spicy rice noodles and crunchy asian slaw and a Bechamelt with crispy seitan fried chicken with melted vegan cheese, lettuce and onion, baconnaise and bechamel cheese sauce with a layer of scotch bonnet chlili jam and a crispy onion ring.
Vegan Junk Food
Inspired by an epic USA road trip, the team behind Herbivorous took inspiration from the American vegan food scene and crafted their own style of plant-based food which they toured festivals with before setting up at Hatch. Founded by Robyn and Damian, Herbivorous now also has a bricks and mortar venue in Withington, Greater Manchester. Veganuary participants might want to check out their seitan version of a Philly cheese steak, and their Buffalo Wings are a must for anyone wanting a vegan alternative to the chicken version.
Slap & Pickle
Society’s in-house burger joint Slap & Pickle has a very refreshing outlook when it comes to vegan dishes. Essentially the team can re-create any of their burgers or loaded fries as vegan versions. So even if the burger has six beef patties, bacon, fried chicken, tons of cheese and a steak plonked on top, they will re-create it so that it’s 100% plant-based.
Vegan Shack’s mission is simple, to make delicious plant-based alternative fast food that’s accessible to as many people as possible with no compromise on taste or the planet. The restaurant offers peri tenders, loaded fries, burgers and even their own version of Maccies’ sweet apple pie for all your junk food cravings this Veganuary.
The Vurger Co
This London brand that’s headed up North is dishing up some really good vegan burgers that actually look like the press images in a big, bright and colourful restaurant next to Afflecks on Church Street. The “chicken” burgers here are super crispy and chunky with a real meaty texture to them, a proper treat with one of their signature shakes on the side. This lot also sell sauces to take home, there’s a range of vegan mayos, “cheezy” nacho style jarred sauces and even vegan honey.
Featured on the Beeb’s Million Pound Menu, Wholesome Junkies had a stall at the Arndale for years before opening a standalone restaurant in the former Umezushi spot round the back of Victoria station in 2022. It might be “junk” but it’s not all fake meat here, the “chickn” sandwich is made using crispy fried oyster mushrooms and it’s very good indeed. There’s also three types of vegan mac n cheese and a whole load of tater tots – the Thai ones with sweet chilli, spicy mayo, spring onions, crispy shallots and lime are always a shout.
Yard & Coop
Yes Yard & Coop is well known in Manchester for clucking great fried chicken, but vegans or Veganuary dabblers need not be left locked out of the coop. In collaboration with Temple of Seitan, you can now get their famous big plates all sauced up and sexy and meat-free. Available throughout January, Yard & Coop has THREE specials for 2023. Cock-a-doodle-WOO!
Vegan food from the Indian Subcontinent
Well established for knocking up some of the finest vegetarian and vegan dishes in the whole city, Bundobust has gone from strength to strength since first opening on Piccadilly Gardens. The newer brewery bar on Oxford Road is always packed to the rafters. The combination of outstanding plant-powered Indian dishes and a constantly changing beer and ale list (many of which are brewed in house) has made this place one of the best casual places to eat in the city. For a Manchester Veganuary, it’s a no-brainer even on the regular menu but they usually have something special up their sleeves for vegans in Jan.
Claiming to be the very first fully vegan Indian in Greater Manchester, Bhaji Pala in Gatley is an absolute star. It’s always packed with locals and out of towners despite there being several more carnivore-friendly Indian restaurants you could easily hit with a poppadom frisbeed from the door. On the tandoor there’s pineapple, broccoli and jackfruit as well as Saffron tofu tikka, but check out the beetroot curry and crispy corn and “cheese” balls too. Even the lassis are made with almond yoghurt. A real find, this.
Delhi House Cafe
The Corn Exchange favourite has a dedicated vegan menu with delights plucked straight from the streets of Delhi. Don’t miss the avocado aloo chat, with a face only a mother can love, it ain’t pretty but it tastes amazing. There’s also four different types of chaat to munch your way through before tucking into a Punjabi palak chole, a comforting North Indian chickpea and spinach curry. There’s a coconut creme brulee too.
Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
Ashton’s vegan temple, Lily’s serves a full plant-powered menu of Indian street food and family recipes. Lily’s was first established in 1972 by husband and wife duo, PG and Lilawati ‘Lily’ Sachdev on Cotton Street East in Ashton, as a small snack shop. The family opened s larger restaurant oveer the road in Ashton in 2019. The restaurant branched out to Chorlton in 2020 and opened an Ancoats deli a year or so later. Our top tip from the delis is the addictive tubs of snack mixes like Bombay mix and Corn chevdo but treat yourself to a full banquet in their comfy Ashton restaurant in Jan, it even does vegan paneer.
Little Aladdin Vegan Cafe
Sure, you can get yourself a vegan curry from This & That just around the corner, but everything in Little Aladdin’s on High Street is vegan so you won’t be tempted to stray from the righteous path. All your Indian veggie faves are here, aubergine, okra, chickpeas, spinach, spuds, and an absolutely belting tarka dahl. But this place also does grab and go wraps with falafel, tofu, bhajis, fried aubergine hash browns with vegan cheese. Want to go even harder? What about a vegan doner? They do delivery too.
The Little Yeti
We love this little Nepalese spot in Chorlton famous for its delicate, tasty little steamed or deep fried dumplings known as momos served with all kinds of mostly vegan sauces to dunk them in. There are vegan momos and more on the separate vegan and veggie menu which also features a vegan mushroom shashlik as well as vegan bhajis, samosas and other fried snacks and vegan nan and roti. There are spiced vegetable based dishes too like a comforting yellow dall and a vegetable chow mein. Sometimes you will also find The Little Yeti popping up in various locations around Greater Manchester. Keep an eye on socials to see where it’s heading next.
The Original Third Eye
This award-winning Nepalese and Indian spot on Wilmslow Road in Didsbury has plenty for meat eaters but did you know it also has a massive vegan menu of over 20 dishes? From trusty old favourites like chickpea curry and aloo gobi to the Nepalese aloo tama curry with potato and bamboo shoots or wok fried potatos and chickpeas with chillies, peppers and onion. You can go along with your non-vegan pals and not feel like you’re missing out on anything. They do vegan roti and various rice dishes too.
Another strong contender in the vegan Indian street food game is Sanskruti which nobody can agree on the location of: Is it Withington? Is it Fallowfield? Is it actually Ladybarn? Anyway, Sanskruti is a firm favourite of many people of the plant based persuasion. Why? creamy Malai kofta in cashew and tomato gravy, crisp Mysore masala dosa, sweet and savoury bananas sautéed with turmeric, asafoetida, curry leaves, lemon juice and spices served with a fulka roti, juicy vegetable seekh kebabs, sticky battered baby corn Manchurian – need we say more?
This Charming Naan at Band on the Wall
With dish names inspired by the lyrics of that very famous vegetarian, Morrissey and his band The Smiths, This Charming Naan is a veggie Indian pop up that likes to hang around backstage at all your favourite music venues. It did a stint at Deaf Institute and is now filling the bellies of music fans at the refurbed Band On The Wall. With curries named Girlfriend in a Korma, Some Girls are Bhuna than Others and Madras is Murder, the brand has now expanded its naming rights to include other musical references. Fancy a Kinky Nacho? Importantly, the food here is very good, but I always want the one I can’t have. Wink.
Zouk has been going strong for over a decade in Manchester after it first opened in Bradford in 2006. The place is famous for its massive sharing plates, bottomless brunches and shisha but did you know it also does loads of good vegan food? With dedicated vegan mains like palak aloo and mili juli sabzi, vegans can also enjoy other menu faves like mango salad and creamy hummus. Zouk even does a Veganuary cooking class.
Vegan Sunday Roasts
Sunday roasts are serious business in Manchester and Elnecot always comes up in any list of the best. Right in the centre of Ancoats on Cutting Room Square, Elnecot is a buzzy, friendly neighbourhood spot that is the envy of many of us living in any other quarter of the city. Soup of the day is always vegan and Elnecot’s nut roast is a belter that will have even bastions of beef deliberating over what to order. Add the Ancoats stalwart’s famous crispy roasties and a mountain of seasonal veg and you’ve got Sunday sussed.
The Gherkin is a vegetarian bar, bistro and community hub in Levenshulme. Its initial aim was to bring healthy, sustainable, vegetarian and vegan food to Levenshulme in a space that would bring people together. The restaurant tries to be as sustainable as possible by sourcing all produce from local Manchester businesses and is a real pillar of the community with regular “pay what you can” evenings, a “kindness kabinet” out front and a big hearted team that really do put their money where their mouth is. It’s also well known for its affordable and lovingly made Sunday roast.
The Refuge’s illustrious roast dinner is truly a sight to behold – and one of the things it’s most famous for is already vegan: Vimto braised red cabbage. A legend in the Sunday dinner stakes across Greater Manchester, scroll past the fleshy stuff to The Refuge’s vegan option and you won’t be left wanting. Vegan wellington with roasted celeriac, mushroom duxelles, red onion, kale and roasties sounds good to us any month of the year.
Starting as a guest kitchen at Common, Nell’s now has three sites which include serving from The Beagle in Chorlton and its own massive restaurant and bar at Kampus. Famous for its gargantuan slices, Nell’s does great vegan pizzas all year round but always has a Vegaunary special. Expect three specially created NYC style pies to be available exclusively in 14” format. Keep an eye on socials for all the menu deets.
Purezza is known for its full menu of vegan dishes, not least the sourdough pizzas which include veganised versions of toppings like pepperoni, ‘nduja and meatballs. There’s even a carbonara pizza with a white sauce base, vegan ‘scrambled egg’ and vegan pancetta. But don’t overlook Purezza’s small plates menu which includes lasagne, mac n cheese and smoked meatballs. Desserts include cannoli, brownies, cheesecake and gelato all made without animal products.
Four Side Vegan Pizza
Square, deep pan Detroit style pizza has been having quite a moment in Manchester and vegans can get involved in this trend, no problem. Four Side launched in Northern Quarter during the early pandemic of 2021, but has now moved to Electrik in Chorlton to serve up thick slabs of pizza by the slice or as a whole pan. Some of the pizzas are named after women. So you’ll find the fairly self explanatory Rita and Marj, as well as Barbara which is topped with BBQ seitan, ranch sauce, chillies and coriander. They get bored of this naming convention further down the menu and resort to the no frills titles of “Mushroom” and “Pepperoni”. There’s also tater tots to enjoy on the side.
Vegan Kebabs at BAB
You probably wouldn’t actually expect to find much in the way of vegan offerings in a restaurant that serves up gourmet kebabs, but don’t worry – BAB have sorted you out. They’re also offering half price BABs Monday to Wednesday throughout Jan, starting from Monday 10th.
Döner Summer at YES
Landing in Manchester back in August 2020, Döner Summer is Leeds-born vegan kebab and fried chicken joint offering some of the most realistic meat alternatives in the city. There’s nothing better than a big, greasy kebab after a night out to soak up all the impurities of the evening, and YES offers vegans this option, too. Highlights of the menu include the Bad Girl Kebab, full of Döner meat, garlic and chilli chicken, pickled cabbage and pickles and the Buttermylk Chicken, which comes in classic, buffalo hot, Kansas BBQ, Korean BBQ, hon’y butter and salt and pepper flavours.
What The Pitta
Home to more vegan döner kebabs, What the Pitta serves a list of döner wraps and fries for all vegan junk food enthusiasts. Their signature vegan döner “meat” contains GMO free spiced soya pieces and comes tightly wrapped in fresh bread with tons of salad and sauces for you to choose from. They also have chicken and falafel versions.
Vegan food for a special occasion
The Allotment Vegan Eatery
Not satisfied with just serving up fancy food fit for the vegan diet, Allotment is also helping out the gluten free gang. Head over to the fancy new venue at Cathedral Gardens for dishes like Guinness hot pot, sun dried tomato risotto and satay skewers. Please note: The Allotment is closed until mid-Jan so keep an eye on socials for exact reopening dates and check it’s open when you plan to visit to avoid disappointment.
Cottonopolis’s vegan options may be weaved into a menu full of seafood and meat but they are a cut above many vegan options at places not designed for veegs. How does teriyaki asparagus with truffle mayo grab you? How about watermelon sashimi? Karaage cauliflower? Crispy tofu with teriyaki mushrooms and chilli jam? Toffee pudding with pecans and vanilla ice cream? If you’re still not impressed, I don’t know what to tell you.
The Garden Eatery
The Garden Eatery in Hale is al about clean eating. Expect fresh, sustainable plant-based goodness all year round from acai or pitaya smoothie bowls to turmeric scrambled chickpeas to the clash of cultures that is cauliflower gochujang on ciabatta. This cute cafe has something for everyone determined to ditch the junk including a wide range of pressed juices and alternative milk lattes.
The Walled Gardens
The Walled Gardens is an underground restaurant in Whalley Range. The eccentric, passionate project comes from acclaimed chef Eddie Shepherd. It serves only eight guests per night and bookings are as rare as tofurky teeth so you might be too late for this Veganuary but you can certainly put this on the list for next year. The unique menu consists of 12 courses that explore tastes and flavours from around the world, pioneering modern plant-based eating and creating a completely unique and intimate fine dining experience.
Vegan Middle Eastern and Mezze
Maray’s amazing food is inspired by the Marais district in Paris which is home to many immigrant populations in particular people from Algeria in North Africa and Polish and Russian Jews. This created a unique culinary crockpot with North African spice pastes like harissa and Yemeni zhug melding with mezze style dips like hummus and Middle Easten staples like falafel, mejadara and fattoush. These kinds of dishes could be considered ‘accidentally vegan’ and Maray has a whole vegan menu made up of these and many more besides. A perfect spot for mixed groups of diners with different dietary preferences.
Otto Vegan Empire
Stretford Food Hall and GRUB faves, chef James Lavin’s Ottömen made itself famous for mega vegan mezze platters full of nutritious and delicious things like falafel, creamy hummus, salsa with rose petals, khoubz flatbreads, vegan nuggets, loaded fries and sinconta with a sprinkling of tart and crunchy pickles. They are also known for rustling up a very sexy pie. Now rebranded as Otto Vegan Empire and operating upstairs out of the Crown & Conspirator pub in Stockport, you can tuck into an extended version of their menu in banquet form or just a few plates in a comfortable pub environment. There’s also a ‘Sharbet Aperitif’ with prosecco, vimto and berries.
Vegan Chinese, Japanese and other ESEA cuisines
The Alty Market favourite has been serving up plant-based creations for a few years now but recently opened in New Century in the city centre too. Inspired and influenced by the team’s favourite street food dishes from their travels across South East Asia, expect steaming, fragrant and deeply flavoured broths; delicious rice bowls; crispy mushroom ‘wings’ (strong recommend) and their own spin on Vietnam’s best-loved sandwich the Banh Mi.
Salt & Pepper
Formerly located in the Arndale market, MFDF-award-winning Salt & Pepper now has its own standalone venue just opposite serving its ridiculously addictive modern Chinese dishes which include plenty for vegan diets. Vegan options include salt and pepper tofu bites, salt and pepper hash browns and vegan sticky “chicken”.
Vegan breakfast and brunch
Dishoom has an impressive selection of vegan dishes on its main main menu, but the breakfast menu is as brilliant for vegans as it is for everyone else. There’s the truly outstanding Vegan Bombay ‘full English’ with tofu akuri, vegan sausages, vegan black pudding, grilled mushrooms, masala bean and homemade vegan buns. Not to mention the vegan sausage naan roll so vegans can get in on the breakfast naan action too.
The Green Lab
Founded in 2019 by sisters, Nikita and Kanika Banga, The Green Lab is a “lifestyle destination” in the Northern Quarter with an outpost at Deansgate Square now too. There’s a salad bar, juice bar and health studio designed to help you stay healthy in mind and body, Green Lab is big on build your own nutrition bowls with vegan proteins like tofu and falafel available as an option along with piles of fresh salad veg and flavour-boosting dressings like miso and yuzu. But with smoked beetroot bagels, vegan French toast and a vegan acai bowl available across the two venues, breakfast is vegantastic here too.
The Koffee Pot
This Manchester breakfast institution offers up a brekkie for every taste, occasion and hangover. From their huge ‘Big Yin’ Scottish breakfast to their excellent Vegan Royale – a massive morning undertaking. A plate topped with two vegan sausages, hash brown, grilled tomato, mushrooms, “cheesy bacon” and tofu scramble, kale and butternut squash, baked beans, vegan black pudding and toast. There’s also vegan Belgian waffles, a vegan mushroom Benedict and a plant based MancMuffin.
Creamy mushrooms on toast, vegan stack with sausage, hash brown, cheese and brown sauce, tofu, lettuce and tomato bagel. Vegans are definitely not overlooked on the small plates brunch menu at Lost Cat. Even better for when taking advantage of their daily Bottomless Brunch. For £25 you get unlimited booze and food for 90 minutes. Available every day until 4pm, walk-ins only.
Vegan Sweet Treats
Ginger’s Comfort Emporium
Starting out life as a travelling ice cream van that still pops up at events regularly, Ginger’s also has a dedicated ice cream emporium on the second floor of Afflecks. Owner Claire has been moving more and more towards plant based options and now there are plenty of creamy and sorbet scoops that are suitable for plant based diets. Serving up some of the most unusual flavour combos you’ll find in an ice cream parlour, the vegan version of her famous Chorlton Crack (salted caramel and peanut butter) is an obvious choice but look out for malted coconut milk, oat milk caramel, or victoria plum and mandarin sorbet options. So cool.
Want a special occasion cake for a plant based pal? You will not find a better one than those from Hulme-born Teatime Collective. Starting out at festivals before going on to open a cafe in Hulme, a shipping container restaurant and a pop up at rockabilly shop Rockers on Oldham Street, all of those ventures came to an end eventually due to running costs but Catherine still takes vegan cakes and ice cream to festivals and bakes to order from her kitchen. We have been mega impressed by an incredible rainbow wedding cake and a goth AF birthday cake in the past. Cake flavours include a mind boggling choice from black forest gateau to toffee popcorn to raspberry pistachio and more. She does donuts too.
The best of the rest – everything else vegan
GRUB plant powered Sundays
Street food fiesta GRUB started life in what is now Freight Island’s outdoor area before moving to the up and coming Red Bank arches near the Green Quarter. Every Sunday GRUB goes plant-powered with multiple street food traders serving up vegan only dishes. It’s a great opportunity to support tiny indie businesses and try some different kinds of vegan food. There’s a big indoor bar area with loads of good local beer on sale as well as some tasty alcohol free options if you’re doing Dry Jan as well.
Vegan food shops
Ardwick’s best kept secret specialising in 100% plant-based Caribbean cuisine, alongside other healthy living focused products which are around 60% Manchester owned. ARMR Store has all the vitamins and minerals you need as well as vegan protein products for all you gym bunnies. You can grab pasta, pulses, sweet treats and sauces form their supermarket shelves but there’s also fresh Caribbean food and smoothies to order online or grab to take away.
Eighth Day Vegetarian Health Food Shop and Cafe
Eighth Day is an award-winning and long standing health food co-op on Oxford Road offering the largest selection of veggie, vegan, organic and Fairtrade food in the North West. This lot were stocking lentils and vegan mayo way before Veganuary was even a thing and the shop continues to be one of the best for plant-based groceries, refillables and even booze. There’s also a lovely canteen style cafe in the basement dishing up hearty stews, pies and cakes.