Including vegan junk food, pizzas, kebabs, vegan brunch and places to go to on special occasions...
More and more of us are deciding to become vegan, with some studies saying that the last 12 months has seen a 40% increase in the number of people going plant powered, whether it’s for health reasons, animal welfare, environmental factors or all three.
According to Plant Based News, more than 1.5 million people are now vegan, and restaurants and delivery service have seen a huge increase in interest in vegan dishes.
January also offers people the chance to practice ‘Veganuary’ – trying a 100% plant-based diet for a month – and as such, many of Manchester’s restaurants and bars offer up new menus, offers and more to celebrate this.
Here’s a selection of Manchester’s best vegan options this Veganuary (and beyond)…
Slap & Pickle
Slap & Pickle have a very refreshing outlook when it comes to vegan dishes. Essentially they can re-create ANY of their burgers or loaded fries into a vegan dish – no matter what it is. So even if their burger has 6 beef patties, bacon, fried chicken, tonnes of cheese and a steak plonked on top, they will re-create it so that it’s 100% plant-based. Legends.
If you’ve recently turned vegan or are just partaking in Veganuary, name a food you’re missing. Got it? Yeah – don’t worry about it V-Rev have got the alternative for you. Whether it’s hot dogs, mac and cheese, burgers, sandwiches, loaded fries, pancakes or even brownies you’ll find it at V-Rev.
Featured on the Beeb’s Million Pound Menu, Wholesome Junkies can be found 7 days a week in Manchester Arndale Market. All you need to do is look at their Instagram and you will be drooling. Hot wings, burgers, chicken, dogs, brownies – god just everything. I’m going to stop because looking at their pictures is making me hungry. Just go eat here OK?! I promise you won’t regret it.
Yard & Coop
This is a big one. Yard & Coop has been a HUGE name in the Manchester fried chicken game for a while now, but a vegan version of their much-loved meat is now on offer after a collaboration with Temple of Seitan. Available throughout January, Yard & Coop is offering the very cheeky ‘Massive Vegan Cock’, which consists of double stacked Temple of Seitan tenders, hash browns, salt and pepper cauliflower, street slaw, and if that isn’t enough they’ve chucked some fake bacon, cheese slices, chilli and mint yoghurt, lettuce, tomato, gherkins, onion and a vegan seitan wing on top, too. This is all crammed in a vegan brioche bun with loads of fries.
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 craving this Veganuary.
Inspired by an epic USA road trip, Herbivorous has taken inspiration from the American vegan food scene explosion and crafted their own style of plant-based food for our eating pleasure, thanks guys! Ran by Robyn and Damian, the restaurant creates dead tasty vegan comfort food with ingredients such as seitan and cashew cheese sauce. Their Buffalo Wings are an absolute must for anyone wanting to experience a vegan version of their beloved chicken alternative.
Purveyors of some of the finest vegetarian and vegan dishes in the whole city, Bundobust have gone from strength to strength since opening in a very difficult unit on Piccadilly Gardens a few years back. The combination of outstanding plant-powered Indian dishes and a constantly changing beer and ale list is an absolute winner and has made this place one of the best restaurants in the city. They’ve also just launched a new ‘Bundo Does Meat’ campaign, working with Meatless Farm on a range of dishes available for a limited time.
Probably Manchester’s favourite curry place serving up some whopping great big dishes have actually curated a fantastic vegan menu featuring vegan twists on all the classics. The dishes include the likes of Tofu Tikka, Gobi Tkki for starters and Goan Feijoada and Vegan ‘Chicken’ Handi for mains. They’ve even designed a Vegan Salted Caramel Cheesecake which I’m salivating over now thinking about and it’s not even 10am so my January diet is going well as I’m sure you can imagine.
Delhi House Cafe
The Corn Exchange favourite has a dedicated Vegan Menu with delights plucked straight from the streets of Delhi and delicately placed on your table for your enjoyment. There’s Breakfast and Brunch dishes including their Indian Railway Cutlet served with grilled veggies and a spicy tomato chutney, to proper curries, including their Nutri spinach Roti curry and a phenomenal Yellow Daal made using split pigeon lentils.
This Charming Naan at Deaf Institute
A very clever play on that dead annoying 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 and triple cooked chips with various toppings.
Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
Ashton’s vegan gods, Lily’s serve a full plant-powered menu of authentic Indian street food delights developed from family recipes. The restaurant was first established in 1972 by husband and wife duo, Mr PG Sachdev and Mrs Lilawati ‘Lily’ Sachdev on Cotton Street East in Ashton, as they sold savoury treats and spices out of their small shop. The restaurant branched out to Chorlton in 2020 and is set to make an appearance in Ancoats this year! Expect chaats, grills, curries and small plates from these powerhouse vegan chefs.
Another contender in the vegan Indian street food game, Sanskruti offers authentic Indian cuisine. The restaurant aims to offer a wide variety of choices, many of which you are unlikely to find at any other restaurant in Manchester. They use fresh ingredients in all of their dishes, offering a vegan and vegetarian menu that traverses the Indian sub-continent: from the ‘Thalis’ of Gujarat to the ‘Dosas’ of South India and from the ‘Chaats’ of Mumbai to the rich, unforgettable taste of North Indian curries.
Little Aladdin Vegan Cafe
Sure, you can get yourself a vegan curry from This & That just around the corner, but Little Aladdin’s on High Street is a fully 100% vegan joint, and these curries are damn delicious. Everything in fact is vegan, so you can eat safe in the knowledge that you’re not harming any animals while you tuck in. Their Daal is outstanding – a visit here without it is like going to Disneyland and never meeting Mickey.
The Refuge’s illustrious Roast Dinner Platter is truly a sight to behold – topped liberally with three meats and all the trimmings. Their Sunday dinner exploits are well-renowned throughout the city, and thus their vegan option is an absolute blinder too. It’s a Vegan Pithivier – essentially a vegan pie, with all the trimmings and lashings of gravy.
Alvarium’s Vegan Sunday Roast
Easily the best vegan roast in the entire city, I challenge anyone to find a better Sunday dinner for vegans anywhere else in Manchester. Even if you think you’ve had a good one, I can guarantee that Alvarium’s is better – you really need to get yourself down here and give it a try. Served from 4pm, it’s a Caramelised Red Onion, Spinach and Mushroom Wellington, served alongside harissa and orange roasted carrots, roast potatoes, homemade Yorkshire pudding and an amazing port and blackcurrant gravy.
Another legendary Sunday Roast, this time right in the centre of Ancoats on Cutting Room Square. Elnecot is packed out week-in, week-out because of the quality of their roasts and their Vegan Nut Roast is easily one of the very best in the city. With all the trimmings, a few pints or perhaps a bottle of wine – there’s no better Sunday.
Veganuary at Nell’s
From now until the end of the month at all Nell’s sites you can grab three specially created NYC style pies, available exclusively in 14” format. The specials are the Aloha Vegan with MozzaRisella vegan cheese, MozzaRisella smoked vegan cheese, red tomato sauce, pineapple, green chili and This Isn’t Bacon. The next vegan spesh is the standard, not-to-be-messed with Margherita and finally the Friarielli & Beyond with yellow tomato sauce, oregano, chili flakes, bomba regina, friarielli, Beyond vegan sausage and yeast flakes.
Fine purveyors of exclusively vegan pizza, Purezza is a must-visit this Veganuary. The restaurant is fully vegan, and has a long list of tasty toppings including; vegan sausage, BBQ pulled ‘porketta’, and black truffle. It is also offering 50% off its core menu items Monday – Thursday throughout January, but you’ll need a unique code to redeem the discount, which you can grab below.
Four Side Vegan Pizza
Detroit style vegan pizza gets a massive YES from me! Four Side launched in Northern Quarter during the early pandemic of 2021, but have now moved to Electrik in Chorlton and serve up delish, thick slabs of pizza fully formed or by the slice. You’ll find your classic Margherita done vegan, the Florentine, which is loaded with miso buttered spinach, tofu ‘egg’ and carrot ‘pancetta and 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 a fully vegan kebab and fried chicken joint offering some of the tastiest, 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 doused 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 lashings of salad and sauces for you to choose from. They also have a chicken version, as well as falafel and are offering 50% off for two days only this month, the 10th and 17th.
The Northern Quarter’s 100% vegan restaurant, set in the basement of Alvarium just off Tib Street, is a wonderful food destination, filled with creativity and imagination, all from the mind of Head Chef Grace Stubbs. They’re currently offering a tapas menu of delightful small plates, each one will make you wonder how in the world they made them vegan. Try the vegan calamari – they’re the best.Oh and there’s 50% off this Jan.
The Allotment Vegan Eatery
Not satisfied with just serving up food fit for the vegan diet, Allotment is also helping out our Gluten Free friends. They’ve been awarded a million and two badges to say just how good the food is included the Best Vegan Roast 2019 so it might be worth a try this one. Luckily, there’s even a handy 20% off the A La Carte Menu throughout January, Sunday – Friday.
With a pretty extensive Plant Based menu, Cottonopolis is a fantastic choice for Veganuary, and even better, this month they’re offering up a ‘Taste of Cotton’ set menu, featuring 7 courses and a drink for just £25 per person. The menu features plenty of vegan offers and is available Monday – Thursday and Sunday evening from 4pm.
The Walled Gardens
The Walled Gardens is an underground restaurant ran by Chef, Eddie Shepherd that serves only eight guests per night. The unique menu consists of 12 courses that explore tastes and flavours from around the world, pioneering modern plant-based eating and creating a very unique and intimate fine dining experience.
The Garden Eatery in Hale has a huge focus on clean eating, serving fresh, sustainable plant-based goodness all year round. From Acai Bowls to Chickpea Scramble and Cauli Tacos, the cafe has something for everyone determined to be kinder to their body and ditch the junk this Jan.
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 tries to be as sustainable as possible by sourcing all produce from local Manchester businesses.
GRUB is bringing its seventh ExtraVEGANza to the Red Bank on Friday 28th January until Sunday 30th featuring 100% vegan street food, deserts, craft beer and cocktails. The food line up hasn’t been officially announced yet, but expect some unique vegan treats from independent businesses with a focus on great flavours and sustainability.
Stretford Food Hall faves, The Ottö-Men offer contemporary Ottoman and Mediterranean cuisine curated with passion. Their speciality lies in mega vegan mezze bundles and platters that come with falafel, flatbreads, vegan nuggets, loaded fries and sinkonta, alongside thick hummus and loads of deliciously tart pickles!
Salt & Pepper at Black Dog
Black Dog opened its doors again recently with a new food vendor in the form of Salt & Pepper. Usually located in the Arndale market, Salt & Pepper serve all your favourite modern Chinese dishes including salt and pepper Tofu bites and crinkle fries.
The Alty Market favourites have been serving up their plant-based creations for a few years now, inspired and influenced by their favourite street food dishes from their journey across South East Asia. Expect steaming, fragrant broths; delicious rice bowls; succulent crispy mushroom ‘wings’ and ‘Banh Mi’ – their spin on Vietnam’s best-loved sandwich – in a menu packed full of flavour and showcasing the best of plant-based cuisine.
Ginger’s Comfort Emporium
A full ice cream emporium that has some delicious and hella popular vegan ice creams. Serving up some of the wackiest flavour combos you’ll find in the whole city on the first floor of Afflecks Palace. That includes the pretty damn famous, Chorlton Crack’ a salted caramel and peanut butter VEGAN ice cream. Yes, please.
The Cheesefake Company
Cheesecake is one of the finest deserts to grace this earth, and I reckon if I finally took the vegan plunge, it would be number one on my list of things I’d miss eating. However, Prestwich-based The Cheesefake Company has managed to make a vegan version of the iconic sweet treat and have an array of flavours including Oreo, Biscoff, Jammie Dodger, Lemon, Blueberry and Cherry and Chocolate. Result!
Ardwick’s best kept secret specialing in 100% Plant-based Caribbean cuisine, alongside health products which are around 60% Manchester owned – stocking only independents and giving back to the community wherever they can.
Eighth Day Vegetarian Health Food Shop and Cafe
Award winning Health Food Shop on Oxford Road offering the largest selection of veggie, vegan, organic and Fairtrade food in the Northwest! Their cafe is downstairs from the shop, where they serve up freshly made, hearty & healthy vegetarian and vegan lunch and cakes too.
The Koffee Pot
Manchester breakfast institution offer up a brekkie for every taste, occasion and hangover. From their huge ‘Bin Yin’ Scottish breakfast with haggis 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. They also do vegan pancakes and a vegan Eggs Benedict too!
Dishoom, obviously, have a rather impressive selection of vegan dishes on their main menu, but it’s their Breakfast menu where the vegan delights really shine through. 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 their outstanding Vegan Sausage Naan Roll – a great alternative to the legendary Bacon Naan.
The Green Lab
The Green Lab is a lifestyle destination open in the Northern Quarter, housing a salad bar, juice bar and health studio designed to help you stay healthy, both in-mind and in-body, by making your journey nourishing, sustainable and efficient. They’re big on ‘Nutrition Bowls’ and have some great vegan options including the Mizo and Yuzu Wild Rice, Chive and Garlic Mayo Cauli Crunch and the Tamarind and Maple Quinoa.
Lost Cat’s Bottomless Brunch
Surprisingly, you’ll find a ton of vegan sliders, burgers and sandwiches on the menu at Lost Cat, even better for when you’re taking advantage of their excellent daily Bottomless Brunch offering. For £25 you get unlimited booze and food for 90 minutes, and there’s their Vegan Bagel made using scrambled tofu and vegan sausage, and their Smashed Avo that you can eat as much as you like alongside some pretty special cocktails. It’s available every day until 4pm, walk-ins only.
Evelyns offers loads of gorgeous vegan dishes to try, whether its brunch, lunch or a later evening meal you’re after. It’s cosy interior is an idealistic setting to spend a cold January afternoon tucking into its Superfood Bowl or ECB salad with cashew parmesan. The cashew really has had its second coming with the vegan diet of recent times, hasn’t it? What a versatile nut.
Big favourite with Manchester vegans, Vertigo serves loads of amazing plant powered breakfast, lunch and dinner options. The cafe now has three sites across the city, Cross Street, Media City and First Street and is also available on Deliveroo if you feel like sprucing up your dry falafel WFH lunch. They also doing amazing coffee and hot drinks including a matcha and red velvet latte.