I've been vegetarian for most of my life and there used to be a time when there was either no choice or a cheese-based option only when eating out. But London has some of the best restaurants in the world and the vegetarian restaurants are superb now too with many meat-eaters choosing them for the healthy option.
Tibits is a large healthy vegetarian restaurant near Piccadilly Circus in central London. It is part of the Regent Street Food Quarter and is opposite the IceBar London.
Tibits is associated with Zurich-based Hilti, Europe's oldest vegetarian restaurant at over 100 years old, but Tibits is young, fresh and modern.
There's a large 'food boat' with hot and cold dishes to choose from and the seating is on the ground floor, outside for a sunny day (they do happen sometimes!) and downstairs for a more lounge-like feel. Downstairs is also good for families as there are some children's toys, books and a large blackboard.
The fresh fruit and veg drinks are delicious and there's a good tea range too. If you stop by in the evening you can enjoy a bottle of wine and the lights turned down.
Ethos is a sophisticated self-service restaurant, close to Oxford Circus. During the week it's a 'pay by weight' buffet and at the weekend it's an unlimited buffet. These meat-free dishes are great for everyone and not overtly 'veggie'.
Fine dining and vegetarian cuisine are not often brought together but Vanilla Black, in its secluded City location, provides exactly that. They offer quality dining that often looks too beautiful to eat but do indulge as the menu is never bland and is one of the most creative I've ever seen. Salt and vinegar gel, anyone? Or Pineapple Pickle? Or Brie- Ice-Cream (pictured)? The food here is stunning and delicious.
Manna is London's oldest vegetarian restaurant. Many people to do not associate "connoisseur taste and gourmet presentation" with healthy, vegetarian food but Manna can easily quash that myth. The meals are not big but you won't go hungry, and it's a real treat to see vegetarian food presented so well. Manna gives yet another reason reason to visit the lovely Primrose Hill area in north London.
The Gate has been run by brothers Adrian and Michael Daniel since December 1989. The Gate specializes in vegetarian and vegan cuisine and have a great knowledge of tailoring menus and dishes to special dietary requirements. They only use fresh fruit and vegetables and organic produce wherever possible.
Mildred's is a Soho institution and has been serving well-priced hearty, vegetarian meals for the last twenty years. As well as a tasty vegetarian menu they use fair trade organic coffee, organic milk, and soya milk for their drinks. Their bar also has well-chosen wines and beers. Mildreds has a no booking policy for the restaurant so you may have a drink at the bar whilst waiting for a table. However, they do have a private dining room that can be booked in the evenings (seats 10-24 people).
Gaby's Deli is popular as a (delete as applicable) budget / vegetarian / Jewish / Kosher / Mediterranean / Greek hummous and kebab cafe / diner / restaurant. It is all of those things and more. You decide on the best label but just be sure to stop by.
222 Veggie Vegan
222 Veggie Vegan is a 100% vegan restaurant which focuses on a healthy lifestyle and enjoyment of good quality vegetarian food. The restaurant opened in 2004 and has a no microwave and deep frying policy. Ingredients are low-fat, low-salt, non-GM and organic where possible.