Vegan pizza, fine dining with veggies and 'terrified carnivores' - Manchester knows how to do Veganuary
We’re a couple of weeks into January and if you’ve taken up the Veganuary Challenge it’s likely that you’re going to be getting bored of Aldi plant-based burgers and lentil bolognese sometime soon.
Luckily, Manchester and its surrounding towns are totally on it when it comes to vegan and vegetarian cuisine. In fact, you can’t swing a cat (sorry) in the suburbs without smashing into an organic veggie supermarket. We’re well ahead of the curve too, some of these restaurants have been knocking around for years. Take Lily’s Indian Vegetarian Cuisine - it’s been serving top drawer vegetarian Indian food to the good people of Ashton for nearly two decades. Relative newbies like Herbivorous may have only just opened at the end of last year but all are proving to the hungry public that green cuisine can be way more than salad and tofu.
Confidential Guides is a great resource for snuffling out great veggie and vegan restaurants in Greater Manchester during Veganuary and we’ve put together a list of some of the best around especially for the occasion.
Read on for twelve great veggie and vegan restaurants in Manchester.
The Allotment Vegan Eatery
On a recent visit to The Allotment (which is conveniently located immediately beneath our offices), we were delighted to find that it creates beautiful fine dining style dishes out of actual plants and nuts - no seitan or mock-meat here.
Try king oyster mushroom scallops to start, a chestnut bourguignon or even battered banana blossom for your main course. The Allotment’s Sunday roast offers aubergine steak or leek and potato bake with all the usual trimmings too.
The Allotment Vegan Eatery Lloyd’s house, 18-22 Lloyd St, Manchester M2 5WA
The garden-themed bar and restaurant in Manchester’s Northern Quarter is well known for its vegan-friendly offering, and with a shiny new menu ready to go for Veganuary 2022, you’d be mad not to pencil it down for a vegan feast.
Alvarium loosely translates to "beehive" in Latin, and while we’re not short of bee-related bars and restaurants around town, we could definitely do with more menus that give homage to humble veggies. Beetroot orzo and roasted Jerusalem artichokes are menu highlights - not forgetting the chocolate orange torte with miso caramel sauce.
A "sister restaurant" to Alvarium's, Black Leaf, opened last year.
Alvarium 8 Dorsey St, Manchester M4 1LU
Billing itself as Greater Manchester’s only purely vegan Indian offering, Bhaji Pala brings the flavours and traditions of Western India to Gatley. Its most successful dishes showcase vegetables and pulses in all their glory, and while some Indian cookery relies on paneer cheese, you won’t find a drop of dairy here.
Already hugely popular in its own right, Bhaji Pala has a loyal following so booking in advance is definitely advised.
Bhaji Pala 2 Old Hall Rd, Gatley, Cheadle SK8 4BE
Given that the makings of the hugely successful brand started with a simple tweet back in 2013, who’d have thought that Bundobust’s crowd-pleasing offering would now be a city-wide operation - with Piccadilly and now Oxford Street’s brewery slinging out bhajis, okra fries and chaat left, right and centre - not to mention branches in Liverpool and its birthplace of Leeds.
Bundobust serves vegetarian and vegan dishes inspired by the street food of Gujarat in India as well as pale ales, pilsners and porters brewed from scratch in the bubbling tanks of its Oxford Street brewery and taproom. And, for a limited time, Bundo is collaborating with the hugely popular Meatless Farm to bring vegan versions of classic meat-based curries and kebabs to the menu.
Bundobust 61 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2AG / 61-69 Oxford St, Manchester M1 6EQ
A characterful, community-minded and environmentally focused space, The Gherkin dishes up vegetarian and vegan dishes while also supporting local artists and creatives. Breakfast here is served until 3pm most days or you could pop into the warm and welcoming space in Levenshulme on a Tuesday for a vegan chippy tea with “tofish” and chips, mushy peas and curry sauce.
Get there early on a Sunday for a taste of its self-proclaimed “finest vegan roast in all the land” featuring mushroom wellington, butternut squash parcels and "Levenshulme pudding" with lashings of vegan gravy.
The Gherkin 312 Slade Ln, Levenshulme, Manchester M19 2BY
Greens has moved with the times and stayed relevant in the face of so many new veggie and vegan spots popping up around it over the past 32 years. Owned by household name, Simon Rimmer and his business partner Simon Connolly, Greens has been “terrifying carnivores” since opening its doors back in 1990, if you can believe it.
Modern veggies and vegans will be satisfied to find dishes like corn tacos with avocado puree and handmade gnocchi with roasted squash, kale and sage on the menu. Not forgetting the signature deep-fried oyster mushrooms and a decadent truffled mushroom wellington.
Greens 41-43 Lapwing Ln, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 2NT
Fresh from the success of its first venue down at Hatch on Oxford Road, Herbivorous opened its first bricks 'n mortar restaurant in Withington in October 2021. Co-founders Robyn and Damien have been cooking together since they first started dating so the passion for the food they create runs deep.
Priding itself on giving the average person “vegan food envy” the menu is bursting with plant-based versions of street food favourites. The Big Kahuna burger is a teriyaki-glazed monster with cheese, grilled pineapple and seitan bacon. While the “wings” that are smothered in sweet and spicy buffalo sauce somehow manage to be gluten-free too.
Herbivorous 445 Wilmslow Rd, Withington, Manchester M20 4AN
Lily’s Indian Vegetarian Cuisine
Lily’s is an unassuming restaurant in Ashton-under-Lyne that happens to serve some of the best South Indian food in the UK. There’s cooking going on here that puts much of the Curry Mile to shame and its chefs hail from the four corners of India: Gujarat, Rajasthan, Mumbai and the South, each bringing traditional dishes and homespun recipes with them.
Serving its community since the nineties Lily’s was awarded the title of “Neighbourhood Venue of the Year” at last year’s Manchester Food and Drink Awards, has recently opened a deli in Chorlton and will be opening another in Ancoats on 18 January.
Lily's Indian Vegetarian Cuisine 85 Oldham Rd, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 7DF
Whenever we write about pizza some wise guy always pipes up, “Just what Manchester needs - another pizza place.” These people must wear the same underwear every single day because what's wrong with a little variety? Manchester's pizza places are not all cut from the same cloth.
Vegan pizza always divides opinion because of the integrity of its cheese, but Purezza seems to make it work with its self-created vegan mozzarella gracing a large majority of the menu. Try “The one with the pesto” with a homemade pesto base, roasted courgettes and plenty of semi-dried tomatoes. Go hemp-based or wholegrain if you’re fully embracing January’s health food drive, or completely gluten-free if that's your bag. Variety, after all, is the spice of life.
Purezza 75-77 High St, Manchester M4 1FS
Ruyi Vegetarian House
Ruyi has been knocking about in Chorlton for a couple of years now, and our reviewer loved the concept of Ruyi's menu back at the start of 2020. Here you’ll find everything you’d come to expect from a Chinese restaurant, the only difference is that this one is all vegetarian, with much of the menu catering to vegan diets too.
Plenty of vegetables feature on traditional sizzling plates and hotpots but you’ll also find a selection of rather convincing mock-meat too. From “duck” pancakes to spicy caramel “ribs” and “prawn” toast.
Ruyi Vegetarian House 101 Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9GA
Hugely successful Vertigo has three restaurants across Manchester, with spots in the city centre, Media City and First Street. An out and proud plant-based eatery, Vertigo serves breakfast lunch and dinner to the hungry hoards each day without so much as a non-vegan sausage in sight.
The full Vertigo breakfast consists of scrambled tofu on its toast. And if it’s a poached egg alternative you’re looking for, look no further than a confit tomato that sits proudly atop its ingenious egg-free bene.
Vertigo Plant-Based Eatery 18 Cross St, Manchester M2 7AE / Unit 9, 11 Jack Rosenthal St, Manchester M15 4RA / Unit 2, Bridge House, Salford M50 2BH
First opening in the Northern Quarter in 2015, V-Rev's menu of jumbo hot dogs, mac n cheez balls, burgers, fried "chicken" and loaded fries make its offering junk food of the (slightly) more wholesome variety.
Veganism is a way of life for the team at V-Rev who obviously don't use meat, dairy, eggs or honey in their cooking, but also avoid cleaning products that are tested on animals or contain any animal products like lanolin or beeswax. This place is vegan with a capital V, so if it's authenticity you're looking for, join the V-Revolution.
V-Rev Vegan Diner 20-26 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HN
Read next: Where to drink low and alcohol-free in and around Manchester
Read again: Bundobust Does Meat? The vegetarian restaurant's new menu
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