The Best Chain Restaurants for Vegans

Zizzi’s Zizzi’s is currently my favourite and go-to chain restaurant since they updated their menu to include an incredible vegan selection. With a choice of 5 vegan starters (olives, nuts, garlic bread) and 2 desserts (gelato, dessert calzone) you don’t have to miss out at any stage of the meal here. I go for the vegan mains, though, which are absolutely delicious. With a choice from a list of different salads, pizzas, and pastas, you can truly enjoying indulging in Italian food whilst out and about again. Everybody I have spoken to absolutely LOVES the vegan cheese used by Zizzi on their vegan pizzas so it’s definitely worth giving it a go. They even label their vegan wines!

Nando’s

Nando’s might come as a surprise to many people as it is best known (obviously) for its chicken. However, if you know what you are doing, vegans can enjoy a quick Nando’s too. The choices do seem limited with only the Veg Peredise burger being mean – ASK FOR NO CHEESE/MAYO – but it is the ability to customise that makes Nando’s so great for vegans. You can add pineapple, avocado, chilli jam, and Portobello mushroom to tailor your burger to you. Alternatively, you can ask for veggie strips to go in a salad rather than chicken strips. There’s also a ton of vegan friendly sides: houmous and pitta bread, spicy mixed olives, peri peri nuts, garlic bread, chips, mixed leaf salad, chargrilled veg, and sweet potato wedges (without the creamy side dressing).

Yo! Sushi

For Japanese and sushi, there are plenty of choices for vegans here and don’t let the conveyor belt scare you. You can order through a waiter or waitress, you don’t just have to grab something off the belt and hope for the best. My favourites here are: pumpkin katsu curry, yasai gyoza (veggie dumplings), inari sushi, edamame and the harusame aubergine. The list doesn’t stop there, though, as there are many more vegan dishes to enjoy. Just ask!

Handmade Burger Company

Handmade Burger offers 4 different types of veggie burger which is a dream come true to veggies used to receiving a bean-burger every single time (although I’m quite partial to a bean burger). Here you have a choice between: Cajun vegetable and bean burger, veg-Mex burger, sweet potato and bean burger, and a Thai vegetable burger. Be sure to order your burger on the plain sourdough bun!

Pret a Manger

Veggie options differ from store to store with Pret A Manger and if you’re lucky enough to live in London there are 2 veggie-only Pret stores. Usually, though, there’s a decent enough selection for a quick breakfast or lunch. Everything is clearly labelled as either vegetarian or vegan and so you don’t have to do too much squinting at labels and asking for allergen folders. My personal lunch time favourite is the chakalaka wrap or the sweet potato, falafel and smashed beets Veggie box. Not the cheapest of options but it sure is convenient.

Wagamama

For more Japanese dining, head to Wagamama. Side options include edamame, wok-fried greens and my personal favourite yasai gyoza (veggie dumplings) – steamed or fried.  The problem at Wagamama comes with the noodles, and with egg. Many dishes can be veganised simply by swapping the egg noodles for the vegan-friendly ones. Some dishes also unfortunately contain egg, which can sometimes just simply be left out. For example, the Yasai Yaki Soba (a tofu and noodles dish) usually contains an egg but you can simply ask for this to be left out. In other cases, it can be more difficult such as with the Yasai Katsu Curry. Egg is used to bind the batter to the vegetables and so this cannot so easily be veganized although recently I saw that somebody had simply asked for the dish to be served with tofu instead of the vegetables. It’s irritating when a vegan experience of a restaurant is less clear, like with Wagamama, but if you ask they are always happy to accommodate by presenting you with the allergens folder. Also be wary of fish sauce. 

Wetherspoon’s

There isn’t a huge choice on offer at Wetherspoon’s but being cheap, cheerful, pretty much everywhere and a firm favourite amongst my student friends, sometimes a trip to Wetherspoon’s is necessary. Breakfast options include fruit, bagels, or a build-your-own breakfast with a choice from tomatoes, baked beans, mushrooms, and hash browns. For your lunch time or dinner there’s a simple but effective jacket potato and beans on offer or you can opt for the sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry.  This is served with rice and naan bread. In the past we have been told to ask that the naan bread be swapped for popadoms but recently I hear rumour that the naan bread is now vegan-friendly. Just make sure to ask! Alternatively, there’s a pasta dish or a nachos dish to tuck into and there’s a modest range of vegan-friendly side dishes. 

Las Iguanas

For Latin food, head to Las Iguanas where you can ask for a separate vegetarian & vegan menu. There’s a wide selection of vegan friendly starters and sides, but unfortunately only one tapas dish is vegan suitable – the fiesta ensalada. Not to worry, though, because there are 5 or 6 vegan mains from mushroom fajitas to veggie chillies. Just be sure to ask for everything without sour cream and cheese! There are a couple of vegan dessert options here too. 

All images are authors own. 

 

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