Plants & Grills, Oxford
Brand new to Westgate’s Street Food Social, the team at Plants & Grills call themselves ‘meat-eating vegetarians’ – which, as far as we can tell, means they excel at both meaty, veggie and vegan dishes alike. Pop in for an aubergine flatbread, Portobello mushroom sandwich or kale and avocado salad, all washed down with a vegan beer from local craft brewery Tap Social.
Who says plant-based has to be all salads and smoothies? If you’re craving junk food this Veganuary, hotfoot it over to mad, neon-filled pub BINN Smokehouse in Buckingham for your carb fix. The extensive vegan menu includes Korean BBQ seitan tacos, cauliflower wings, not chicken nuggets and vegan chilli cheese fries. Excuse that sound, it’s just my tummy rumbling…
Gorgeous interiors – think fairy lights galore and swing seats – and plenty of plant-based options at this Indian street food restaurant on the Westgate Oxford rooftop. Vegans aren’t an afterthought here with a separate menu including treacle tamarind fries (*seriously* moreish), holy chow chickpea and potato curry served in a loaf (a ‘vegan showstopper’) and a vegan version of restaurant favourite, yoghurt chat bombs. Can’t decide? Then try the vegan school tiffin with a selection of dishes selected by the chef.
Buddha Bowl, Aylesbury
A guilt-free doner kebab? Sign me up! This 100% vegan takeaway has a massive menu, ranging from curry Buddha bowls (the Thai Mountain Red is their most popular) to ‘chickun’ burgers served with rosemary fries and pulled jackfruit BBQ wings. There are even vegan brownies, cheesecakes and ice cream to finish with – if you have room, that is.
Taste Tibet, East Oxford
From its roots as a stall on Gloucester Green Market in Oxford to a bricks and mortar restaurant on Cowley Road, there’s been a buzz around this ‘Himalayan soul food’ restaurant since it opened (you may have seen the owners on Saturday Kitchen or features in The Guardian, Time Out and BBC Good Food Awards). And it’s easy to see why when you taste the small yet perfectly formed menu offering – namely the heavily vegan momos, a warming Tibetan dumpling (pictured).
Don’t think veggie dishes can pack a punch when it comes to flavour? Tell that to the chefs at this relaxed fine dining joint in Henley – the tasting menu at the Thames Chef’s Table features seven courses of incredible dishes each centred around a different vegetable including Mushroom (wild mushrooms, ricotta , black truffle), Pumpkin (corn prince pumpkin, hazelnut, sage) and Kohlrabi (cabbage, pine nuts, celeriac, lovage).
The Punter, Oxford
Sister restaurant to meat haven The Porterhouse Grill, you’ll find The Punter a few minutes walk from central Oxford, perched of the banks of the river Isis on Osney island. The quirky pub relaunched in summer 2020 with a fully veggie and vegan menu inspired by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours with produce sourced from local suppliers. The foodie offering changes seasonally but expect nibbles like sage and onion scotch egg with cranberry ketchup (pictured) and mains including grilled paneer with satay sauce, field mushroom and truffle risotto, and beer glazed Cevenne onion with braised lentils.
The Giggling Squid, Marlow, Beaconsfield, Henley, Jericho
Starting life in a tiny fisherman’s cottage in Brighton back in 2002, Giggling Squid began with a simple idea: to cook ‘simple, rustic, fresh Thai food’ and now has outposts across the country, including four in our area. The restaurant has a special evening vegan menu which includes a selection of stir fries and curries (the Massaman is mouthwatering), plus a very reasonable set tapas lunch.
Fego, Marlow, Beaconsfield, Gerrards Cross
Influenced by South African hospitality and design, this buzzy mini café chain has three outposts in Bucks & Oxon, all of which offer a separate vegan menu to please your plant-based needs (it’s all pretty low cal too, if you’re going PB for health reasons). For breakfast get your fix with a smashed avo or a Maca berry smoothie, and for lunch choose from superfood salads, teriyaki tofu wraps and meatless patty burgers with all the trimmings.
Happy Friday Kitchen, East Oxford
The city’s only 100% plant-based restaurant, Happy Friday Kitchen landed on Oxford’s cool Cowley Road in 2017 with a Californian comfort food-inspired menu and totally Instagrammable interiors (think hanging plants and pastel paints). On offer is a decent selection of burgers, pizzas, hot dogs and Buddha bowls, but the real star of the show is the fully vegan milkshakes and desserts. Take your pick from PB+J (as the cool kids say), s’mores and salted caramel shakes, plus a wicked selection of sundaes. I’ll have cookie dough balls, ta.
The Coconut Tree, Oxford
Serving good vibes, tasty cocktails and small sharing plates, this Sri Lankan restaurant isn’t strictly vegan but the menu offers plenty of options with half of the 20+ mains fully plant-based, plus even more vegetarian options. No brainer dishes include hot battered mushrooms (also GF), Parripu (red lentil dahl) and the Fat Sister (not an insult, but a pumpkin curry!). The staple Hopper – a coconut pancake with Sri Lankan condiments – is also a must-try.
Lata Lata, High Wycombe
Fancy lunch in an underpass? It’s a lot chicer than it sounds, promise! This stylish tapas joint wouldn’t look out of place in Hackney and majorly ups High Wycombe’s creds with its pretty pink, teal and industrial interiors. The menu offers meat and fish dishes, but for veggies/vegans the likes of handmade focaccia, chickpea, almond and pepper casserole and fregula sarda (a type of nutty, toasted pasta) with salt baked beetroot should tickle your tastebuds.
The Gardener’s Arms, Jericho
This longstanding Oxford pub (it’s been around for over 200 years) may look like your traditional friendly local at a glance, but instead of your usual pub grub, the kitchen cooks up a hearty menu of 100% veggie and vegan comfort food including mushroom pie, dirty fries (hello tofu rashers, vegan mozzarella and fried onions) and an excellent selection of calzones.