Wendy Johnson gives us her tips on where to find great vegetarian food in Bristol...

Image - The Canteen

My food needs were pretty basic when I turned vegetarian in the late ‘80s. Aged 11, vegetarian lasagne and garlic bread was possibly my favourite meal…which is just as well since that’s all the typical family pub or restaurant ever offered for veggies.

Fast forward more than 25 years and Britain’s food scene has changed beyond recognition. Vegetarians are no longer seen as deviant diners. We’re part of an ever-growing brigade with an ever-growing range of ‘eating out’ options to entice us.

Bristol is blessed with some fabulous places to eat out. Some of my favourites aren’t exclusively vegetarian but put real thought and care into creating an interesting and seasonal veggie menu. Watershed Café Bar, Yurt Lush, The Canteen and Folk House Café are places I can go time after time and always eat something different.

But, if you’re seeking a place where there isn’t a lamb chop in sight, try this selection of wholly veggie and vegan venues and events around the city. As it is National Vegetarian Week, there couldn’t be a better time.

1847, St Stephens Street, Old City

Named after the year the Vegetarian Society was founded, 1847 isn’t unique to Bristol – there are restaurants in Manchester, Birmingham and Brighton too – but the chefs use local produce in their dishes and there’s a definite West Country twist to some (cider-battered halloumi anyone?). It’s in a great spot if you’re exploring the Old City and want somewhere modern and stylish to dine.

Eat a Pitta, St Nicholas Market, Gloucester Road and Broadmead

Image - Eat a Pitta, St Nicholas Market by Morgan Bigault 

Eat a Pitta’s modest little stall in St Nicks often has the longest queue in the market on weekday lunchtimes, and for good reason. Great value, delicious and cooked to a traditional family recipe, the falafel is moist and the heaped plates of crisp, colourful salad brighten up the market. St Nicks is the original venue but they’ve since opened outlets in Broadmead and Gloucester Road. It would be a ‘pitta’ not to try it.

Maitreya Social, St Mark’s Road, Easton

Seasonal, local, organic food is on the menu at one of Easton’s most well-known restaurants. Once Café Maitreya, it relaunched as Maitreya Social a few years ago, with a more relaxed feel and all-day opening. A typically intriguing dish might be celeriac, walnut and Winchester roll or indulgent ‘Easton Mess’. It’s also just a few strides away from Bristol Sweet Mart, which is great if you’re doing some creative veggie cookery at home.

Roll for the Soul, Nelson Street, Old City

Cyclists like big portions, and so does veggie cycle café Roll for the Soul. It’s a not-for-profit community cycle hub so you can have your bike fixed in the upstairs workshop whilst indulging in some bike banter with local cyclists downstairs over a plump, juicy vegan burger. Everything on the menu is veggie and around half of it is also vegan. They serve good coffee here too.

Cafe Kino, Cheltenham Road, Stokes Croft

Image - Cafe Kino by Paul Box

This vegan and veggie café in Stokes Croft is a not-for-profit cooperative. Not only can you get a hearty burger or breakfast cooked with produce from ethical Bristol-based suppliers like The Severn Project, The Proper Bread Bakery and Four Seasons Organic, but you’ll be eating surrounded by work from local artists.

VX, East Street, Bedminster

This vegan junk food café started in London’s Kings Cross but opened its Bedminster doors at the end of 2015. It champions the idea that being vegan need not be limiting so expect things like sausage butties, kebabs, hot dogs and peanut brownie soya ice cream.

Flow, Haymarket Walk

Tapas-style small plates and snacks at Flow by St James Barton roundabout mean you can sample lots of different dishes – curried cauliflower fritters and smoked cheddar risotto balls are typical tasty offerings -  but you can go for a full three-course meal too. The drinks are just as tempting, with seasonal cocktails, organic wines and Mendips-based Lovely Drinks.

Falafel King, Bristol Harbourside

Falafel King’s distinctive blue van on the centre must be tried for an authentic taste of the Middle East. It has a café on Cotham Hill too. Fluffy pittas from its own Abunoor pitta factory are packed with a generous filling of falafel, salad and sauces. If you’ve got room afterwards, the chocolate muffins are exceptional.

Edna’s Kitchen, Castle Park

The unassuming little kiosk occupied by Edna’s Kitchen belies the big Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours that are created within. Their substantial wraps will more than fill you at lunchtime, but it’s fresh, healthy stuff. Stretched out on the grass of Castle Park on a sunny day, you could be on an Aegean island. Almost.

VegFest UK, Lloyds Amphitheatre (21 to 22 May)

Image - VegFest UK

This two-day vegan extravaganza returns to Bristol’s Harbourside this month, with 180 stalls, talks and demos, plus all-day music across two stages from local acoustic artists and headline acts including Marshall Jefferson, vegan reggae artist Macka B and Adamski.

By Wendy Johnson

Related

Eat a Pitta
Take Away
Eat a Pitta

Eat a Pitta sell delicious handmade and fresh falafels, hummus, salads and sauces wrapped up in a toasted pitta. Healthy, tasty, fast and fresh! The perfect lunchtime snack!

The Folk House Cafe
Café
The Folk House Cafe

They believe in helping to create a more sustainable, wholesome and joyful world, one bowl of soup at a time.

Watershed Cafe Bar
Café
Watershed Cafe Bar

Cafe bar serving up quality food and drink in a relaxed Harbourside location

Bristol Shopping Quarter
Street/Area
Bristol Shopping Quarter

Home to hundreds of shops, from high street favourites to independent boutiques, plus great restaurants, cinemas and bars.