Posted 9th September 2012
Updated January 2016: In 2015 vegetarian food sort of exploded across Bristol. With lots of new openings and a big increase in vegetarian and vegan choices on menus everywhere. (Perhaps something to do with Bristol being names Europe’s Green Capital? who knows?) Neither Becci nor I are vegetarians so in addition to our own recommendations, the rather brilliant Kim from @BristolVeggie has helped us out with her top picks too. You should check out her tumblr blog here.
Updated Jan 2016. As mentioned at the start of this post, neither Bec nor I are vegetarians. However we both love veggie food and think the below are fine examples of meat free dining in Bristol.
Flow, Haymarket (Bearpit)
A diamond in the rough hidden in the depths of the Bearpit opposite the Mayflower. Flow has a relaxed atmosphere with an exciting yet refined menu – a mixture of small plates and larger meals – all of it vegetarian or vegan with a good selection of gluten free to boot. Food was beautifully cooked and presented, wine was well priced and we had a wonderful evening. Perfect for those looking for sophisticated vegetarian food in a laid back atmosphere.
Read our full review here.
Cafe Maitreya Social, Easton
Exquisite food at a good price. Maitreya Social simply blew us away. The chefs operate in a small open plan kitchen as diners relax in a beautiful restaurant. Food is inventive – a real creative twist on vegetarian cooking. Interesting ingredients cooked with style and often with an Asian twist. Looking for something a bit special? Look no further. This a restaurant that we urge all foodies to try.
No.1 Harbourside, Canon’s Road, BS1
I recently took my mother in law to dinner at No1 Harbourside. We were looking for good food, ideally vegetarian, in a relaxed but nice setting served quickly as we were heading to the Hippodrome. No1 Harbourside delivered all of these things.
I was delighted to see the menu broken down into four sections: vegan, vegetarian, fish and meat with three to four options for each. My MIL opted for Briko pastries stuffed with spiced cauliflower and spinach, served with a coriander and peanut salsa. I had the “little lumps” herbed gnocchi served with sautéed brussel sprouts. Great food, great value. Perfect for those looking for tasty vegetarian or vegan food in a laid back bar setting.
Krishna’s Inn, Clifton Triangle
Nothing fancy from the outside but some really great food on offer here. Krishna’s Inn specialise in southern Indian cuisine which is mainly lots of smaller vegetarian dishes. Very reasonably priced and very tasty.
Cafe Kino, Stokes Croft
Casual dining wsith a laid back vibe. Cafe Kino offers a small menu of home cooked, hearty veggie and vegan food. The spicy veggie burger with regular of set potato chips is something pretty special. My veggie friend Ceri proclaimed it to be one of the best veggie burgers she’d ever eaten. Cafe Kino is a cooperative so there’s a really friendly atmosphere and also a sense that the staff really care. You can find local art on the wall and a small selection of beers, ciders and soft drinks.
Thali cafe, Clifton, Easton, Totterdown, Montpelier
So technically, Thali now serves meat as well, but it started as veggie and their veggie thalis are still pretty awesome. Your thali consists of a salad, rice, curry and dhal with the option of veggie or veggie and dairy free. Highly recommended are the City Snacks off the starter menu, a selection of spicy, fresh tasting bhajis and pakoras. Also recommended are the chutneys and pappadoms – some of the best mango chutney I have tested. All this in a selection of beautiful Restaurants across the city, with main meals costing less than a tenner.
Biblos, Stokes Croft, St Werburghs, Gloucester Road
Another veggie hideout on stokes croft, Biblos offers a selection of mezze items to pick and share with friends. Also on offer are some pretty awesome pittas and wraps, generous in size filled with exciting flavours and good ingredients. Enjoy the local art on the walls, their laid back vibe and most of all, their food.
Eat a pitta, St Nicholas Market, Broadmead, Gloucester Road
One for lunchtimes and not evenings, we’ve said it before and well say it again, the falafel from these guys is pretty awesome, arguably the best in Bristol. If you are in need of a lunchtime by in the city centre then these are the guys for you.
Royce Rolls, St Nicholas Market
Another lunchtime hideout in St Nicks, these guys have a good selection of veggie, vegan and gluten free lunchtime snacks, from jacket potatoes to pies, sandwiches, rolls and pasties. Not only that but their flapjack selection is something to be proud of too. Worth a visit if you are in the area.
Some tasty vegetarian tapas (a few meat dishes on there as well). Beautiful atmosphere in the restaurant, bustling and inviting. I love the local art on the walls and the casual yet intimate atmosphere.
Here’s my top picks. I’ve chosen restaurants that not only do good veggie food but offer a wider choice than average too. Unfortunately there are a lot of high-end restaurants that are nice, but only offer one veggie option, so they didn’t make the cut! I would have included Maitreya Social, but that’s already in the Bristol Foodie shortlist, and I hope you don’t mind, but I put an honorary mention in for Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen in Bath. It’s totally worth the train journey!
River Cottage Canteen, Whiteladies Road
River Cottage’s Veg Out night can be relied upon for a wide range of high quality vegetarian and vegan food. It’s a monthly event – usually the first Tuesday of the month – and uses seasonal ingredients. It’s a la carte too, not a set menu. There’s usually only one bigger vegetarian meal on the menu on a day-to-day basis, but there’s a few smaller plates that don’t contain meat, and a seasonal vegetable mezze for sharing.
Souk Kitchen, North Street (new branch also now in Clifton!)
One of the best non-veggie restaurants for vegetarians. There are tons of mezze dishes to choose from, and at least two options larger main courses. These include smoked veg, Spinach and pine nut bistilla, Turkish beans, falafel, feta and watermelon salad, labne with tomatoes, and haloumi, among many others.
The Olive Shed, The Floating Harbour
I love The Olive Shed for its atmosphere and location, but it also offers some of the better vegetarian tapas in town (too many places seem to leave the veggies to bread or potato-based dishes). There’s one main and one starter on the menu, but they’re usually a little different to the norm, and there’s often a meat-free special too.
Wilk’s Restaurant, Chandos Road, Redland
Wilk’s is worth a visit on Sunday night for its vegetable tasting menu. Note ‘vegetable’ and not ‘vegetarian’ – this menu is all about celebrating the natural flavours of vegetables in their own right. With five courses including dishes such as chestnut veloute, caramelised chicory and violet gnocci, it’s a shame it only happens one a week.
Acorn Kitchen, Bath (Honourary mention)
If you’re prepared to hop on a train for a good meal, then do the locomotion over to Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen in Bath. I cannot overstate how good the food here is. You might remember Acorn in its former guise, Demuth’s; Demuth’s was fantastic, but Acorn is a step above. Expect imaginative and skillfully prepared food such as carrot and cashew pate with spelt crisps, pumpkin cooked in almond milk or pineapple carpaccio.