It’s estimated that 400,000 people took part in Veganuary last year, cutting out all animal products – and turning vegan has never been easier.
The plant-based diet can be tricky for those who usually love foods like eggs, meat and cheese, but Manchester is a great place to live if you want to cut out meat.
As the birthplace of the Vegetarian Society, there are dozens of brilliant restaurants here who sell entire menus of vegan and vegetarian food.
Do you know a great vegan restaurant we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.
Four Side Pizza, Northern Quarter
This is a newcomer for the city and is due to open for takeaway at least in early January.
Four Side comes from local chef Dan Hope, who was also the man behind Firebird Hope and Krum doughnuts.
He’s now taking over the old Earth Cafe site (the cafe sadly closed down this year) with his fully-vegan, Detroit-style square pizzas, with around nine flavours on sale at any one time.
The alcohol-free restaurant will serve coffee and doughnuts during the day before converting to a pizza parlour at night.
16-20 Turner Street, M4 1HZ | instagram.com/foursideveganpizza
The Walled Gardens, Whalley Range
For a special occasion, you can’t do much better than The Walled Gardens.
This Whalley Range hidden restaurant is inside its founder’s house, and has been voted one of the best restaurants in the country.
Eddie Shepherd serves a creative, ever-changing menu here, making and growing a lot of his own produce in his back garden.
17 Alness Rd, Whalley Range, M16 8SP | veggiechef.co.uk
Wholesome Junkies, Manchester Arndale
The Arndale food market is one of the best places to find a delicious bite to eat from an independent trader.
Wholesome Junkies takes all your familiar comfort food and turns it completely plant-based.
You can get your hands on vegan burgers, tater tots, hot dogs and buffalo hot wings (made with oyster mushrooms instead of chicken).
When we reviewed every stall in the market, these guys were a stand-out.
Manchester Arndale Food Market, 49 High St, M4 3AH | wholesomejunkies.com | 07551 659112
If you want a business that never stands still, in every sense of the word, you need to track down the Otto-Men.
One of the finest street food traders in the country, the team here serve Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean inspired food, with recent pop ups in Stretford Food Hall.
The Otto-Men also has stepped up its online game this year, delivering incredible salads, curries, mezzes, wraps, brownies and pies to your door.
Bundobust, Piccadilly Gardens
Established in Leeds in 2014, the Indian street food and craft beer bar has since branched out across the Pennines with a huge Manchester city centre site – and there’s a second opening on Oxford Street later this year.
Specialising in south Indian-style small plates – all 100% vegetarian and many vegan or gluten-free – the menu includes dishes such as bhaji butties (£6), paneer tikka kebabs (£6.75), and the comforting chickpea and spinach curry chole saag (£6.75, served with puri).
Or you could just order THE WHOLE MENU, which allegedly serves between six and eight people, for £78.
59 Piccadilly, M1 1RG / bundobust.com/manchester / 0161 359 6757
Vertigo, Royal Exchange, MediaCityUK, and First Street
Just six months after opening its first restaurant on Cross Street (just next door to the Royal Exchange Theatre), Vertigo went and opened a second, even bigger site.
And then, not long after that, opened a third one over at MediaCityUK.
Its plant-based menu of grab-and-go breakfast and lunches, as well as a dine-in menu of stews, curries, smoothie bowls and salads, has clearly been a recipe for success.
There’s also a selection of low-intervention wines and First Chop beers.
18 Cross Street, M2 7AE; Unit 9, 11 Jack Rosenthal St, M15 4RA; Unit 2, Bridge House, MediaCityUK, M50 2BH / vertigomcr.co.uk
Ruyi Vegetarian House, Withington
Stepping into the site left behind when Lotus closed is Ruyi, with a similar menu and concept.
Serving vegan and vegetarian Chinese food, the restaurant uses mock meat to recreate some of the best-loved Chinese dishes.
You’ll find veggie Peking ribs (£7), crispy Szechuan mushrooms (£10.50) and veggie prawn toast (£6.50).
536 Wilmslow Road, M20 4BY | instagram.com/ruyi.vegetarian | 0161 445 7457
V Rev, Northern Quarter
At first glance, V Rev’s menu looks much like every other diner’s – there’s buttermilk chicken, bacon-topped burgers, macaroni cheese, hot dogs and mozzarella sticks.
But on closer inspection you’ll realise that every item on this menu is fully vegan, swapping out chicken for seitan and fish for tofu.
You’ll also find plant-based milkshakes, sundaes and cakes.
It won itself a cult following on Oldham Street before moving to a bigger home on Edge Street.
20-26 Edge Street, M4 1HN / vrevmcr.co.uk / 0161 806 0928
Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Restaurant, Ashton-under-Lyne
Lily’s enjoyed so much success as a cafe tacked onto the side of a cash and carry that they crossed the street and opened a brand-new restaurant, and have recently branched out further with a deli in Chorlton.
We loved it before, but it’s really stepped up its game after a serious upgrade.
Lily’s popular sizzlers and grills are also back alongside a range of vegetable or paneer curries, daals, tandoori breads, rice dishes, sweets and desserts.
75-83 Oldham Road, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 7AN / 0161 339 4774
The Globe, Glossop
This picturesque pub on the outskirts of the Peak District has a completely vegan menu – and it’s ridiculously cheap.
Dishes here include hotpot for £3.10, veggie steaks in red wine gravy for £3.40, and chickpea and spinach curry for £3.50.
Stick around for dessert too, which changes regularly but tends to include homemade ice cream (£2 for three scoops) and cakes (around £2.50).
144 High St West, Glossop, SK13 8HJ / theglobeglossop.co.uk / 01457 852417
Ice Shack, Withington
You would think that cream would be a pretty key ingredient in ice cream, but you’d be wrong.
Ice Shack is the north’s first fully vegan dessert parlour, and here you’ll find ice cream flavours like apple pie, chocolate peanut butter and mint choc chip, plus sorbets, truffles, cakes, pastries, chocolate and milkshakes.
As well as being plant-based, they’re environmentally conscious too – you can get a decent discount on your next purchase if you bring back your takeaway boxes and cups.
It’s currently closed for a winter break, reopening on January 28 – not all that helpful for Veganuary, but one to bookmark for the rest of the year.
160-164 Wellington Road, Withington, M20 3FU / iceshack.co.uk
The Allotment, City Centre
The Allotment was named the number one vegetarian restaurant in the UK by The Times, and then won the award for best restaurant at the CityLife Awards in 2018.
That was in their original home near Stockport Market, but they’ve since upped sticks and made the move to the city centre, snapping up the former Buca di Pizza site on Lloyd Street.
Though former head chef Matthew Nutter has jumped ship, the menu still boasts his signature flair.
18-22 Lloyd Street, M2 5BE / allotmentvegan.co.uk / 0161 478 1331
TV chef Simon Rimmer’s vegetarian dining experience in West Didsbury could convert even the most die-hard carnivore.
There are also plenty of clearly marked vegan options, including the filling deep fried oyster mushrooms with pancakes and plum sauce (£7 for a starter) and the truffled mushroom wellington with mash, gravy and maple roasted carrots (£13.50).
Gluten-free diners are well catered for too.
41-43 Lapwing Lane, West Didsbury, M20 2NT / greensdidsbury.co.uk / 0161 434 4259
The Garden, Hale
Though not entirely vegetarian, you won’t find much meat on the menu at The Garden in Hale, where ingredients such as acai and avocado are king.
The pretty, colourful brunch dishes and fresh smoothies and coffees draw in a post-yoga crowd, hungry for dishes such as rainbow lasagnes and buckwheat pancakes.
154 Ashley Road, Hale, WA15 9SA / thegardenhale.co.uk / 0161 941 6702
Going vegan needn’t mean missing out on your Friday night pizza fix.
Vegan takeaway Zad’s has all your favourite fast food staples covered, minus the meat and dairy.
Alongside pizzas topped with veggies, vegan cheese and meat substitutes, there are also burgers built around soya patties and hot dogs made from seitan.
What’s more, if you order the Pig Save pizza (tomato sauce, cheese, smoky maple strips, hot dog, pepperoni and smoked seitan, £8.49/£11.99), 50p will be donated to local animal save groups and vegan charities.
354 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, M21 8AZ | zads.co.uk | 0161 860 0060
This Fallowfield curry house is another great option for anyone looking for vegetarian and vegan Indian food. Constantly in or around TripAdvisor’s top ten restaurants for Manchester, this South Manchester restaurant has become something of an institution.
95 Mauldeth Rd, Manchester M14 6SR / sanskrutirestaurant.co.uk/manchester / 0161 224 4700
The Eighth Day, Oxford Road
A vegetarian cafe and shop with food freshly made each day including raw and vegan options, head downstairs for a no-frills canteen-style restaurant. It also sells nutritional supplements, cruelty-free cosmetics and eco-friendly cleaning products.
111 Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 7DU / 8thday.coop / 0161 273 1850
Sidney Street Cafe, Sidney Street
A cafe and community centre serving fresh and affordable veggie and vegan food, often using food grown and harvested at community allotments in Fallowfield.
The site is currently closed while the LGBT+ Centre is rebuilt, but is expecting to open up in the summer.
49-51 Sidney Street, M1 7HB / theproudtrust.org/sidney-street-cafe / 0161 660 3347
During the day the pub and live music venue is home to Mod’s Vegan Cafe, serving up meat-free all-day breakfasts, brunches and pub classics. The portions are massive.
New Wakefield Street, Manchester M1 5NP / 0161 236 6071
A vegetarian cafe in Ashton-under-Lyne with plenty of vegan options and free wi-fi. There is also a sister site, Topaz Tea Rooms, in neighbouring Dukinfield.
In 2010 they launched the Kitchen Garden – as well as providing community allotments to locals, this is also where a lot of the cafe’s fresh veg is grown.
216-218 Katherine Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 7AS / topazcafes.org / 0161 330 9223.
Know any more great veggie or vegan restaurants? Leave a comment below or Tweet us @CityLifeManc to let us know.
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