Veganism has become much more common in the last few years, and this has been reflected in restaurant menus.
Some places have opened as exclusively vegan establishments, offering only plant-based dishes to their customers.
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Other restaurants provide a separate vegan menu, or indicate which dishes are vegan by putting (vg) or a special symbol next to certain items.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best vegan restaurants in Essex, according to their Tripadvisor ratings and reviews.
Brohmon – 8 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, CM24 8AG
A 5-star rated restaurant tops the list.
Brohmon is an Indian restaurant offering authentic Bengali dining in Stansted Mountfitchet.
Whilst not a fully vegan restaurant, the range of vegan and vegetarian dishes competes with how many meat and seafood offerings are listed on the menu – making it a great option for plant-based eaters.
The Vegan and Vegetarian main and side dishes include sabzi jalfrezi made from soya steak, served in a hot spicy sauce with peppers, tomatoes and green chillies, aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower cooked with spices), and baigon bhajee (aubergine stir fried with onions, garlic and spices).
Many of the dishes are also gluten free.
One review said: “We had a real taste of India at our meal last night. I cannot recommend this place enough. Its not your usual indian, it only offers authentic Indian food. I was a little uncertain before but I’m in love with the food now. The service was amazing and the owner took his time to explain what was in our food including the wide range of spices, how it was cooked and lots of other info. Felt like it was a real experience and not just a meal. Also great choices for veggies and vegans, I had a veggie dish (Vegetable Malai Kofta) that I can easily say was the best indian dish iv ever had! Give it a try, you won’t regret it!”
The Vegan Way Cafe – 82 High Street, Braintree, CM7 1JP
The Vegan Way Cafe is a completely vegan cafe, offering breakfast, lunch, cakes and smoothies either to eat in or take away.
Scrambled vegan eggs on toast, vegan burgers, curries and pizzas are all on offer each day, and for something sweeter, there are several different gluten free cake options, as well as healthy detox smoothies as well as indulgent shakes, such as the peppermint oreo milkshake.
With 5 stars on Tripadvisor, the reviews for this Braintree cafe speak for themselves.
One review said: “We have eaten here primarily because they offer great allergy friendly food for my husband, but I have become a firm follower of their Vegan Chickpea Curry! It is really delicious! Love the friendly atmosphere and kind attention to detail they show at all times. Highly recommend a visit for all food lovers whether Vegan or not!”
The Oak Tree Vegan Restaurant – 75 Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 1JN
This fully vegan restaurant has a rating of 4.5 stars on Tripadvisor from more than 500 reviews, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
Based in Leigh-on-Sea, in Southend, the Oak Tree Restaurant has a wide-ranging menu spanning multiple cuisines, all with their own spin.
Try seitan bao buns or vegan nachos with veggie chilli, salads and bagels for lunch, or a hefty main course of a soy ‘fish’ burger, seitan ‘beef’ teriyaki, or a giant battered ‘sausage’ served with mac n cheese, curry sauce and fries.
The reviews for this restaurant glow with praise.
One said: “First time ever in a vegan restaurant just had to try and was not disappointed. Friendly staff, was asked at least twice if we had any allergies, sat outside in the well decorated secluded garden.Lovely atmosphere, and superb Merlot wine.You just have to try the cheesy garlic bread and olives,unbelievable taste.We had the teriyaki beef, and Prawn stir fry plenty of taste and the stir fry was just perfectly spiced.”
The Olive Branch – 1A Station Road, Wivenhoe, Colchester, CO7 9DH
This Syrian restaurant offering vegetarian and vegan food is another to have been awarded a 4.5 star rating on Tripadvisor.
The menu says that whilst some items aren’t vegan, they can almost always be “veganised”, making the menu highly customisable and flexible for diners with specific requests.
Baba ganouj (aubergine and tahini dip), hummus, falafel and fava bean dip are all on offer as appetisers.
Main courses include a Mediterranean veggie stew with chickpeas and vegetables, gently cooked okra in tomato sauce, kibbeh (a vegan adaptation of spiced bulgur wheat balls stuffed with spinach and pomegranate seeds), and batata harra (cubes of spicy, garlicky potatoes).
For lighter bites, there are also paninis, wraps, or a sharing platter of the dips and mezze available.
One review said: “We took family here for lunch when they were visiting, one of whom had spent a lot of time in Syria. We had a large family platter chosen by the staff after asking what our preferences were and really enjoyed the food which was truly authentic. The choice and price was excellent and we’ll happily return soon.”
The Magic Mushroom – Barleylands Road, Billericay, CM11 2UD
Offering first class, contemporary food, The Magic Mushroom in Billericay has amassed more than 900 reviews, giving it a 4.5 star rating.
Whilst it’s not a vegan restaurant, the range and quality of the vegan dishes on the menu meant we had to include this fine-dining establishment on our list.
According to the sample menu on the restaurant’s website, the vegan restaurant menu includes delicacies such as homemade lemon thyme cashew cheese with smoked beetroot carpaccio to start, a Goan cauliflower curry with coriander rice and flatbread, and a sticky toffee pudding with vegan custard for desert.
There’s even a separate menu for Sunday lunches, offering the Magic Mushroom nut roast, or an equally delicious-sounding asparagus, pea and leek risotto with cashew cheese.
One review said: “It’s so unusual to find somewhere with not only more than one vegan option but with such appealing options too. Both he and I were struggling to decide as everything sounded so good. We will definitely be coming back as the menu is so welcoming in an age when more people are vegan/vegetarian. Hats off the chef and his creative menu!” – sarahharrison86
Restaurant 43 – The Green, Great Bentley, Colchester, CO7 8PJ
This family-run restaurant boasts a 60-seat dining area with two bars, a separate lounge area and, weather permitting, an outside space with its own bar, pizza oven and barbeque.
There’s a separate menu for vegans, with multiple options for each course.
A chargrilled Mediterranean vegetable tart with olive tapenade, pesto and basil is one of the starters on offer, while as main courses you could choose the Restaurant 43 vegan burger with vegan bacon, cheese, sauce and trimmings, spinach and garlic ravioli with a tomato ragu, or vegetable gyozas with miso and a tofu vegetable broth.
And of course, desert – apple pie with vegan vanilla ice cream, a selection of sorbets, or roasted pineapple with coconut yogurt.
One review said: “The new vegan menu is amazing – the burgers are a work of a genius.”
Miseria & Nobilta -11 Queen Street, Colchester, CO1 2PG
Found near Colchester Castle, this Italian restaurant has a large vegan menu, which is impressive for Italian cuisine that focuses heavily around meat and cheese.
Vegan arancini filled with vegetables and vegan cheese are offered alongside oven-baked mushrooms topped with vegan cheese, homemade vegan meatballs, and bruschetta, while gnocchi, vegan lasagne, risotto, and spaghetti Napoli can be found as mains.
There’s even a vegan calzone pizza available, filled with tomato sauce, vegan mozzarella, a mix of vegetables and served with salad.
One review said: “The vegan menu is fantastic with a great range of dishes, the Arancini is the highlight of the menu though, as this is the only restaurant around that can get vegan arancini perfect!”
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