I just want to preface this blog by saying how excited I am that vegan food is available in any of these restaurants. When I first went vegan in 2016 it was much trickier to eat in chain restaurants, especially when it came to having vegan junk food – so I’m super glad that veganism has come this far.
Living in Brighton, I’m very lucky as there are vegan options everywhere! This has been greatly appreciated over the years, and I’m forever grateful that I have easy access to vegan lasagne, kebab and burgers the size of my head. HOWEVER, where I grew up – in the Midlands – it’s not so readily available. So, I thought I’d put together a cheeky list of chain restaurants that offer banging vegan food in case you’re ever stuck for somewhere to eat. This is also a great list for choosing restaurants if you’re going out with a big group of omnis.
(Although, and I don’t mean to be *that guy* but I’d encourage anyone to spend their hard-earned capitalist tokens in independent places whenever possible!)
Given that I’m the most basic boo on the planet, of course I used to wake up every morning for the Katsu Curry and it always used to pizz me off that their veggie option contained egg. Anyway, those days are long gone and now Wagamama are vegan gods, they have a whole vegan menu and their staff members are really lovely and helpful about ingredients. Would deffo recommend.
Favourite option: the Vegatsu, all day every day.
If you’re anything like me, you might find yourself in a Wetherspoons more than you care to admit. Especially if you’re in a town like Rugby. Anyway, Wetherspoons have a few vegan options to play around with but it’s definitely nothing special – it’s definitely good to know that they are available though!
Highlights are: Quorn vegan sausages- very nice. I’ve heard their spinach and chickpea curry is delicious too but haven’t tried it.
AND PSA: the baked beans aren’t vegan – it’s silly I know – hopefully they change it soon but for now avoid the beans!!
Zizzi is probably the first chain restaurant that I noticed had a wide range of vegan options so shout out to them for thinking of us before everyone else jumped on the –brilliant- bandwagon.
Zizzi are great, they have vegan cheese for their pizza which is a little sloppy but delicious! They have also just introduced regular vegan options in their seasonal specials – which I’m very thankful to the vegan gods for 🙏
Favourites include: the balsamic caramelised onions you can add to pizza (SO GOOD)
And their garlic bread AND they have an amazing lentil ragu but you could probably make it at home so perhaps go with a pizza.
I went to Frankie and Benny’s less than a year ago and had a very disappointing spaghetti dish because it’s all they had –SO I’m very happy that they have loads of vegan options now!
Highlights are: currently unknown because I’m too poor to go at the mo. BUT I really want to try the chicken parmigiana and mac and cheese. Will update when I’ve had it.
Pizza Express have just released 3 new vegan pizzas amongst other options. Also I feel as though Pizza Express is absolutely everywhere so chances are, you’ll always be able to find one!
Faves: the OG Vegan Giardiniera – loads of black olives yum
I’ve heard a lot about the new Harvester menu, especially the Moving Mountains burger. Definitely need to go back and give it a go because the last time I went I was pleasantly surprised by their options but didn’t enjoy the food so much. This was a while ago though so I’ll definitely go back and give their new menu a go.
Best bit: obviously the salad bar, love those bread rolls and can confirm they’ve got vegan spread for them 🎉
I was really impressed with Pizza Hut’s vegan pizza AND they use Violife which means 50 gold stars from me!
My order: just a margarita for me, I’m a simple gal!
It’s actually really annoying trying to tell people that Nando’s have vegan options because in my experience, they just laugh their heads off at the prospect of a chicken place doing anything vegan-friendly. I think it’s a joke I don’t quite get?
Anyway, I was surprised to see that they have a ton of options!
Favourites include: Super Green wrap and I really want to try one of the pittas because they look 10./10 👍
I considered not including YO! Sushi because I feel as though there aren’t as many locations as others included here. However, sushi is my favourite food on the planet, so I had to put it in somewhere. YO! have also just released a new vegan menu because it’s the year of the vegans baby, AND they strictly use vegan mayo now which is incredible.
Definitely try: pumpkin katsu curry and don’t you dare leave without getting avocado maki 💚
I was reluctant to put McDonalds in here as I know they’re quite controversial and I personally go to them as a first choice. BUT they do have better vegan options now including a burger (ask for no mayo) and a new veggie wrap.
Best thing on the menu: obviously the fries, I know I said I probs wouldn’t go there earlier but their fries are the best in the game – don’t @ me
If you’re looking for something more lowkey and not so dinner-y, head straight to Café Nero for a mozarella pesto sundried tomato toastie – it is so good I can’t even think of words. I’m just sad I don’t have one right now.
Note: also get a little latte with oat milk, treat yourself – you deserve it.
Naturally there are loads of other places that are missed from this list and I’ll definitely look at doing a Part II but for now I hope this gives you some ideas of places that you can go to eat if you’re in typically tricky vegan spots. If all else fails, remember that chips are on our side (unless they’re cooked in animal fat, in which case that place probs doesn’t deserve you anyway).