From great-value takeaways, to a pioneering wholefoods store, and high-end gourmet cuisine, plant-focused eaters never need to go hungry down here on the south coast. Here are my vegetarian and vegan must-visits… PS if you’re in a phone, the photos look way better if you hold it landscape!
Iydea – 17 Kensington Gardens, BN1 4AL
Possibly the best value takeaway you’ll ever have – huge, robust flavours, no skimping on ingredients, exciting variety. £6 or so buys you a main course, two unusual salads or side vegetables good enough to be a main in themselves, plus two toppings like hummus, sour cream or – my favourite – garlic and coriander dressing.
Like this? Then try Helm Ston, Pelham St (off Trafalgar St) BN14FA tiny café nearby doing lovely vegan and veggie takeaways, juices and amazing cakes.
Infinity Foods – 25 North Rd, BN1 1YA
This amazing wholefoods store was one of the first of its kind in the UK. Now it houses pretty much every wholefood or exotic ingredient you can think of, plus abakery, some great magazines and a fab beauty/household selection.
Like this? Then try Taj: incredible selection of fruit and vegetables, herbs, Middle Eastern, Indian and other ingredients. 95 Western Rd, Brighton BN1 2LB
Street Diner – rear of Brighthelm Centre, North Road
On Fridays, the small green space behind the Brighthelm Centre turns into an amazing street food market. The selection varies, but you can sample from up to 15 different stalls, with burritos, Indian dishes, many vegan and veggie. Oh, and the cakes from Becky at Honeycomb Cakes cater for all dietary needs.
Like this? Then try The Pond pub – this is my local, and they’re hosting different chefs from the Street Diner as pop-ups – currently Baby Bao which has some great veggie options among the fillings for their steamed buns. 49, Gloucester Rd, Brighton BN1 4AQ
Manjus – 6 Trafalgar St, BN1 4EQ
This is a new Indian veggie place (May 2017) serving authentic Indian dishes, in a really beautifully decorated room: the food is cooked as Manju, the owners’ mother, does,and she’s regularly in the kitchen keeping tabs on them! I recommend the bhel and pani puri – so good.
Like this? Then try Curry Leaf Café – two branches, one near theseafront, one in Kemptown, for tasty, unusual dishes (no tikka masala here) and great beers. The nibbles are a great start – it gets better and better. 60 Ship St, Brighton BN1 1AE
La Choza 36 Gloucester Rd, BN1 4AQ
La choza means ‘the hut’ and this corner café/restaurant is small and always packed. The Mexicab street-food is delicious – the service is mixed and sometimes hurried, not a place for an intimate dinner for two. But the food and the margaritas make up for it, with some tasty veggie options and great sauces.
Like this? Then try Hare and Hounds pub at the end of London Road – same food in a loud but less frantic environment, including outdoor wooden booths.
Sunbirds 108 London Rd, BN1 4JG
Amazing eat-in & takeaway mezze and to-die-for baklava (the orange and cardamom may be my favourite, but much more research is needed…) in this venue near the Open Market, about ten minutes walk from the station.
Like this? Then try Smorl’s inside the market itself for amazing hummus and great vegan/veggie salads. Open Market, Marshall’s Row, Brighton BN1 6JU
Bincho Yakitori 63 Preston St, BN1 2HE
A Japanese/Korean grill doesn’t sound like the best option for vegans and veggies but the way they treat vegetables intensifies the flavours and makes them irresistible. Grilled cauli, miso aubergine, and much more to tempt the palate, along with amazing sake.
Lik e this? Then try Oshio – busy, vibrant restaurant with a mix of Japanese and Korean dishes, including Bibimbap. 87-88 Trafalgar St, Brighton BN1 4ER
Terre a Terre 71 East St, BN1 1HQ
This place shows chefs how to turn veggies into a gourmet experience. If they didn’t actually invent ‘better batter’ deep-fried halloumi, with vodka tomatoes and much more besides, they do the best version of it. Expensive, but worth it.
Like this? Then try Food for Friends: a bit mixed in terms of food, some great dishes, some not so much, but cheaper. 17-18 Prince Albert St, Brighton BN1 1HF
64 Degrees 53 Meeting House Ln, BN1 1HB
Small plates in an intimate setting, with a great view of the chefsat work if you choose the tables next to the pass. Always at least 4 seasonable vegetable dishes, prepared in amazing ways. Plus good wine by the glass and fab desserts.
Like this? Then try Isaac at Gloucester Street: a set menu but with veggie choices, changing week-by-week and always delicious. 2 Gloucester St, Brighton BN1 4EW
The Set 33 Regency Square, BN1 2GG
My favourite place for special occasions with an entire vegetarian menu of its own. The chefs use cutting edge ideas and techniques with the best ingredients, and the service is fun and informative.
The matched wines add even more theatre to what is a brilliant evening (aperitifs in the Cocktail Shack next door are also recommended). Like this?
Then try Pike and Pine – fancy new opening in what was a down-to-earth coffee shop. It’s a wee bit ‘London’ for some Brightonians, with flash design and slightly higher prices than average, though a snip compared to the West End. Really fab veggie set menu – spend the whole evening there and walk it off along the seafront. 1d St. James’s St, Brighton BN2 1RE
Have I missed anywhere? Let me know, or share your tips.