Even though Wales is traditionally known for its lamb, beef and cheese, it has a fast-growing vegetarian and vegan scene. Here's our selection of some of the best vegetarian and vegan cafes and restaurants in the country if you’re after a meat-free meal that could win over dedicated carnivores.
The capital, Cardiff, has several places but head north, south and west and you'll also find some mouthwatering options.
Cardiff's capital delights
After a stint of crowdfunding, Anna-Loka became Cardiff’s first fully vegan restaurant back in 2015. It set the standard for the other restaurants and cafes that followed, but very few have menus that come close to Anna-Loka's creativity and passion. Knock-out options include succulent seitan burgers with dirty fries, wholefood bowls with layers of grains, raw greens, pulses and nutty dressing, unbeatable breakfasts (including fry-ups and pancake stacks) and full roast dinners. It’s not that cheap, but the standard of the flavours, the skill and the presentation make it worth every penny.
Vegetarian Food Studio
Just a 10-minute walk from Cardiff Central train station is the city’s best authentic Asian restaurant that caters for vegetarians, vegans and quite possibly omnivores too. Vegetarian Food Studio is a family-run eatery with Indian and other Asian dishes on the menu. It’s a struggle to choose what to order; there are nearly 100 dishes, including dosa, paneer and tofu curries, dal, saucy curries and dry curries, all of which are veggie and cheap. Large appetites are advised.
For more than 30 years, Crumbs has been the go-to location for hungry herbivores shopping in Cardiff city centre. The humbleness of the frontage continues through to the relaxed atmosphere inside, but the food always hits the spot. The classic order is a supersized salad bowl, consisting of six different nutritious salads. All of Crumbs’ hot food is vegan, from the curries to the soups, and the vegan cakes make for a delicious sweet treat at the end of a meal.
At the top of Queen Street in central Cardiff, Café Atma, run by Hare Krishna volunteers, brings light, flavour and peace to a busy spot of the city that's overrun with chain coffee houses. Serving both vegetarian and vegan food, the hot menu includes pies, curries, burgers, wraps and Indian snacks. You can’t ignore the sweet selection, which rotates vegan delights including peanut butter cups, red velvet cake, chocolate and raspberry cake and pastries. There’s also a small shop where you can stock up on chocolate, eco-friendly products and reading materials, and occasional yoga and meditation sessions.
Elsewhere in Wales
Plum Vanilla Cafe, Narberth
The vegetarian and vegan options at this friendly Pembrokeshire café are surprisingly good, given the smallness of Narberth’s population. Its primary aim is to serve as much organic, fair trade and local food as possible, which, in this part of Wales, means plenty of fresh vegetables for meat-avoiders to enjoy. On cold days, the hearty soup (usually vegan) and the tagine are really popular, while in summer the race is on for a serving of the indulgent vegan Booja Booja ice cream.
Govinda’s reigns supreme amongst Swansea's limited number of veggie-friendly places. It sits in a converted house on the corner of Cradock St near the Kingsway, making it easy to miss unless you know it’s there. Once you have found it, dine on freshly cooked curries with herbs and spices in abundance, meaty seitan cheeseburgers, savoury Indian nibbles and creamy vegan cheesecake. If you get mid-afternoon munchies during the week, there’s a £5 all-you-can-eat menu to work through between 3pm and 5pm.
In Wales’ oldest city, Bangor, where Penrhyn Castle and the Menai Suspension Bridge draw in fans of history and architecture, there’s also a fabulous 100% vegan restaurant: Voltaire. It serves modern cooking within the casual confines of an old cottage, with a low-lit main area and quaint alcoves if you want to tuck yourself away. There’s a great range of options, with healthy Buddha bowls and vegetable-heavy dishes alongside vegan fish and chips and burgers. Gorge on the caramel sundae for dessert and then walk off your food baby with a stroll around town.
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