Vegetarian food is bold, bright and incredibly satisfying. There, I’ve said it – and with its growing presence in Bristol, I reckon you’ll find it hard to disagree. It’s no longer a cuisine that summons images of limp leafed lettuce and meat substitutes. Instead, it’s metamorphosised into a more diverse form; exciting ingredients (who’s heard of jackfruit – pulled pork’s veggie brother – before?), perfect fusions of herbs and spices and is always refreshing as seasons change. Vegetarian food is something we can and should all sink our teeth into.
So if you haven’t been on a meat-free meander of Bristol, you’re dining out wrong. Whether you’re on the lookout for a light lunch on your office break or a hearty dinner with your friends, there’s a wealth of great vegetarian venues and dishes I can’t recommend highly enough.
If I see these guys at any street market, I usually rush straight over, even if it’s just to grab a handful of their samosas. I remember tucking into their Aloo Tikki Chaat at a Bristol Eats market just off Whiteladies Road. It was tipping it down (and I mean tipping it down), but there was something about the hot curry that made everything a-okay. Because of that, I always think of their food as hearty and warming, embodying many great memories from when I first moved to Bristol.
Next time you see them out and about, definitely give it a try, even if it’s just to fill your pockets with their pakoras.
The Spotless Leopard have been a part of Wriggle from pretty much the word go and for that we love them. But it’s Louise’s food that won our hearts in the first place. It’s 100% vegan, the veggies are organic and, perhaps most importantly, everything they serve up is delicious!
Whenever we visit, my go to treat is the handmade lentil, bean and mixed seed burger. Its rich texture and hint of spice makes for a refreshing lunch and reminds me how good meat-free eating can be. And of course, this has to be finished off with a slice heaven – or as everyone else calls it, chocolate and cherry cake.
Venture into the Bear Pit and you’ll stumble across Flow – a vegetarian restaurant run by the guys behind East Bristol Bakery. Their mission is simple: to create great tasting vegetarian food with a particular focus on using the best local and seasonal ingredients. And they’ve nailed it. With tapas dishes and 3 course meals to choose from, they’re crafting outstanding food that’s diverse in flavour and unique in style.
The food is guided by season so the options available change regularly but you really can’t go wrong. They’re big on cocktails too so don’t forget to wet your whistle!
Okay, so the last two on my list aren’t strictly vegetarian, but they do offer some exceptional meat-free dishes that I want to shout about from the rooftops.
Biblos is about as good as it gets if you’re all about the falafel life. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, these bad boys are jam packed with fresh herby flavours inspired by Middle Eastern and Caribbean cuisine. Accompanied with homemade hummus, flatbreads and a medley of salad, it’s a recipe of success time and time again.
For the best Biblos experience however, you’ve got to hit it up with a group. Grab a falafel sharing platter, a few bottles of beer and you’ll have a good night, guaranteed!
5. Chilli Daddy
Little known fact: my life changed after my first visit to Chilli Daddy. The numbing qualities of the szechuan peppers and powerful flavours emerging from an array of ingredients (think noodles, peanuts, coriander, soybeans, spring onions and pak choi), wasn’t like anything I’d eaten in Bristol before. Basically, once you get Chilli Daddy for lunch, you’ll never look back!
For vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, their veg noodle hotpot and beansprout noodle salads certainly lack nothing on their meaty counterparts. But what I recommend is the tofu veg rice box. The tofu soaks up all the surrounding flavours perfectly – a recipe for success even after many, many visits. Honestly, go there right away.