Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Top 10 vegan places in Manchester 2015

It's been 2 years since I made my blog post about my top 10 places for vegans in Manchester. You can view it here: Manchester's top 10 vegan friendly places.. Quite a few things have changed in those 2 years. Sadly 2 places on that list have closed down or relocated out of Manchester - Safad and Anand's Vegetarian Deli (now in Bolton). A few new places have opened which is really exciting, and a lot of existing places have just been getting better and better. I genuinely believe Manchester to be one of the best places in England for vegans. I will be doing further lists of either specific types of vegan friendly places or cover specific areas of Manchester in the future but, as of November 2015 here are my top 10 vegan friendly places in Manchester:

10. Go Falafel, City Centre & Rusholme

The first new addition to this list, and the first to be a chain. This is a 100% vegan chain with just 2 locations, first in the city centre just outside of Piccadilly Gardens, sort of on the way to Piccadilly train station. The second location is at the beginning of curry mile in Rusholme and replaces Annand's Vegetarian Deli (which is now in Bolton) as the only Rusholme location on this list. Basically, this is a takeaway that does vegan falafel wraps and salads and the best juices and smoothies fresh in front of you. Really quick service and fairly cheap as well. Perfect for when you're in a rush and need to grab something cheap to eat. Since Safad closed down I'd probably tie this joint first for falafel in Manchester with Falafel also in Rusholme.

Website: http://gofalafel.co.uk/

9. Mod's Veggie Cafe at Thirsty Scholar, City Centre/Oxford Road

Situated just off Oxford Road, 2 minutes away from Oxford Road train station, Mod's Cafe at Thirsty Scholar is one of the longest running vegetarian places in Manchester (if you also count the previous locations of the cafe) and has been somewhere I've been visiting since before I even moved to Manchester. It has been the venue for Manchester Vegan Society meetings and Christmas meals for years and years. In the last few years, it has been holding a monthly Meat-Free Mondays rice & 3 (where you get rice and 3 different portions of curry for a set price, various places in Manchester do this). If you're into cheap decent simple vegan pub grub then this is the place for you.

Thirsty Scholar website: http://www.thirstyscholar.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MODSVEGGIEVEGANCAFE

8. Sanskruti Restaurant, Withington

Another new addition to this list is Sanskrurti, a vegetarian Indian restaurant in Withington. I believe it was opened in 2013 to my memory (correct me if I'm wrong). At the time there were only a small handful of evening restaurants that were any good for vegans in Manchester, especially for formal meals out so this sort of thing was sorely needed. This is the only place I've ever visited that serves vegan korma! Everything here is vegetarian and they label all vegan options, and even have vegan deserts. Ideal if you're in the mood for South Indian foods. If you don't know Withington very well it can be difficult to find, especially travelling by bus. It's a 5 or so minute walk from Mauldeth Road train station however.

Website: http://sanskrutirestaurant.co.uk/

7. Earth Cafe, City Centre

Another long-standing vegetarian cafe in Manchester that I've been visiting since before moving to Manchester. Really good wholesome food freshly prepared. A good selection of salads, curries, roasts, cake, and juices. The specials here change almost daily. It's 100% vegan, with the exception of offering cow's milk in hot drinks. Plenty of gluten free options as well. Situated in the heart of the Northern Quarter, Earth is ideal if you're spending time in the City Centre, either after a long day shopping or before an evening out.

Website: http://www.earthcafe.co/

6. Fuel Cafe Bar, Withington

Arguably the best vegan home made pub grub in Manchester. Fuel is a vegetarian cafe situated in the centre of Withington, and is a bar, a cafe and a venue all in one. The upstairs is used a lot for all sorts of events from quiz nights to gigs. For a long time, this was one of the only places to eat out for vegans in the evening, and you could argue is still one of the best places for vegans to go out for a light bite to eat and a drink out with friends. Fuel is also home to one of the best vegan breakfasts in Manchester. I will do a top 10 vegan breakfasts in Manchester list at some point, and Fuel will come up high on that list.

Website: http://fuelcafebar.tumblr.com/

5. 8th Day Supermarket & Cafe, University/Oxford Road

8th Day is one of my favourite places in Manchester and massively shaped my experiences of Manchester as a teenager and young student. 8th Day was the first workers co-operative I had discovered, the first vegetarian supermarket and the second vegetarian cafe. Upstairs is a reasonably sized supermarket full of all sorts of really ethically sourced goods, most of which are vegan. Discovering 8th Day allowed me to boycott Holland & Barrett as I could get vegan cheeses and meats and chocolates from a much more ethical business with frankly a larger selection. The deli at the supermarket has a large selection of pasties and pies that can be warmed up as well as cake, so I frequently had lunch here. Downstairs is a good quality cafe. The cafe is not too dissimilar to Earth, in that it serves really wholesome food and amazing vegan cake. The cafe also does one of my favourite vegan breakfasts in Manchester, if not my favourite. Manchester Animal Action, Manchester Vegan Society and Manchester Vegetarian and Vegan Group have all held their monthly meetings here. Really worth a visit.

Website: http://8thday.coop/

4. Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen, Withington

Lotus. The highest placed new entry into this list, and well worthy of it. If my memory is correct, this opened in early 2014 (correct me if I'm wrong). In my opinion this is the best place to eat out for an evening meal in Greater Manchester and possibly beyond. Lotus is a vegetarian Chinese restaurant with amazing vegan fake meats. They do the best vegan king prawns, prawn toast, spare ribs, beef, fish and duck I have ever come across. Trust me, this place is amazing. They do lunchtime offers as well. There is basically no excuse not to visit this place. I would not be surprised if in 5 years time this restaurant has moved to a larger premises, on a weekend both downstairs and upstairs are pretty full. It is a little bit expensive, but that's to be expected from a posh restaurant for evening meals - so think of spending possibly £15-£20+ on a meal out with drinks, but I promise you it is well worth it.

Website: http://www.lotusvegetariankitchen.com/

3. V Revolution, Northern Quarter, City Centre

V Revolution has become one of the most famous vegan cafes in the country, and not without merit. If since turning vegan you miss fast food and other junk foods, this is the place for you. Brilliant vegan double bacon cheeseburgers. Wonderful vegan ice cream milkshake floats. A range of vegan sweets and chocolates and cheeses that will blow you away. Their current location is on Oldham Street (my favourite street in Manchester, home to the shop Vinyl Exchange (second hand record shop), Afflecks Palace, Rockers as well as the venues Night & Day, Gullivers and Castle Hotel and much more) and after roughly 3 or 4 years there, in early 2016 they are planning to move about a 5 minute walk away, closer to the city centre but still in the Northern Quarter. The new location will have much larger kitchen facilities and so they will be able to offer an expanded menu and will be able to serve food even quicker. I'm most looking forward to the addition of chips, something they have sorely missed from their current menu. I believe they will also have a larger seating area, which is great because on a Saturday afternoon V Rev can be pretty busy.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vrevolutionuk

2. Teatime Collective, Hulme

Located in Hulme, Teatime Collective is an entirely vegan cafe. Since my last top 10 vegan places in Manchester Teatime have given up offering cow's milk so are now 1000% vegan, which is amazing news! In a way, this is quite similar to V Revolution in the fact that it mostly serves vegan junk food, but there are some notable differences. The menu is larger and changes more frequently. Most things are made from scratch, including their own vegan ice cream parlour, cakes, pies and much more! They also cater outside events such as festivals, and on occasions will stay open late into the evening for private bookings, for example during Christmas time they do a special Christmas menu and if you've got a minimum of 8 people you can book out the cafe for the evening. You can also order specialised cake from them for your friend's birthday.

Website: http://www.teatimecollective.co.uk/

1. Unicorn Grocery Workers' Cooperative, Chorlton

If you know me, you'll know how highly I value Unicorn Grocery in Chorlton. This is my favourite food shop that I've ever visited. Unicorn is one of the largest workers' coops in the country, which is one of my favourite things about this place. Every permanent member of staff owns the business, receives the same hourly wage, is a director of the business and has an equal say in how the business runs. The shop is an entirely vegan supermarket, with all their products sourced as ethically as they can. The shop is perfect for buying vegan wholefoods to cook with at home. It has pretty much most things you could want for your average weekly shop, and at affordable prices too. In the last 2 years, they have expanded their second floor (which just had offices and staff rooms) a lot and built a brand new kitchen in there. As well as a deli, Unicorn stocks a large range of vegetables, fruits, wholefoods, bread, condiments, groceries, household products, alcohol, juices and more. Situated about a 5 minute walk from Chorlton tram stop, which is about a 20 minute tram journey into Manchester City Centre.

Website: http://www.unicorn-grocery.coop/


  1. Falafel in Rusholme will always be better than Go Falafel. Not just for their better and more generous wraps, delicious mint tea and arrays of salads & dips, but because they are just really nice folk. Lotus is my current #1. Alladin's nearly opposite is great for veggies too