Right. For the past year of my life I have been on a mission to discover the world’s best vegetarian food and where to get it. It’s one of my 25 aims for my 25th year. From the mountains of Morocco to the streets of London, I have searched high and low. I’ve spoken to friends, got recommendations, tried and tasted for myself and kept adding to the list in preparation for this post.
In celebration of National Vegetarian Week, this is the Harri Travels guide to the world’s best vegetarian food:
TAGINE AT DOUAR SAMRA, MOROCCO
Douar Samra is a rustic guesthouse on the mountain slopes near Imlil and their chef cooks up some of the best Moroccan vegetarian food I’ve had. It’s not really a restaurant so you’d need to be staying there to eat, but the place is gorgeous and the food is incredible so get booking: delicious tomatoey tagines and aubergine salsa awaits.
SALAD AT PLUM & SPILT MILK, LONDON
The name Plum & Spilt Milk stems from the world’s oldest dining car, a section of the luxury Queen of Scots touring train which ran from King’s Cross to Edinburgh in the late 1800s. The vegetarian options on the menu are delicious – the sliced and roasted butternut squash teamed creamy blue cheese with a pesto dressing was my favourite dish. Expect impressive service in luxurious surroundings.
‘MILK’SHAKE AT WILD FOOD CAFÉ, LONDON
The chefs at veggie/vegan haven Wild Food Café focus on wild, fresh, colourful gourmet ingredients & plant-based food for their dishes. The restaurant is upstairs in Neal’s Yard – a pretty little courtyard in the middle of London’s Covent Garden. Try the ‘Forgotten Ecstasy’ – raw cacao liquor, cacao nibs, dates, figs, almonds, coconut, cinnamon, vanilla: it’s a sort of healthy chocolate milkshake.
EVERYTHING AT MILDRED’S, LONDON
One of my favourite places to eat in the world, Mildred’s is also one of Soho’s most popular restaurants – and it’s completely vegetarian! They don’t take bookings, so you’ll need to arrive early or expect to wait. It’s only a tiny place with just a few tables, but the food is delicious and the cocktails are excellent.
CHARGRILLED WRAPS AT ABOUT THYME, NAIROBI
Tranquil restaurant About Thyme is hidden away off a road in Westlands, Nairobi. Their vegetarian options are fantastic – my particular favourite is the chargrilled aubergine parcels stuffed with cheese and sun-dried tomatoes and served with a colourful side salad. At nighttime the lights go down and the candles go on, making it a romantic little spot for a cheeky date.
CURRY AT CHOWPATY, NAIROBI
Unbelievably delicious vegetarian scenes to be experienced at Chowpaty – an Indian vegetarian restaurant in Diamond Plaza, Nairobi. Try the mushroom tikka masala and don’t be afraid to over order – they’ll pack it all up for you when you leave and then you can eat it all week. YAY.
PASTA AT ROSEMARY’S, NEW YORK
Rosemary’s has the combination of great food and vibrant atmosphere mastered. The doors are folded back as tables spill onto the pavement, Parisian twinkly lights dangle from the ceiling and Sam Cooke and his band of soul brothers pour from the speakers. On a summer’s evening, pull up a table on the curb side and order the linguine with preserved lemon, pickled chilli and Parmigiano and a glass of rosé.
TASTING MENU AT PONTUS!, STOCKHOLM
Pontus! is a super-cool and rather pricy (but worth it) restaurant in Stockholm. We went for the tasting menu with wine flight, which equated to about £60 each. Not cheap, but an amazing meal with a real variety of ingredients beautifully presented in a funky setting that made you feel a million dollars.
ANOTHER TASTING MENU AT MYOGA, CAPE TOWN
Four words: seven course tasting menu. Myoga resides in the luxurious Vineyard Hotel and Spa in Newlands. We visited for a friend’s birthday dinner and enjoyed the most spectacular meal in the atmospheric dining room. From beetroot ravioli to soft gorgonzola polenta and intense chocolate cremeaux to finish, the dishes hit the spot over and over. It’s a little out of the centre of the city, so book a cab to enjoy Cape Town’s finest wines with your food.
EGGS AT SIDEWALK CAFÉ, CAPE TOWN
A cute neighbourhood café with a relaxed, beachy-feel and incredible brunch dishes, Sidewalk Café is popular with locals and foodies in-the-know. Try the French toast with caramelised banana and red berry compote or poached eggs on a toasted croissant with spinach and hollandaise sauce. The staff are friendly and the restaurant’s hilltop perch provides great views to the harbour.
Have I missed your favourite spot? Comment below and I’ll add ’em in.