I think it’s safe to say that it’s known both Jacqui and I are meat eaters so going to a restaurant and choosing a vegan option isn’t something that ever happens! Luckily, through the power of social media, we came across Heather who is a local foodie and happens to be a vegan. A little arm twisting later and she agreed to write a guest post for us on where to find good vegan food in Oxford so here it is! If you’d like to know more about Heather, you can find her at her blog Vegan Eats Oxford
Top Ten places to discover vegan food in Oxford
New vegans or visitors to Oxford could be forgiven for thinking at first that our beautiful city doesn’t have much to offer for those who eat plant-based foods. Many cities in the UK have fully vegan restaurants, whereas the most Oxford offers is a vegetarian pub, The Gardeners Arms, and café, The Magic Café. On closer inspection however, you’ll find that it’s really very easy to eat out as a vegan in Oxford, whatever the time of day. I certainly struggled to cut this list down to a mere ten places!
Spurtle and Spoon pop-up breakfast bar
Throughout the summer, Spurtle and Spoon takes up residency every Wednesday morning at 8-11am at Barefoot Kitchen in Jericho, as well as the last Sunday of the month. Their very vegan-friendly menu includes Instagram-worthy overnight oat bowls, made with almond milk and served with a variety of toppings, as well as toasted Oxford Sourdough with a choice of avocado or peanut butter (a vegan’s best friend). Why not treat yourself to breakfast before work for a mid-week pick me up?
The Handlebar Café and Kitchen
The only place in Oxford that serves vegan pancakes (as far as we’re aware, though we’d love to be proven wrong), the Handlebar Café serves up a substantial and delicious breakfast in a comfortable setting. In case you’re feeling a bit less decadent, they also have a vegan overnight oats bowl on the menu. Turn up early to get a table because this place is extremely popular.
GAF – now closed
Fancy a full-English breakfast? Look no further than this popular East Oxford café, the perfect pit stop for brunch after a Sunday morning outdoor yoga class. Classy food served up in a cool setting, fill up on veg cooked with care, with a side of toast and homemade compote, or for those with a smaller appetite, vegan porridge is available too (but be aware they can sell-out of this by later on in the morning).
Will’s Deli/Vaults and Garden
These two cafes with bags of character are managed by the same people, and both have lots to offer for vegans. The food is cooked fresh and the menus change daily, but you can expect at least one hot vegan option at both. Alternatively, you can select a tasty filling lunch from a beautiful salad bar, and between the two locations you’ll find an abundance of vegan cake!
The Art Café
A quick look at the Art Café menu shows they are really getting it right when it comes to catering for vegans, with a whole lot of choice and everything labelled clearly. On the go? Grab a marinated tofu baguette. Got a bit more time? Eat in with a toasted falafel salad or a jacket potato filled with roasted veg. They also do a huge all day vegan brunch, and you’ll find at least one vegan cake option in their cabinet too. You’ll never be stuck for a tasty vegan lunch in town again.
Feast Without The Beast
This pop-up Sunday lunch service at The Fir Tree pub on Iffley Road is offering something pretty unique in Oxford – a fully vegan roast dinner, with all the trimmings, even vegan Yorkshires. Somewhat sadly, their vegan roasts are on pause for the summer months, but they continue with a brand new menu more suited to the heat, and we’re sure it will be just as tasty!
You can get a delicious three course vegan meal from this authentic Caribbean restaurant on Cowley Road. Try the Iral roti – sautéed spinach and pumpkin served with a channa and potato curry, and a dhal puri roti, all packed full of flavour, and why not opt for one of their vegan sides while you’re at it. Spiced Roots scores top marks for offering a vegan dessert in the form of banana bread. Can’t go wrong!
This Syrian restaurant offers an abundance of delicious and filling vegan starters and mains, leaving you full enough that you won’t even think about the fact that they don’t have a dessert menu. You could quite easily build your own meal by ordering from their appetisers and market dishes, designed for sharing, but there are also five vegan main courses. Simple foods but seasoned to perfection, when I dined with meat-eaters, they tried my dishes and said they preferred it to their own.
The Tree Hotel
Tucked away in Iffley Village, this Indian restaurant and hotel has a full separate vegan menu which doesn’t disappoint. Their curries are a must-try, but you’re thoroughly spoilt for choice here as all the food is delicious, and beautifully plated. They offer a couple of wonderful vegan pub desserts too, in addition to the seemingly obligatory sorbet option. Eat outside in the garden for a peaceful and enjoyable meal, then go for a walk along the canal – you’ll never know you’re only moments away from the busy Iffley Road.
The Natural Buzz UK
It’s only been open for a handful of months but this smoothie bar in the covered market is surely now an essential pit stop for the hungry vegan in town. There are usually at least two or three vegan cakes, all of which sound so good it’s pretty hard to choose which one to go for, and they are now starting to add raw cakes to their cabinet too. There’s no seating, but what a great excuse to grab a healthy smoothie and slab of cake to go (they are very generous with their slices!) and sit out in Christ Church meadows in the sun.
Edit: Heather has since visited Oxford’s first fully vegan restaurant, Happy Friday Kitchen. One to definitely add to the list!