The best places to eat in Manchester if you’re doing Veganuary
We are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to great vegan restaurants in Manchester.
Unlike many cities in the UK, Manchester is one place where you can always expect to find a vegan dish on the menu, no matter the venue.
In the city centre especially, restaurants have made a name for themselves for their inclusivity. This means that the days of vegans being forced into eating potatoes and a side salad are, for the most part, long behind us.
However, if you’re doing Veganuary properly (and why wouldn’t you be) then you should really be sampling the best that the city has to offer, not just suffering through a month of bad cheezeburgers and endless chips.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the best places to eat in Manchester if you’re doing Veganuary: spanning the best plant-powered pasta, dim sum, pizza, sandwiches, junk food, desserts and more.
So whether you’re after a fancy sit-down meal, a mock meat roast, or a naughty burger to takeaway, trust that we’ve got you covered. Here’s to the best Veganuary you’ve ever had.
Home to Manchester’s first fully vegan, all mock-meat Sunday roast, Wholesome Junkies is a must-visit for all vegans – new and established.
Owner Chelsea first shot to fame in 2018 after appearing on BBC2’s Million Pound Menu to ask for 95,000 to open her own restaurant in Manchester.
Although she was unsuccessful then, she now has a site behind Victoria Station serving up burgers, mac’n’cheese, tater tots, loaded fries and desserts from the former Umezushi unit.
Ortica Plant Based
This Italian plant-based deli and bar has had vegan diners raving since it opened its doors in Urmston last year.
Entirely family run, this dog friendly spot serves up a host of Italian favourites including Roman-style pinsa, lentil ragu bolognese, insalata Caprese and parmigiana di Melanzane, plus creamy Italian coffees, Puglian focaccia and pastries.
Having newly returned to Ancoats General Store for a kitchen takeover in January, the timing has never been better to go and pay the guys at Mira a visit and treat yourself to one of their vegan breakfast butties or saucy all-day sandwiches.
A cult staple of Napoli street food, Mira’s cuzzetiello is a natural evolution of the simple act of tearing the end off a loaf of fresh bread to scoop up hot, home-cooked ragu.
Head down for vegan meatballs, stuffed into a hunk of bread with heaps of marinara, basil and pesto, or a vegan sausage patty with spinach and tomato jam.
Desert Island Dumplings
Vegan dumpling favourites Desert Island Dumplings have just moved into a new kitchen at 99 Reasons Chorlton, bringing their huge trays of unconventional dim sum with them.
Think breakfast dumplings filled with scrambled tofu, potato and meat-free chorizo, overnight blueberry oat dumplings, plus cheezeburger, shwarma kebab, chick’n tikka, salt and pepper and pizza flavours.
The team also serves up a range of deep-fried hash browns, even using them to make a hash brown poutine with added mature vegan cheese, gravy and crispy onions.
Four Side Vegan Pizza
This Detroit-style vegan pizzeria in Cheetham HIll was one of the summer’s biggest lockdown success stories – especially where Manchester’s vegans were concerned.
There’s so much to try here but the garlic miso butter dough balls and inventive pizza menu have won Four Side some serious fans in the city already.
Having first made a name for itself as the go-to spot for a vegan bratwurst on the post-Covid Christmas Markets, Panc Foods now has a permanent food stall inside the Arndale Market.
Chefs Ariane Cardoso and Hannah Jobe produce a plant-powered menu of kebabs, burgers, loaded fries, hot dogs and ‘chick’n’., available to eat in or take away seven days a week.
For vegans with a sweet tooth, Yum Yum in the Arndale Market is a must-visit this month.
From the same team behind Panc, you’ll find this stall next door selling a host of build-you-own chimney cakes alongside vegan macarons, cinnamon rolls, waffles and more. It’s a one-stop shop for cinnamon-dusted, soft-serve stuffed vegan treats.
This & That cafe
Manchester’s favourite curry house and the home of the rice and three, This & That has been a favourite since it was established in 1984. Here you’ll find a huge choice of delicious curries, with loads of vegan options to boot.
Tucked away on Soap street, you might have a job to find it – but once you do, trust us, you’ll never look back. It’s a local treasure for a reason.
The Vurger Co
Already hugely popular in London and Brighton, The Vurger Co. opened its doors in Manchester’s Northern Quarter last year and has proven quite the hit with the city’s vegans.
Think indulgent burgers like their classic New York Melt, Buffalo Vurger (crispy ‘chicken’ patty dipped in buffalo hot sauce) and Hunny Chicken (house-made vegan honey, drizzled over The Vurger Co’s chicken patty, with honey mustard aioli, gherkins, and fresh brioche).
This all-vegan fast food joint in Piccadilly Gardens has a great story, first beginning life in owners Dimeji and Saffron’s 1-bedroom apartment in Salford Quays before graduating to its own city centre storefront.
After spending his last bit of money on ingredients from Tesco, Dimeji began working on recipes and putting a simple three-dish menu together. Since then, the menu has evolved to include more burgers, loaded fries, tater tots, tenders, wraps and milkshakes, with the team also successfully going on to open a second site in Boxpark, Croyden.
What The Pitta
Known for its amazing vegan kebabs and soft-serve ice cream, What The Pitta has been a resounding hit with local vegans since landing in Manchester at the end of 2020.
Having been voted the UK’s number one kebab at the British Takeaway Awards, it’s not too surprising. The classic vegan doner recipe was, apparently, passed down to WTP’s co-founder Roj Gul by his uncle in Berlin and is considered to be one of the elites.
The go-to in Yorkshire for a vegan junk food treat, Doner Summer is also now in Manchester – serving up its dirty vegan takes on takeaway classics like the Berlin doner kebab and fried chick’n and chips to the masses.
Buttermylk fried chick’n can be ordered with a variety of different sauces – think buffalo hot, salt and pepper, Korean BBQ, hon’y butter and more – whilst kebabs come with three different variations. As for sides, opt for garlic or regular fries, with a host of homemade sauces available to buy on top.
First beginning life as a street food trader, Herbivorous now has its own restaurant down in Withington selling all the naughty vegan food you could possibly want, plus a fully vegan bar of beers, wines and spirits (something that’s harder to find than you might think).
Offer a plant-based twist on Middle Eastern favourites, at Skofaloff diners can dig into wholesome bowls full of vegan goodness.
Expect the likes of big bowls of creamy hummus topped with falafel, skin on fries loaded with vegan feta, za’atar, saffron flowers and extra virgin olive oil, and Korean glazed BBQ oyster mushrooms pita, topped with kimchi, roasted Aubergine, tahini sauce and fresh salad.
Temporarily closed for now, keep this one on your radar for when it reopens its doors. We’ve heard great things.
Fuel Cafe Bar
This little spot in Withington is a long-standing veggie and vegan treasure trove. Ahead of the curb, it’s been dishing our vegan breakfasts well before most of the places on this list even opened their doors.
From breakfast to dinner, there’s loads of dishes to suit on the menu here – think cakes, burgers, fry ups, soups, you name it – and if you stay late, you might even catch a gig too. They’re pretty well known for putting on good acts here.
Formerly home to pop-up hospitality superstars Batard (Super Happy MCR and Now That’s A Burger) and Primo Bagel, the cafe at co-working space SeeSaw has since launched its own entirely plant-based menu – and it looks ace.
Think braised steak-style seitan left to marinate overnight, pan-fried with green pepper and onion then stuffed in a fresh Companio bakery baguette, mushroom stroganoff, roasted red pepper and sweet potato Jerk curry and more.
Serving up hot Vietnamese sandwiches filled with pickles, plant-based pate and Asian-style vegetables and proteins, Bahn Vi were doing a roaring trade down in Alty before moving into a unit at New Century Hall.
Now you’ll find them smack bang in the city centre, just a hop, skip and a jump from Manchester Victoria railway station, with big warming plates of coconut curry laksa, nasi goreng, summer rolls, and other Pan Asian-inspired delights.
Bundobust has long been a favourite on Piccadilly Gardens since it came across from Leeds, but now diners have two options in Manchester after the eatery opened a second site on Oxford road earlier this year.
Inside the new restaurant, they’ve also installed a brewery, bringing over Dan Hocking from the Netherlands’ Uiltje Brewing Company to take the reigns and create them some tasty, unique beers. Head down for Indian street food favourites like okra fries, vada pavs, bundo chaat, paneer tikka and more.
First originating in Brighton, Purezza has been packed non-stop since opening its doors inside the former Dough site in Manchester’s Northern Quarter earlier this year.
The all-vegan pizzeria is known for its mozzarella, created for Purezza in a laboratory by scientists over a number of years. The special recipe is apparently unrivalled, so if you’re a vegan who still loves cheese you simply have to put this one on your list.
Middle Eastern / Parisian restaurant Maray is a must for its veggie and vegan small plates, brilliant cocktails and spiced falafel roast dinner this January. Even better, it’s offering a 50% off ‘Green January’ discount to anyone doing veganuary. Bargain.
Must-tries here include the signature Disco Cauliflower, which comes baked whole and loaded with sauces and pomegranate seeds, the warm garlic flatbread, hummus and bright green house falafels.
This award-winning plant-based restaurant takes vegan food in Manchester and reimagines it in a gastro-pub style, with dishes like ‘fish and chips’ (made with battered banana blossom), miso and maple hassleback squash, and chestnut bourguignon on its main menu.
Elsewhere, you’ll find small plates like king oyster mushroom scallops, almond satay tofu skewers, cauliflower wings and smoked carrot salmon.
Lily’s Vegetarian Restaurant
Family-run business Lily’s has been an institution in Manchester since it opened in 1972. Starting their journey at a small shop selling Indian sweets and savourites on Cotton Street East, Ashton–Under–Lyne, today Lily’s is an award-winning restaurant known far and wide for its vegetarian cuisine.
The restaurant is named in Lily’s honour, as she sadly passed away before seeing it open. Chefs here come from all over North India, South India, Rajastan, and their passion ensures that each dish exudes authentic Indian flavours.
Listed amongst The Sunday Times and The Guardian‘s best restaurants, Sanskruti is already a go-to for local veggies and vegans in the know.
Serving everything from street food, daal, and thali to punjabi and gujurati mains, rotis/naan, thali and more, the menu here is extensive – and there’s plenty for those with particular dietary requirements. With the majority of dishes also vegan friendly, you just can’t go wrong.
The Pasta Factory
One of Manchester’s vegan pasta OGs, The Pasta Factory is up there as one of the best in the city for vegans thanks to the fact the team make their own (brilliant) vegan parmesan here. Of course, that’s not all – they also make their own pasta and sauces, too.
Think a large selection of pasta dishes, with plenty of choices for vegans, plus regularly changing specials, traditional starters, and bags of freshly-made pasta available to take home, and you’ll soon see why locals love this spot so much.
Eighth Day Cafe
An institution on the Oxford road, The Eight Day cafe has long been a haven for non-meat eaters – way before the rest of the city caught on.
Upstairs, the shop sells a range of different food products, perfect if you’re doing veganuary and need to top up your store cupboards with new ingredients. Whilst downstairs, a cafe serves hearty soups, sandwiches and more – all catered to vegetarian and vegan diets.
Lotus Plant Based Kitchen
alFirst established in 2014 as a vegetarian Chinese takeaway, Lotus now caters to vegans with an extensive selection of plant-based dishes – following a rebrand that saw them search high and low to source vegan alternatives used in traditional Chinese and Asian recipes.
No dishes contain onion or garlic here due to the owner’s personal beliefs, but the food here is still packed with flavour. From an extensive dim sum list, to sharing platters, rice and noodle dishes and a large list of mains including hot pots, sweet and sour, kung po and more, the menu is, quite frankly, huge.
Great for a quick grab-and-go lunch, Go Falafel has several sites dotted across Manchester and is pretty reasonably priced with a medium wrap costing you about £5.50.
For that, you’ll get fresh falafels, house pickles, red cabbage, hummus, salad, chilli and tahini, with the option to add on fried aubergine or vine leaves for an additional sum.
Feature image – Go Falafel