Chain Restaurant Vegan Options

If, like me, you don't happen to live somewhere with a tonne of veggie restaurants and vegan friendly places, you are probably going to have to contend with the chain restaurants if you want to go out to eat.

Saying that, it is much easier now to get vegan food in these places, than it was when I first went vegan.  So here's a few options for you if you're stuck in a shopping centre with only chain restaurants for comfort!
 
(I was hoping I'd have pictures for pretty much all of these, but I did a massive clear out on my phone, because there wasn't enough memory and I deleted all the old food pics. Silly Sal! I will edit this post as and when I have pics though!)

I have tried to organise this page a bit, as it was getting unruly! So here are some jump links below:

Ask Italian
Bella Italia
Bill's
Burger King
Carluccio's
Chiquitos
Cosyclub
Frankie and Benny's
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Handmade Burger Co
Harvester
Hungry Horse
Ikea
Jamie's Italian
Las Iguanas
Le Pain Quotidian
Lounges
McDonalds
Mimosa
Nando's
Papa John's
Pizza Express
Pizza Hut
Prezzo
Taco Mazama
Toby Carvery
Wagamama
Wetherspoons
Zizzi

Bill's
Vegan options are clearly marked on the menu and I've emailed them (Jan 2017) to ask if any desserts are vegan as none are listed. I've also asked if any breakfast items can be made vegan, so keep an eye out here for their response.

Jan 2017 - here is their mushroom soup starter and roasted aubergine dahl




Pizza Express
There is a vegan pizza on the menu already; it is called the Pianta and it has a spicy arrabiatta sauce as the base and a tonne of rocket. Personally I'm not a fan - too much rabbit food greenage for my liking; if I'm gonna eat pizza, I want a dirty cheezy one! This is what it looks like (sorry for crap, lifted off my instagram pic).

Pizza express are great though at subs (there's some info on their site about making things vegan and bringing your own cheese!). I quite often just ask them to make some changes to a veggie pizza for me and I take my own cheese, which I just ask them to put on for me. They've never said no!

They also have a couple of salads you can veganise (Leggera Superfood & the Bosco) and you can just ask them to take off the cheese (or if it doesn't already have it in, sub avocado).

Their dough balls are also vegan without the garlic butter and if you order the Doppio (the sharing sized portion), the pesto and garlic butter dips are not vegan. I'm waiting for them to confirm to me by email if the harissa dip is vegan (STILL waiting!) or not and will update here if/when they reply.

There is a list of vegan stuff HERE via their website too, which lists most of the components and not just the dishes, so that is actually pretty helpful!

Here's one of their pizzas that they modified for me to remove dairy and add the grated Violife I brought with me! 


Zizzi
On 15 March 2016, Zizzi launched their new spring menu and they now have a vegan menu! Including.... vegan mozzarella for pizzas. Autumn 2016: they have new vegan options including a dessert calzone!

Pizza

New vegan bruschetta

Lentil Ragu

Dessert Calzone - filled with bananas, pecans and chocolate.

HERE IS A LINK to their vegan menu and a snapshot from the PDF is below.

Click to enlarge

Bella Italia
They have recently added vegan labels to their menu - this is the symbol to look for:
Here is a link to the main menu, where you can see the options marked. Currently it doesn't show that much, but it does say you can create your own pizza (cheeseless), there is a vegan salad, pasta pomodoro, a spaghetti dish with a lentil ragu (Lenticchie) and a chocolate cherry cake on the dessert menu.

Prezzo
Another chain starting to have vegan options! They have a vegan sharing platter on their starters menu. There's also a penne arrabiatta on the menu which is usually a safe bet and according to Veganuary, their pizza bases are vegan so you can go for a cheeseless pizza. It's a bit of a pants selection I know, but it's a start!


Ask Italian
Nov 2016: They also now have a vegan menu - weeee! Snapshot from the menu below, click the picture to take you to the full menu on their website.

Papa John's
Their allergen menu is HERE. From that and some googling we deduced that the veggie pizzas with no cheese are good to go. Also, although you'll see none of the dips are marked as vegan, if you check the allergens, most of them do not have egg or dairy, these are listed in may contain, so I think it's a cross contamination thing! There are 2 garlic sauces, one is vegan one isn't, so make sure you check.

We also ordered the cinammon knots which are new on the menu. They are marked as vegetarian (not vegan) but again, no egg or dairy in the allergens list, just on the 'may contain'. If you're uncomfortable ordering without confirmation, then avoid.

sorry this pic is a little misleading, that's violife cheese that I added after they delivered the pizza!


 


Pizza Hut
Their pan, classic and gluten free bases all appear to be vegan from their ALLERGEN MENU. When you order online you can remove the cheese and add/remove toppings etc. Their wedges are vegan too and so is their garlic bread. No puddings though.



Nando's
Yep they do have options!  The soy burger is vegan itself (the bean burger isn't as it has cheese mixed into it) but they add mayo as standard so make sure you ask for it without.  You can get this on a bun, pitta or a wrap and the 'bastes' they use are all vegan, according to the website. I *THINK* these are the same as the bottles of sauce at the condiment station, but ketchup is usually enough for my fries, so I've not checked yet. I'll get on that next time I'm there!  The fries are vegan and they will usually do you a corn on the cob with no butter. (EDIT: The Macho Peas aren't vegan anymore, they have milk in according to the allergen menu! The rice is also not vegan as it's cooked in butter)

They also have a portobello burger so you can just ask them to remove the halloumi. They do have avocado as an extra so they might be willing to sub this for you; I've never asked!

I also saw a couple of salads on their menu when looking recently that are probably vegan, or could be with modifications.

Here's the soya burger as a wrap, with their spiced fries and macho peas


Ignore the peas - apparently these are not vegan anymore according to their allergen menu.

Las Iguana's
They actually have a whole separate vegetarian menu with the vegan options marked on it, so just ask. A new one was just released this month, March 2016. (This is for Reading, my nearest. You might want to check the menu for your local LI though!)

I've always enjoyed the food here and you usually just have to ask them to take off the cheese and sour cream.  (The little tacos with coconut butternut squash are delightful and the Chilli Con Verduras and the Bahia Moqueca are really awesome mains.) Also, their cocktails are normally 2 for 1. Just sayin!!

Terrible (bad lighting) pic of the Bahia Moqueca

and it's accompaniments


Wagamama
Waggas - probably my favourite of the chain places! They have vegan dishes shown on their website and a lot of the vegetarian dishes can modified to make them vegan. They seem to have taken my old favourite (Saien Soba) off the menu (which you used to have to ask them to swap out the egg noodles in). However, lately I've been having the Cha Han with no egg which is delicious and very filling. There is also another favourite of mine, the Yasai Itame, which is a spicy coconut soup with rice noodles, veg and tofu in.

The edamame beans and the veggie gyoza are also favourites, off the sides menu.

Here's a pic of my beloved Saien Soba which they do not seem to be doing anymore! SADFACE!

Here is the edamame with chilli garlc salt, one of my favourites from the sides menu.

This is a picture of the Cha Han Donburi, minus the egg. I don't think you get that miso soup with it anymore, not that I ever ate it because I am not a fan!



Gourmet Burger Kitchen
UPDATE JANUARY 2017:
They now have the Dippy Hippy listed on the regular menu and it's changed from a piece of pineapple and a pepper to a bean based patty, with beetroot hummus and guac on and it's good! The satay sauce is gone but you can still order that as a side to dip your chips in and again, I recommend you do this! :)



NOV 2016: I wrote to GBK as a number of people had told me that the bun isn't vegan at GBK and also because the Dippy Hippy has disappeared from the menu, here is what they said:

"We recently introduced a new vegan bun to our menu which means we have a number of vegan options. You can have the Classic Veggie with the mayo removed, the Californian with the cheese and harissa mayo removed or the Dippy Hippy, which contains grilled aubergine, pineapple, satay sauce, tomato, red onion and alfalfa sprouts. It is currently on our GF menu, so just ask for the bun to be swapped to vegan.

All of our burgers are made to order so please feel free to add or remove any ingredients you wish.


Our fries and falafel are cooked in vegetable oil however, they are cooked in the same oil as our onion rings, making them unsuitable for vegans."

I went back to them after this, to check if the falafel burger was not vegan just due to using the same fryer as the onion rings  (you also have to ask them to remove the yogurt sauce/mayo). They confirmed there are no animal ingredients in the burger but as above, it is fried in the same fryer as their onion rings, which contain egg and milk. So they won't stipulate that it's vegan due to cross-contamination. Personally I am ok with this and would still order it but if you're not, then go for one of the other options.

Sides: Chunky Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Corn on the Cob (no butter) Extra Satay Sauce

EXTRA SAUCCCCE!

Handmade Burger Co
HMBC have a bunch of vegan options and they're all marked as vegan on the menu. You can view the menu via their website HERE, but here is a screen cap of the veggie burger menu as at Jan 2017.



And this is the Veg-Mex Burger and Peri-Peri Fries from March 2016.



Harvester
September 2016 - Harvester have added some vegan options to their menu: they are labelled as such and there are around 3 main dishes and a pudding (rice pudding!). I can't find an updated menu on their website yet, but I did see a picture of it posted on Hannah Banana's Instagram. (I will update once the website is updated). Update 18 Oct 16, I went a week ago and they did not have the new menu and it still isn't showing on the website! Jan 2017 - still no vegan menu on the website or in my 2 local harvesters, but I keep seeing people on Facebook finding it in theirs!!


McDonalds
Speaking of burgers, yep even grody old MacDonalds has options for us! I haven't tried it myself but (UK ONLY) the veggie delight burger can be made vegan by taking off the mayo. The fries are vegan (again, UK ONLY I'm speaking for here, I'm aware they have beef fat in, in some countries). Also there's hash browns from the breakfast menu and I believe their apple pies are vegan.

If I ever have no other option but Maccy Ds I will of course take photos!


Burger King
As above - UK only. They have a veggie (bean) burger that is vegan with no mayo or cheese and their chips are vegan.

Hungry Horse
As at today (3 May 2016), they have one vegan main on the menu - a curry. The naan bread and yogurt sauce that come with it are not vegan so ask for the curry without or ask them to swap the naan for another poppadom or bhaji but be aware that the portions are pretty big anyway.

They also have quite a few vegan side dishes, if you wanted to cobble something together. The allergen menu lists vegan items and can be found HERE. (I didn't link to the exact link as it's bound to change regularly!)




Wetherspoons
September 2016 - they have updated their menu! The pub chain has a vegan curry on the menu and their 5 bean chilli has now been made vegan- YAY! I took a snapshot from the PDF of their vegan menu, that you can download from HERE,

JAN 2017: I believe the 5 bean chilli is now vegan and they have a dessert that isn't just fruit. But I can't find an updated PDF of the menu to show you so you'll just have to look in your local.

click to enlarge



Frankie and Benny's
You're pretty limited here, but if you ever get stuck going here for a work do or something, your choice is basically Ciabatta for bread, Tomato & Basil Soup for starters and Pasta Arrabiatta for the main. There's also mango, raspberry and lemon sorbets for dessert. If you go to their Allergy menu, you can filter vegan dishes and also, I have heard that if you ask for a pizza or calzone without cheese, they'll do that too.

No pics because I haven't been here since not that long after I went vegan and they were SO unhelpful back then. I ended with something akin to the Pizza of Sadness.

(I've just been advised by Boltonian Vegan that they also make an avocado and pepper wrap which is vegan if you ask for it without mayo.)


Toby Carvery
Not really somewhere you'd expect to be vegan friendly, but they are! They usually have 2 or vegan options on the menu, but this changes quite regularly I think. I've tried a few and they've all been ok (the lentil shepherds pie they did was great, I was gutted when they got rid of that!). They also do a meat-free carvery (so veg and roast potatoes) which I actually love. Their vegetarian gravy, roast potatoes and stuffing are all vegan, but just check with your local Toby if there's butter on the veg (if there is they'll do you butter-free veg!)  They also now do a vegan pudding - a chocolate cake!

This is the delightful lentil shepherds pie that was once on the menu.

And this is what I normally go for, meat free carvery! I love me some roasties.

Mimosa
I don't think this is a huge chain; just a couple of restaurants. If you have one near you though, it's a buffet style restaurant that serves Indian, Chinese and Thai style food. They label everything vegetarian and they put allergens on the name cards too so you can see that there is no egg or dairy in them! Win.
Lounges
If you have a 'lounge' near you (our nearest one is the Alto Lounge in Caversham), they have a separate vegan menu. I've done a post on it before, although I must admit the last time I went there, it wasn't so great. We're hoping they were just having a bad day but the menu does seem to have changed slightly from when we first discovered it a year ago.

Here's a pick of their old chickpea burger, I think they've changed it a bit now and it's a butternut squash/chickpea burger, but I haven't tried that yet.


And the panini, which has hummus in

Ikea
Does this count as a chain restaurant? I think so, all the Ikeas have restaurants in!  So you've probably already heard that they have started doing a vegetarian alternative to their famous meatballs and the balls themselves are vegan. I read the tomato sauce that comes with them, isn't vegan, but there seems to be conflicting info about that. So if you want the sauce, check your local Ikea's dietary info booklet - apparently they all have them. In Southampton, where I took these pics, it was sitting out on the counter. I didn't look though I just ordered without the sauce.

Here they are from our most recent trip, veggie ball jambalaya! Which has a vegan society stamp next to it on the in-store poster.


The balls themselves are very nice, they are flavourful and they are made of actual veggies rather than a meat substitute, which I like. The rice and broccoli was a bit dry without a sauce though, so next time I'd probably order these with chips instead of rice.


If you like them, you can buy a bag of the veggie balls in the frozen section of Ikea's food hall, which I did.

Also, on the way home after buying our food, Mr A decided he wanted a milkshake and he asked the guy on the food kiosk if the Cinnamon buns are vegan. Apparently they are not because they have gelatine in (wtf??) but he looked in the book and told Mr A that the donuts are vegan! WIN! So we had one of those each and they were very nice indeed.

Le Pain Quotidian
There are quite a few of these places around and they are awesome! They have a tonne of healthy and organic food and everything vegan (or veganisable) is marked on the menu. Here's what I had at my last trip there:

I had a breakfast platter called the botanist, which was massive - too big for me to finish. But it was amazing. It had awesome bread, hummus, avocado, quinoa tabouleh, fruit salad and a fruity parfait which is perfectly sweet and lovely.






Chiquitos
Unfortunately, their allergen menu is not that helpful; it lists dairy in every single vegetarian main dish! However, this is likely because everything is served with sour cream and/or cheese. There is a post on Veganuary (although not sure how old it is) that lists the vegan options. Basically it indicates that your options are veggie chilli or veggie fajitas without cheese or sour cream. Both of these are decent options; however I'm sure other dishes could be adapted, you might just want to ask your server to check with the kitchen. (I know they do a veggie burger that is NOT suitable as the cheese is baked into the patty, as the waiter checked for me last time I was there!)

You can filter on the website for vegan options and basically NO mains come up - I think that is due to them all coming with cheese and sour cream as standard. But the garlic bread is vegan and so are lots of the sides.

Jamie's Italian
Vegan options are marked on the menu and there are quite a few. If you want a sneak peak if you're headed there, go to their website and you can filter the vegan options on each menu. https://www.jamieoliver.com/italian/menu/#

When I went I had the Veggie Taglietelle Bolognaise. Now this doesn't come vegan as standard, they amend it for you and I think they have different pasta for the vegan options. Because the pasta was a bit of a weird texture. I won't lie this wasn't my favourite pasta dish ever. However, I would go back and try something else and I think it's great that they label vegan and are providing options.



Carluccio's
Another one where the vegetarian menu doesn't look too promising but again, there is a vegan menu if you ask for it. This post at Veganuary seems to suggest that it is standard crap vegan offerings that you get in Italian chain restaurants (bruschetta, pasta with tomato sauce, sorbet).

Cosyclub
I personally have not heard of them, but a commenter named Jess just advised me that they have a vegan menu and here is the LINK. Thanks Jess :) 

Taco Mazama
If you're in Scotland, my friend Rachel has advised that "Taco Mazama can make any of the vegetarian items vegan and sub guac for free. And they have shredded chipotle tofu!" Sounds good to me!

Do you know of any other vegan options at chain restaurants? Leave me a comment and I will add it on!


Last updated 06 January 2017

20 comments:

  1. I would have never thought the Toby carvery would have options! Same with Nandos.
    Pizza express are great though, they always accommodate us.....I've had the polenta chips made without cheese and subbed the honey dressing for balsamic vinegar many times and it's well nice.

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  2. Ooh, and Cosy Club also has a vegan menu! http://www.cosyclub.co.uk/uploads/1160.pdf

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  3. Awesome thank you, never heard of them so I will add them on now! x

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    1. Awesome. :) As a side note, at least in the Cardiff one, they also do a couple of vegan cakes at the bar & will let you order them in the restaurant bit if you don't fancy yet another sorbet. :)

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    2. Sounds good, if I ever spot one I will give it a go.

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  4. Taco Mazama can make any of the vegetarian items vegan and sub guac for free. And they have shredded chipotle tofu! We just went there and it was pretty good.

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  5. I was at Frankie and Bennys last night and they now do an avocado and pepper wrap which is vegan if you ask for it without mayo. I've heard about it off a friend and off someone who works there via a Facebook group. As usual it's not listed on their allergy menu as vegan because it has to be veganised. Which I find really irritating!

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    1. Cool thanks for that, I'll add it on. That is annoying though, I wish more places would list the components without the stuff you can take off!

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  6. Last time I went to Nandos I was told the peas aren't vegan as they have milk in with them (why?) :/

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    1. Yeah I saw this recently on their allergen menu. I'm sad/annoyed as I was told before that they were ok. Thanks for letting me know though, I've taken them off the list! :(

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  7. We just got a GNK so I was pretty excited but it looks from their allergen menu that none of the buns are vegan....

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  8. They definitely unused to be as they had a vegan option on their allergen menu. I did email them a while ago to check about vegan options and they have not replied. I'll try again! Thanks for the heads up x

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    1. Any news on GBK vegan burgers?

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    2. No they have never replied! I will chase them.

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  9. I went to my local Toby Carvery the other day and they advised me that all the veg are cooked in butter so made me a fresh batch! Not sure if this is for every Toby restaurant but if so they're very accommodating! :)

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  10. Thank you for your great article.
    In fact many carnivores prefer vegan venues, as i found out on this article :
    http://animal-welfare.org/worlds-best-burger/
    Anybody likes vegan burgers ?

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  11. Regarding the BK bean burger it would be a good idea to point out you are vegan when ordering as they may be cooked in the same fryer as the chicken. It shouldn't be, but when they are busy this may be overlooked. (Admittedly I am thinking of busy Saturdays 20 years ago when I used to work for them but I doubt it has changed that much!)

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    1. Thanks for the tip, I'll edit the post 😀

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speak to me, yo!