Guest article by Rosanna Pycraft.
Vegan-Friendly and Vegan Restaurants Brighton
Taste, atmosphere and community. A local’s guide to Brighton’s top alternative vegan-friendly café-bars and restaurants.
There are so many innovative and delicious vegan-friendly and vegan restaurants in Brighton that are not often talked about. I want to give these places the attention that they deserve.
The aim of this local’s guide is to feature my favourite small and independently run places. That’s why you won’t find some of the more popular vegan-friendly Brighton restaurants listed here, such as Wai Kika Moo Kau or The Prince George. In my view, these well-known eateries don’t represent the best of what vegan Brighton has to offer.
Focusing on taste, atmosphere and community, I have compiled a list of the best spots that offer these three things. I believe a collaboration between these three elements lies at the heart of the food experience.
VG = vegan restaurant
V = vegetarian restaurant
VF = vegan-friendly restaurant
136 Lewes Rd, Brighton, BN2 3LG
Brewed is the brunch of Brighton. Situated slightly away from the town centre, this lovely little café is one of just a few in the area that offer good vegan options.
What makes this place such a great hangout is its intimacy and friendliness. With a small terrace at the front and a couple of tables inside, a delicious aroma of freshly cooked breakfast constantly wafts from the bar-kitchen as best friends and owners Nick and Tom passionately make the food.
Whether you identify as a meat eater or a vegan, the food never fails to impress. Though it began with a focus on coffee, Brewed now boasts a small and well-constructed food menu. Using only fresh ingredients, there are a range of vegan options - chipotle cornbread and kimchi mess are amongst the best.
For me, it has to be the vegan fry up - the home-made ingredients simply sing from the plate. The soft, turmeric scrambled tofu pairs wonderfully with the tangy, sweet chilli jam. My favourite, the hash brown ball, explodes with flavour and goes perfectly with a slice of grilled tomato.
Dukkah, sprinkled on a bed of gently wilted spinach, beautifully accompanies chunky mushrooms, coated in a garlic and thyme herb-oil, which are softened by creamy pieces of avocado on toasted sourdough.
But it’s not just the food that consistently keeps me coming back; the single origin coffee, in-house, is exquisite!
This spot, popular among locals, is buzzing with an array of people, adding to its charm. Alone or with friends, you can always join in with conversation amongst regulars.
It also stays open until 9pm on weekdays and 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays for cocktails. Made lovingly by Niya, I’ve only heard good things about these classic, fresh concoctions. This, I thought, as I enjoyed my breakfast on Monday morning, is what Brighton is really about.
Open Market, Marshalls Row, BN1 4JU
Situated in the Open Market - the beating heart of Brighton’s local community - this spot makes for a wonderful and authentic hang out where you can eat the best hummus in town. Run by siblings Sarah and Christian, who have been making hummus for over thirty-five years, you won’t be disappointed by the affordable, fun and healthy plates of food.
Inspired by a Middle Eastern cuisine focused on hummus and falafel, this place is an absolute must for any hummus lover. Everything is home-made, and the importance of flavour and taste is what this vegan deli is all about.
With three levels of garlic hummus to choose from, the salad is my favourite go-to lunch in Brighton. Every vegetable on the plate comes from the market opposite, and the combination of flavours - from the almond tapenade to the pureed butternut squash with a tahini and date dressing - goes above and beyond in savour.
On a cold day, the Moroccan falafel bolognaise with hassleback sweet potato and a large dollop of hummus is a wonderful winter-warmer. Or, if you just fancy some hummus, it comes available in pots for sale (I always opt for the thunder garlic). The unpretentious ethos and mix of people inside this little marketplace make Smorl's the ultimate, authentic Brighton spot.
52 Ship Street, BN1 1AF
This has to be my favourite hangout in town and is only a stone’s throw away from both the historic area known as The Lanes and the bohemian and cultural area of the North Laine.
Marwood Bar & Coffeehouse is totally abnormal and wonderfully entertaining. Whether you want to come in for a coffee, some beer or a cocktail…eat some vegan or gluten free cake, have a sandwich or a vegan sausage roll… listen to a great DJ on a Friday evening… maybe attend a life drawing class, or learn how to paint, this is the place to come.
Nothing quite makes sense here, as crazy bric-a-brac hangs from the ceiling and walls, and toys, books and retro ‘80s relics find themselves in and amongst the mix-matched furniture.
I come here at least once a week, and, whether I’m chilling out in the morning with some work and a coffee or beginning my weekend with some good music and an espresso martini, it’s always a good time.
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St Augustines Arts and Events Centre, Stanford Ave
UPDATE April 2019: Café Plenty has relocated to St Augustines Arts and Events Centre, so the interior may not be exactly as described here.
This arts and culture café is a great place to meet people, connect with the local community or get down to some work. The layout is open and spacious - plants dangle from the high ceiling, interesting monthly art exhibits hang from the stone walls, and the vibe is super cool.
The coffee is delicious, and there’s a great selection of vegan breakfast and lunch options to choose from. Avocado toast is their speciality, or there’s the mezze platter if you can’t decide.
Flavour, texture and temperature are what this cafe is renowned for. Try one of their eight flavours of chilli jam! It also opens as a TAP bar in the evenings from Thursday to Saturday, serving exquisite Bengali street food and often showcasing alternative music and art events.
On the weekends, it opens as a breakfast club until 3pm - a great option for a big, hungry group! Be sure to chat with the lovely owner Mitch if he’s cooking your food. He’ll give you a real taste of what this creative side of Brighton is all about.
2-6 Elm Grove, BN2 3DD
Fantastic, wholesome Caribbean food legends playing great reggae tunes! This little place used to reside in a shack on London road, but, unfortunately, it had to move and now operates as a pop-up kitchen.
Currently in The Admiral pub from Friday lunch until Sunday evening, Back A Yard is popular among locals in the Hanover area. But, be sure to keep an eye out, as it may be on the move.
There’s a great range of vegan options - the steamed rice and peas, dumplings, jerk sauce and callaloo spinach is one to cure any sins. The juicy, callaloo greenery is one of a kind and loaded with seven different types of iron. People swear by its power to cure a hangover!
Owner and Jamaican chef Roy certainly puts his heart and soul into these delicious delights. Places like these are hard to come by in the busy Brighton scene, but if you have the time to give, it is a must.
90 Dyke Road, BN1 3JD
This cosy dinner time restaurant boasts some of the best Thai food that Brighton has to offer. Its slightly out of town location, in Seven Dials, offers a different insight into a lovely community area.
A classic bring your own alcohol restaurant, Red Snapper is a great place to come with a small group or for an intimate evening for two. The atmosphere is warm and vibrant, and it’s run by lovely staff, adding to the charm of this little spot.
Here, the vegan options are fantastic, full of flavour and spice if you so wish. I suggest a selection of dishes to share. The Yum Jae, a crispy tofu salad, and a vegetable Kang Masaaman curry with a side of coconut rice is a combination not to be missed!
16 Lower Market Street, Hove, BN3 1AT
Even though I may be biased (full disclosure: I work in the Jaldee kitchen), I feel I simply cannot miss this place out. If you want to try the best Indian street food in Brighton, the journey into Hove is a must.
The pub is warm and cosy, the staff are lovely, and from Thursday to Sunday the atmosphere is buzzing with food fanatics. Jaldee Jaldee, run by a powerhouse of three ladies, certainly has created a name for itself on the Brighton food scene.
Fagoon - the chef and a wonderful bundle of joy - continues to surprise my palate with the most gorgeous amalgamation of flavours. Her authentic food is inspiring, often leaving customers with an incentive to go vegan after devouring their dinners.
The sev dahi puri are a popular starting option. Biting into these bursting balls of flavour certainly gets the appetite going!
To get a taste of everything, the thali is the best option. Served on a beautiful silver platter, at the time of writing the monthly thali included two shaaks, daal, two rotis, jeera rice, aloo tikki, kachumbar, boondi and pickled red onion.
The little bowls of exquisite dishes brilliantly complement each other, creating a sophisticated and fresh taste. To accompany the food, the pub and kitchen have carefully selected an alcohol pairing, which offers a range of delicious vegan beers, wines and spirits. Homemade, healthy and honestly delicious.
16 Southover St, BN2 9UA
To replace the Brighton tradition of fish and chips, this is the perfect Sussex pub for a hearty bangers and mash! As well as being an inviting spot to enjoy a warming glass of wine or ale, The Geese is home to some really tasty, feel good food.
In the summertime, it’s a great basking spot for a Bloody Mary as the afternoon sun shines through a big open window. I came with a friend on a cold November’s evening to enjoy their Wednesday 2 for £12 offer on sausages, mash and gravy. The menu includes some great vegan options.
I went for the mushroom and garlic sausages, herby new potatoes and caramelised onion gravy, which paired wonderfully with a large glass of the house red. The flavours were fantastic, as each element of the dish had a distinct taste.
The sausages were soft and juicy, the potatoes light and fluffy, and the gravy, so sweet and salacious! After soaking up the atmosphere of this busy, ambient, candlelit pub, we left feeling pleasantly full and excited to come back to try their notorious, award-winning Sunday roast.
71 East Street, Brighton, BN1 1HQ
Terre a Terre, Brighton’s famous vegetarian restaurant, certainly deserves its upmarket status. Tucked away on a bustling street behind the seafront, food lovers flock here for the finest quality ingredients and intricate flavours.
I went for the vegan sharing platter, perfect for a couple, which included both a savoury and sweet mezze. Taken from the à la carte menu, the selection of tapas was truly scrumptious!
My favourite had to be the KFC - Korean fried cauliflower - delicately sautéed with sweet and sour sesame, pickled mouli and kale crisp. The cashew pesto, white miso and sweet ginger tahini smoked tofu, which accompanied the snow pea salad, was another exquisite taste.
But, the jewel in the crown had to be the chocoholic sharing plate. I usually find them too sweet, but the mini cinnamon-and-sugar-coated churros with a chocolate salted caramel dipping pot and wild berries were sensational.
The creamy caramel sauce was incredibly sumptuous without being overbearing, and the churros were light and fluffy. As a palate cleanser, the clementine sorbet was a wonderful and refreshing delicacy to end such a chocolate-rich rapture. Although slightly more on the expensive side, for those sophisticated food palates, I would highly recommend!
Vegan-Friendly Shops in Brighton
Vegan Shops Brighton
Map of Vegan Brighton
Below is a Google Map of all the vegan-friendly, vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Brighton described in this guide, as well as the vegan shops in Brighton mentioned above.
If you have a Google account, you can add the map to "Your Places" to have access to it from your computer or your phone through the Google Maps app. See the instructions below.
About the Author
Rosanna is a food fanatic with a passion to inspire people into a more sustainable outlook on food. Throughout her time living in Brighton, the vegan capital of the UK, she has increasingly fallen in love with cooking, eating and writing about food. Follow her on Instagram.