Brighton, located on the South East coast of the UK, was recently voted most vegan-friendly city in the world – and there were many reasons for presenting this vibrant, colourful town with this accolade. Online cookbook Chef's Pencil did the choosing, and with Brighton's abundance of vegan-friendly restaurants (over 240, according to vegan restaurant locator app Happy Cow) it was an easy choice. This city, which often tops lists of most vegan-friendly cities in the UK, is known for its variety of plant-based delicacies. A local resident (me!) offers her guide to the hotspots you won't want to miss if you're visiting the world's most vegan-friendly city any time soon.
By Sascha Camilli: writer, speaker, activist, and vegan fashion expert.
Because first things first.
This 100% vegan eatery is the perfect off-the-beaten-track pit stop, whether you're in the mood for burgers or English breakfast - or why not pancakes?
What to have: the English breakfast. It's amazing.
Where to find it: 8 Preston Rd, Brighton BN1 4QF
If you love pancakes, it doesn't really get better than Nowhere Man. With its Seventies-inspired décor, this cosy cafe often has a queue on weekends – but be patient and wait in line, and you will soon be rewarded. All pancakes can be made vegan, and stacks come in flavours that range from chocolate and banana to blueberries and bacon. A pancake lover's dream.
What to have: the Full American, featuring scrambled tofu and bacon alongside blueberries and cream.
Where to find it: 53 Upper N St, Brighton BN1 3FH
Vegetarian, but with lots of vegan options. The busy Laines location is a crowd attractor, but if you're lucky enough to snag a table, you'll be glad you came. Comforting flavours and delicious coffee truly set this place apart.
What to have: the full breakfast (it comes with chips!)
Where to find it: 11A Kensington Gardens, Brighton BN1 4AL
Lunch on the Go
Because who's got time, right? But we're still hungry.
If doner kebabs were your favourite food before going vegan, count yourself lucky. What the Pitta has queues lining up over its plant-based gyros, mezze, and falafel wraps. With rich helpings of hummus on everything and the best vegan doner meat in town, this is a Brighton classic for many reasons.
What to have: the mezze box.
Where to find it: 14 East St, Brighton BN1 1HP
Not your ordinary sushi rolls. Happy Maki has become the go-to place for tasty sushi wraps to enjoy on the beach – but its Laines location also offers poke bowls wit toppings that range from tofu to vegan salmon. This sustainability-focused eatery also donates to reforestation projects and charities that fight child hunger.
What to have: a build-your-own poke bowl, with a side of fried cauliflower
Where to find it: 8 Pool Valley, Brighton BN1 1NJ; 23 Sydney St, Brighton BN1 4EN
Vegan Junk Food
Because let's face it, that's what you came for.
This 100% vegan fast-food joint started out as a market stall – it now has its very own location in the colourful Laines, serving up burger and fries, nuggets and mac n'cheese, along with decadent milkshakes.
What to have: the cookie-dough shake
Where to find it: 13 Brighton Pl, Brighton BN1 1HJ
Described by Time Out as “vegan junk food at its junkiest”, Halo Burger is a fine antidote for those believing that veganism is all about lettuce leaves. Super-meaty burgers meet a fast-food restaurant vibe to bring back those nostalgic memories of enjoying junk food with your friends in your pre-vegan life.
What to have: the Halo burger with pink salt fries
Where to find it: Fountain Head Pub, 101-102 North Rd, Brighton BN1 1YE
Not strictly a vegan place, but had to be on this list as the vegan options are out of this world. Honest's Plant burger boasts a Beyond Meat patty and smoked Applewood cheese, accompanied by some of the best fries in town. Don't miss!
What to have: see above
Where to find it: 8 Duke St, Brighton BN1 1AH
Secretly missing your KFC fix? Really Happy Chicken is here for that fried-goodness craving. Crispy fried chicken, whether in “wing” or burger form, accompanied by oil-drizzled fries – heaven, right? And no animal had to suffer and die for it.
What to have: the Korean sticky v-wings
Where to find it: 46 West St, Brighton BN1 2RA
The supreme vegan junk-food experience can be found at Freeloada at East Street Tap – a lively, central Brighton pub. Burgers topped with vegan bacon, loaded cheesy fries, and brownies dripping in ice cream – it won't get any better than this.
What to have: the famous bacon Biscoff burger
Where to find it: 74 East St, Tap, Brighton BN1 1HQ
Because sometimes it's all about the finer things.
Brighton's oldest vegetarian restaurant is the go-to spot for a romantic dinner or a more upscale plant-based dining experience. Its elegant interior lends itself to celebrations as well as date nights, and the creative menu won't disappoint. Terre a Terre isn't a fully vegan restaurant, but the vegan options are plentiful and delicious.
What to have: the sweet tapas sharing plate.
Where to find it: 71 East St, Brighton BN1 1HQ
Once again, not a fully vegan spot – but this veggie eatery is rich in dishes that are entirely plant-based. With inviting interiors and a mouth-watering menu, Food for Friends is the perfect place for the best in animal-free fine dining.
What to have: the banana-blossom fish and chips
Where to find it: 17-18 Prince Albert St, Brighton BN1 1HF
A 100% plant-based Japanese dining experience, in a gorgeous, tucked-away setting, with beautiful local art decorating the walls. Enjoy a selection of flavours from sushi to curries, and if you have a gluten allergy, this is definitely the place to go: many options are either gluten-free by default, or can be made without gluten.
What to have: the ramen
Where to find it: 5-6 Circus Parade, New England Rd, Brighton BN1 4GW
You'd have to venture to Hove for this one – but it just might be worth it. Specialising in local, organic ingredients, Botanique is the ultimate when it comes to innovative plant-based dining. While this minimalist eatery is becoming well-known for their brunch, the dining options are just as tantalising.
What to have: the vegan arancini
Where to find it: 31a Western Rd, Hove BN3 1AF
This sushi restaurant isn't 100% vegan – but still worth a visit for its variety of vegan fish. From plant-based salmon and crab to tuna and squid, what you will find here is far from run-of-the-mill avocado and cucumber rolls. Plus, the interiors are beautiful.
What to have: the vegan sushi boat
Where to find it: Bartholomew Square, Brighton BN1 1JS
Because pizza is always the answer.
The UK's first 100% vegan pizzeria was without a doubt a contributor to Brighton being crowned most vegan-friendly city in the world. Their Parmigiana Party has won the Best Pizza award at the National Pizza Awards (yes, that's a thing!), beating out many non-vegan options. The dough is out of this world and the toppings, from truffle porchetta to marinated beetroot, will have you coming back for more.
What to have: the award-winning Parmigiana Party.
Where to find it: Brighton: 12 St James's St, Kemptown, Brighton BN2 1RE; Hove: 86-87 Western Rd, Hove BN3 1JB
Not a vegan pizzeria, but well known for its vegan options. Fatto a Mano has three locations throughout Brighton and Hove, and their vegan options have plant-based food lovers flocking to this colourful, Neapolitan-inspired eatery. For as an authentic taste of Naples that you can get in Brighton, head here.
What to have: the olive and tomato 'nduja pizza, with spicy vegan sausage
Where to find it: North Laine: 25 Gloucester Rd, Brighton BN1 4AQ; London Road: 77 London Rd, Brighton BN1 4JF; Hove: 65-67 Church Road, BN3 2BD
Once again, not a vegan pizzeria – but the vegan options are top-notch. VIP, or Very Italian Pizza, offers a vegan menu with three delicious pizzas, but there is also the option to build your own, with a variety of toppings. Bonus: this pizzeria is one of the few places in Brighton to stay open late, so if you're looking for a later dinner, this is the spot.
What to have: the decadent, “meaty” Mortazza pizza.
Where to find it: 19 Old Steine, Brighton BN1 1EL
Desserts & Ice Cream
Because you've got to finish the meal with something sweet, haven't you?
A Brighton cult classic, this all-vegan donut and coffee hangout truly lives up to its tagline of “next-level coffee and donuts.” All donuts and freshly handmade each day, and the flavours, which include raspberry, chocolate, Biscoff and peanut butter, sell out quickly during the day, so make this an early pit stop on your itinerary – you don't want any regrets!
What to have: the peanut butter and caramelised vegan bacon donut
Where to find it: 25 Ditchling Rd, Brighton BN1 4SB
On a hot summer day, you might see a queue outside Boho's locations – trust me, you'll want to get in that queue. While Boho Gelato isn't strictly vegan, its varying and creative vegan offering is worth the wait. Flavours such as peanut butter and salted caramel will add a touch of sweetness to your summer day – and the cones are vegan too!
What to have: the dark chocolate and rose flavour
Where to find it: 6 Pool Valley, Brighton BN1 1NJ; 31 Ship St, Brighton BN1 1AD
While this isn't a fully vegan eatery, artisan ice cream specialists Gelato Gusto offer delicious, creative concoctions such as peach and basil, peanut butter chocolate chip, lychee and rose, and apple pie. Perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth, Gelato Gusto also offers vegan pancakes – with an added scoop of ice cream, of course.
What to have: the amarena cherry flavour
Where to find it: 2 Gardner St, Brighton BN1 1UP; 54-57 King's Road Arches, Brighton BN1 2LN
Because it's not all about the food!
An ethical fashion label specialising in dungarees, Lucy & Yak attracts visitors to their Laines store for its colourful style and ethical commitments, which include diversity as well as re-use: their team of artisans can upcycle and repair your old garments to give them a new lease of life.
Where to find it: 18 Kensington Gardens, Brighton BN1 4AL
If minimalist fashion is your thing, you've found your Brighton fashion haven. Be careful as not everything in this sleek, pared-down boutique is vegan, but enjoy their selection of airy dresses in organic cotton, lightweight jumpsuits in linen, and ethically made accessories.
Where to find it: 20-21 Trafalgar St, Brighton BN1 4EQ
A Brighton classic when it comes to sustainable fashion. Vegetarian Shoes, in the heart of the Laines, offers leather-free footwear to shoppers on the lookout for stylish shoes minus the leather. From chunky lace-ups to sleek ankle boots, you'll find your perfect shoe here.
Where to find it: 12 Gardner St, Brighton BN1 1UP
Brighton's very own sustainable fashion centre. This isn't a vegan shop, but its selection of vegan-friendly, sustainably made clothing is impressive. From jewellery to jeans, you will find a great variety of ethically minded brands – including the shop's own label.
Where to find it: 6 Dukes Ln, Brighton BN1 1BG
By Sascha Camilli
Sascha Camilli is a vegan fashion writer, speaker and activist. Her book Vegan Style is out now on Murdoch Books. For more about Sascha, you can read our interview with her. You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
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