London restaurants for people with special dietary requirements
As a vegetarian, I know first-hand how tough dining out can be. There are some truly fine vegetarian restaurants in London, and many places that serve delicious meat-free options, but there have been many times that I’ve sat down to eat with someone and realized the one veggie option is something I don’t like!
When you’re on a date, especially a first date, menu anxiety can add an extra layer of awkwardness to an already tense situation. People who can eat anything on a date can start the evening hoping that the conversation will go well and they won’t get any food stuck in their teeth, those of us with special dietary requirements will often be silently panicking, just in case we come across as fussy or picky.
If you can’t eat meat, dairy, gluten or sugar, or are allergic to certain foods, it’s best to let your date know before anything is booked. It always takes the pressure off when you know you’re going to a place that caters to your particular dietary needs. Most specialist restaurants are so fantastic, and so creative with their food, that your date won’t miss out either.
Here’s a selection of London eateries that are perfect for special dates with special dietary requirements;
The carb-rich delights of Italian can make for a romantic meal, but unfortunately pizza and pasta aren’t usually an option for Celiacs or others following a gluten-free diet. Cotto on Westminster Bridge Road is a quaint Italian eatery that offers gluten-free versions of traditional dishes – it’s also close to South Bank for a sunset stroll after dinner. La Polenteria on Old Compton Road is London’s first completely gluten-free Italian restaurant while Niche in Angel offers a gluten-free take on classic British cuisine. If afternoon tea is more your style, head over to The Pantry at 108 to try its gluten-free high tea – low sugar but full of flavor.
The Pantry at 108
One of my favourite vegetarian first date spots is Mildred’s in Soho. It’s small, laid-back and cosy, and serves truly delicious food that even a meat-eater would love (the burger of the day is always a great pick!) If you’re looking for something a little bit more special, then check out Vanilla Black, a beautiful Art Deco restaurant serving a meat and dairy-free a la carte menu.
Notting Hill’s Nama is a small café in one of London’s prettiest postcodes. Everything on the menu is organic, raw and features no refined sugar – including its mouthwatering desserts. If you want to win your date offer with some sugar-free sweet treats, try the selection of coffee, cookies and cake on offer at Romeo’s Bakery on Upper Street. Don’t forget Fortnum & Mason (it’s the Queen’s food store of choice), which serves a selection of sugar-free scones, shortbread and desserts in its Diabetic Afternoon Tea.
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