As a vegetarian, I have had more than my fair share of bad dining experiences in the past. It seems that not eating meat or fish is too hard a concept for many in the restaurant industry to comprehend. I have endured years of choosing from the two mediocre vegetarian options on a menu and have come to expect an average or bad meal when I eat out. I have found that restaurants and pubs serving mainly British food are the worst offenders for the most uninspiring vegetarian fare.
Despite being famous for their salad bar, the Harvester’s vegetarian main course options are basic and bland at best, but marginally saved by their sweet potato burger which although it is edible, is essentially a carbohydrate overload on a plate. The local Ember inn consistently run out of their vegetarian options, and if they have stock, they can’t prepare the dishes to a suitable standard. The vegetarian option is mostly frozen and reheated at most chain restaurants since demand is always not as high for the veggie option as it is for other meals. This means that I normally end up with a half frozen, half microwaved reheated meal. Not Pleasant.
My tried and tested local restaurants which cater well for vegetarians are:
L’Italiana – St Albans : We have been here a couple of times with the family and have always had a great meal, good service and the kids have been well catered for.
L’Artista – Watford: A favourite of mine since I began pounding the Watford night scene at eighteen, this is currently my daughter’s favourite restaurant as she can watch her pizza being freshly made and pick her own ice cream cup. The Tagliatelle here is always excellent and the pizzas are very big.
Woody’s Vegetarian Café - Apsley lock: This vegetarian café has a great ambience and although it can take a while to cook as the food is freshly made, it is worth the wait. Great in the summer.
Cote - St Albans: A recent addition to St Albans and my new favourite restaurant. We have been here with the kids for my birthday, and found the kids meals quite sparse, but it’s an ideal restaurant for a romantic meal on a night off from the kids and the vegetarian options are delicious.
The Greek - Hemel: Great Service, great food, great atmosphere. The owner here makes the dining experience.
Other local restaurants who do vegetarian food well are The Waffle House, Bar 62 and Freddie’s in St Albans.