You've read up on ethical fast food restaurants, bookmarked many a sustainable restaurant in your Instagram 'to try' folder and yet, you've still not a sausage where you'd book in London if you were on the hunt for an all-encompassing organic menu.
Like cheese served without a warming glass of red wine, freshly baked bread sans a slather of salted butter and crunchy, beer-battered fish missing its salt and vinegar chips, you could argue that skipping out on organically reared and farmed food only leaves you with half a package. It's not necessarily 'better' than its processed alternatives; but it does ensure you're maximising not only the nutrients in your dish but the natural flavours, too. What's more, shopping and eating organic means you'll be supporting local farmers, reducing pollution and conserving water in the farming process, while you're at it.
FYI, you can tell that organic food is legitimately organic if it's marked up as so. Under legislated European law, your fruit, veg or produce has to be 100% fertiliser-free and grown and marketed with an organic license to count as 'organic'.
Top tip: it's the Soil Association logo you'll want to keep an eye out for if you're in doubt about whether a product is organic or not.
11 best organic restaurants in London
1. Petersham Nurseries
Church Lane, Petersham Road, TW10 7AB
Richmond's icon Petersham Nurseries is a stunning setting, serving seasonal British produce and a lot of flowers. Think rustic Italian-by-way-of-seasonal-British cooking, with the likes of cuore del Vesuvio tomatoes, Culatello di Zibello ham and Amalfi lemon. There's also a heck of a lot of British produce from Haye Farm in Devon, run by the founders of Petersham's son and daughter-in-law. Whilst the restaurant is part of the Slow Food movement and sources most of its produce from the family's all-organic farm, it don't label its food as 'organic'. Why? Well, because it believes that 'being certified as an 100% organic restaurant is a label that can be misleading. Some companies tick boxes rather than demonstrate responsibility.' Rather, Petersham Nurseries' philosophy centres around sustainability and intervening with the food as little as possible, using suppliers that are authentic in what they do. The restaurant warn to be mindful that many small suppliers are unable to fund their way through the hurdles that certification demands. Hear, hear.
2. Daylesford Cafe
Various London locations, including Notting Hill, Fitzrovia and Belgravia
Daylesford was one of the first organic restaurants putting non-pesticide harvested food on the map; educating the masses on what organic means; you know, really making it cool. Daylesford's restaurants, cafes and stores all aim for zero waste, organic food production and a reduce, reuse, recycle and compost approach for all scraps and waste. Why? Well, because the Daylesford team's main focus is to feed the future. They believe that by eating and shopping with a conscience, you're investing not only in the long-term health of the planet, but of animal welfare, the environment, farming communities and general wellbeing, too. Carrot cake with a side of save the world, anyone?
3. The Rosemary
178 New Cross Road, SE14 5AA
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Like the sound of organic restaurants that won't break the bank or your jaw when you see the bill at the end of your meal? Then you'll love The Rosemary, which serves all-organic – and seriously tasty – Hungarian fare in New Cross Gate. The Rosemary's aim is to dish up the highest quality organic produce at the most affordable price. Sounds good, right? So do the lecsó, or, in other words, crêpes stuffed with pulled chicken, fried onion, sour cream and paprika. Yum.
4. Wild Food Cafe
Various London locations, including Islington and Neal's Yard
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Wild about – er – wild food? Contain yourselves for the grub at Wild Food Cafe, again, one of the OG cafes turning raw veg into something damn tasty (and decidedly Instagram-able) and making sure all produce was organically sourced in the process. The cute caff has built its menu from all-organic, wildly grown and hand foraged foods from small organic farmers and ethical and local suppliers, so don't be surprised if your meal easily makes your taste buds tingle while providing the majority of your ten-a-day.
5. The Duke of Cambridge
30 St Peter's Street, N1 8JT
As Britain's first and only certified organic pub, The Duke of Cambridge's reputation precedes it. It was one of our Foodism 100 winners in 2018 for that very reason, and for its commitment to sustainable farming and produce. For hearty, warming dishes with meat from Rhug Estates, light, seasonal options with fresh fish from Kernosashimi in Cornwall or organic vegetables from their own farm in Devon, head to the Duke – plus, it's got a vast selection of organic and natural wines and beers to boot. We're in.
59 Wells St, Fitzrovia, W1A 3AE
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Londoners and, well, humans generally have had a bit of a crush on Ottolenghi for a while now – chef, author and all-round godfather of making vegetables sexy. At ROVI, feast on said sexy veggies galore at the large Scandi-style central bar and sip cocktails based on seasonal spices and house shrubs, content in the knowledge that you’re dining at one of London's 100% organic restaurants and eating food that's sustainably and locally sourced. Make sure to check out ROVI's dynamic low-intervention wine list, hand-selected from small producers, whilst you’re there. All the fruit and vegetables come directly from biodynamic Brambletye in Sussex, and from Organiclea, a cooperative in East London.
42 Drury Ln, Covent Garden, WC2B 5AJ
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Sure, the food at Farmstand may make you feel like you've been on a yoga retreat for the best part of a month, but what makes Farmstand special is that you can trace most the ingredients in its dishes to markets around the corner from the restaurant. Fruit and veg come from First Choice in New Covent Garden, chicken from family-run butcher H.G Walter, beef and eggs from Welsh farmer Daphne Tilley and fish from Direct Seafoods. Farmstand has won several awards for its commitment sustainability, and rightly so; it's never sold a plastic water bottle. For more on how to eat zero waste in London, click the link.
Various London locations including Soho, Kings Cross, Dalston and Camden
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Mildreds has long been hailed as one of the best vegetarian restaurants in London, opening back in 1988. Its team proved that veggie dishes could be bright, perky and delicious, with options like southern-fried veggie buttermilk and panko 'chicken' with red cabbage, maple coleslaw, sweet potato fries and smoked chipotle dip, tofu, halloumi and lentil burgers and spicy Sri Lankan curries populating the menu. The onslaught of (yep, you guessed it) vegetables used in Mildreds' recipes come from organic farmers and local suppliers. Organic restaurants for the win.
9. Le Pain Quotidien
Various locations across London
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Perhaps one of the more global examples of how restaurants can serve perhaps more pricey organic produce and still be successful, Le Pain Quotidien started life from humble beginnings and a sustainable vision in Holland back in the 90s. Now with hundreds of chains worldwide serving pesticide-free, locally sourced fare, the Pain ethos is simple: serve natural, organic food with love.
32 Southwark Street, SE1 1TU
Remember *that* Daily Mail headline about the new Borough Market-based restaurant serving up squirrel as one of its mains? Then you've heard of Native, a restaurant transforming wild food and foraged fare into Insta-worthy dishes through founders Ivan and Imogen's sheer innovation. As with Petersham Nurseries, Native is not, as far as we can see, strictly certified organic, however as a restaurant that has built its brand on serving seasonal, farm-to-table food done really, really well, we can put our money on the produce being organic. Be warned – the menu changes daily, dependant on what produce its foraging farmers deliver.
11. Radio Alice
Various locations across London including Clapham and Hoxton
Proving that organic restaurants don't necessarily have to serve a menu consisting mainly of smoothie bowls and chai-seed sprinkled salads comes Radio Alice, one of London's favourite pizza joints and only certified organic pizzerias, too. The sourdough pizzas are piled high with a variety of seasonal and organically sourced ingredients from small-scale suppliers in Italy, plus Radio Alice uses organic, stoneground flour to make the base. In a word: yum.