A Vegan Visit to York

I’ve just come home from having the most wonderful weekend away in York. I could go on about how beautiful a place it is and all the fun that can be had but we all know what this blog is about…

In between sunny walks, vikings, castles and general mooching around shops, I’ve managed to cram a pretty substantial amount of food in my gob over the last few days and it’s only fair that I share all of that with you. Hopefully this will be a useful resource for travelling vegans so that you can enjoy all of York without stressing about where you want to eat. Or, if you’re like me and want to tour every single vegan friendly establishment in the universe, this should be of some help too.
Goji Cafe
I’d heard that Goji gets a delivery of fresh cakes on Friday afternoons, so this the first place I stopped by when I arrived on Saturday. I wish I’d taken a photo of the cake selection, because I was completely blown away by the amount of choice. There were at least 6 vegan cakes, I only spotted maybe 2 cakes that weren’t suitable. The cafe was completely rammed (always a good sign), so I bought a slice of Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt, booked a table for the evening and then left to do a bit of exploring. The cake was amazing. It was a nice moist hazelnut cake with an almost gooey chocolate hazelnut centre topped with a drizzle of icing. I’m so sorry I didn’t take a photo, but trust me, it was great.
I came back later that evening, hungry and eager to try the savoury meals they had to offer. Goji only has an evening restaurant on a Friday and Saturday (from 6.30pm), but I’ll say now that it’s worth planning a trip around eating there. Depending on how hungry you are, you can have just a main course for £12.95, a two course meal for £18.00 or all three courses for £22.50. We decided to do three courses. I had Pan Fried Gnocci with salad to start, the Goji Burger (a veggie burger topped with smoked tofu, pesto, salad and ketchup) served with roast potatoes and mayo. I finished with a Chocolate Pecan Torte (with ice cream, obviously). I don’t have photos but the food was delicious. The main was perfect and the dessert was amazing too. My one complaint was that I had the vegan option of the starter. The original dish was supposed to be fried with parmesan. I expected my vegan option to be flavoured with something else (garlic butter or maybe even vegan parm) but the parmesan was just omitted and the gnocci fried in oil. It was pretty tasty but was definitely lacking extra flavour.
The meal was fairly pricey but the portions were generous and I had to do my famous ‘I’ve eaten way too much’ waddle back to the B&B afterwards. 
This didn’t stop me returning the next day for a Chocolate Milkshake and a Goji Hotdog though. Both were amazing and I actually remembered to take photos that day!
Goji Hotdog
The staff here are really attentive and friendly. Especially patient during busy periods too.
Goji Milkshake
Check out their website here for opening hours and menus. A warning to head down before 12pm on a Saturday as it was heaving and a 20 minute wait for a table and probably worth booking if you want to visit the restaurant too.
El Piano
I’d heard so much about El Piano before I came to York. The restaurant has recently turned 100% vegan and it’s also completely gluten free too. The prices here were a little cheaper than Goji and the atmosphere was a bit more relaxed, which suited us on Sunday as we had a lot of time to kill.
The evening we went they had a new menu, so not sure how similar it was to their usual offering. We had two starters to share, a Curried Cheese Dip with Crudities and Seacakes with a Tomato Dip. Both of these were pretty tasty but I did find the Seacakes a little too oily for my liking (I do cook everything in Fry Light, so it could just be my own preference here). Lots of great flavours though.
Main Dish at El Piano
When picking the main course there is the choice of a hot dish, a fritter and then a salad to go with it. I chose soya meatballs in tomato sauce, with croquetas (think they were balls of polenta, potato and spices) and then hummus. We ordered a bread boat to share too. I was really impressed with the mains. Amazing dishes and such huge portions, definitely great value for £9.95. The meatballs were my favourite and I was impressed with the gluten free breads too. They were fairly dense but I think that’s just what to expect with gluten free bread. There was some cornbread in the bread boat that was really great too.
Unfortunately I had no room for dessert but I definitely plan to go back when I next visit York.
Attached to the restaurant is a small shop that offers El Piano cookbooks, dessert mixes, dal mixes and other bits too.
Check out the website for more information.
Retro Fondue
Jake with his Fondue
We stumbled across this place during our last walk round the City before heading home. There weren’t any clear markings on the menu but we popped in out of curiosity. Clearly the vegans of York had been on the case as the management there had contacted their suppliers to see if their chocolate was vegan friendly. Turns out their dark chocolate is and so are their Churros! 
So here is the awesome Fruit and Churro Fondue we had before setting off
The online menu doesn’t give a huge amount of information but the staff were really happy to answer our questions. I’m sure the dark chocolate hot chocolates could be made vegan (as I’m sure they’re just melted chocolate) and then there are the fondues with churros and fruit that are suitable too. I saw pretzels and popcorns on the menu too and it’s likely they’re vegan too. I’d suggest just checking before ordering.
Cooplands Bakery
Before going to York it had been a long 6 years since I’d feasted on a Yum Yum. I have happy childhood memories of these delicious baked delights, they were my favourite thing and a regular treat from the supermarket when I was growing up. Imagine the pure happiness in my heart and belly when I discovered Coopland’s do vegan Yum Yums. I won’t tell you just how many I’ve bought and consumed but at 4 for £1.15, it’s definitely acceptable to devour a pack in one sitting.
Candy Hero
An American candy shop in the City centre. Not usually worth going blogging about but a) prices weren’t that bad and b) all vegan items were marked with a V+ on the shelf tags.
Website is here if you’re interested
Alligator Wholefoods
Again, no photos but this was a lovely wholefood shop just outside of the City centre. Definitely worth stopping by if you’re staying in a hotel and want some snacks to keep in your room. Reasonably priced too!
More information on the website
York Cocoa House
The queue of people waiting to get in on Saturday and dairy free items marked clearly on the menu convinced me to give this place a try when the weather took a bad turn on Sunday afternoon. The hot chocolate was nice, made of melted chocolate and a choice of soya, rice, almond milk or water. There was a choice of moderate to dark chocolate and some vegan friendly flavoured options too (peppermint, chilli and ginger). Drinks wise there was a lot of choice but pretty much no savoury or sweet items that were dairy free on the menu.
Service was ridiculously slow and there wasn’t the excuse of it being busy on the Sunday either. I nearly left before my drink arrived as it took over 20 minutes to get to the table. The staff were polite about it but when you hear them chatting to each other and mucking about while your drink is sitting there going cold (it had to be redone) a polite apology doesn’t quite cut it. But still, if you have the time to spare and want a decent hot chocolate, this seems to be the place to go. If you hate crowds as much as I do, avoid the busy Saturday’s there.
All dairy options are marked clearly on their online menu too, see website for details.
York Alternative B&B
Finally, I wanted to finish this blog to say a little bit about the lovely B&B we stayed in over the weekend. The whole reason we came to York was because I got some vouchers for York Alternative B&B for my last birthday.
We had a really nice stay here. Our room was lovely and the owners were incredibly polite, friendly and helpful throughout our stay. The B&B is veggie and vegan friendly, so we were able to tuck into a really decent fried breakfast every morning. There were some delicious homemade jams, marmalades and muesli on offer too. There is also choice of pancakes instead of the fried breakfasts which we didn’t try, but were told could be made vegan on request. Another reason to return to York in the future!
Toiletries were also vegan and not tested on animals too, which saves you having to bring along loads of stuff from home.
Definitely worth checking out if you’d like to spend some time in York. See more information on the website.

We loved our stay in York and whilst I’ve listed a lot of great finds on this blog, we saw so many signs outside restaurants and cafes offering vegan options. So I’m sure I’ve missed some hidden treasures over the weekend and plan to go back to discover more.


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