Top 5 places to eat as a vegan in Exeter (which aren’t explicitly vegan!)

By Emma De Saram, VP Liberation & Equality

I’ve been vegan for over five years now and it’s honestly been the best thing I’ve done for my mental and physical health. My journey to veganism wasn’t straightforward, as I struggled with anorexia and had to navigate how I could transition to a fully plant-based diet safely. However, since going vegan, I took up running, my skin cleared up, and opened my eyes to the environmental benefits.

It’s now Veganuary, and I’ve been organising some events with the Students’ Guild (including a subsidised trip to a vegan cafe!) and prepping some blogs to share with the Exeter student population some of my favourite places to eat at uni and in the city that won’t break the bank.

Below are five of my favourite ‘not explicitly vegan’ places in Exeter to eat. When I first transitioned to veganism, I would only eat at places that were 100% plant based, however, I’ve really enjoyed branching out and exploring other places which have some epic options. After all, if we want to create a broader societal shift towards accessible and affordable plant-based food, we need to be ordering and demanding vegan food everywhere!  

  1. Dinosaur Café

I love this place. I’ve had some lovely memories here, and was where I had my graduation meal. There really is something for everyone here with traditional home cooked Turkish, Mediterranean and English food. My go-to combo is a vegan version of the dinosaur salad, with some falafels and hummus. It’s a great place to bring some friends and get a couple of smaller dishes to share, and the staff are so lovely too! Plus: their peppermint tea is elite.

Food at Dinosaur Café, Exeter
  1. Jasmine Thai

I went here for the first time recently and absolutely loved it. For me, the main pull factor if I’m having a meal out is the vibe and whether it’s a chain (I avoid them as much as possible as I want to be putting my money into local businesses!!), so Jasmine Thai hit the spot. Not only were the vibes immaculate, the waiters were incredibly welcoming and my tempura and vegan stir fry was wonderful! And while catering for carnivores and herbivores, a plus is that the restaurant manager is a life-long vegan and there’s a dedicated vegan menu. What’s not to love?!

Food at Jasmine Thai, Exeter
  1. Boatyard Bakery  

This is my top choice for an oat milk coffee after a walk on the quay with a friend, especially when I can enjoy it in the sunshine! They sell Emma’s Bakery bread as well as vegan pasties and a variety of sweet treats. There’s some inside seating too but it’s often pretty buzzing and busy. A big plus is that it’s open on Sunday’s too.  

Boatyard Bakery, Exeter
  1. Mangos  

I love this café! In winter it’s a really cosy place with generously sized hot drinks, and in summer it's a great place to have a smoothie outside with friends with a picturesque view of the quay. The mushroom on toast and their porridge is also elite.

Mangos, Exeter
  1. £2 meal on campus  

My pride and joy! I recently led a campaign as part of my role as VP Liberation and Equality for the University to offer a £2 hot meal on campus, which they actually listened to! And I’m very happy to say that the outlet it open for Term 2! You can get a ‘dish of the day’ for £2 with a side salad, which is always vegan, or a jacket potato and topping for £2.99 (the coleslaw is actually lush too). You can read more about the campaign in this Tab article too, and follow our Instagram campaign page @2poundmeal_exeteruni. The menus are available here.

£2 meal on Exeter University Campus
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