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 Post subject: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:24 am 
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Tofu Pup

Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:33 am
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What do you guys eat when you go to chain restaurants? Are any of them more vegan friendly than others? I go to these kind of places quite a lot with friends but haven't been since I became vegan (i was vegetarian for 10yrs before that though). Any suggestions? I'm thinking of places like Frankie & Bennys, Nandos etc.

I'm in Newcastle if that helps any, but we have pretty much all the big chains here! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:33 am 
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Wears Durian Helmet
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Wagamamas is quite vegan friendly and can modify a fair bit of their menu to be vegan:

http://www.wagamama.com/food/dietary/vegans

So is Pizza Express, though I've heard that can be quite variable.


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:54 am 
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Memorized Veganomicon

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I've had a Frankie and Benny's pasta dish and a cheese free pizza there. TGI Friday's are pretty poor, they have one pasta dish that tastes pretty bad. Most italians are great at cheese free pizzas, but Pizza Express has recently upped their prices and lowered their food quality.


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:07 pm 
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If we chain it, I go to Wagamama's first choice, Pizza Express second choice if I'm organised enough to take my own cheese with me (I ate there a couple of weeks ago and the quality seemed just the same as always to me, maybe you were just unlucky?), Nando's third choice. But I'd usually take a local Indian, Italian or Chinese restaurant over a chain, given a choice.

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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:31 pm 
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Saggy Butt

Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:41 pm
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Pizza express usually have lots of discount vouchers available on the internet which brings the price right down.


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:21 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor
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Another vote for Wagamama's here. The Frankie & Benny's cheese-free pizza I had was terrible. Like a big chewy crisp with about a spoonful of dried up veggies on it.


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:44 pm 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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I like Pizza Express, but that's partly because I used to know a lot of the staff at one near my mother's house so we ended up getting loads of things left off the bill... but I think the food is generally pretty good.

Wetherspoons have a vegan curry on the menu I think.

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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:57 pm 
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Memorized Veganomicon

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Pizza Express offers are always here: http://www.pizzaexpress-offers.co.uk/
Wetherspoon's have a few vegan options, but they're all just microwaved stuff. They keep nutritional info leaflets in store though, so you can look it up.
Having been fed chicken once, egg countless times (they always say the katsu curry is vegan) and milk a few times when they changed their coconut milk supplier to one who puts milk in the coconut milk without telling anybody, I myself have gone off Wagamamas!
Also, don't bother with pizza hut!


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:38 am 
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Ninja Master
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Frankie & Benny's were rubbish when I went there and the staff were super unhelpful, but that was just one out of many. Others might be better.

Wagamamas is a great choice and pizza express are brilliant about taking cheese off stuff and replacing it with something. Their salads are great, I just ask them to replace the cheese with avocado most of the time.

In my local food place we have Bar Estilo, which has quite a few things that are vegan or easily veganised. Also, there's chiquitos who have quite a lot of veggie dishes and they're vegan if you take off the cheese and sour cream usually!

Bella Italia has one vegan starter (bruschetta) and one veggie pasta dish that if you take off the cheese is vegan. It's boring but there is something there at least.

Zizis have a few things you can veganise as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:58 am 
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Tofu Pup

Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:33 am
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Thanks everyone! I hadn't even thought about Wagamama! Glad to hear Pizza Express is normally ok too :)


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:58 pm 
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Making Threats to Punks Again
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Las Iguanas usually has something edible.

Gulliver wrote:
Wetherspoons have a vegan curry on the menu I think.

Do they still have that? The last time I went to the Heathrow one they had a raw "superfood" salad.


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:50 am 
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Chipmunk wrote:
Las Iguanas usually has something edible.

Gulliver wrote:
Wetherspoons have a vegan curry on the menu I think.

Do they still have that? The last time I went to the Heathrow one they had a raw "superfood" salad.


Yup, this is an option... It is not the most pleasant culinary adventure but it gets the job done. They didn't have the curry in the Plymouth Wetherspoons when I ate there in December.


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:32 pm 
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Saggy Butt

Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:41 pm
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When Weatherspoons had the spinach & chickpea curry on the menu it was sometimes sold out & I did go to quite a few different pubs at different times & had this problem. So they are not always reliable. I ended up with chips!


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:11 am 
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Also GBK usually has something if you leave off some of the dressings - I emailed them recently & I can't remember which they said, but there were 2 that were potentially vegan.


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:19 pm 
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I just got an email from Las Iguanas (Mexican), and this is what they have. My best friend (from TX) has been to the one in Newcastle, and she said it's good enough (not amazing, but good for Mexican in England).

Starters
Bread, chips and dips – Either Olives or plain Guacamole
Mexican Poppadoms- No sour cream
Mushroom Quesadilla- We could make 1 to order with no cheese
Sopa De Calabaza- No Sour Cream
Pear and Brie Salad- No brie

Mains
Beetroot salad- No Feta
Mushroom Fajita- No sour cream
Chimichanga/Enchilada- We can make either with no cheese
Vegetable Chilli- No Sour cream
Vegetable Moqueca

Desserts
Sorbet

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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:31 pm 
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I really like Las Iguanas, out of all the chains it provides a decent offering. I love the chilli they do and the cocktails :)

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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:47 pm 
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Pear and brie salad no brie. So a pear then?? Haha rubbish.

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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:10 pm 
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They had a quinoa salad the last time I ate there. That was while ago though.


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:56 am 
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Tofu Pup Forever

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:32 am
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ninjablossom wrote:
I really like Las Iguanas, out of all the chains it provides a decent offering. I love the chilli they do and the cocktails :)


I went to Iguanas a couple of years ago and got the most horrible looking `thing` on my plate. I asked them if I could have veg fajitas. Simple right? Chuck a few veggies in a pan, coat with some spices, put on plate and bring with tortillas?

Well they decided they could not do that for me and gave me this pathetic looking tortilla wrap thing on a plate on a bed of manky black beans. I decided I wont go back there.

I prefer Pizza Express as a chain as they are always willing, in any of the branches I have been to, to adapt things from the menu. Have now decided if its a choice between an independant or a chain then the independant wins out everytime if I am in a small group but its handy sometimes to go to chains when with others.


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:56 pm 
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jenjenjen wrote:
What do you guys eat when you go to chain restaurants?


No

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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:23 am 
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Ninja Master
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Mr Flibble wrote:
jenjenjen wrote:
What do you guys eat when you go to chain restaurants?


No

That was helpful!

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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:45 am 
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baps wrote:
hehe wang.

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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:28 pm 
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Saggy Butt

Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:41 pm
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Went to Pizza Express yesterday. They have changed their menu since the last time I was there & I don't think it is as good as it was. I ordered the mixed salad but be warned that the house dressing contains egg. The waitress did have a guide that showed what was suitable for vegans.

Weatherspoons had a vegan super food salad, which was okay but dry & the mango didn't taste of anything. There were also a few hummus n roast veggie things. The tomato & basil organic soup is also vegan.


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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:30 pm 
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Banned from Vegan Freaks.
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jenjenjen you mentioned Nando's, contrary to their image of being all about the chicken, I have found them to be excellent about the whole vegan thing. They have a book with a list of all their menu items with a complete set of ingredients for each one. It's not always on display but I have been to branches before and asked for it just saying I have a load of allergies (cos I get embarrassed like that...)
Anyhow, vegan items include:
Spicy mixed nuts
Olives
Red pepper dip with pita bread
Hummus with pita bread
Chips (crazy, I know)
Veggie burger/veggie wrap (if ordered without mayo)
Portobello burger with chilli jam
Corn cobs
Spicy rice
Garden salad (no dressing)
Cous-cous & chickpea salad (no dressing)

All their house sauces are vegan friendly too, apart from the salad dressing I think (can't remember for sure but I never use that one anyway).
So you can totally get a satisfying meal out of a few of the above things. People are always surprised when they want to go to Nando's and I'm like hell to the yeah!

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 Post subject: Re: Chain restaurants?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:33 pm 
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Banned from Vegan Freaks.
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Mr Flibble wrote:
jenjenjen wrote:
What do you guys eat when you go to chain restaurants?


No



Don't you have a bit of a penchant for Loving Hut? Just sayin...

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