Gandhi’s Café – Vegan Restaurant – Ambleside

Some of the best vegan food you can get in Ambleside. Put it on your must-visit list.

Cuisine: Varied, all veggie / vegan – Curries, Thai, Falafel, Burger or plain old scramble (tofu), chips and beans!
Opening Hours: 10am-4pm Weds-Sun.
Location: The Slack, Ambleside LA22 9DQ
Date Visited: Oct 2020
Price Range: £9-13 for a main course, lighter options available.
Contact: 01539 432 759
WiFi: No – just enjoy the food!
Charging: Not that we saw

Legendary all vegetarian / vegan cafe in the heart of the Lake District. Almost everything on the menu is fully vegan or available as a vegan option. Whenever you look up vegan restaurants in Lake District Gandhi’s Cafe invariably comes up, and there’s a reason for this – it’s undoubtedly one of the best.

Tucked in a little side street in Ambleside, it’s a small space seating 16 maximum, that I counted. You can see over the counter into the tiny kitchen from several of the tables. The atmosphere is simple and straightforward, wooden tables, plain walls, slightly new age vibe. At first sight you could think it’s just a coffee shop, but it has a menu packed full of mouth watering main meals.

The food is fantastic. It’s what you think of as ‘vegan food’, not vegan versions of ordinary dishes. I had a falafel kebab with tabbouleh. The flatbread it was wrapped in was home made with 4 generously sized falafel in, and enough picked red cabbage, salsa and sauce for it not to be too cleggy. The tabbouleh was delicately flavoured and the salad had a simple but delicious dressing.

Nicky had the Gandhi Burger which is a home made vegetable burger, not a store bought ‘meat imitation’. It was hearty and wonderfully flavoured with a generous helping of chips, plus salad and coleslaw. There are curries and a Pad Thai on the menu too. The only reason we didn’t try these is that we’d already arranged to collect a curry from Nuria’s Plant based kitchen that evening.

Both meals were very filling. We were absolutely stuffed when we left, despite our 5 hour walk / run around the Fairfield horseshoe that morning.

Gandhi’s also offer a fantastic selection of desserts and cakes. We took a brownie away with us which was rich, moist and dark. I’m seriously considering going back just to have a couple of desserts.

They’ve also put a lot of thought into their drinks menu, with a selection equal to any trendy independent city coffee shop. Their home blend Chai Latte is superb, they have turmeric and beetroot lattes and plenty more besides. It’s a wonder they can produce so much choice from their little kitchen, and a credit to their chef and staff.

Do remember to specify you want plant milk – I was so wrapped up in the experience that I had forgotten they did vegetarian as well as vegan. I just asked for a latte and fortunately our server checked which milk I wanted, which was thoughtful of her.

It’s worth noting that Gandhi’s only opens Wednesdays to Sunday’s, and given how small it is it fills up fast. It’s worth asking if they can fit you in, the friendly staff will give you an idea how long the wait will be. A small queue does form sometimes, although that can be people collecting takeaway.

The combination of tasty food, excellent value and friendly, unpretentious atmosphere makes Gandhi’s Cafe one of the best places I’ve eaten, in the Lake District or beyond. Make it top of your list for lunch in Ambleside.

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