Seeing its beginnings on Jermyn Street in Mayfair over 70 years ago, Franco’s is considered one of London’s first Italian restaurants. The elegant establishment continues to provide a recluse for the well-heeled clientele of its neighbouring art galleries, hotels, and private members clubs, though it does so with a welcoming and relaxed approach.
It isn’t common to find restaurants in London that provide an entirely separate vegetarian menu, and it is even harder to do so in the neighbourhoods of Mayfair and St. James where oysters and prime rib options dominate restaurant menus. Franco’s Head Chef Stefano Turconi noticed the trend in plant-based diets and the increase in requests from his customers who were in need of vegetarian and vegan options. “I personally love meat and fish, however, in advance of creating this new and exciting menu, I chose to adopt a plant-based lifestyle for three months, where I was able to really appreciate and understand what vegans enjoy eating. In doing so, this really inspired me to develop our new vegan-vegetarian menu at Franco’s where we are able to offer a wide range of dishes,” he says.
Franco’s manager Jason Phillips told me that he wanted to ensure that any vegetarian guests did not simply receive the regular menu with a few highlighted options that they could eat. “I wanted them to have the exact same experience as any of our other diners and have a complete menu to choose from with dishes specially created by Chef Stefano,” he said.
We decided to test this menu on our last visit and were extremely impressed with the quality and flavour that every dish had. Some standout dishes were the hearty and slightly smokey green vegetable risotto with parmesan, the very seasonal tagliatelle with mixed mushrooms and shaved black truffle, and the tasty roasted pumpkin with almonds, spinach, and balsamic. You can also opt for white truffles to be shaved tableside onto any dish of your choice.
If you’re looking for an upscale restaurant that delivers quality service and a satisfying and delicious offering for vegans and vegetarians, Franco’s is the place to be.