The long and short of it is eating out as a vegan in most standard restaurants pretty much sucks. There will be the odd, amazing place that are happy to make something up for you in the kitchen, but most restaurants will see you as a Meg Ryan circa When Harry Met Sally orderer (she is just the greatest though) and after all the caveats and cross examinations, you're left with chips and salad. And a slice of bread. Thanks, Wetherspoons.
There are a few places that make it very easy to order vegan. Orders without parenthesis or footnotes are sooo nice. Wagamama is one of these places. Their dietary menu filter (click here) makes it really easy to spot what's suitable. And although it would be great to have a little more to chose from than just the yasai itame (pictured above), it's sooo nice to be able to order straight from the menu.
Other places that I've found are great for this are Wahaca (just ask your server to show you the list of menu items they can change, and then usually they'll circle them all and then you can just order EVERY ITEM) and Pret are also improving on being clear about what is vegan, (now soups and salads).
Earlier in the year I was in contact with Eat over their sliiiiightly confusing (read: very) dietary listings. They've since added two new vegan soups to their menu, and taken away a salad dressing that had honey in it so it is now suitable for vegans. SO IT AINT ALL BAD.
The moral of the story? If you want to see vegan dishes on the menu, ask for them. If they're not on there yet, carry on asking, tweeting and writing emails, until you can order straight from the menu in all its minimalist delight, no ifs, no buts, just vegan.