Anarchy in the UK
Most of my friends are in Stafford, and a standard off-peak return is over £10 - I wouldn't count that as cheap.In view of your requirements I can't honestly think of anywhere better than a visit to Birmingham, which is a shame. However it's only a cheap return ticket away and most of the decent eateries are with walking (or bus distance if you don't like the idea of walking round Brum at night).
I'm not after a wide choice of eateries, just one that offers a decent selection for vegans will do!Bistro 1847 is only a 10 minute walk from New Street Station and I'd say well worth the extra the train will cost you.
It's always going to be the case that large cities will offer a wider choice of eateries that little towns like Stafford I'm afraid.