Going vegan – or vegetarian – in Edinburgh
Edinburgh has been the proud holder of the title “UK’s Most Vegan-Friendly City” on a number of occasions as is evidenced by the i-heart-tofu hashtag on Insta! With 120 listings on the Happy Cow app, vegans and vegetarians alike won’t have a problem finding somewhere to eat in Edinburgh. We have compiled a list of some of our favourites.
With a 100% vegan, organic and Fairtrade menu, Holy Cow, located in the heart of Edinburgh, will delight vegans and omnivores alike. They have a great range of delicious-sounding burgers made from portobello mushrooms, pulled jackfruit, tofu and much more, all served with a generous side helping of their legendary homemade chips. Otherwise, try their Holy Sandwiches, eg Hot Green Pea with lettuce, wasabi green pea hummus, cucumber, spring onion and sprouts – yum! Open 10am – 10pm weekdays and 10am-6pm on Sundays.
Located in the heart of Edinburgh University’s campus buildings, Paradise Palms is a rather kitsch bar but has a fabulous cocktail menu and a great atmosphere. The bar is home to Lucky Pig, which has a completely vegetarian menu and includes dishes such as black bean and seitan burger, pulled BBQ jackfruit sub or roasted squash chilli bowl and corn bread. Another highlight of their menu is their homemade dipping sauces which are all vegan and gluten free, including a vegan garlic aioli and a Buckfast-flavoured BBQ sauce. American soul food at its best.
Well-known on the vegetarian circuit in Edinburgh, you’ll find all of your old favourites here, including creamy mac and cheese, juicy burgers, tasty pizza and tempting desserts – all vegan of course. Even the wine list is vegan. With dishes like Harissa Baked Cauliflower with za’atar, pomegranate, coriander seed, mint, dill, parsley, lemon and almond or pan Seared King Oyster Mushroom Scallops with crispy chorizo, sage butter and leaf, just make sure you are hungry if you choose this eatery.
Those looking for posh nosh in Edinburgh should head for David Bann where the “nouvelle” menu sweeps through most of the globe, from the Mediterranean to the Pacific, via India and Thailand. Considered one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Edinburgh, the food is innovative and eclectic – think Thai fritters, a selection of tempting pastry dishes and delicately spiced smoked tofu, and how about whiskey panna cotta for dessert? The stylish interior doesn’t mean prices to match – you can enjoy fine dining at very reasonable prices. With its location just off the Royal Mile, it’s also considered a wonderful place for a romantic dinner for two.
Don’t think for a moment that you won’t be able to find a pizza joint if you’re vegan. @Pizza is located in Edinburgh’s West End and, with their pizzas only taking 90 seconds to cook, they will do it right in front of you! There are two ways you order your pizza – either build your own from their wide range of toppings available (with vegan options clearly marked) or you can choose one of their pre-made combinations, all of which can be veganised on request. Even the cheese is 100% vegan.
Edinburgh’s original vegetarian restaurant, Hendersons is still going strong and now has several branches throughout the city. It offers contemporary vegetarian and vegan cuisine while holding firm to its founding philosophy of serving wholesome food made using fresh, local and organic ingredients. The unique buzz of the iconic Salad Table restaurant in Edinburgh’s historic New Town is complemented by the informal atmosphere of Hendersons Vegan restaurant on Thistle Street. The original Hendersons Shop & Deli on the corner of Hanover and Thistle Street is a true Edinburgh institution. In 2015, they also opened at Holyrood next to the Scottish Parliament.
Bread Street Brasserie
This classy bistro, which emphasises seasonal Scottish produce, features clearly labelled vegan options on its menu and also holds a monthly vegan evening that proves a hit with vegans all over Edinburgh. Each month the menu completely changes, so no two meals here will ever be the same. Having said that, the structure of the menu stays pretty much the same from month to month: there are usually three options to choose from for each course, and usually a gluten-free option or two as well.
Having been described as serving “pieces of edible art”, the cakes and macarons at Naked Bakery have had a cult following for a while. A new savoury lunch menu was launched in February 2019, which is also completely vegan. Have you ever wondered what a pink waffle is? Well, in this establishment, it’s a light and crispy waffle served with whipped cream, strawberries, banana, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and maple syrup. Pink seems to be a theme – you could also try the Naked Bakery Signature Burger, the house-made brioche bun with Beyond Meat Burger, lettuce, tomato, beetroot hummus, avocado, pink mayo and sweet potato fries. The décor is just as beautiful as the food – walls are covered in Instragrammable purple flowers, table numbers are labelled with beautiful gold signs and the plates, bowls and cups make a statement in black and gold.
Lazy Lettuce’s mission is to provide tasty vegan fast food that’s decent value for money. The team behind the eatery have been providing tempting vegan burgers at many festivals and events around the city but now have a regular pop-up residency at The Well Café every Friday and Saturday night just off Nicolson Street. Examples of their fine fare include “honey-mustard chicken”, a chicken-style patty, seeded bun, “honey-mustard” sauce (with agave), cheez, lettuce and onions. They are also well-known for their soy milkshakes.