Edinburgh has been hailed one of the UK’s most vegan friendly cities, in competition with Glasgow for which Scottish city actually wins this title. Now is a great time to be vegan eating out used to feel like a pointless disaster but now every time I wonder about town more places are cropping up or offering vegan options. There’s even a choice of where to get pizza and whole bunch of cafes with vegan cake because, let’s face it, cake is life.
Shop and Deli: 92 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DR
Restaurant and salad bar: 94 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DR
Vegan Bistro: 25c Thistle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DR
Holyrood location: 67 Holyroon Road, EH8 8AU
Photo by: @hendersonsvegan
Hendersons has been around since 1962 and is the UK’s longest running vegetarian restaurant. There are several parts to it which can be a little confusing at first: the all vegan bistro which is just round the side of the main entrance on Thistle street; the upstairs café/deli and the restaurant downstairs. They also have a second location in Holyrood- so much food, such little time!
Outside of the all-vegan bistro, there are plenty of vegan options and everything is clearly marked, and some options can be made vegan on request. Like with dessert they offer soy cream and vegan ice cream as well as the dairy varieties. I came here for my birthday dinner with non-vegan friends and they loved the food too- there’s so much variety that you can (mostly) please anyone. Try the vegan doner kebab- this was my first ever kebab and it completely lived up to the hype. Keep an eye out for their vegan movie nights and various other fun stuff too.
34 Elder Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3DX – Facebook Page
Photo by: @holycowedinburgh
Holy Cow is vegan café tucked away behind the bus station on Elder Street. It’s lovely, small and friendly on the inside- it can be a little tricky to spot as it’s downstairs but look out for the ‘Holy Cow’ sign attached to the railings at the top. The menu is split into three- with a load of burger, sandwich and salad options- plus soup. They do a ‘burger of the day.’ It’s a far cry from the one lonely veggie burger that many places stick on their menus- the kind that often comes packed with cheese and bun that contains milk (can you tell I’ve become slightly bitter about this?)
I went for the CBLT sandwich which was constructed from tempeh, vegan cheese and homemade gluten free bread- made with buckwheat and rice flour. They also do homemade vegan mayo- I’ll admit I was sceptical about trying this at first. I always had a passionate hatred for mayonnaise in my pre-vegan days but it was so, so good. So if I liked it then it must be amazing. If you ask nicely then they’ll happily share their recipe with you.
56-58 St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1sx – www.davidbann.com
Photo by: David Bann
This is the place to go when you’re feeling flush, or in the mood for a luxurious, swanky meal out. This vegetarian restaurant is well-known as one of the best meat-free places to eat in Edinburgh and their menu offers plenty of vegan options- or dishes which can be made vegan on request. I used to think I hated smoked tofu until I tried it here and was super excited to see vegan chocolate ice-cream waving hello from the dessert menu. I managed to get my entire family to eat here and enjoy themselves (each of us is relatively fussy in our own unique way) so the quality of the food speaks for itself. Try the Aubergine, chickpea and cashew kofkas, I’m now starving just thinking about it.
5 Rodney Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4EN – www.sugardaddysedinburgh.com
Photo by: Sugar Daddy’s
Sugar Daddy’s is a gluten free bakery but they have a whole bunch of vegan options available. It’s basically cake heaven. They’ve also made it nice and easy to navigate your way through the sugary goodness- each cake has a list of options- gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, vegan, etc. and the relevant categories are ticked so it’s easy to find the ones that are vegan. I walked all the way across town for a chocolate fudgy fun bun and it was completely worth it (I almost forgot to take a photo before I scoffed the whole thing.) Their cakes change every week though so it’ll be a surprise when you go and see for yourself.
56 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PB – thebakedpotatoshop
The Baked Potato shop is an Edinburgh institution. It was one of the first places I heard about when I moved to Edinburgh, a flatmate’s dad reminiscing about how he survived on their baked potatoes back in his student days. The whole menu isn’t vegan but it’s easy to spot the options- which are everything marked with a ‘v’ and there’s even vegan mayo. The vegan haggis baked potato is a must- we are in Scotland after all. This is also the cheapest place to get vegan cake (around the £1.80 range when I looked) and they do an awesome vegan carrot cake.
23-25 St. Leonard’s Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9QN – theauldhoose.co.uk
Photo by: The Auld Hoose
The Auld Hoose has you covered for pub food. They do vegan cooked breakfast until 3pm and are famous for their vegan nachos. These are supposedly meant for sharing but it’s entirely possible to tackle the mountain of tortilla chips, chilli, vegan cheese and guacamole alone if you’re hungry enough. Just saying. They have decent beer and a soundtrack of metal and punk music on the jukebox. The pub is also dog friendly which makes any pub infinitely more exciting, let’s be honest. Be careful with the beer though, as most cask ale isn’t vegan. Brew Dog’s Punk IPA is certified as vegan, so if you’re unsure this will be a safe option.
42 Howe Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6TH – Nova Pizza
Photo by: Nova Pizza
This is a cute little Italian place tucked away in the New Town area. Half of their menu is vegan which means there are tonnes of options, but not just pizza- there are 14 different pasta dishes and a starter menu too. The vegan pizza menu has all sorts of varieties from the classic Margherita to vegan pepperoni and even vegan chicken as toppings. You can get food delivered to your door but the place is worth a visit, just be sure to book in advance as it’s small and very popular so the space fills up quickly.
167 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4DG – moonandhare.co.uk
Photo by: Moon and Hare
Located in the Bruntsfield area of town, Moon and Hare is one of those cafes which is all vegan, gluten free, organic, sugar free and basically super healthy. It’s described as an artisan eatery and the prices make me want to cry a little bit but the food is great and will appeal to those of you looking for clean and fresh food. The vegan waffles are the best thing on the menu, it’s worth a visit just for these. Their toasted wraps are all filling as well as nutritious (my favourite being the Wild West wrap with tofu beans and some mild spice) and there’s a little deli section for picking up essentials- or things that you just want, like almond butter or hummus chips.
Also look out for:
La Favorita– pizza delivery with vegan cheese as an option
Machina Espresso– great coffee and there’s always a vegan sandwich option
Lovecrumbs – they have vegan cake every Saturday and often other days too
The Film House café/bar – there’s vegan options on the food menu
Real Foods – is well-stocked in vegan items for all your shopping needs
Juice Warrior – great smoothie bowls, juices and caramel slices.
The Caffeine Drip – amazing vegan burgers
Pumpkin Brown – dog friendly, tasty vegan food, what more do you need?
Hula – vegan juices and food including wraps and bagels, great for a lunch time treat.
Dough – they do a wonderful vegan pizza and the dough is to die for.
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