With Glasgow being rated the most vegan friendly city in the UK, I was optimistic that Edinburgh wouldn’t be too far behind. According to Happy Cow, the Scottish capital is home to 20 all Vegan or Vegetarian restaurants, a staggering number for such a small city. Here are my top restaurants that I stumbled across upon my short stay.
67 Holyrood Rd, Edinburgh EH8 8AU
94 Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 1DR
Price Range: ££
Hendersons has become a household vegan name for the locals of Edinburgh. Well established within the city in 1962 as an organic deli, the family business since expanded and now houses a vegetarian restaurant, all vegan cafe, shop and gallery. Serving only wholesome, local and organic produce, Hendersons is a place you cannot miss.
I would recommend breakfast at Holyrood to try the vegan pancake stack – light and fluffy pancakes with maple syrup, berries and banana. Twinned with a green smoothie, this was a birthday breakfast fit for a queen. If pancakes aren’t your deal, try the breakfast burrito packed full of tofu, ‘haggis’, avocado and sautéed vegetables!
As we couldn’t get enough of Hendersons, we ventured to not one but two of the restaurants. The Salad Table located on Hanover Street was a delight for a candlelit dinner. With live music playing every night, it is an experience to be remembered. Top on the menu is the Hendersons Haggis served with a red wine gravy, root vegetable mash and sauteed spinach. For dessert, the vegan chocolate nut cake is decadent and devilishly dairy free.
The Baked Potato Shop
56 Cockburn St, Edinburgh EH1 1PB
Price Range: £
You cannot visit Scotland without a good helping of ‘tatties’ aka baked potatoes. The Baked Potato Shop is the best bet for Vegans and Vegetarians to get their potato fix and try something a little more adventurous than butter and baked beans.
Located in the Old Town on Cockburn Street, the bite-sized shop offers a large variety of hot and cold vegan or vegetarian fillings for your tattie. The menu ranges from gazpacho and quinoa salads to vegan coleslaw or lashings of hummus. We tried the Vegan Haggis, a crunchy and wholesome lentil based filling as well as a spicy chickpea curry. Not only were they packed full of spice and flavour, the portions were generous and kept us full for longer.
The Forest Cafe
141 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9JN
Price range: £
The Forest Cafe is a volunteer run, community focused, artsy cafe tucked away on the outskirts of the old town. This unique space is for everyone, a place to share ideas, meet new people, drink coffee and eat delicious food.
The decor is vibrant and busy, bustling with house plants, quirky art work and multi-coloured bunting. It is made very clear how important volunteers are to the running of the place, so much so that every decision is made by consensus rather than one individual. This collective thinking is what makes this place so special, and somewhere I am sure the Scots cherish.
Aside from the decor, the food was delicious. For only £3.50, you can indulge in a flavoursome and crunchy homemade falafel wrap, generously handmade with love. For vegetarians, the cheesy burrito is a good choice, served with a generous side salad and portion of couscous!
56-58 St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh
Price Range: ££
If you are after a more metropolitan dining experience, look no further than The David Bann Restaurant. Led by the pioneering meat-free chef Bann himself, this fine-dining eatery has been going for over a decade. The short but sweet menu offers a variety of dishes to suit most tastebuds. I would recommend the Aubergine, chick pea and cashew koftas, served with roasted sweet potatoes in a coconut sauce topped with flaked almonds. The bursting spicy flavours of the koftas are complimented by the cucumber papaya salad that cools the palette after each mouthful. The menu also offers an udon noodle stir fry, red pepper risotto as well as spicy quinoa chickpea pancakes. For a nightcap, try their espresso martini – the best I have ever had by far.
16 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JU
Price Range: £
Organic, raw, clean and fresh – you’ll find it all here at Pumpkin Brown. Whether you are after a caffeine hit, healthy salad or indulgent sin-free treat, all of you plant-based dreams will come true. Ditch the soya for brown rice milk, oat or nut in your coffee or sample the matcha or turmeric latte as you wish. The raw and nutty salads on offer looked delicious as well as a small choice of hot meals ranging from lentil dhal to veggie chilli. I sampled the turmeric latte and an incredible raw cacao, vanilla and raspberry cheese-less cake presented beautifully – a must-try! The girls were friendly and the vibe in the place was warm and hospitable, a cafe I could happily blog away in for hours upon end.
37 Broughton St, Edinburgh EH1 3JU
This ethical health food store is great for picking up your vegan staples. From fruit and vegetables to meat-free fresh and cupboard essentials, this gives Holland and Barrett a run for it’s money. If staying in Edinburgh for a long period of time, I would recommend Real Foods as a place to visit on a weekly basis to keep those vegan cravings at bay.
These were my top vegan places in Edinburgh – what were yours?
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