15 Great Vegan Places in Edinburgh

The (soy) Crème-de-la-Crème of Vegan Food in Edinburgh by Harriet Schulz   Finding vegan food in Great Britain? Holy cow, good luck with that. Yep, that was my first thought too when I set off on my trip to Scotland’s capital Edinburgh. But believe it or not, this beautiful and exciting city isn’t just a […]

The (soy) Crème-de-la-Crème of

Vegan Food in Edinburgh

by Harriet Schulz

 

Finding vegan food in Great Britain? Holy cow, good luck with that.

Yep, that was my first thought too when I set off on my trip to Scotland’s capital Edinburgh. But believe it or not, this beautiful and exciting city isn’t just a great place to visit the sights, the museums and the culture. It also has an interesting, delicious and at times surprising vegan food scene to explore.

No, really!

If you don’t believe me, then read through this list of 15 cool restaurants and cafes in Edinburgh that serve heavenly vegan food. And then, of course, go and check them out yourself!

 

Best Breakfast

Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch

Who says that a full Scottish breakfast can’t be vegan? This down-to-earth cafe not far from the university has loads of yummy breakfast and lunch options on offer, for example vegan burgers, sausage rolls or haggis. All of the meat-substitutes are home-made and – quite frankly – delicious, as well as very reasonably priced. Add a breakfast tea and your classical, all-round breakfast is complete. However, bear in mind that the small cafe doesn’t have a bathroom and you pay more when you eat in. You could instead enjoy your baked beans and vegan sausages in one of the many nearby parks.

Open Mon – Sun 8am – 3pm
Average full vegan breakfast: £5.50
65 Pleasance, EH8 9RU
0131 662 6969
http://www.bbl.me.uk/

 

Best Indian

Kalpna Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurant

Up for some spicy curries and creamy mango lassis? Then Kalpna is just the place to go. This delightful family run restaurant not far from the city centre serves delicious vegetarian and vegan Indian cuisine. Opened in 1975, it offers a great variety of mild and spicy, traditional and contemporary dishes from different parts of India, made with mostly seasonal and local ingredients. As soon as you step in, a positively overwhelming smell of fresh spices makes for a great, mouthwatering first impression. The beautiful interior, the ornamented walls and the interesting table decoration, round of the pleasant ambient you get to enjoy your food in. Try the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, it’s a real treat!

Open Mon – Sat 12 – 2pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm
Average meal with drink: £10 – 20
Address: 2-3 St Patrick Sq Edinburgh – EH8 9EZ
Tel.: 0131 667 9890
Web: https://www.kalpnarestaurant.com/index.php

 

Best Soup

Union of Genious

Edinburgh isn’t known for it’s particularly warm and sunny weather, quite the contrary. If you’re finding it difficult to adapt to this change of climate, warm up with bowl of steaming hot soup in Union of Genious. Soups are the star of this small cafe not far from Greyfriars Graveyard, but they also have fresh salads and sweet treats on offer for very reasonable prices. While they also serve meaty broths, you’ll always find at least one vegan option on the menu, usually even more. So sit back and enjoy watching the chilly world outside go about it’s business, whilst you get to slurp your hunger away. A SOUPer experience (please don’t hate me).

Open Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm, Sat 12pm – 4pm
Average price of soup: £5
8 Forrest Rd, EH1 2QN
0131 553 8992
http://www.unionofgenius.com/

 

Best Baked Potato

The Baked Potato Shop

Three guesses what this little place just off the Royal Mile sells (no, it’s not pizza). The Baked Potato Shop doesn’t just have plain old baked potatoes on offer though, but a huge selection of creative toppings, from coleslaw to chilli sauce. All of the ingredients are vegetarian and vegan, as well as very reasonably priced, so don’t miss out on getting a hot and filling meal from here. Bear in mind that seating space is limited and – due to the shop’s deserved popularity – queues can sometimes lead out all the way onto the street.

Open Mon – Sun 11am – 7.45pm
Average price of a large potato: £5.50
56 Cockburn Street, EH1 1PB
0131 225 7572
https://www.facebook.com/thebakedpotatoshop/?ref=page_internal

 

Best Mexican

Illegal Jacks

Vegans, listen up! Finally we too can get to enjoy some crispy, spicy and – most importantly – cheesy nachos. Illegal Jacks, a small joint just off the busy Nicholson Street, has a lot to offer for vegetarians and vegans. Burritos, nachos, fajitas and more can be filled with various vegan ingredients, such as haggis, chilli and jackfruit carnitas, and – to ensure the full cheesy experience – can be topped with vegan cheese. And it gets even better: all of the meals are delicious, filling and inexpensive, making it a great choice if you are on a tight budget, but don’t want to cut any corners when it comes to great taste.

Open Mon – Sun 12pm – 10pm
Average meal price: £8
44-45 St Patrick Square EH8 9ET
0131 629 2722
https://www.illegaljacks.co.uk/

 

Best Healthy Dishes

Pumpkin Brown

Okay, traditional Scottish cuisine isn’t exactly known for it’s healthiness. Perhaps after all of the vegan haggis, fries and God knows what other deliciously sinful things you have stuffed yourself full with, you might want to eat something that doesn’t just tickle your taste buds, but is good for your body too. Then this little cafe on Grassmarket is just the place to go. Pumpkin Brown serves vegan, organic, healthy, but always delicious breakfast and lunch dishes, as well as some moreish smoothies that could classify as a meal of their own – they are that filling. Go on, treat yourself. Your body will thank you for it.

Open Mon – Sun 10am – 6pm
Average price of a smoothie: £4.95
16 Grassmarket, EH1 2HS
http://www.pumpkinbrown.com/

 

Best Cupcakes

Cuckoos

Cupcakes galore! Now it’s time to indulge on some sweet treats that’ll give you diabetes just looking at them. In Cuckoo’s Bakery, pastries, cakes and – obviously – cupcakes are home-made and baked freshly everyday, using local products. The great choice on offer also includes several vegan cupcakes – Oreo and Chocolate or Vanilla, for example – that are just as delicious and naughty as the non-vegan ones. If you are feeling like something more savoury, or if you need to soak up some of the sickly sweetness, then the breakfast and lunch menu, as well as the daily soup, surely won’t disappoint you either.

Open Mon – Thu 9am – 5.30pm, Fri – Sat 9am – 6pm, Sun 10am – 5pm
Average cupcake price: £3
150 Dundas Street, EH3 5DQ
0131 556 6224
https://www.cuckoosbakery.co.uk/

 

Best Salads

Graze on Grassmarket

Salads aren’t boring, or tasteless, or whatever else they like to get called. At least they don’t have to be. Graze, a popular joint at the Grassmarket square, is the perfect shining example. Be aware that it tends to get busy here – especially around lunch time – and spaces are limited. But no wonder, the deals here are great and comparatively cheap! If you opt for the salad box, you can mix and match different ingredients, such as roasted vegetables, falafel, rice salads and many more vegan delights, to create your very own salad. Yes, it really is as epic as it sounds.

Open Mon-Sat 7.30am – 4pm, Sunday 830am – 4pm
Average price of salad box: £5.45
67 Grassmarket,
EH1 2HJ
0131 629 4030
http://www.grazeongrassmarket.com/


Best Market

Stockbridge Market

A Sunday without a market is like a trip to Scotland without vegan haggis – incomplete! Stockbridge Market is a great place to hang out, find some unique souvenirs and gifts, and – most importantly (because, admit it, this is what you came for) – great food to scoff. And vegans needn’t miss out, as many stalls have vegan options, whilst some are even completely dedicated to the vegan diet. With all the noise and commotion going on, it’ll be tempting smells coming from every corner of the market that’ll stick out and make you find it hard to choose: Dumplings? Quiche? Or maybe doughnuts? Why not try them all, they’re all delicious.

Open Sundays, 10am – 5pm
Average price of a warm snack:
£5
Saunders Street EH3 6TQ
http://www.stockbridgemarket.com/

 

Best Asian

Wee Buddha

This small, but stylish Asian restaurant is hidden away in a quiet side street of the busy Howe Street. In turn, you’ll be able to enjoy your meal in a relaxed atmosphere and even get to play a round of “Guess Who” while you wait for your food. Speaking of the food, Wee Buddha has a special menu for vegans, including a great choice of starters, mains and even wines. Veggie gyoza, traditional rice noodles, mango sorbet, the list is extensive and scrumptious. Best of all, dining out here is quite reasonable, so be sure to pay this wee place a visit.

Open Mon & Wed 12 – 10.30pm, Thur 12 – 11pm, Fri & Sat 12 – 12am, Sun 5 – 10.30pm, Tues closed
Average p
rice of main course: £9
2b Jamaica Street, EH3 6HH
01315381215
http://www.weebuddha.co.uk/

 

Best Pub

The Auld Hoose

A trip to a Scottish pub may seem like a daunting idea for vegans, considering all of the meaty dishes that usually are on offer. However, the Auld Hoose caters for vegans and non-vegans alike. Rumour has it that this popular joint serves some of the best vegan haggis in Edinburgh, but their take on other pub grub classics is worth the visit too. Vegan hot dogs, nachos and chilli are all deliciously greasy and unhealthy, just the thing for a fun night out. As students get 10% off the food prices, it is no wonder that the pub tends to be jam-packed full of young people, not just on the week-ends.

Open Mon-Sat 12pm-12.45am, Sun 12.30pm-12.45am
Average price of a hot dog: £7
23-25 St Leonards Street, EH8 9QN
0131 6682934
http://theauldhoose.co.uk/

 

Best Burgers

Bread Meats Bread

Don’t be put off by the name of this popular burger joint. Bread Meats Bread does not only cater for the meat eaters out there, but also has a fantastic selection of vegetarian and – most importantly – vegans burgers, sandwiches and other snacks. They specialise in vegan chicken burgers, which are consist mostly of crispy fried seitan steaks and can be topped with vegan bacon, cheese and even kimchi (believe me, it’s great). Add some sweet potato fries and the big fatty scoffing can commence. Be sure to come good in time, especially if you are a large group, as it tends to get pretty crowded in the evenings.

Open everyday 11am – 10pm
Average price of a burger:
£8
92 Lothian Road, EH3 9BE
0131 225 3000
http://breadmeatsbread.com/

 

Best All Vegan Cafe

Seeds for the Soul

If you are looking to convert some your friends to the cruelty-free lifestyle, or simply prove that vegan food can be tasty and filling, take them to Seeds for the Soul. All of the food and drinks served here are 100% vegan and 100% delicious, with an extensive selection ranging from breakfast (Try. The. Pancakes!) and lunch, to creative creations to drink, such as Chilli Hot Chocolate (beware, the waiter wasn’t kidding when he said it’s hot!). Apart from that, this cosy cafe also has some information leaflets on veganism, as well as little stickers, that are as cute as a baby duckling being left alive.

Open Mon – Thur 10am – 6pm, Fri 10am – 8pm, Sat 9am – 8pm, Sun 9am – 6pm
Average price of pancakes:
£5.85
167 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4DG

+447419582296
https://www.seedsforthesoul.co.uk/

 

Best Art Space

The Forest

Anyone familiar with Edinburgh’s underground art scene won’t be surprised to find the Forest on this list. It definitely looks like an insider tip from the outside, but seeing as it is often jam-packed, it doesn’t seem quite so likely. This cafe, art space, music venue, whatever you want to call, serves cold and warm, savoury and sweet, vegetarian and vegan snacks, as well as local beers and other hipster brew, all for an epicly low price. Chances that some show will be on – be it a live musician or the open mic – are pretty high. And above all, the staff are all volunteers, so tip generously to keep this awesome, vegan-friendly venue up and running.

Open everyday 10am – 11pm
Average price of meal: £5
141 Lauriston Place, EH3 9JN
0131 229 4922
http://blog.theforest.org.uk/

 

Best Tea Time

The Grand Cafe

And finally, it’s time for some glitz and glam. The Grand Cafe proves once and for all that being vegan shouldn’t ever mean that you have to cut corners and miss out on some wonderful, delicious treats. This luxurious restaurant just off the Royal Mile doesn’t just serve any old afternoon tea, but a full vegan tea time, complete with sandwiches, patisseries and scones! You’ll get a three-story etagère and a pot of tea, as well as very polite waiters, who explain in detail what all these yummy goods are made of. How could you possibly end your vegan culinary exploration of Edinburgh any better?

Open Sunday – Wednesday 9am – 12am, Thursday – Saturday 9am – 3am
Avera
ge price of afternoon tea: £19.95
20 North Bridge, EH1 1TR
0131 622 2999
http://grandcafeedinburgh.co.uk/

 

Okay, I’ll be honest with you. I’m from Berlin, which is claimed to be the most vegan friendly city in Europe, so yes, I’ve got a pretty high standard when it comes to eating out (also simply because I love eating). But after having tried out so many great places in Edinburgh, so many that this list would have gone on forever had I listed them all, I have to say – hands down – Edinburgh is an even better choice for vegan foodies. Not only is the vegan choice truly delicious, it’s also that nearly all restaurants and cafes have at least one awesome vegan option on their menu, even if they’re not dedicated to the vegan lifestyle. Also, prices for soy milk, yoghurt and so forth is somewhat cheaper than in other European cities.

And now it’s your turn, dear vegan friends. Go out there, on the endless search for the best vegan haggis. I swear, you won’t be able to decide.

And most of all, enjoy it!

 

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