Edinburgh, Scotland, is one of the top destinations of my travel wish list, and whenever I visit a new city, I like to learn about the vegan scene before going. To that end, I’ve subscribed to the tasty and very entertaining Vegan Edinburgh newsletter, brought to you by Emma of Vegan Edinburgh.
Vegan cheese plate at Beetroot Sauvage
The incredible array of vegan restaurants in Edinburgh is almost reason enough to visit this beautiful, historic city! Edinburgh has a burgeoning array of vegan eateries, and apparently, as is happening all over, there’s been incredible growth just in the past two or three years. Quoting Emma:
“The vegan restaurant scene in Edinburgh has transformed completely over the last couple of years. When I first started veganedinburgh.com back in 2016, there were a handful of vegetarian restaurants in Edinburgh, and only one completely vegan eatery. How times have changed! There are now lots of vegan and vegan-friendly cafés in Edinburgh, so much so that it can be difficult to choose which to try first!”
With all these amazing options, I wondered — what about the first-time visitor, with only a few days to explore the city and sample the vegan food? How to choose from this incredible list?
I asked Emma for her top 5 must-visit vegan restaurants in Edinburgh that aren’t to be missed. It must have been a tough choice, so please visit this thorough listing for even more options. Excerpts from the original article reprinted by permission.
Vegan Mac and Cheese at Beetroot Sauvage, Edinburgh
33-41 Ratcliffe Terrace, Edinburgh EH9 1SX
Beetroot Sauvage is a community space and vegan café in the old Earthy building just off Ratcliffe Terrace in the south side of Edinburgh. Upstairs there is a studio which hosts weekly yoga classes, meditation sessions and other wellbeing events, while downstairs you’ll find Marie-Anne’s cosy vegan café.
There’s also a lovely garden out back which opens up during the summer where you can enjoy the long evenings and maybe even a fresh pizza from the outdoor pizza oven!
Black Bean Sliders at Hendersons of Edinburgh
Hendersons of Edinburgh
25 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1DX
You know how I mentioned right up at the start of this guide that when I started veganedinburgh.com there was only one completely vegan restaurant in Edinburgh? Well, you’ve guessed it – Hendersons Vegan was that restaurant.
Fast forward three years and the vegan scene in Edinburgh is undoubtedly thriving, but Hendersons Vegan has remained a stalwart through it all. Even though they are the most established vegan eatery in Edinburgh, they’re not getting complacent. In fact, Paul the Head Chef is constantly experimenting with new ideas and techniques to keep the menu fresh and exciting.
Sweet and Savoury Salad at Holy Cow
34 Elder Street, Edinburgh EH1 3DX
Just around the corner from Edinburgh Bus Station you will find one of Edinburgh’s most popular vegan cafés: Holy Cow. This eatery has a varied menu of imaginative vegan dishes, but honestly it is most well known for its mouth-watering range of burgers and cakes.
As the menu is based on seasonal ingredients, you can expect the food available to change throughout the year, however it will always be vegan and there will always be a couple of gluten free options available too.
Unicorn Cupcakes at Naked Bakery
24a Hill Street, Edinburgh EH2 3JZ
In this small café you will find some of the most decadent and beautiful vegan food you have ever encountered in your life. Louise says that she tries to create “edible art” and boy, does she deliver – from candyfloss cupcakes decorated like unicorns to dainty little macarons in every colour of the rainbow.
Naked Bakery built their business on a foundation of sweet treats like cupcakes, macarons, doughnuts and pastries. However, since they opened their first bricks-and-mortar premises in late 2018 they have expanded their savoury offering to include mac ’n cheese, Beyond Meat burgers, full vegan brunch, pink hummus on toast and much more.
Sweet pancakes at Seeds for the Soul
Seeds for the Soul
167 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh EH10 4DG
Seeds for the Soul is a charming little café in Bruntsfield which serves breakfast, brunch lunch and sweet treats – all of which are completely vegan. The owners are very passionate about good food, using organic ingredients where possible and making everything from scratch right on the premises. They also clearly label the gluten-free options too, both those that are naturally gluten-free and those that can be made gluten-free on request.
Their menu is full of great options for both breakfast and lunch. Their full vegan breakfast features meat-free sausages (from the local eatery bbl — Breakfast, Brunch, & Lunch, which itself offers a new vegan breakfast special at their at 65 Pleasance Street location), and their sweet pancakes are delicious and Instagrammable in equal measure.
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As mentioned earlier, please, or rather PLEASE link through to the full listing, which has more photos and fuller descriptions of not only the eateries above, but of Edinburgh’s full roster of vegan as well as vegetarian restaurants, including:
The Baked Potato Shop
The Forest Café
Henderson’s Salad Table and Deli
Lucky Pig @ Paradise Palms
The Pavilion Café
All photos courtesy of Vegan Edinburgh