Coming to Edinburgh for the festivals? If you’re a vegan visiting the city for the first time, don’t worry – there’s absolutely no way you’ll go hungry!
August is the busiest time for Edinburgh with the Edinburgh Art Festival, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, The Edinburgh International Festival and The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. During this time of year the city’s population doubles in size, and we’re willing to bet that there will be a few vegans among the newcomers.
So, consider this a little cheat sheet to Edinburgh’s vegan scene. A lot of the festival action takes place in the Old Town, so we’ve cherry picked some of our favourite eateries in the area to help you find some of the best vegan food that can all be found in the heart of the action.
Is there anywhere we’ve missed? Leave your tips in the comments section below!
Paradise Palms (Lucky Pig)
Just a stone’s throw from the hub of the main Edinburgh Festival Fringe activity on George Square you’ll find Paradise Palms, a cool, laid back, retro-style bar that is currently home to Lucky Pig – a fabulous kitchen that specialises in “vegetarian soul food”.
All the menu is completely meat-free and over half of the options are vegan. Treat yourself to a vegan “Lucky Dawg”, their famous black bean and seitan burger or, if you pop along on a Sunday, their wonderful vegan Sunday roast. Delicious!
Perfect for: Filling your belly with wonderful comfort food
Feeling a bit tender from a Fringe all nighter? A vegan fry-up is just the thing to sort you out – and nobody does it better than BBL (breakfast, lunch and brunch). Just up the road from The Pleasance Courtyard venue, this small café does a perfect meat and dairy free fry-up for just over a fiver. With homemade vegan sausages, fried mushrooms, beans, toast, veggie haggis and potato scones, you’ll be ready to get back to all the action in no time.
Perfect for: A no-frills full vegan Scottish breakfast
The Auld Hoose
Head a wee bit further along The Pleasance and you’ll eventually come across The Auld Hoose, which has a legendary reputation for satisfying the most ravenous of vegan appetites. Their generous plate of nachos, served with lashings of chilli, vegan cheese and guacamole, is just the ticket after a long day of festival performances and exhibitions. Order a side of onion rings and you’ve got yourself a solid vegan feed that is guaranteed to see you through until the wee hours.
Perfect for: when you’re REALLY hungry
Checkpoint is not only a fantastic Fringe venue – it’s also home to a pretty decent restaurant that boasts a couple of really delicious vegan options. Their curried tempura vegetables are absolutely glorious – and its ideal location means you can maybe sneak in a meal between shows without taking yourself too far away from the action.
Perfect for: A delicious feed right in the heart of Fringe-land
The Baked Potato Shop
Trying to navigate the festivals on a budget? Look no further than the Baked Potato Shop for a fabulously filling lunch. Around £6 will buy you a perfectly cooked baked potato with a huge range of hot and cold vegan fillings, such as the vegan haggis pictured in the beauty above. Trust us, you will not need to eat for the rest of the day.
Perfect for: A quick and cheap lunch that will keep you satisfied all day long
The Mosque Kitchen
Staying on the budget theme for a moment… the Mosque Kitchen on Nicolson Street is legendary with locals for their cheap, quick and tasty food. However, not many people know that they use vegetable oil in their cooking – making their veggie curries safe for vegans! We love their vegetable and chickpea curries, each coming with a generous portion of rice for less than a fiver a serving. The perfect no-frills dinner.
Perfect for: Filling your belly on a budget
Hunters Square is a hub of Fringe activity and in the heart of it all you’ll find Civerinos – a pizza haven that’s popular with visitors and locals alike. Their vegan pizza (with the slightly tongue-in-cheek title ‘Meat is Murder’) doesn’t have any cheese – but the marinated tomatoes and Sicilian breadcrumbs carries it through. Many pizza places in the city cater for vegans, but this one is only a stone’s throw from the Royal Mile making it an ideal option to pop in to between Fringe shows.
Perfect for: Pizza.
Hula Juice Bar
Getting sick of all the junk food? Then you need to check out Hula Juice Bar in the Grassmarket. This award-winning café is open daily, serving up delicious healthy juices, nutritional breakfasts and naughty-but-nice raw treats. Their Rainbow Bowl changes every day (check the specials board for the latest), but it’s bound to be bursting with tasty veggies and that’s ideal for a nutritional pick-me-up.
Perfect for: Your post festival night out detox
If it’s the final night of your Edinburgh festival trip and you really want to spoil yourself, there’s only one place you should go. Kalpna is a vegetarian restaurant located on St Patrick Square that has a whole range of vegan options – just ask your server for the latest. Our personal favourite is the vegan thali raj bhog, which boasts a serving of pakora, rice, bread, three curries, a chutney and a vegan dessert. Make sure you turn up hungry!
Perfect for: Treating yourself to something special
Of course this guide isn’t exhaustive! Check out our A-Z guide for even more ideas of vegan places to visit >