Fancy getting off the beaten track and trying somewhere different? Yes, Edinburgh has lots of great places that are well-known for catering to vegans, but there are plenty of cafés and restaurants in the city that have quietly been nurturing their vegan offering away in the background, without as much of a fanfare.
Some of these places may look ordinary at first glance, however take a closer look and you’ll find a surprisingly good vegan offering – perfect if you want to try something new. Read on to discover some of our favourites…
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65 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9RU
From the outside it looks like your regular greasy spoon – but appearances can be deceptive. Step inside and you will be greeted with a clear and expansive vegan menu, ranging from filled rolls to full vegan breakfasts.
As well as their usual omni offering, Alan is dedicated to making all their vegan link and lorne sausages fresh on the premises, and his passion really shines though. Whether you have them in a roll or as part of a full Scottish breakfast, these are quite easily the best vegan sausages you will ever taste. Trust me.
Bellfield Brewery Tap Room
46 Stanley Place, Edinburgh EH7 5TB
Bellfield Brewery is certified vegan and gluten-free beer brewery in the heart of Edinburgh, about 15 minutes’ walk from Waverley Station.
On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Bellfield open up their tap room, serving local ciders, whiskies and spirits, and of course Bellfield beer fresh from the brewery next door.
This place is well worth a visit if you want a taste of local craft beer. Feeling hungry? They are happy to take deliveries from Deliveroo or local takeaways, so you can enjoy great food along with your local craft beer.
41 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DB
If you like Vietnamese food, you are going to love Sen. This unassuming little restaurant just off the main thoroughfare of South Bridge is very popular with locals.
It’s a hit with vegans too, who are provided with a separate dedicated vegan menu full of delights such as avocado summer rolls, chilli and lemongrass tofu, vegetable spring rolls and lantern curry.
We took the Vegan Edinburgh Meetup Group here to put the menu through its paces, and it was a rousing success, with everyone in the group absolutely loving their meal.
For me, the avocado summer rolls (served with the most moreish peanut sauce) and the lantern curry are the highlights, but every dish on the vegan menu is worth a try.
Chinese Manor House
2 Glasgow Road, Edinburgh EH12 8HL
Chinese food can sometimes be a bit of minefield when ordering vegan, but the Chinese Manor House in Corstorphine have made a real effort to understand the needs of the vegan diet. A lot of the items on their vegetarian menu can be veganised quite easily or are already vegan – just ask the kitchen and they will be happy to accommodate.
Starter options include mixed vegetable spring rolls, crispy seaweed, melon balls and salt & chilli tofu. For your main course, you can have Singapore noodles, tofu with Chinese mushroom in plum sauce or Monk’s vegetables with tofu. You can even get fried rice without egg!
It’s a little bit further out of the city centre, but if you are craving a good Chinese meal this is well worth the journey.
Filmhouse Café Bar
88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH3 9BZ
Most Edinburgh locals know of the Filmhouse – it’s the quirky cinema on Lothian Road that showcases all the latest blockbusters and lesser-known indie gems, and is the flagship venue of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. But did you know that it also has a buzzing café and bar with a really decent food menu for vegans?
Options include cauliflower curry, homemade falafel and baked potatoes with a wealth of vegan-friendly fillings including spicy beans, hummus and veggie haggis.
The falafels in particular are really delicious, served with a tahini sauce and you can order the flatbread as extra if you want a more filling meal. Meanwhile, the cauliflower curry is so creamy that when he first tried it, Mr B turned to me and asked “are you SURE this is vegan”?. For the record, yes it is, the folks at the Filmhouse have just managed to make a lovely sauce out of rich coconut milk.
Even if you’re not planning on catching a movie, the Filmhouse Café is a great place to grab some lunch, dinner or a light bite.
2 South Trinity Road, Edinburgh EH5 3NR
Located a little off the beaten track just off Ferry Road, The Herringbone is a gorgeous bar/restaurant that specialises in local and seasonal ingredients, served simply. This stylish venue is very popular with locals, and if you ask your server they will be able to provide a full vegan menu with lots of imaginative seasonal dishes. Even their wine menu has the vegan options clearly marked (hooray!).
The menu changes all the time depending on what ingredients are in season, but you can expect dishes such as colourful beetroot hummus and flatbread, charred aubergine and chickpea & sweet potato burger.
140 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EH6 5DT
Leith Depot is already a firm favourite as a bar and music venue, but did you know they also have a pretty decent vegan offering? This place has a couple of great vegan-friendly options for brunch and nibbles. My personal favourite is the creamy tofu kedgeree: rich and comforting, this is one of the best hangover cures in the city.
31 – 33 Nicolson Square, EH8 9BX
Far from a “hidden gem”, it feels like everyone knows about Mosque Kitchen. Serving up cheap and cheerful “curry in a hurry” in their no-frills canteen-style restaurant just a stone’s throw from the University of Edinburgh, this is a firm favourite with cash-strapped students and anyone who is trying to save the pennies.
But when I first went vegan, I wrote it off as one of those places I couldn’t visit any more – after all, their menu isn’t marked the clearest so I wasn’t sure if there was any dairy lurking in their veggie dishes. Happily I discovered that because they use vegetable oil instead of butter ghee, most of their vegetarian curries are also vegan-friendly. Choose from mixed vegetable curry, saag aloo (spinach and potato), chana (chickpea) masala or Bombay aloo (potato).
Unfortunately the bread is still made with butter, but if you’re like me a curry with rice will be plenty for a satisfying meal.
The Sheep Heid Inn
43-45 The Causeway, Edinburgh EH15 3QA
The Sheep Heid Inn is Scotland’s oldest pub, located just off the shores of Duddingston Loch near Holyrood Park. Even though this pub is steeped in history, Mr B and I always just assumed that The Sheep Heid Inn wouldn’t cater for us, so you can imagine our delight when we discovered it actually has quite a big vegan offering!
For such a traditional venue, The Sheep Heid Inn takes its vegan offering very seriously. There is a full plant-based menu for vegan diners, and all their chips are prepared in separate fryers to avoid cross-contamination.
The menu has a good mix of options, and those with a sweet tooth will be particularly impressed with the range of tempting desserts on offer. My favourite dish is the pineapple tart tatin – with flaky pastry, caramelised pineapple and a creamy coconut sorbet. Absolutely delicious.
The Kilted Donut
22 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh EH3 5AH
The Kilted Donut is a firm favourite for sweet treats in Leith, but did you know that three of their daily staple flavours – jammy, vanilla, and cinnamon sugar – are also vegan-friendly? You can choose between the full-size donut or the cute mini ‘kilties’ for just a small bite.
Other vegan flavours may also come into the daily rotation and other flavours (such as coconut) can be made vegan on request.
No matter what flavour you go for, these deep-fried sweet delights will really hit the spot. The Kilted Donut is the perfect place for getting your vegan donut fix in Leith!
Hidden Vegan Gems in Edinburgh: Map
Of course, this list is completely subjective and based on my own experience – so there are bound to be places I have missed! Do you have a favourite secret vegan-friendly haunt in Edinburgh? Share it in the comments below!
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