Plant-based food in the Scottish capital
The rise of veganism is continuing to surge throughout the world and the Scottish capital is no exception. The number of vegan restaurants in Edinburgh is at an all-time high, with them whipping up a range of plant-based dishes to the pleasure of locals.
When you consider Google search trends, the number of vegan queries in Edinburgh is only surpassed by Bristol and Portland, USA. That makes Edinburgh one of the most popular vegan markets in the world.
The United Kingdom seems to be a particular hub for veganism. Plant-based and flexitarian diets are becoming mainstream because more alternatives are available and consumers have an increased ethical awareness.
There was an estimated 600,000 vegans in Great Britain during 2018, according to The Vegan Society. On top of that fact, an astonishing 250,000 people took part in Veganuary during 2019. There’s even skyrocketing demands for a Scottish haggis vegan alternative!
The vegan market is not only real, it’s thriving. So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at the best vegan restaurants Edinburgh has to offer!
Hendersons Vegan Restaurant
An institution since 1962, Hendersons has long been a favourite with locals. As the UK’s longest-running vegetarian establishment, this New Town eatery isn’t here to follow what’s trendy. Instead it’s a cultural icon – a family-run business with a passion for good food. To put it simply, this is our favourite vegan restaurant in Edinburgh.
Order their legendary vegan haggis with herbed mashed potatoes, caramelised onions, spring greens and red wine gravy.
Open Monday to Sunday, 11:30am – 9:30pm
25c Thistle Street, New Town, Edinburgh EH2 1DX
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Kalpna is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant that’s been delighting folks since 1975. The team source local produce and fragrant spices from India, hence their food is flavour-packed and original. Family-run and bustling, Kalpna has a menu that draws inspiration from Punjabi, Gujarati and South Indian cuisine.
Order the vegan thaali, a traditional set meal from West India, that lets you sample a spread of Kalpna’s dishes.
Open Monday to Saturday, 12 – 2pm and 5:30 – 10:30pm
2-3 Patrick Square, Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9EZ
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Novapizza Vegetarian Kitchen
Leading the way with vegan pasta and pizza, Edinburgh locals love Novapizza Vegetarian Kitchen for good reason. The Roman owner believes in simple Italian cuisine and as a result incorporates local produce and flavoursome ingredients. Better yet, the vegan cheese and vegan meat alternatives on the menu are bountiful.
Order the slow-cooked Bolognese tagliatelle pasta with soy mince, onions and basil; or the ParmiGiana pizza with tomato sauce, roasted aubergines, basil and vegan cheese.
Open Wednesday to Monday, 12:30 – 9:30pm
42 Howe Street, New Town, Edinburgh EH3 6TH
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Lucky Pig @ Paradise Palms
Vegan and vegetarian soul food doesn’t get much better than this. Lucky Pig is a American-inspired diner serving seriously delicious Southern food and one of the best burgers in Edinburgh. It’s located within Paradise Palms, a funky bar near the University of Edinburgh. The atmosphere is great and above all you can expect an indulgent menu of corn bread, nachos, dirty fries and sweet treats. All perfect fare to wash down with Paradise Palms’ fantastic drinks list.
Is your mouth watering yet? Get your hands on Lucky Pig’s American-style food ASAP!
Order the vegan chipotle mac and cheese with baked walnut crumb and vegetable crisps; the chilli cheese fries with house pickles and mayo; or the tequila beer-battered tofu burger.
Open Monday to Sunday, 12 – 9pm
41 Lothian Street, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 1HB
On an unassuming corner in Leith you’ll find Harmonium, a laid back spot that believes in food free from animal produce. Their plant-based menu is classic pub food with a twist, instead focusing on the use of meat substitutes, fresh produce and grains. Their sourdough wood-fired pizzas are perfect to graze on while enjoying rotating beers, cocktails and wine.
Finally, a top spot for vegan food in Leith!
Order the Verde e Bianca pizza with vegan cheese and grilled artichoke; or the Bensonhurst pizza with seitan pepperoni and garlic sausage. Follow it with the Coffee & Cigarettes cocktail for dessert.
Open Monday to Friday, 12pm – late; Weekends, 11am – late
60 Henderson Street, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6DE
One of the top vegetarian and vegan restaurants Edinburgh has at hand, David Bahn is an ambient and smart dining establishment. Probably the most sophisticated eatery on our list, customers can expect top-quality service and a refined menu. The food is influenced by both Asian and European flavours, well-complemented with an extensive drinks list of vegan wines.
Order the roasted butternut squash risotto with braised leek, kohlrabi and watercress alongside a glass of vegan chardonnay.
Open Monday to Thursday, 12 – 10pm; Friday, 12 – 10:30pm; Saturday, 11am – 10:30pm; Sunday, 11am – 10pm
56-58 St Mary’s Street, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 1SX
Bread Street Brasserie
If a sophisticated dinner is what you’re after, another great option alongside David Bahn is Bread Street Brasserie. This fine dining restaurant offers high-quality Scottish cuisine with a fresh and creative focus. Once a month they offer Vegan Night, an entirely plant-based and seasonal menu. Follow their Facebook page or contact them for more information.
Bread Street Brasserie has a beautiful dining room, hence the fine dining vibes.
Vegan night usually follows a three-course set menu format, with several dishes to pick from for each course.
Open Monday to Sunday, 6 – 10pm
34 Bread Street, Old Town, Edinburgh EH3 9DX
The Baked Potato Shop
In contrast to vegan fine dining, you have the casual and cheerful The Baked Potato Shop. This Old Town favourite has been dedicated to spuds since 1983 and Edinburgh loves them for it. The tatties are tasty, flavour-packed and vegan. Other snacks and sweet treats are also available. What more can we say?
In addition to their tatties, The Baked Potato Shop’s vegan sausage rolls are legendary.
Be hearty and order a potato with Mexican bean and sweet corn filling, hot vegetable curry or macsweens haggis. Or be fresh and get a potato with spicy hummus, spinach salad or cucumber gazpacho.
Open Monday to Sunday, hours vary but generally between 11am until dinner time
56 Cockburn Street, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 1PB
This welcoming café in New Town follows a fairtrade ethos and food here is 100% vegan and organic. With a focus on fresh produce, Holy Cow consequently has a seasonal, rotating menu. But you can always except burgers and the best vegan cakes available in Edinburgh. Their coffees and smoothies are always great, making it the ideal spot for brunch or a quick catch-up with friends.
Flavour-packed and juicy. Burgers from Holy Cow are another level.
Order a fairtrade coffee with oat milk and their signature chocolate and peanut butter cake.
Open Monday to Saturday, 10am – 10pm; Sunday, 10am – 6pm
34 Elder Street, New Town, Edinburgh EH1 3DX
Established in 2018, Thrive Café:Bar is relatively new on the scene. However, it’s already garnering attention as a top vegan restaurant in Edinburgh. Their menu includes a stellar vegan breakfast and moreish bar food like burgers and small plates. Perfect alongside their vegan drinks list of craft beer, wine and cocktails.
A brunch worthy of vegan (and non-vegan) kings.
Order the vegan Thrive breakfast with black pudding, potato scone, roasted vine tomatoes and more. Or savour chilli jackfruit nachos with a grapefruit and thyme bourbon smash cocktail.
Open Monday to Sunday, 10am – 1pm
171 Bruntsfield Place, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh EH10 4DG