The Best Places for Vegetarian Food in Edinburgh
It’s not difficult to eat out as a vegetarian (or vegan) in Edinburgh, you just have to know where to look! The Scottish capital has some of the best food the UK has to offer and the same is true for its vegetarian cuisine.
While eating a plant-based diet has become more common, vegetarian and vegan lifestyles are nothing new. In fact, most diets in the world consist mainly of plant-based foods. Even in countries where meat is consumed, it is eaten in much smaller portions than in the west. Sustainable food and environmental consciousness are playing a bigger role in society than ever before, with more and more people making the switch to a vegetarian diet. ‘Flexitarianism’ has also become a popular choice for those who want to pursue a healthier lifestyle and contribute to a better environment in their daily routines but still enjoy meat from time to time.
Whether you’re planning dinner out or simply want to enjoy a treat in a vegan café, our list has some great places. And if you’re feeling inspired to cook less meat at home this Spring, we’ve also included some options for where to shop for vegetarian ingredients. So keep reading as we share some of our favourite spots in Edinburgh for vegetarian and vegan food.
(Note that some of these places do serve meat but were included because of their excellent veggie menus.)
Brunch & Coffee
Hula Juice Bar
Hula Juice Bar | 103-105 West Bow
If you’re in the Old Town and looking for a healthy kick-start to the day, Hula Juice Bar is the place to head. This bright and ultra-cool café serves up a delicious menu of juices and smoothies, beautiful breakfasts, and plenty of nourishing vegetarian dishes. With everything from smoothie bowls and soups to wraps and poke, this popular brunch spot is the place to come for a filling vegetarian meal. For a super immune booster, order an açaí bowl and a turmeric latte.
Casa Angelina | 42 London St
This charming tea room and patisserie serves up some delicious vegetarian and vegan food but they’re best known for their incredible afternoon teas. Tucked away at the bottom of Broughton Street, this is a small tea room with a big personality. Their ‘vintage-style’ teas come with some fun and delightful treats like vegetarian spring rolls and vegan cupcakes, and they carefully cater to every dietary requirement. Nonna Angelina – whose recipes have been passed down for generations – would be proud.
For more amazing afternoon teas in Edinburgh, read our blog post here.
Beetroot Sauvage | 33-41 Ratcliffe Terrace
Beetroot Sauvage is a plant-based café and all-around wellness centre based in the Southside of Edinburgh. This friendly welcoming place offers everything from vegan smoothies to yoga classes, and they even host cooking workshops and regular markets. It’s also dog-friendly and child-friendly, with a kids menu specially designed for the little ones. You can even hire their private space for your next special event!
Pumpkin Brown | 16 Grassmarket
Another Grassmarket favourite is Pumpkin Brown. This totally vegan café serves clean, raw, and plant-based organic food with many gluten-free options. They have everything from salads to hot main-courses and takeaway options if you’re on the go. And an added bonus, it’s dog-friendly, too!
Lunch & Dinner
Thrive Café Bar | 171 Bruntsfield Place
This exciting and creative plant-based restaurant opened its doors in Bruntsfield in 2018. Their mission is to serve up fresh, vibrant vegan and vegetarian dishes in a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. This is not your typical vegetarian food! Their inventive menu is full of classics-turned-veggie, with comfort foods like mac-n-cheese, hot-wings, and their 100% vegan full-breakfast. They even host a regular craft beer and burger night and they’re often open after-hours for drinks and live music.
Paradise Palms | 41 Lothian St
This lively venue serves up award-winning American diner-inspired vegan and vegetarian food by Lucky Pig Scotland. You’ll find loads of spicy and hearty dishes on this menu, with items like jackfruit crab cakes, southern-fried halloumi, and loaded nachos. Paradise Palms also has a tiki-themed cocktail bar and an on-site record store with live entertainment on the weekends.
Holy Cow | 34 Elder Street
Holy Cow has achieved something of a legendary status among Edinburgh vegans since it first opened. No doubt thanks to their belly-busting vegan burgers, sandwiches, and incredible homemade chips! Located about a two-minute walk from the main bus station, this vegan café should be on your “must-visit” list, even if you’re only in town for a day or two.
Their famous vegan burger range includes varieties like falafel, pulled jackfruit, portobello mushroom and tofu, and are served with Holy Cow’s delicious chunky chips. If you can, try and save some room for a slice of one of their tempting homemade cakes.
Kalpna | 2-3 St Patrick Square
This is a family-run restaurant that serves traditional and contemporary Indian vegetarian food and has been in Edinburgh for a respectable 25 years. Kalpna’s owner is passionate about leading a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, full of delicious flavour-packed food. You’ll find some classic Indian dishes here, all with a vegetarian twist. They also do a lunch buffet on weekdays between 12-2pm for only £8.50 a head!
David Bann Restaurant
David Bann Restaurant | 56-58 St Mary’s Street
David Bann’s eclectic and award-winning cuisine is served in relaxed and refined surroundings and is the place to come for vegetarian fine-dining. Their globally-inspired menu is filled with both vegetarian and vegan dishes as well as a selection of vegan wines. Often listed as one of Scotland’s best restaurants, this is a great place to enjoy a gourmet vegetarian meal on a special occasion.
Dishoom | 3a St Andrew Square
One of Edinburgh’s newer restaurants to hit the food scene, Dishoom was an instant favourite the minute its doors opened. This off-beat Bombay-style restaurant pays homage to the Irani cafés that were once part of the fabric of life in Bombay. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner with dishes like egg naan rolls and okra fries, it’s not your typical Indian restaurant. Dishoom made our list because of their extensive vegetarian and vegan menu, which frequently changes with new dishes. You could visit dozens of times and still not have tried everything. Our top picks are the paneer tikka and the jackfruit Biryani – delicious!
Hendersons | 94 Hanover Street
No vegetarian list would be complete without including this Edinburgh institution. It’s the UK’s longest running vegetarian restaurant (established in 1962) and their restaurant on Hanover Street is a cosy, homely dining room, often filled with diners who have been coming since the start. With their iconic salad bar, delicious cakes, and many other mouth-watering vegetarian options, this place is a must-try. Hendersons also has a vegan restaurant just around the corner on Thistle Street, serving up contemporary, seasonal food and live music.
Shopping & More
If you’re up for cooking some vegetarian food at home, Edinburgh has some great places to shop for the perfect ingredients. You may even discover something you’ve never tried before. Or, if you’re looking for a company to cater your next big event, there are options for that, too.
Real Foods | 37 Broughton Street | 8 Brougham Street | Online
This shop has been going for over 50 years and is the largest Scottish retailer of organic, fair-trade, and special-diet foods. The shelves at Real Foods are stocked with healthy ingredients and organic produce, perfect for vegetarian and vegan cooking. They also have a large selection of fruits, nuts and other raw snacks for a balanced diet. For the eco-conscious, you can bring your own containers to be filled with muesli, rice and grains, various types of flours, and more.
The Herbivore Kitchen
The Herbivore Kitchen has been catering in London and Edinburgh for nearly a decade and they ran a popular café on Clerk Street in Edinburgh for years. They have since made the decision to solely focus on catering and provide exceptional vegan and vegetarian food for any occasion, including parties, weddings, and corporate events.
Having visited when they were still a café, we can vouch for how delicious their food is. Their famous brownies are a real highlight, and you can now have them delivered in bulk directly to your front door via their ‘Mail Order Brownies’ service!
Rootmap was designed by a group of students in their final year at Edinburgh University and launched in 2015 as part of Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink. It’s a beautifully illustrated guide for Edinburgh shoppers wanting to find places to eat and buy food from local businesses. Its locations include vegetarian and vegan-friendly cafés and restaurants as well as places that sell sustainable ingredients and products.