In some places, it can seem like being a vegetarian and eating out do not go hand in hand. But in Scotland’s capital, that is not the case. Edinburgh is filled with so many vegetarian and vegan options that serve incredible and inventive recipes. From small, quiet cafes to vibrant and lively eateries, you will always be able to find meat-free dining options in Edinburgh. Here are seven of the best spots that you absolutely have to try for some amazing vegetarian food!
1. Paradise Palms
Paradise Palms is an experience. They serve award winning vegetarian food as well as being a venue for live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night. They also host other events such as drag brunches and their Book Club For Drunks night so you’ll never be bored at Paradise Palms. This is vibrant and lively evening spot, but the main event at Paradise Palms is the incredible vegetarian and vegan food. Their menu is vast and diverse, including jerk jackfruit fries, chipotle mac and cheese (also available vegan), chilli with cornbread and southern fried seitan. Their take on these dishes is the perfect mix between junk food and high quality cuisine, that is satisfying and delicious. The drinks menu at Paradise Palms is just as fantastic as the food – make sure to try the teapot sharer cocktails or one of the many varieties of margarita! The amazing food against the backdrop of neon lights and vintage decor, makes Paradise Palms one of the best restaurants in Edinburgh whether you’re vegetarian or not.
Found tucked away on St Andrews Street, Dishoom serves beautiful and delicious food inspired by the old Irani cafes of Bombay. With only seven locations across the UK (only two of which are outside of London), Dishoom is a must-try location for vegetarian food in Edinburgh. Dishoom’s food is new and inventive whilst also being authentic and simple. Visit Dishoom for breakfast for a completely unique experience; their morning menu is expansive and filled with vegetarian choices. Make sure to try the Akuri – spiced scrambled eggs served with homemade buns and rich tomato. Another menu favourite is the the vegan Bombay breakfast. For dinner, your choices are just as diverse and intriguing: try the okra fries and jackfruit biryani.
3. The Baked Potato Shop
The Baked Potato is your perfect destination for simple and hearty vegetarian food in Edinburgh. Their baked potatoes are warm and filling, serving large portions with a huge variety of toppings for both vegetarians and vegans. You’ll find this spot tucked away within the cobblestones of Cockburn Street: the service is friendly and the food is unmissable. They also serve soup and salad, but their speciality baked potatoes are the best items on the menu. You can even take this opportunity to try some vegan haggis whilst you’re in Scotland (it’s surprisingly good!)
Thrive is a fully plant based restaurant in Bruntsfield serving a great menu of innovative plant based alternatives. This restaurant only opened in 2018, so it is relatively new, but they have established themselves well in the area so make sure to book a table as it quite a small place and can get very crowded (especially on weekends). Their mission is to serve vibrant vegan food in a welcoming atmosphere and they have achieved this spectacularly. Adorned with fairy lights and succulents, Thrive is relaxed, casual and friendly and their food is just as impressive. Menu highlights include the kale caesar salad, teriyaki tofu, and ‘posh fries’ – fries topped with vegan pesto and parmesan. They also have a great range of beers, cocktails and vegan wines. This is definitely a vegetarian destination to add to your Edinburgh list.
5. Pumpkin Brown
Pumpkin Brown serves clean, raw, plant-based food, started by Amanda Brown who changed her diet drastically after becoming ill, and is now passionate about healthy eating. Their food is so freshly made that it changes everyday; their breakfast menu will include a porridge of the day, accompanied with options for acai bowls. For lunch, you will find a different hot dish each day, as well as a hummus of the day and soup of the day. All the ingredients are fresh, seasonal and local, so this is definitely the place to try if you want to eat out and eat clean. Pumpkin Brown is located in Grassmarket, with views of the castle on its doorstep.
Hendersons serves contemporary vegetarian and vegan food, with the philosophy of serving wholesome food made with fresh and local ingredients. Hendersons first opened in 1962 as a farm produce shop, and has grown into what is now known as an Edinburgh institution. Its Salad Table restaurant boasts live music each night and is also a great venue for events. One of their menu highlights is the green gazpacho – a vibrant, bright and fresh take on gazpacho that you cannot miss. The jackfruit, coconut and tomato stew is also a favourite. If you’re looking for a breakfast option, the menu includes vegan breakfast bowls made fresh each day until 11.30 at the Salad Table restaurant. You can find Hendersons at four Edinburgh locations, including a Hendersons shop and deli on the corner of Hanover and Thistle street.
7. Union of Genius
Union of Genius is the perfect remedy to Edinburgh’s cold and harsh winters. As Scotland’s first soup cafe, they have an incredibly diverse range of hot soups served with fresh bread; the perfect stop for lunch on a cold day. You can find the Union of Genius restaurant on Forrest Road, or their van is often found parked just outside the University of Edinburgh’s Chrystal Macmillan building. Their menu changes each day but you can find out what is available through their social media channels. Not only do they serve delicious vegetarian food, but they are also committed to sustainability: if you bring your own pots to fill you can get points towards a free meal!