Plant-based-eaters rejoice, the best vegan restaurants in Edinburgh are some of the finest in the country and we’ve set ourselves a mission to uncover them all (we know, selfless). Working tirelessly across the city we’ve put the hours in testing all the top vegan menus to bring you a curated selection of Edinburgh’s best vegan restaurants that will leave you feeling full and virtuous knowing that no animals were harmed in the making of your meal.
Long gone are the days when the only vegan option at half-decent restaurants was the house side salad. Now there are dedicated eateries celebrating veggies, grains, and pulses in all their colourful glory, and we couldn’t be more thankful. Aside from dedicated vegan restaurants we’ve also hunted out some really special spots that aren’t completely plant-based, but do have a solid dairy-, egg- and meat-free offering. These are of course ideal if you’re dining in a group, where some of you are meat eaters and others aren’t.
For special occasion dining when you’ve got something worth celebrating, the best vegan restaurants in Edinburgh deliver by way of a few delicious tasting menus. Both Six by Nico and Borough in Leith happily serve course after course of plant-based goodness for vegan diners, giving vegetables the starring roles in carefully considered plates of refined food. While the restaurants might not be fully vegan, they do go out of their way to cater for dietary requirements and will contentedly recommend things that can be tweaked to your preferences.
Elsewhere we’ve found a selection of low-key, casual spots that are ideal to stop off at lunchtime or early evening for a more relaxed meal. From fully locked and loaded bagels at Bross through to piles of dirty loaded fries, there’s a vegan restaurant in Edinburgh for every mood you could find yourself in.
What: The menu at El Cartel isn’t vegan specifically, but the team are helpful and willing to tweak dishes to make them appropriate for plant-based eaters. Hand-pressed tacos are stuffed with interesting combos, like fried mushrooms cooked with guajillo chillies, spinach, spring onions and a pecan salsa. If you’re not abstaining, the cocktails are worth a visit in themselves too - we can’t get enough of the daily frozen margaritas.
Where: 15-16 Teviot Place, EH1 2QZ
Book now: El Cartel
What: Celebrating the flavours of the Levant, Baba comes from the team behind Glasgow’s award-winning Ox and Finch restaurant. Here, you’ll find a tempting selection of mezze and grill plates that are perfect for sharing. Kick things off with olives and spiced nuts before moving on to a selection of topped humus dishes and baba ganoush. Mains include chargrilled broccoli with lentils, pomegranate, and hazelnuts (hold the egg) and a cauliflower shawarma.
Where: 230 George Street, EH2 4JZ
Book now: Baba
Six by Nico
What: With a clutch of restaurants across the whole of the UK, the Six by Nico concept has proved exceptionally popular. Here you’ll be served a six-course tasting menu, centred around a particular theme, which changes every six weeks. There’s a full vegetarian alternative to the main menu, which can be made vegan by request. The recent Shanghai menu features choi sum money bags and a potato fondant with buckwheat noodles and a peanut sauce. This is the perfect posh place for a celebratory meal with top-class vegan food.
Where: 97 Hanover Street, EH2 1DJ
Book now: Six by Nico
What: Not ones to be pigeonholed into what it means to serve vegan food, Harmonium run with a far-reaching menu of crowd-pleasing classics - think Thai ‘crab’ cakes with a sesame soy vinaigrette, or a juicy soy quarter pounder with burger sauce in a butter-free brioche bun. There’s also a kids menu featuring vegan mac and cheese, to-fish with peas and chips and a mini margherita pizza.
Where: 7-11 E London Street, EH7 4BN
Book now: Harmonium
What: Sister site to popular Plant Bae, Grams is a vegan café which specialises in plant-based food and caters for all kinds of dietary requirements, including offering a wide range of gluten free options. Here you’ll find the café’s famous brunch dishes, which include vegan nachos loaded with cashew cheese sauce, avocado and pulled ‘pork’ as well as clean beans on sourdough toast with a tofu scramble topping.
Where: 68 Hamilton Place, EH3 5AZ
Book now: Grams
What: Old school veggie restaurant David Bann has been doing its thing for years and has built up a loyal fanbase thanks to its offering of tasty vegan food. Expect classic cookery in a semi-formal setting with a menu that spans international dishes, from curry through to pasta. The menu changes with the seasons, and while options are primarily vegetarian, the team are more than happy to adapt dishes to make them vegan.
Where: 56-58 St Mary's Street, EH1 1SX
Book now: David Bann
Seeds for the Soul
What: Seeds for the Soul takes a pretty strong stance on veganism, with passionate messaging about the benefits of eating a plant-based diet. Serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, there’s something for everyone at Seeds for the Soul. Beyond Burgers are a central section to the menu, which can be topped with everything from sauerkraut or mac ‘n’ cheese through to fried mushrooms or house smoky ‘bacon’. Meat-free hot dogs, flatbreads and buddha bowls complete the colourful line-up.
Where: 167 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4DG
Book now: Seeds for the Soul
What: The Kalpna team has been cooking great vegan food in Edinburgh for over 40 years. Friendly staff and comfortable surrounds add to the experience, where you’ll find a range of South Indian dishes on the menu, like vegetable-stuffed dosas and a meat-free curry spiced with saffron and laced with spinach, pineapple, and almonds. The lunch buffet is very affordable and includes salad, chutney, starters, breads, curries, and rice - definitely one of Edinburgh’s most popular cheap eats.
Where: 2-3 St Patrick Square, EH8 9EZ
Book now: Kalpna
Chapter One Coffee
What: Chapter One didn't start life entirely plant-based, but it made the move to go completely vegan in 2018 after deciding that animal products no longer aligned with its values. Vegan meats are carefully sourced from a company who handmake pepperoni, bacon, and pastrami in nearby Glasgow, while a local chocolatier provides the goods for mochas and hot chocolates. Expect a simple but delicious menu of cakes, sandwiches, and breakfast classics.
Where: 107 Dalry Road, EH11 2DR
Book now: Chapter One
What: Vegan Italian kitchen Nova Pizza addresses the need for cheesy carby goodness without any animal products. As the name suggests, here you’ll find cracking pizzas topped with the freshest ingredients, as well as a hearty selection of pasta dishes and alternative mains. Homemade walnut Parmesan proves the team’s dedication to the vegan cause, while there are steak and salmon imitations so good that we had to double take.
Where: 42 Howe Street, EH3 6TH
Book now: Nova Pizza
What: Following a vegan diet shouldn’t mean you’re excluded from fine-dining opportunities and Borough Leith is one of the best spots in Edinburgh to enjoy a vegan tasting menu. While they do serve a regular menu, the plant-based alternatives is just as good (if not better) and meanders through various courses of seasonal ingredients that have been given a wonderfully refined finish.
Where: 50-54 Henderson Street, Leith, EH6 6DE
Book now: Borough Leith
What: Fancy a quick bite to eat without having to commit to table service in a restaurant? Enter: Bross Bagels. With sites across the city, this cult lunch spot serves incredible, fully stuffed bagels. There’s a dedicated vegan section which includes the Little Apple (fake pastrami, vegan cheese, dill pickles, egg-free mayo and mustard) and the spicy FAT (a combination of facon, avocado, tomatoes and chilli ‘mayo’).
Where: 72 Saint Stephen Street, EH3 5AQ
Book now: Bross Bagels
What: Fancy a comfort food hit? What could be better than a steaming hot bowl of Japanese ramen? At Gulp you’ll find vegan options that include a curried soup made with a spiced roast onion and shiitake mushroom broth, topped with silken tofu and raw, pickled and cooked seasonal vegetables - pure plant-based bliss. If you like a little something on the side there are also vegan dumplings stuffed with beetroot, bok choi and edamame beans.
Where: 9 Albert Place, EH7 5HN
Book now: Gulp Ramen
What: Ridiculously good sandwiches are Alby’s calling card, and happily they do a decent line in vegan fillings (as well as a stellar veggie one if you give in to a cheese craving from time to time). The options change semi-regularly but one of our favourites is focaccia stuffed with crispy fried oyster mushrooms, a parsley and shallot salad and a truffle and tarragon vegan mayo.
Where: 8 Portland Terrace, EH6 6LA
Book now: Alby's
Hula Juice Bar
What: A clearly marked up menu at Hula Juice Bar makes navigating the available vegan options a breeze. While there are dedicated plant-based plates, there are also dishes which can easily be tweaked to remove dairy or eggs, opening up a whole new load of options. With a café-like vibe you can expect full fry ups, soups, sandwiches and wraps as well as lunch bowls, smoothies and juices. Consider your five a day found.
Where: 103-105 W Bow, EH1 2JP
Book now: Hula Juice Bar
What: With a diverse menu, Dishoom caters for just about all dietary requirements. The vegan menu at this popular Indian chain (there are other Dishoom sites in London and Birmingham) is far-reaching, covering small plates, grills and curries. Favourites include smoky gunpowder potatoes which are tumbled in crushed aromatic seeds, and a rich chickpea curry with puffed puris and sweet halwa.
Where: 3a St Andrew Square, EH2 2BD
Book now: Dishoom
What: The perfect place to gather with friends, Pomegranate’s vegan-friendly menu is ideal for sharing with loved ones. Here you’ll find colourful, spiced dishes like batata harra (a fried potato dish topped with peppers, coriander and fresh chilis), nokwa (a chickpea stew with cashews and garlic) and loaded falafel fries with spring onions, sesame, crispy onions and red pepper ketchup.
Where: 1 Antigua Street, EH1 3NH
Book now: Pomegranate
What: Sora Lella is the first of its kind in Edinburgh: a 100% vegan roman restaurant making the most authentic Italian dishes vegan. This small restaurant follows the owner's family quest to become vegan by recreating all their favourite dishes, such as spaghetti alla carbonara, spaghetti all’amatriciana, suppli romani, and meat feast pizza. Sora Lella prides itself on making Italian cuisine accessible to everyone, and there’s also an entirely gluten-free menu available.
Where: 13A Brougham Street, EH3 9JS
Book now: Sora Lella
What: Beetroot Sauvage is the hippest spot in town for some 100% vegan scran, from brunch to mains to bubble waffles to ‘freakshakes’. Everything is vegan, fresh, and cooked from scratch, all cheese is made on-site and all coffee is blended and roasted by neighbouring The Source Coffee Co. And as if things couldn’t get even better, there’s also a range of gluten-free options and an upstairs yoga studio open for group classes. What more could you want?
Where: 33-41 Ratcliffe Terrace, EH9 1SX
Book now: Beetroot Sauvage
What: Chaophraya, the home of classy Thai dining across the UK, offers an extensive ‘From the Garden’ menu full of veggie and vegan Thai classics. Expect starters like taco paks (veggie Thai tacos with red curry and coconut milk), vegetable tempura with sweet chilli dipping sauce, and tod man khao pohd (sweetcorn cakes with red curry), before indulging yourself on mains such as tao-hu pad prew waan (tofu sweet and sour with dragon fruit) or a classic vegetable and tofu pad thai.
Where: 4th Floor, 33 Castle Street, EH2 3DN
Book now: Chaophraya
What: FacePlant is serving up some of the tastiest filthiest vegan bites that Edinburgh has to offer. Their sandwiches are filled to bursting, the thick bloomer bread oozing with fillings like jackfruit and kimchi, mac and two cheeze, and a haggis melt with cheeze and caramelised onion chutney. If you fancy something lighter, there are several salads to choose from but if you fancier something cheesier, there’s an entire mac'n'cheeze section promising to be ‘smothered in a creamy cheesy sauce.’
Where: 37 Duke Street, EH6 8HH
Book now: FacePlant Foods
Edinburgh isn't the only city in the UK with great vegan food - check out the best vegan restaurants in London, or these great vegan restaurants in Bristol.