Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Dome

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One of the highlights of my recent trip to Edinburgh was a vegan afternoon tea at The Dome. This gorgeous restaurant seemed perfect for a fancy afternoon tea. My nearby accommodations meant I could walk to The Dome. And I knew, from photos on social media that the interior was magical, all decorated for the holidays. I couldn’t wait.

And yet, that afternoon tea almost didn’t happen!

Check out my beautiful experience. It’s a memory I cherish.

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History of The Dome in Edinburgh

Located at 14 George Street, in New Town, The Dome occupies the site of the former Physician’s Hall. Built in 1775, the construction of the hall ran over budget, leaving the Physician’s College in debt. The college eventually sold the building to the Commercial Bank of Scotland.

In 1844 the hall was demolished, making way for the current structure. The Graeco-Roman style, with arched and keystoned upper windows and a Corinthian portico offered a magnificent presence on George Street. Inside, twin staircases rose to offices on the floor above and in the main hall, arched ceilings and a coffered dome capped the center of the building.

In 1959 Commercial Bank of Scotland joined with the National Bank of Scotland. The building on George Street no longer served as the head office. Caledonian Heritable Ltd bought the building and created The Dome, opening its doors in 1996.

Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Dome exterior
The beautiful exterior of The Dome on George Street, Edinburgh

What The Dome Offers

Whether you desire afternoon tea or a delicious meal, a meeting room or a place for a private dinner, The Dome provides.

The Grill Room

The former banking hall under the dome now functions as the Grill Room. The Bar Area in the room serves snacks, sandwiches and drinks. The meal menu is a la carte. The Grill Room opens daily at noon. Check out the menu and make an online reservation for a meal or drinks HERE.

Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Dome under the dome
Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Dome – the Grill Room under the dome

The Club Room

​The sumptuous Club Room is considered one of the most beautiful rooms in Edinburgh. Sparkling mirrors and chandeliers preside over dark green banquettes and tan chairs. This room provides the perfect setting for a romantic meal, a casual catch up with friends over tea or a special family get-together.

The Club Room opens daily from 10:00 – 2:00 for breakfast and Morning Tea.

Click LINK for menus and to make a reservation for the Club Room.

Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Dome lobby
Looking up after walking into The Dome.

The Front Bar

If you want a cozy yet gorgeous room for a drink, look no further. The Front Bar occupies the building’s storeroom. Outfitted with rich wood paneling and Swarovski crystal chandeliers, it’s an intimate yet showy spot to share drinks with friends.

Choose from superb cocktails, an amazing malt whisky selection and a huge range of gins. Or try a craft or draught beer, champagne or Prosecco.

A 50 inch television allows sports fans to catch a rugby game or a Wimbledon match.

Opening times for the Front Bar differ daily. Call ahead to find out when the bar room opens.

Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Dome lighted doorway
Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Dome – lighted doorway into the Grill Room.

The Georgian Tea Room

Daily afternoon tea is served in the beautiful and classy Georgian Tea Room upstairs. In Scotland this is called the first floor, as opposed to what Americans call the second floor. Climb the gorgeous curved staircases for access to this room or take the lift (elevator).

The tea room offers a variety of tea services: afternoon tea, gluten free tea, vegan tea, tipsy tea and children’s tea. The tipsy tea provides a tea infused cocktail for each tier of food.

The Georgian Tea Room opens daily at noon. Check out each menu and make reservations ONLINE.

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The Georgian Tea Room

The Afternoon Tea That Almost Didn’t Happen

As I shared at the beginning of the post, this beautiful experience almost didn’t happen.

I booked the trip to Edinburgh in August, inspired by years of dreaming about attending the city’s Christmas Market. After two years of shut downs and limited travel due to COVID, I was excited to finally attend in 2022.

A formal afternoon tea at a special location, like The Dome, was high on my list of planned activities.

I knew I needed to make a reservation. What I didn’t realize is how popular The Dome afternoon teas are, especially during the holiday season. Early November I got online to make my reservation and found The Dome completely booked up for the week of my visit. I felt so disappointed. However, I knew other places for vegan afternoon existed in Edinburgh. The search began for another afternoon tea time.

Two weeks before my trip, having not found another unique place like The Dome for afternoon tea, I felt a nudge to check online reservations again. Perhaps, I thought, a cancellation opened a spot. I am so glad I checked. There was indeed a time available, three days after my arrival. I happily booked my vegan afternoon tea at The Dome.

Cozy Georgian Tea Room.

My Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Dome

I chose the vegan afternoon tea. Although I do have a gluten sensitivity, The Dome can’t combine gluten free AND vegan so I didn’t worry about gluten that afternoon.

My accommodations on Rose Street, CoDE Boutique Hostel, was one block away from George Street. My second day in Edinburgh I walked by, to make sure I knew the precise location and then eagerly anticipated my special afternoon tea.

With my reservation pulled up on my phone, I arrived at The Dome fifteen minutes early on Friday, December 9. On the portico, people queued, waiting for an opportunity to step inside The Dome and admire the Christmas decorations. With a reservation though, I didn’t have to wait.

Once inside I took photos of the lobby and then climbed the stairs to the Georgian Tea Room. My table for one was ready!

I ordered a pot of Delicious Berry tea and while waiting for my afternoon experience to begin, took more photos before the room filled with people.

Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Dome Christmas trees
Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Dome – Christmas trees in the Georgian Tea Room

Unforgettable Afternoon Tea

Truly, even after all the anticipation, the experience surpassed my expectations.

The wait staff appeared often to see if I needed anything. Soft lights, Christmas decor, crisp white linens, a silver teapot and shiny silverware created a beautiful oasis to relax and savor the moments along with the tea.

I know my eyes teared up when the tiered tray with my vegan treats appeared.

On the lower tier I found a baby potato with walnut pesto and three sandwiches: roasted veggies and hummus, sundried tomato and basil, and artichoke, peas and mint salad.

The next tier contained a scone with vegan cream and jam.

And the top tier offered sweet treats: lemon tart, strawberry sponge cake and Mille-feuille, a puffed pastry filled with vegan cream.

It was ALL delicious, filling and perfectly prepared. I had an hour and a half to enjoy this special treat so I took my time, nibbling and then pausing to sip tea. I relished my the time at The Dome and made it count.

Pot of Delicious Berry Tea at The Dome
Pot of Delicious Berry Tea at The Dome
Vegan Afternoon Tea at The Dome
Beautiful vegan afternoon tea at The Dome.

Afternoon Tea Fan?

I’ll never forget my afternoon at The Dome. In a city I dearly love, enjoying a Scottish tradition that I practice daily, this experience felt magical. I’m ever so grateful.

And, I look forward to a return experience someday.

Are you an afternoon tea fan? When you visit Edinburgh, I highly recommend The Dome.

For other wonderful vegan fare in Edinburgh, check out this post.

The Dome

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Vegan Eats in Edinburgh

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

In December 2022, it was my great pleasure to experience my first international solo trip. A long held dream of mine became reality as I visited Edinburgh, Scotland during the holiday season. I enjoyed the Christmas Market, the beautiful décor and festive atmosphere, visiting areas of the city I’d yet to explore AND the amazing vegan food.

This was my fourth visit to this extraordinary city, my third as one who practices a plant based lifestyle, and I so appreciate all that Edinburgh offers in the way of vegan options.

Check out these vegan eats in Edinburgh, for your next visit to Scotland.

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Researching Vegan Eats in Edinburgh

Because of my dietary restrictions, by choice, before I travel I research places to eat. And because I am typically on foot once I reach my destination, it becomes especially important to find accommodations near where I’ll explore and then search for vegan options in the surrounding area.

I’m very familiar with Edinburgh, Scotland. The city centre is comprised of Old Town and New Town, separated by a valley that is now Princes Street Gardens. The Christmas Market occupies space along Princes Street and in the gardens, which is officially in New Town and at the edge of Old Town.

Fortunately, I found the perfect accommodations for me, on Rose Street just a block from Princes Street and the market. You can see why I fell in love with CoDE Boutique Hostel, in this post on my other blog site.

Once I reserved a cozy, private apartment in the hostel, I searched the area for vegan cafes or at least, restaurants that offer vegan options. Edinburgh is home to SO many wonderful vegan restaurants. Plus, many regular cafés offer vegan and gluten free options as well.

I stayed a week in Edinburgh. The apartment’s kitchen meant I could prepare healthy breakfasts and dinners there while allowing me to dine out for lunch and/or afternoon tea.

Vegan Eats in Edinburgh typical breakfast
The breakfast that I prepared each morning…oatmeal.

Vegan Eats in Edinburgh

These are the places I chose during my week in Edinburgh. All but one were new to me, which meant delightful first experiences. And all were within easy walking distance from my accommodations except for one.

Seeds for the Soul

My sister and I enjoyed lunch at this 100% vegan restaurant in 2019. I KNEW I wanted a return meal here, even though it is not located near the city centre.

Located at 167 Bruntsfield Place, I dropped my carryon off at CoDE Boutique Hostel and then took an Uber to Seeds for the Soul for a leisurely lunch. This is literally the first place I visited upon arrival, other than a quick stop by my accommodations. After a long day of travel, Seeds for the Soul was such a treat, easing my weariness with hearty, nourishing vegan food.

Seeds for the Soul offers an impressive menu. From full vegan breakfasts to an assortment of hearty and healthy lunches and specialty drinks, this café believes in changing the world one plate, one meal at a time.

They make most of their food from scratch using organic and locally sourced produce. And they take to heart the words, “be the change you want to see in the world”, offering cruelty free meals, always. Read more about my first visit HERE.

This visit I lingered over the Nourish Bowl and then savored a pot of tea with a slice of vegan carrot cake. Seeds for the Soul was the perfect way to welcome myself back to Edinburgh!

Vegan Eats in Edinburgh seeds for the soul
Vegan Eats in Edinburgh – Seeds for the Soul bowl
Vegan Eats in Edinburgh seeds for the soul dessert
Seeds for the Soul vegan carrot cake and a pot of tea.

Holy Cow

This cozy café, located at 34 Elder Street , was one of the first fully vegan restaurants to open in Edinburgh. While they are famous for home-made vegan burgers, Holy Cow offers a variety of mouth watering meals and desserts.

Holy Cow prepares their food with careful attention to every detail, using only fresh, local, organic ingredients. Their Chefs bake organic rolls and gluten free breads every day. And if there’s room still after the meal, try one of the luscious home-made sweet treats created by Pastry Chefs Justina and Anatol.

A short 10 minute walk brought me to Holy Cow. The cozy café is located down a flight of steps, below sidewalk level, with windows along the front wall. I enjoyed a vegan Reuben sandwich, which was marvelous, and a side of rosemary fries…called chips in Scotland!

As I did at Seeds for the Soul, I took half my meal back to the apartment, for dinner, so that I had room for a slice of mango cheesecake with blackberries and a pot of tea. So delicious!

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Vegan Eats in Edinburgh – Holy Cow Reuben Sandwich
Vegan Eats in Edinburgh holy cow dessert
This vegan mango cheesecake tasted amazing!

The Dome Afternoon Tea

The Dome, located at 14 George Street, occupies a site that originally contained a physician’s hall before becoming a bank and then an award winning restaurant and bar. The current stately structure was built in 1844 after the original building was torn down.

The massive building houses a bar, a dining room, a private dining area, meeting rooms, an outdoor garden area for summer dining and a Georgian Tea Room. While it is not 100% vegan, The Dome offers vegan options.

There’s a cool story behind my afternoon tea at The Dome. Due to its popularity, reservations are required for dining and for afternoon tea. About a month before my trip, I attempted to make online reservations for the second week in December. To my dismay, there wasn’t any availability. The Dome was fully booked.

Disappointed, I began searching for another place for a special afternoon tea, however, as of two weeks before my trip, I had not found anything quite as unique as The Dome. I felt a “nudge” to check the online reservations again, in case there was a cancellation. Indeed, there was an opening, and I happily booked my reservation for a Friday afternoon, ordering a vegan afternoon tea.

This was such a treat, truly an experience I will treasure always. My afternoon tea was a visual and culinary delight. Check out The Dome online, for reservations and to see the menu. And watch for a full, upcoming blog post on this experience.

Vegan Eats in Edinburgh afternoon tea
Vegan afternoon tea at The Dome.

NovaPizza Vegan Kitchen

After a morning spent exploring in a new to me section of Edinburgh, called Stockbridge, I visited this charming vegan Italian café for lunch. Because of my pre-trip planning, stopping by was no coincidence. I looked for vegan restaurants in the Stockbridge area before I visited Edinburgh.

NovaPizza claims status as the first Italian vegan restaurant in Edinburgh. It’s owned by a Roman family that prepares and serves authentic Italian dishes, plant based style!

Located at 42 Howe Street, NovaPizza uses local products as much as possible, while offering pizzas, pastas and other meals. They also offer gluten free options as well.

Although I arrived as the café opened, and was seated immediately, the small, cozy interior fills up quickly with hungry patrons. A reservation is recommended. I enjoyed a vegan gnocchi with a homemade rocket (arugula) pesto sauce, topped with tomato confit. It was incredible! And very filling.

Vegan Eats in Edinburgh novapizza
Vegan gnocchi at NovaPizza Vegan Kitchen.

Stack & Still

This fun restaurant, located at 53 Rose Street, was literally steps from my accommodations on the same Street. They serve pancakes…in many different combinations, sweet and savory. You can create your own stack…or choose from their selection of signature dishes.

And while they are not 100% vegan, they offer vegan, gluten free and no added sugar options. That made Stack & Still my destination for a wonderful Sunday brunch.

I chose a vegan, gluten free, no added sugar pancake topped with fresh blueberries and strawberries, with a side of pure maple syrup. It was the perfect start to my day of exploring.

Vegan Eats in Edinburgh pancake with fruit
Vegan Eats in Edinburgh – Stack & Still vegan pancake with fruit.

Wanderlust Café & Bistro

Located on the Royal Mile, in Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town, this little café was the perfect spot for a quick meal and a chance to get out of the cold!

Wanderlust offers savory breakfast meals along with lunch, freshly squeezed juices, smoothies and hot drinks. You can request a vegan menu and non dairy milk for your coffee or tea.

Their specialties include vegan crepes, both sweet and savory.

I felt like nachos, however, and LOVED the vegan version served by Wanderlust. The meal warmed me up and gave me an energy boost to continue my walk along the Royal Mile.

Vegan Eats in Edinburgh wanderlust cafe and bistro
Vegan Eats in Edinburgh – Wanderlust Café & Bistro vegan nachos.

Christmas Market Vegan Food

On my last full day in Edinburgh, I chose to eat “festival food” at the Christmas Market. I’d already walked through the market several times on previous days and scouted out which of the many food booths offered vegan options.

There were plenty of choices. I found an assortment of vegan offerings, from brats and hotdogs to sweet treats to hot chocolate made from non dairy milk to crepes and nachos.

It was very cold on this day, with temps hovering around 24 degrees Fahrenheit. I enjoyed a dairy free hot chocolate. And although I ate nachos the day before at Wanderlust, I couldn’t resist the smell of nachos…with vegan cheese, vegan haggis and jalapenos! I needed the heat. And how often do I get to eat vegan haggis??

I loved the lively, colorful, festive atmosphere at the Christmas Market. The cold didn’t stop people from enjoying the rides, the booths, the music, the sights and the food, me included.

I carried my steaming hot plate of food to a large communal dining area, with stand up tables and canopies overhead to protect from falling rain or snow. A light layer of snow clung to the table nevertheless, which felt perfect to me! I smiled at the mother with her children across the table from me and tucked into my meal.

It felt like a wonderful final vegan meal in Edinburgh.

Christmas Market nachos
Christmas Market nachos with vegan cheese and vegan haggis! It was wonderful. And yes, the photo is slightly blurry. It was so cold that my iPhone was not operating well.

Edinburgh, Scotland

I absolutely loved this solo trip to my favorite city in the world. It always feels like coming home to me, like I belong here more than anywhere else.

With their wealth of vegan restaurants and options, I certainly appreciate the ability to find plant based food here. In fact, there are so many vegan options in Edinburgh that I’ve only barely scratched the surface of what’s available. That just means I must return, to try more restaurants!

Have you visited Edinburgh, Scotland? What restaurants did you enjoy?

Enjoying tea tine at The Dome
Enjoying afternoon tea at The Dome.

For more info about being plant based in Edinburgh, read this post.

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Vegan Eats in Charleston

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

When I travel, I adhere to my health practices. If I didn’t, I’d quickly not feel well and that’s not the way I want to spend my travel time.

That means I continue to eat a plant based diet, wherever I am.

On my recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina, I scouted out the best places to get a plant based meal. Based on my location in the historic district downtown, I chose cafés and restaurants within walking distance from my accommodations.

These places serve healthy meals, some that aren’t vegan. All have plant based options though.

Check out these vegan eats in Charleston.

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Eating Vegan in Charleston

My accommodations, Meeting Street Inn, provided a continental breakfast. Although they served a variety of breakfast items, most of them weren’t plant based. They did offer several low or no sugar cereals…but no plant based milk. And they did have packets of plain oatmeal. I had a small refrigerator in my room so one option was to stock it with plant based milk for the cereal. The other option, which I chose, was to purchase some vegan snacks to keep in my room, for a quick breakfast before heading out the door.

I opted to eat lunch and dinner out. Meeting Street Inn also offers an evening wine and nibbles. Other than fresh grapes, however, the rest of the nibbles are not vegan.

I had no problem finding cafés and restaurants to try, that offer vegan meals. Here are the ones I recommend.

Verde

Located at 347 King Street, Verde is a locally owned, operated and staffed health conscious café that features salads and wraps. The café is bright, clean and inviting.

Verde cares about making it easy for diners to experience the benefits of eating, going and being green. And they care about the environment, so their fresh salads and bowls come in compostable containers. They source ingredients locally to reduce their carbon footprint and they use bicycles for deliveries, whenever possible.

Plus Verde gives back to the community. They support their community by donating food and volunteering at local organizations.

Verde offers an assortment of salads and bowls, any of which can become a wrap.

I chose the Bowled Buddha, a yummy combo of roasted broccoli, chickpeas, pickled onions, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, kimchi and power seeds, served with turmeric vinaigrette on brown rice, quinoa and kale. For a drink I selected unsweetened iced tea.

This Buddha Bowl was so incredibly delicious and very filling. I took half of it back to my room at the inn and ate it for supper that night.

Vegan Eats in Charleston verde buddha bowl
Vegan Eats in Charleston – Verde’s Bowled Buddha

Beech

Located at 315 King Street, Beech takes the guesswork out of eating healthy. This café focuses on delivering a fresh, fast and healthy menu based on four pillars of a balanced diet: fruit, fish, rice and vegetables. You can, of course, leave out the fish, as I chose to do!

The Beech Team began as two brothers pursuing a dream of serving their community through healthy foods, served quickly. Beech is clean and cozy.

They offers cold pressed juices, smoothies, fresh fruit bowls featuring acai, and poké bowls.

The poké bowls, which originated in Hawaii, are basically sushi in a bowl. They feature cubed raw fish mixed with rice, veggies and toppings.

I built my own delicious poké bowl using brown rice, avocado, picked red onion, picked cucumber, seeds and crispy onion flakes with sriracha aioli. It was SO good. An unsweetened iced tea accompanied this meal as well.

Vegan Eats in Charleston beech poke bowl
Vegan Eats in Charleston – Beech build your own poké bowl

Basic Kitchen

Located at 82 Wentworth, just off the intersection of King and Wentworth, Basic Kitchen uses seasonal, local produce and the best ingredients to create nourishing and delicious meals.

They love diverse flavors and dishes from around the world. Basic Kitchen believes that the choices we make through food have a positive impact on our health, community and environment. They feature a fun, casual dining environment. On their menu are the words “Cleaner fuel…longer adventures.” I agree with them!

Basic Kitchen offers small plates such as sweet potato fries, cauli wings and pistachio beet dip, salads, bowls and big plates. Big plates include dishes such as pistachio pesto rigatoni and veggie burgers.

Keeping my bowl theme going, I chose a Curry Bowl with green Thai coconut curry, veggies, cilantro and Charleston Gold rice. I devoured it! No left overs and no room for their salted chocolate tahini tart. My waiter brought me a bottle of chilled water. I loved that extra touch!

Vegan Eats in Charleston basic kitchen
Vegan Eats in Charleston – Basic Kitchen green curry bowl

Brown Dog Deli

Admittedly, this café at 40 Broad Street is not one you’d think of for plant based food. However, checking their menu I found some vegan options.

Chef Wes Denney brings a far reaching experience to this unique deli. His diverse menu includes Asian influences and southern BBQ. Brown Dog Deli has a fun classic diner vibe.

The deli features salads, poké bowls, gourmet sandwiches, deli classics and a very nice assortment of vegan options including plant based burgers, non chicken “chicken”, veggie dogs and veggie wraps.

I barely made it to Brown Dog Deli before it closed, after visiting a museum late in the afternoon. So I ordered my meal to go. I chose the Black Bean Santa Fe Wrap. It contains a black bean burger, corn, mango salsa, lettuce, tomato, onion, guacamole and cilantro.

As the sun sank, I enjoyed my wrap seated near the Pineapple Fountain, in Waterfront Park. The wrap was wonderful…and huge. I took half of it back to my room for later.

Vegan Eats in Charleston brown dog deli wrap
Vegan Eats in Charleston – Brown Dog Deli black bean wrap

Two Restaurants That I Missed

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the last two restaurants on my list: The Daily and Neon Tiger.

Both of these eateries are located on King, at 652 and 654 King, respectively. The Daily is primarily a breakfast and lunch café and I just ran out of days and times to get there. And on my last evening in Charleston, I intended to eat supper at Neon Tiger. However, strong thunderstorms rolled into area. Since I was on foot, I opted to stay in.

The Daily

The goal of The Daily is to create a place where people come to be refreshed and nourished. They source local and regional products. And they support sustainability and environmental stewardship.

They offer healthy juices, strong coffee, breakfast toasts made with their own freshly baked bread, plus pastries, smoothies, wine and snacks to go.

Neon Tiger

Neon Tiger is a cocktail bar featuring local, natural, organic and fresh libations and small plates. They are wholly vegan. On their website they say that they are fun whether you identify as vegan or not. “Come for the drinks, stay for the vibes and make up your own damn mind.” I love that!

Neon Tiger offers vegan appetizers, salads, main dishes such as roasted cauliflower over red beet hummus and chickpeas, bowls, pizzas, plant based burgers and sandwiches.

Next time I visit Charleston, I’ll make sure I visit The Daily and Neon Tiger first!

Vegan Eats in Charleston basic kitchen groovy
Feeling groovy in Basic Kitchen

Other Vegan Options

I’m sure there are other places to eat in Charleston, with vegan options. Near Meeting Street Inn I saw a Subway, where you can create your own chopped salad, and a Moe’s Southwest Grill, where you can build your own vegan bowl.

And at most restaurants, you can order plain a la carte veggies.

Overall, I found it easy to eat vegan in Charleston and even fairly simple to eat plant based in the airports as I traveled.

I’m grateful for healthy food that fueled me, making it possible for me to explore this gorgeous city on foot, energy high and body functioning well.

Have you visited Charleston? What restaurants are your favorites?

Vegan Eats in Charleston brown dog deli
The fun interior of Brown Dog Deli on Broad Street

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