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