Edinburgh’s windy weather and hilly streets can work up quite the appetite. After a day spent shopping in the city’s best vintage stores, strolling through cobbled alleys or hiking up Arthur’s Seat, enjoy a meat-free meal in one of the Scottish capital’s best vegetarian restaurants.

Plant-based cafés, vegan street food and where to eat meat-free in the Scottish capital

Union of Genius

Head to Scotland’s first dedicated soup café to cosy up with a bowl of homemade soup. Alternatively pop by the Union of Genius van (nicknamed Dumbo) on the corner of George Square. While all the soups are delicious, the vegan chilli is a firm favourite among locals.

NovaPizza Vegetarian Kitchen

In Edinburgh’s New Town, this pizzeria sells the city’s best vegetarian and vegan pizza. Start with bruschetta topped with seasonal ingredients – our favourite is the iteration features vegan salmon, olives and rocket – or, if you’re visiting with a group, the tomato-topped “focaccia dracula” which feeds four. For mains, try the cacciatora pizza (topped with rosemary potatoes, capers and homemade seitan) or the messicana (tomato, mozzarella, vegan chicken, fresh chilli and roasted mixed peppers).

Hendersons Salad Table Restaurant

A favourite among veggies since it first opened in 1962, this restaurant sits on sloping Hanover Street. Descend into this underground space for classic vegetarian dishes made from organic, seasonal produce from Janet Henderson’s East Lothian farm. Dine on a wide selection of salads, soups, stews or frittata, and be sure to try Hendersons’ famous veggie haggis, made from root mash and red-wine gravy. Afterwards, pop upstairs to the Shop & Deli, a perfect place to huddle up with a coffee and people-watch from the large bay window.

Harmonium

Offering a vast menu of vegan dishes, Harmonium is a haven for plant-based eaters. Come for brunch, when simple decision-making abilities will be thrown out the window as you’re faced with choosing between dairy-free grilled cheese and “bacon” sourdough sandwiches and Belgian waffles topped with whipped cream, fresh berries, maple syrup and powdered sugar. Wash it all down with coffee from local Edinburgh-based roasters Williams and Johnson Coffee Co..

Hula Juice Café

After a morning spent meandering around the vintage shops of Grassmarket, pop into this charming café for a juice, a veggie snack and a dose of green goodness. Find your perch by a pastel-hued table amid jungle-esque decor and sip on a smoothie (the Ass-Aye-Eee with berries, açai, apple and coconut milk is delightfully sweet) and nibble on a slice of toasted sourdough or a warm bowl of veggie curry.

Stockbridge Market

Come Sunday, follow your nose to Stockbridge Market and weave your way between stalls serving freshly baked bread, crêpes, sweet treats and more. While the farmer’s market is not 100 per cent meat-free, there are plenty of plant-pushing stalls such as Casa Roble Paella (order a heaped plate of veggie paella) and Harajuku Kitchen, which serves great dumplings and udon noodles paired with Asian-style vegetables.

Paradise Palms

Primarily known as a bar and late-night dance spot, Paradise Palms also has a vast vegetarian menu at the Lucky Pig restaurant inside. Try a veggie burger – the seitan and black-bean patty topped with chive mayo and house piccalilli is our favourite – paired with the cheese-and-jerk-jackfruit fries or a side of mini chipotle mac ‘n’ cheese.

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