With Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight falling just two months before Glasgow hosts COP26, it’s the perfect time to consider how you can be more sustainable in your eating habits. From purchasing organically farmed vegetables and locally-sourced meats, to eating more home-cooked meals or introducing more plant-based dishes into your diet, there are plenty of ways to eat and drink sustainably. To help you in your journey to eating more sustainably, we’ve put together a list of some of Scotland’s most unique vegan experiences. So, whether you are a full-time vegan or just culinarily curious, there is something for everyone.
Novapizza - Edinburgh
Starting off the list is Novapizza. The first restaurant of its kind in Edinburgh, Novapizza is an entirely vegan Italian restaurant. The family-run establishment uses local produce and some inherited know-how to create extraordinary authentic Italian cuisine with a vegan twist. With a little bit of culinary sorcery, they turn carrots into salmon and walnuts into parmesan. Though you might be forgiven for questioning the wait-staff when you see a cheese and charcuterie board on the menu, they’ll be happy to reassure you, it’s all made from plants.
Saorsa 1875 - Pitlochry
If you want to have a luxury vegan dining experience, then Saorsa 1875 might be the spot for you. This vegan boutique hotel in Pitlochry, opened in 2018, has been praised by vegans and non-vegans alike. Each evening is a complete surprise, with a totally unique 5-course tasting menu every night. The kitchen plays around with locally foraged plants to produce weird, yet wonderful, dishes (ever heard of wild leek soil before? You’ll be going back for seconds once you try it!). They also offer some delightful vegan tipples to cleanse the palate between courses, and at the end of the evening there is always time to chat with the chef before retiring to your room with a local Scottish whisky.
Harmonium - Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s answer to vegan comfort food comes in the form of Harmonium. This bar-cum-restaurant-cum-music-venue in the heart of the New Town is well-loved among its regular crowd and new patrons alike. With items such as crab cakes, mac and cheese, juicy burgers, handmade pizzas, haggis quesadillas and fish and chips on the menu, it’s got something for even the most hesitant of the plant-curious diners. If you delve below the restaurant, the basement hides a secret music venue and bar, which is set to open once Covid-19 restrictions allow.
The Wildcat - Fort William
If you need a vegan pick-me-up before walking the Glenfinnan Viaduct or hiking up Ben Nevis, then Fort William’s Wildcat Cafe is the perfect spot for you. Plant-based cakes and coffees are a must-try at this hidden spot, or if you have a little more time try their freshly made sandwiches or the Mains of the day - a new vegan dish every time you go! If this weren’t enough, the zero-waste shop to the back of the cafe has a huge selection of vegan goodies, including organic, Fair Trade chocolate bars, to keep your energy up as you explore the surrounding Highlands.
The Hug & Pint - Glasgow
Finding vegan wine and beer can be a difficult task, but The Hug and Pint takes all the guesswork away as one of Glasgow’s favourite vegan bars, eateries, and music venues. Named after the album Monday at the Hug & Pint, by Scottish indie rock band Arab Strap, the bar’s logo was even designed by the band’s frontman, Aidan Moffat. Not only does The Hug and Pint stock an extensive selection of drinks, but it also offers an exciting menu of Asian-inspired cuisine, the like of which you won’t find anywhere else in Glasgow. All of this can be enjoyed alongside the almost-daily live music performances, from both well-established and emerging local artists alike.
The 78 - Glasgow
The West-coast cousin to Harmonium, The 78 offers a cosy dining experience. Chunky, wooden tables mismatched vintage armchairs and a roaring open fire make this a perfect autumnal stop. Their seasonal menu means they only use the very best local produce, and they have a brilliantly quirky selection of deserts (Limoncello jello or deep-fried Oreo cookies anyone?) which pair wonderfully with their weekly Sunday jazz jam sessions - one of Scotland’s longest running regular jazz gigs, established back in 2008. With DJ’s every Friday and Saturday, and 100% vegan food and drinks, it’s a great evening out.
The Alleycat - Inverness
Fancy some classic Scottish dishes? The Alleycat is the perfect choice for traditional Scottish food with a vegan twist. Their jackfruit stoavies, veggie haggis, neeps and tatties and faux ‘fish’ and chips are particularly popular among their visitors, along with their delightful selections of cakes and deserts. This place might be a little hidden away, but the small team have been making the best of the space to offer something totally different for Inverness. If you don’t fancy a full meal, you can always try one of their fantastic vegan milkshakes, made with their very own oatmilk.
Catchacarrot - Oban
This pop-up cafe is the work of just one woman if you can believe it and is the most westerly eatery on our list. The self-proclaimed “trendiest vegan cafe” in Argyll has an ever-adapting menu, with favourites such as lentil Bolognese and crispy polenta fingers to mock duck katsu curry. Some ingredients are even homegrown, like their peas, or locally foraged, like their bog mint. They even do some food deliveries if you are staying nearby. Now if only someone did home-delivery washing up!