Thursday, 7 April 2011

Glasgow Special

A post on the best vegan options at Glasgow based (as opposed to chain) restaurants.

Firstly, places I've tried:

1. Mono
I've been going to Mono for ages, long before I was vegan. It's an all vegan bar/ restaurant/ gig venue with a music shop in the restaurant, located near the merchant city/ trongate, behind the St Enoch Centre. My mum thinks of it as a 'cool student hangout' although really that's just my mum for you! It does have a good atmosphere though and is usually pretty busy.

mono 1

It's a kind of greek/ bar food themed menu, with hummous and baba ganoush as mezze. The starters have changed since I was there, my dad would be chuffed to know there's scrambled tofu as he always tells me about the time he had it in New York and when I try and make it I can never get it quite right. What I have tried that's still on this new menu is the Black Bean chilli, which was good but very filling and the flavour wasn't quite what I was expecting, and the roasted vegetable pie which was a bit undercooked. I've tried he burger too (which is what my brother and boyfriend always get) and it was nice but I'm not really into veggie burgers. The chips and hummous and pita were yummy. The dark chocolate torte had a delicious creamy chocolat mousse topping but the base tasted a bit lemony, like a cheesecake base, and I hate lemon flavoured things so I didn't eat the base. I'd get the banana fritters next time. I'm actually getting the urge to go from just looking at it, I used to go with my family a lot but we haven't been in ages. I'm going for the banana fritters next time!

2. Stereo

This is another vegan bar/ restaurant/ cafe/ gig venue/ club (actually a fair bit of Glasgow's gig/ club scene is vegan run, considering (there's also the vegan club The Flying Duck)) and is one I only discovered more recently, and when I went to look for it I almost couldn't find it, as it's really hidden away down Renfield Lane near Central Station and I actually walked past it while looking for it the first time!

I have tried the VLT which was awesome, with a broccoli and walnut soup of the day as far as I recall, which was nice. I also had the risotto which was a bit flavourless. There are so many other things I'd like to try but I've only been there twice!

3. The Thirteenth Note

We've been frequenting this one almost as long as Mono, and again it's a bar/ restaurant/ gig venue (there are not really many family/ child friendly veg*n places in Glasgow which is a shame) and it's vegetarian but practically vegan and everything is marked out clearly on the menu (bit of a reverse as the Vs are the vegetarian things and the rest is vegan). Great gluten free marking too.

I have tried a lot of the main meals here as many of them have stayed on the menu for a while. My favourite which I've had a few times is the Haggis Neeps and Tatties which is always delicious. I love the creamy coconut and tomato curry too, although I do have to drink a lot of water as I find it very spicy. The risotto cakes were OK, the lasagne was yummy, and my brother always enjoys the burger, plus my whole family adore the spicy chips.

4. The 78

Owned by same people as Stereo/ Mono. Although we have had a bad experience here it is still a place dear to my heart as the first time I went there they were trialling their new menu and we got free food! Sadly though what has sometimes let down all three establishments (Stereo/ Mono/ the 78) is slow and not-very-polite service. When my dad got some money from his work to take us all out to eat, we chose the 78, and it took them over an hour to bring the main course plus my brother's food was burnt, and none of the waiters/ waitresses came over to apologise for the wait. I emailed them about it but after a couple of days waiting I stopped checking for the reply so it might have gone in my junk mail. My parents had a similar experience at Stereo when they went for their anniversary. Food wise though I've always had a good experience. The menu has changed since I was last there, and they don't have what I ate:

I can vouch for the chocolate cake though it was very rich.

5. The Left Bank

My boyfriend's favourite restaurant, ironically since he was so reluctant to try it out (I found it searching for vegan-friendly places). It's an omni establishment in the West End near Glasgow University Union, but with vegan items marked out on the menu, and nice decoration and atmosphere. The chairs and tables upstairs are a bit close together though and my parents went once and had a bad experience with this. When we went in January for my boyfriend's birthday though they put us in a nice wee secluded (actually private it was just our table) bit downstairs though and we had a fantastic evening.

I have been here many a time since I stumbled upon it about 8 months ago, searching for a nice restaurant where I could get something other than cheeseless pizza but where boyfriend wouldn't complain about the lack of red meat choice. The little black dot means vegan or vegan option available.

The sweet potato burger is nice but a bit too spicy for me. I usually go for a few smalls, and get the chickpea and potato chaat (delicious) the basmati rice (ok but I might not get it again) and a flat bread. I sometimes get the chips too, which are nice, although I wasn't a fan of the roast potatoes which were too oily and not crispy at all. The super salad is excellent, really yummy and healthy (although I usually get a side of chips with it!). The thali with cauliflower kofta was good too, but I prefer the chickpea chaat.

6. Tchai Ovna House of Tea

Another vegetarian cafe, just round the corner from the Left Bank. I've been twice.


It's more about the tea than the food, and I can't find an online menu but I remember baba ghanoush and dolmades and curry being on there.

7. The Lucky 7 Canteen

All food is £7 for dinner (£4 for lunch) and they have a separate vegan and vegetarian menu (although we're not fuss pots!)

I have had the stuffed peppers twice and they are very tasty although not filling enough so I tend to get chips too!

Vegan Friendly restaurants I haven't been to yet:


  1. There's a few places through here you should try too. Off the top of my head:

    Suzie's Diner - I think that's the name, it's right beside Edinburgh Uni and has a nice canteen feel, and I'm fairly certain everything's veggie and no doubt a lot of it is vegan too.

    Forest Café - I know the venue above it is probably being shut down due to a lack of funds, but I think the café's going to remain open. It's entirely staffed by volunteers and is BYOB. I'm fairly certain it's all veggie, and probably has a fair few vegan options - we may have been before years ago actually.

    Kalpna's - This is an Indian restaurant in Newington that's all veggie. I can't say for definite about its veganness, but there's probably a good chance. I love one of the paneer curries, but as paneer is cheese you couldn't have that.

    Henderson's - I think there are 2 Henderson's actually, the original being a long established stalwart of the Edinburgh veggie scene. I've never been myself but I've heard great things.

    David Banns - This is just off the Royal Mile. It's a bit pricier as it's a proper restaurant as opposed to being a café or diner, but it is delicious. It's all veggie. Well worth a visit.

    No doubt there are other places I've never been to or heard of.

  2. Btw, another useful website is of course The List. Just go to the Food and Drink section, search Glasgow and then click on Vegetarian.

  3. Thanks! Yes we've been to the Forest Café :) think I had nachos. In my experience every vegetarian place has some vegan stuff. I'd love to go to David Banns, I've never been to a proper 'posh' vegetarian restaurant, as opposed to a vegetarian bar restaurant, before- the chilli chocolate crepes sound wonderful!

  4. Well then, if you come and visit me we shall go!