Vegan’s guide to Glasgow

Vegans, vegetarians and proponents of predominately plant-based diets will be pleased to know there are many places to plant yourself during the day or night while visiting Glasgow, on the Clyde River in Scotland.

In 2013, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation voted Glasgow as the most vegan-friendly in the UK. The reason for this is simple: the city has more than 20 vegan, vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly restaurants that don’t serve meat or milk. In the past five years, the number of venues that don’t use animal products has grown so much there are now vegan festivals that take place all around Scotland. Here are seven of the best vegan venues in Glasgow.

The Flying Duck

This basement bar is tucked away near the Queen St subway in Glasgow’s city centre. The intimate bar is based on an American diner and it’s a great place to enjoy vegan versions of classics such as a Philly cheese steak and loaded fries. One of the most popular dishes on the 100 per cent vegan menu is the cajun bean quarter pounder served with skinny fries, slaw and salad.

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Mono Cafe Burger

No story about the growth of Glasgow’s vegan culture would be complete without a nod to Scottish restaurateur Craig Tannock, who has five vegan venues: The Flying DuckMono, Stereo, The Old Hairdresser’s and The 78  – all of which are worth a mention. In addition to catering to vegans, Tannock – who is behind Tower Studios – is a key player in the city’s live music scene. Order the faux gras (pate made from mushrooms) and beetroot falafel.

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No alt guide to the city of Glasgow would be complete without a mention of The Old Hairdresser’s. And while the bar owned by Tannock does not serve food, it’s a spicy bean burger pattie’s throw from his other joint, Stereo, which is housed in a building designed by legendary Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The food here is seasonal. It’s also shareable tapas-style vegan bites designed to woo fussy eaters … and even those who usually feed on flesh. Here, the vegan visionary gets that you really don’t eat anything with a face. So the fish and chips is actually crisp battered jackfruit fillet. 

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The 78 Bar and Kitchen

@the78Barandkitchen is another addition to Tannock’s portfolio of vegan venues. Order a bazillion vegan tacos  and burn them off with a boogaloo on cantina nite, when the Healthy DJs do their thing at the club, which is located in Glasgow’s West End. Smoky chickpeas make a cameo in the kale Caesar and the Japanese tofu curry is also a favourite in the hipster haven that is the Finnieston neighbourhood.

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This vegan cafe in the city centre is a popular hangout for vegans looking for light food options for breakfast and lunch. This relaxing cafe, in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City, offers a menu that is focused on plants. Dogs are welcome in the eco-friendly cafe, which features pendant lighting and planter boxes filled with greenery. Grab a blueberry kale smoothie and sit alongside those converted to the cruelty-free cause while discussing the Paris agreement on climate change. Plant purists will be torn between the vegetable panino and the pad Thai bowl.

Lotus Vegetarian Cuisine

Vegans who thrive on variety will appreciate the meat-free menu here, where the focus is on Asian flavours. Embark on a compelling two-course lunch of vegan chicken soup followed by kung pao tofu or green pepper and black bean, all served with boiled rice.  Due to popular demand, the restaurant also doles out gluten-free vegan ‘pork’ dishes, which are made minus the addition of MSG. 

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The Happy Cow community puts out regular updates on its VeginOut Newsletter and Glasvegan is one of the cafes that features in its monthly missive. The cafe, located in Enoch Square, opened in March and sells items such as vegan cheese and cream and treats. The pun-tastic menu also features delights such as doner vebabs, haggis and not dogs, which appear on Instagram alongside Google’s new vegan salad emoji.

Carla Grossetti was a guest of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau with the assistance of Qantas.

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