You may or may not be aware that Mexican food is very vegan friendly, you just need to skip the sour cream and dairy cheese and you’re pretty much set! There are so many Mexican street food shops in Edinburgh, it’s hard to keep up! Some of the places I’ve visited seem to infuse their own personal touches on their food and you’ll see why it’s not so easy to stick with just one place.
Illegal Jack’s: 44-45 St Patrick Square, EH8 9ET
The OH and I loved eating at Illegal Jack’s when they still had their store on Lothian Road, the food was always fresh and tasty and we loved every bite. We were obviously disappointed when they had to shut shop due to unforeseen circumstances outwith their control and could no longer safely trade, but couldn’t contain our excitement when it opened again! We’ve been meaning to dine at the new location at St Patrick Square for ages, but with both of our busy schedules, trying to fit in all the places we have yet to try and eat at, it has been a bit of a competition about where to go first. I eventually visited Illegal Jack’s with my friend Jen and we both had a difficult time choosing from the menu, both non-vegan (Jen) and vegan options!
They have various fillings to choose from including veggie haggis, sautéed veg, vegetarian chilli, and my favourite jackfruit carnitas. Illegal Jack’s is the only place to offer jackfruit burritos! With these fillings in mind, you can choose to have these in burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, tacos, nachos or chilli bowls.
I opted for the Dr Phil Burrito Bowl which also happens to be gluten free and comes with tortilla corn chips instead of a tortilla wrap. As with all other dishes, I skipped the sour cream and opted for vegan cheese instead (thank you, Illegal Jack’s!) and went for jackfruit carnitas with my beans, salsa, guacamole and seasoned rice. The jackfruit carnitas was a little bit on the spicy side, so great if you love a kick!
BarBurrito: various locations across Edinburgh
From a choice of different burritos, nachos and tacos, you can customise your meal to suit your preferences. From a choice of the Classic, Superfood or Naked burritos (the Loaded Burrito has slaw which isn’t suitable for vegans), add flash fried vegetables and fresh guacamole without their dairy cheese and sour cream and you’re good to go! As a side, you would need to check their tortilla chips and churros. The first time I visited they were vegan friendly as long as you avoided their cheese sauce with tortilla chips and the dulce de leche sauce with the churros, but it seems the next time I visited, they weren’t vegan.
Taco Mazama: various locations across Edinburgh
Didn’t get a chance to take a photo of my burritos on both occasions I’ve been to Taco Mazama, but after raving comments I’ve heard from the vegan community about how they offer exciting fillings, I had to go and try them myself. Vegan mac ‘n’ cheese or chipotle shredded tofu anyone? Both fillings are very tasty, but I think I’ve got to say the vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, adding comfort food as a filling to a regular burrito, just hits all the right spots for me and it just works!
Mac ‘n’ cheese burrito
The chipotle shredded tofu is also lovely if you like a bit of a kick, it is a little too spicy for my spice-sensitive palate and my nose kept running, but I was determined to finish my tasty roll in a tortilla wrap. You get a choice of 3 different salsas and get guacamole for free for your vegan options.
Chipotle shredded tofu burrito
Los Cardos: 281 Leith Walk, EH6 8PD
I visited Los Cardos by chance after visiting a shop along Leith Walk and was too lazy to cook dinner. The small shop easily camouflages amongst all the other pubs, restaurants and tattoo/piercing and beauty studios along that stretch, but the food is definitely worth a taste. The staff are really friendly and when I mentioned I was vegan, the member of staff that served me knew what I could and couldn’t have in my burrito and skipped the cheese and sour cream. The burrito is a good size, so make sure you’ve got a ready to eat, healthy appetite before you visit! The shop has a limited number of seats, but I was taking my meal home to devour in peace so it wasn’t an issue for me.
Also worth noting that the shop only accepts cash, but you can order online and pay with your debit/credit card for delivery or collection in store.
El Toro Loco: 60 Grassmarket, EH1 2JR
Mexican street food, no bull: that’s what you can expect from this Mexican street food restaurant in a central location. Conveniently located in the middle of Grassmarket surrounded by pubs, restaurants and cafes, El Toro Loco offers tasty delicious burritos, tacos, quesadillas and bowls for a reasonable price. They also offer light breakfast dishes, but none of their breakfast options are suitable for vegans unfortunately. Not to fear, as their main dishes are so tasty and fresh, the salad veg crunch with every bite!
Their veggie chilli with chickpeas and black beans has a nice kick to it, but topped with their mild salsa, guacamole and borracho beans, you get a tasty meal bursting with flavour. On my visit, I ordered the tacos which were nice and soft, filled to the brim with a lovely combination of flavours and textures. A nice and small restaurant, El Toro Loco is a lovely place to dine for a late night feast while surrounded by a myriad of Mexican artwork and mosaics that keep your eyes wandering around the walls.
Have you been to a Mexican food restaurant that you would highly recommend? What is your favourite dish?