Today (1st November) is World Vegan Day! So, whether you’re a vegan yourself or looking to expand your options and cut down on your meat consumption, knowing where to find some great vegan dining options is crucial!

Having been a vegetarian for almost half my life and vegan for the last two years or so, when I made the decision to come to Stirling I really wanted to explore and find out how vegan-friendly it is as a city. And the answer is: very! Whether on campus or off, Stirling is definitely a great place to find something to eat and so I thought I’d compile a list of my favourite places (so far)!

You are actually spoiled for choice as far as looking for somewhere with at least something on the menu, so I have tried to list the places with either the best or most options. So, without further ado (and in no particular order), here are my top 5 places for vegans to eat in and around Stirling.

Café Aina

Tucked away on Cowane Street is this tiny little gem of a café serving cakes and coffee, light snacks to breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu has an incredible array of vegan options – including vegan omelettes and full breakfasts, tofu or falafel Souvlaki and even baguettes and burgers with vegan cheese – and incredibly, the cakes they have on offer every day are completely vegan.

The café itself is very small, but you can order your food to take away and even place an order with them through Just Eat for delivery. I thoroughly recommend one of their deliciously thick, vegan vanilla milkshakes and their caramel cake (when it’s on the menu), but their permanent vegan chocolate cake also looks to die for!

Café Aina, Cowane St, Stirling cafeaina.com/ Open 6.30am-9.30pm (Mon-Fri)

Monterey Jack’s

A burger bar with a whole separate vegan menu that you can stay in Stirling for? Result! Monterey Jack’s is on King Street, just down from Wetherspoon’s and right by Tingle and is open until midnight (1am on Fridays and Saturdays!).

Their vegan menu offers 7 ‘beef’ style burger options and 6 ‘chicken’ ones, and the pizzas on the main menu can be made vegan as well. It is a little on the pricier side, considering you have to order sides separately- but for a special treat or a once-in-a-while blow out it’s great to have somewhere that offers that amount of variety. Plus you can order from Just Eat, so you don’t even have to leave your house or flat if you’re feeling a little worse for wear and need a quick, greasy, burger fix!

Monterey Jack’s, King St, Stirling  stirling@monterey-jacks.com  Open 11am-12am (Fri and Sat 11am-1am)

Oishii

I have to hold my hands up and say I’ve only ordered from Oishii via Just Eat, but oh my goodness, I am so happy that there are such great vegan Japanese options in the city! According to Happy Cow, if you go into the restaurant itself (on Murray Place, right opposite the Oxfam bookshop and just down from the Thistles) and mention that you are vegan, the staff and chefs are more than happy to accommodate you and veganise menu options on request.

Amazing, right? So far, I find myself craving their tofu teriyaki and cucumber/avocado hosomaki pretty regularly- huge slabs of marinated, sticky and sweet tofu served over perfectly cooked sticky rice with salad… it’s so good.

Oishii, 82 Murray Place, Stirling   oishii-sushi.co.uk  Closed Tuesdays

Napizza

I’ve been led to believe that this little place on Friars Street is something of a Stirling institution. To look into, it doesn’t look like much – a relaxed little dining room with the bar/kitchen open on one side. But once you notice the traditional pizza oven and see the small but concise menu (complete with full customisation options!)

I think its reputation becomes understandable! Specialising in ‘white’ and ‘red’ pizzas, there are at least two specifically vegan pizzas on offer but, as already stated, you can customise your own pizza! Personally, I recommend the vegana pizza but I’m sure you can create your own vegan speciality without too much trouble!

Napizza, 15 Friars St, Stirling   napizzauk@gmail.com  Closed Mondays

Pizza Express

Okay, so maybe you feel that adding a chain restaurant in this list is cheating, but I genuinely feel that Pizza Express is one of the best places to eat as a vegan in Stirling!

You can get vegan options in all of the chain places (Nando’s, Frankie and Benny’s, Wetherspoons, even McDonalds!), but I love the vegan menu at Pizza Express. Also, the first meal I ever had in Stirling was at Pizza Express, so maybe there’s nostalgia here! They change it up regularly but you can get vegan pizza, dough balls, even desserts at Pizza Express and if you’re the only vegan in your group this is a great option to please everybody. Don’t overlook the chain restaurants, people!

Pizza Express, The Thistles Shopping Centre, Murray Place, Stirling   pizzaexpress.com  11:30am-10:00pm (10:30pm Fri and Sat)

These are just five out of many, some of which I’ve still to test and explore. Plus, if you’re just after a quick snack or a drink there’s everything from The Burgh (Lazy Day treats and artisan coffee with dairy free milks galore) or Love Brownies (vegan brownies!!!), both on King St, to Costa and Muffin Break inside The Thistles with vegan friendly snacking options.

Also, don’t overlook campus! Venue/Studio have a pretty substantial selection of vegan food options, you can get your vegan latte fix at Underground and V-Go at Haldane’s is a must for mid-lecture lunches. I can especially recommend the curried potato salad in a wrap- delicious!

Happy National Vegan Day!