Where to Eat in Edinburgh

A selection of tried and tested places to eat in Edinburgh.

There’s barely anything I like more than eating out. Of course, it’s never pleasant to leave a restaurant unsatisfied. Fortunately, in Edinburgh that’s unlikely, so good is the selection of eateries in the city.

So, whether you’re a local or a visitor, these are just some of your many options. Bon appetit!

Coffee shops/Coffee & Cake

Casa Angelina – The vintage tea room is tucked away in a London Street basement next to a sauna. Don’t let that put you off! You have to try the classic afternoon tea served on three-tiered cake stands. You may also want to try the divine soups and salads.

lovecrumbs edinburgh

Lovecrumbs – Always hard to choose from the selection of cakes presented in a vintage cupboard. Also, always hard to choose a table since you have options such as the retro piano and the windowsill. Delectable baked goods. Would be hard to find hipper servers.

Freemans – Set in a beautiful building near the Meadows. Everyone loves a bit of mismatched vintage furniture, excellent coffee, tasty sweet treats and lunch. A favourite among the local student population and trendy young families.

Project Coffee – The perfect coffee stop for anyone walking in the Bruntsfield/Morningside/Marchmont area of town. Can always be relied on for a good brew, cake and hearty bowl of soup. Undertstated interior. Trendy coffee drinkers.

Brew Lab – Quite possibly the most-talked-about coffee shop in Edinburgh. The design and feel of the place were largely influenced by coffee drinkers on Reddit whom the owners consulted prior to the opening. Chemex, V60 and other specialist coffee making “machinery” all available. Lunch and cakes available too. Feels like what I imagine Portland to be like.

Brunch and Lunch

Broughton Deli – Order anything and you’ll love it. Soup, sandwiches, salads and a selection of main courses. Fresh ingredients, perfectly seasoned. The bread and butter pudding is a highlight. Gets very busy at lunchtime. Learn to pay when you order instead of queuing again later.

manna house edinburgh

Manna House Bakery – A French bakery in the most unassuming of places on Easter Road. Freshly baked goods galore as well as a fine selection of salads. An excellent place to go for bread, the crunchy loaves are to die for.

Circle – Has never failed to deliver an impeccable lunch. The ingredients are fresh as can be. Choose from the regular menu and specials board. Many dishes feature halloumi cheese. The chocolate chilli cheesecake, brownies and flapjacks are mouthwateringly good. It’s hard not to like the staff.

Blue Bear – One of Edinburgh’s all day breakfast spots, serves up a splendid cooked breakfast and Eggs Benedict/Royale. Nice selection of fresh cakes and scones.

Dinner

Gardener’s Cottage – An utter treat in London Road Gardens. Dine from a set, six-course menu assembled from the freshest local ingredients. Guests are seated at communal tables in a tiny cottage which used to be the chief gardener’s. Candles and old school records make for a gorgeous atmosphere. You can see the chefs at work in the kitchen too. The menu can be tailored to suit dietary requirements.

Russian Passion – Homemade Russian soup, salads and melt-in-your-mouth pelmeni or dumplings cooked to order right before your eyes. Feels like sitting in a suburban Moscow kitchen. Genuinely friendly service by the proud cooks, two Russian ladies. Reservations are a must and food must be pre-ordered.

Beirut – Go here hungry or regret having had a big lunch. The banquet meal for two or four is a must. Dig into the Lebanese-style tapas but remember to leave enough room for the main course of grilled meat (veg option available too) and the baklava dessert.

10 to 10 in Delhi – Often overlooked due its better known neighbour, Mosque Kitchen, this little cafe is much more pleasant for a sit-down meal. The curries are ridiculously cheap and filling, the lassi is delicious and desserts are recommended. Don’t come here expecting anything fancy, it’s a neighbourhood cafe for low key dinners.

Leven’s – A restaurant with a futuristic spa ambience. You’ll know what I mean when you see it – water features, orchids, floating candles and serene music set the scene here. Exquisite, very flavourful dishes from Thailand. Extremely polite waiters will tend to all your needs.

Noble’s – A pub in Leith with wood panelling and stained glass windows. Not only does it boast a lovely interior, but also a superb menu with a lot of seafood. Enjoy live music while you feast.

The Compass – A neighbourhood pub near the Shore. Very welcoming and very cosy. The menu features quite a few British favourites and Scottish hits like cullen skink. A place where you can rock up in jeans and a hoodie and feel at home.

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Come Dine With Me: Student / Young Professional Edition Comes to Edinburgh

Come Dine With Me is one of the most fun ways of spending time with your friends. Our edition of the ‘show’ took place over 4 weeks in Edinburgh and saw 4 dinners hosted by myself, Mr Estonian IT Guru, Miss Latvian in Gorgie and Miss Churro (oh how amusing I find it to come up with nicknames for everyone).

If you decide to organise Come Dine With Me amongst your friends, I’d highly recommend opting for the once a week approach instead of 4-5 consecutive nights of dining in the same week. That way the whole experience will be a lot more relaxed with more time to prepare your meals and get other things checked off your to-do list. Though in our case we didn’t set any budget, it might be an idea to introduce that element for an extra challenge and to ensure no one goes over the top, particularly if you don’t know each other that well.

We’re all young and we rent accommodation so our kitchens and ‘dining rooms’ are far from being the most appropriate for hosting dinner parties. Trying to set a dinner table with mismatched cutlery and dishes proved to be quite the challenge but we all handled it well (no breakdowns reported). Eating delectable dessert off a plastic plate in a very basic student residence couldn’t in any way be called glamorous, but it really was immensely fun.

Each cook took their job very seriously and set about putting together a unique menu, but we didn’t know what we’d be served before arriving at the host’s. Over the 4 weeks we got to savour Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Indian and other flavours. With more ups than downs, all in all the food part was deemed a hit. My personal highlights were Miss Latvian in Gorgie’s apple crumble, Miss Churro’s Spanish omelette and Mr Estonian IT Guru’s blueberry cheesecake. I concocted a veggie-friendly meal with 3 dips as starters, a Mediterranean vegetable curry and Latvian strawberry mousse.

We dared to be bitchy and gave each other feedback at the end of the night, focusing on the negatives, as well as points from a scale of 1-10 as they do on the show. Needless to say we laughed… and snorted (yes, we’re a classy bunch so we are). I was ‘abused’ and told that I shouldn’t try to force my friends to become vegetarians haha (P.S. I like meat… occasionally).

Our winner is a young man who should definitely reveal his talent for cooking to the world. From the minute I walked in and saw his hand-crafted menu cards, I knew we had a winner… And the mouthwatering cheesecake totally wowed us ladies. He’s still to receive his £10 worth prize though a wee part of it is in my kitchen cupboard.

Have you ever hosted Come Dine With Me? How did it go? Any tips to recommend for someone planning to organise their own edition? Let me know.

– Miss Red

Food photos courtesy of Miss Latvian in Gorgie. Cheers!