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.

Union Canal, Edinburgh to Falkirk

Edinburgh Union Canal

“There’s a canal in Edinburgh?” asked my bewildered flatmate upon hearing about my weekend walk. Why yes, yes there is and it’s quite the hidden gem. Union Canal is 32 miles long and stretches from Edinburgh to Falkirk where it’s linked to the Forth & Clyde Canal via the famous Falkirk Wheel, a boat lift and engineering masterpiece.

In Edinburgh, the canal’s Lochrin Basin can be accessed very easily from the West End, just off Fountainbridge, behind a bar called Cargo. Ironically, you’ll see banners outside advertising Union Canal as Edinburgh’s best kept secret. Residents of Polwarth and other canalside neighbourhoods have many other routes to choose from as well.

canal bridge edinburgh

Once at the canal, the canalside path on the right hand side can be walked or cycled all the way to Falkirk with plenty to see and do along the way. Along the few-mile stretch of the canal from the West End to Slateford you’ll find two cafe boats for refreshments, many greedy ducks to feed, benches for admiring the wildlife and passers-by and a couple of rowing and canoe clubs. If you’re lucky, you can also watch the beautiful old Leamington Lift Bridge in action, letting barges pass through.

Many commuters use the route to get to and from work on foot or by bike, families teach kids to cycle and row here, and ramblers come out at weekends to stretch their legs. Edinburgh University boat club practices here too. Union Canal path is quite the happening place!

wintry Union Canal Edinburgh

In Slateford, the canal crosses the Water of Leith so you can pop into the Water of Leith Visitor Centre or choose to venture along the river path instead of the canal if you’d rather stay within the confines of Edinburgh city.

If you do make it to Falkirk in a day, trains run regularly between the town and Edinburgh. Or you could look into renting a barge for the return journey.

Alternatively, if you start your walk in Falkirk, you can check into the Four Sisters Boatel at the end of the day. The boatel is moored at Lochrin Basin and boasts rave reviews on Trip Advisor.

What else is there to do and see along the way? Do tell.

The Shore, Edinburgh

The Shore in Edinburgh is surely one the most charming former harbour areas in Europe. It’s a pleasant mix of old and new, as the former warehouses and sailor housing sit beside modern apartment blocks boasting balconies with a view.

The riverside pathways along the Water of Leith provide for a leisurely afternoon’s stroll but most people head to The Shore for its restaurants and bars. Indeed, some of the finest seafood in town can be enjoyed here at The Ship, Fishers and other gastronomic gems.

cruz shore edinburgh

Since The Shore is a little rough around the edges (see the photo below), many people wouldn’t expect to find Michelin starred restaurants here but there are a few, which have inspired the nickname Michelin Mile.

It’s also known as the media and communications hub of the city. Expect to meet many hip young media professional types at any of the many delis at lunchtime. See the boats on the river? Some of them are advertising agency offices!

near the shore edinburgh

To get to The Shore, either walk down Leith Walk, continue along Constitution Street and turn left at Bernard Street, or hop on Lothian buses nr 22 or 16 in the centre of the city. I’d recommend the walk as the contrast between the Kirkgate area you pass along the way and The Shore is remarkable.

nobles bar edinburgh

The Shore bar recommendations:

Noble’s for its beautiful setting with wood panelled walls, stained glass windows and vintage furniture. A fabulous and very affordable menu featuring lots of seafood. Live music nights.

The King’s Wark for a traditional pub experience, fireplace, stone walls and all. Excellent pub grub and seafood.

Roseleaf for its cosy interior, cocktails in teacups and lovely nibbles and meals. It also boasts a selection of hats which you can borrow for a Mad Hatter’s tea party!

Bond no9 for sophisticated cocktails and wine. Set in an old whisky bond, this is a place to impress a date. Also great for brunch.

Teuchter’s Landing is set in a former waiting room for the Leith to Aberdeen ferry. It boasts a large selection of whiskies and for little more than £1 punters are welcome to try a single oyster. I had my first ever here, with wasabi!

Please leave your recommendations in the comments section below.

the shore edinburgh the shore edinburgh

Challenge of the day: Can you guess what this great big blue device was once used for? (Answer at the bottom of the page)

miss red shore

Answer: This is/was a whale harpoon. Whales were hunted for their blubber which was used to produce oil.

Cramond

Cramond is a village, beach and island tucked away in the outskirts of Edinburgh on the shores of the Firth of Forth with views towards Fife. By foot it can take up to two hours to reach this somewhat remote side of town, but by bus (Lothian route 41) it’s a matter of thirty minutes or so. Many people, including us, seem to opt for walking one way and bussing it the other, or hopping in the car, of course.

cramond beach

The quickest route to Cramond from our side of town (Leith and Canonmills) led us past the Botanic Gardens, across Ferry Road and straight ahead towards the Firth. Once at the Firth, we veered to the left and kept walking as close to the water as possible. It’s not the most beautiful of routes as it snakes right through an industrial area, but there’s a certain charm to this too. Authentic Scotland has many sides to it!

On a grim day the water and the sky are the same colour. Fortunately, things brighten up a little once you reach the recreational area surrounding Cramond Beach. Kids and dogs love playing on the green parkland.

cramond island crossing

If you’re lucky and reach Cramond during low tide, you can brave the narrow walkway which leads across to the island of the same name. Rumour has it a fair few raves have been thrown on the island with people literally forced to stay awake and party until the tide goes down.

We missed out this time as the tide was most definitely high. It was also too windy to make it across safely. This is something to watch out for! Be sure to respect the warning signs and double check the safe crossing times before getting stranded and having to call the coastguard for help.

cramond village

Once you feel you’ve had enough of Cramond beach life, have a well deserved pint at the local pub. Cramond Inn lies in the heart of the village and is everything you’d expect from a village pub. A blazing fireplace, refreshing pints and warm bevvies are just what the doctor ordered after a day out on the chilly Scottish coast.

Leith Walk, Edinburgh

cafe casablanca edinburgh

As a resident of Leith Walk, I feel like a citizen of the world. Within a ten minute radius from my flat, I can savour most flavours of the world. There’s a huge selection of exotic shops, delis and restaurants on this, the most international street in Edinburgh.

I love it and wish more people would appreciate it instead of slagging it off as being “scummy” and “dangerous”. It may not be the most polished of streets but it’s so lively and multicultural. There’s never a dull day on good old Leith Walk with its international community from all walks of life.

Fancy a Turkish meal tonight? Or perhaps you’d prefer some Polish food? Take your pick from my wee list of recommendations and head on down to Leith Walk. Bring a carrier bag!

russian baltic food edinburgh

Russian Baltic Food may boast the ugliest shop front and shop on Leith Walk, but their selection of pelmeņi (dumplings), biezpiena sieriņi (chocolate coated cottage cheese snacks), booze and other goodies more than make up for it.

Seriously, people have asked me whether the shop’s been designed to replicate a Soviet era supermarket! Were it not for the well-stocked shelves, I’d be inclined to say yes… Also, the service is great. Take cash as card payments aren’t accepted. And watch out for the old goods that get sold at sale prices 🙂

chinese supermarket edinburgh

Pat’s Chung Ying is more than just a Chinese supermarket. Thai, Japanese, Korean and other goods are available too. Shelves full of sauces, pickles, rice wine, spices, noodles, rice and fresh vegetables. The freezer section is amazing and it’s never easy to choose from the vast selection of frozen dumplings. Woks, pots and crockery also in stock.

Taste of Poland is a one-stop shop for all your Polish food needs. It’s quite a recent addition to Leith Walk with a well-stocked counter of fresh meat and cheese, as well as fridges for dairy products and “ready meals” such as pierogi or dumplings and bigosz or sauerkraut. You’ll also find staple foods like buckwheat and gherkins on the shelves.

mediterranean supermarket edinburgh

Akdeniz Mediterranean Supermarket brings a ray of sunshine to Leith Walk. Rummage among the shelves to find olives, honey, couscous, spices, tinned sauces, dolmades, hummus, paneer cheese, baklava and oh so much more. They also have a Halal meat counter and piles of exotic fruit and veg.

qupi leith walk

Qupi is a hidden gem towards the bottom of Leith Walk which looks like any other neighbourhood cafe from the outside but serves up amazing, fresh Greek mezze. For £12, two people can enjoy a mini feast of dips, feta and spinach pie, and marinated veggies. Lovely interior with numerous plush chairs to sink into. Gorgeous toilet too!

Silver Bowl – Our trusty local Chinese and Thai food takeaway. Quick and friendly service, really tasty meals for the price, and huge portions. You never have to wait long. It’s always clean and usually has at least two customers waiting in line, which I take as signs of quality.

Khushi’s – An Indian restaurant at the very top of Leith Walk, officially on Antigua Street. Touted as one of Edinburgh’s best Indian eateries. Funky interior, mouthwatering curries and a BYOB policy. The first place I ever tried fish curry, and absolutely loved it.

Los Cardos – Who doesn’t love a neighbourhood tex mex? Huge burritos so you have to work up an appetite before visiting Los Cardos. Choose from various fillings, including haggis. Vegetarians are also catered for, hurrah!

There are a number of Italian delis and restaurants on Leith Walk, as well as Polish cafes. Kebab shops are ubiquitous.

Now, bon appetit! Go and discover Leith Walk, Edinburgh’s most multicultural “neighbourhood”.

Arthur’s Seat in the Wind and Rain

You haven’t experienced the “real” Scotland until you’ve found yourself completely drenched to the core and on the verge of being swept over by the wind. Fortunately, the weatherman makes this a very achievable goal.

Arthur's Seat Edinburgh

Throughout the year, he has a nasty way of tricking people into believing the day will be drenched in sunshine rather than rain. Alas, then he changes his mind and you find yourself teetering on the edge of a mountain (or a less extreme location if you’re lucky!) as the raindrops/hail stones slap your face and the wind howls eerily around you.

Yesterday I found myself perched precariously on the summit of Arthur’s Seat in the wind and rain which is such a usual occurrence in Edinburgh. At least I wore wellies in preparation for a muddy hike. I’d recommend you follow suit or wear hiking boots on any given day.

And by all means don’t attempt to reach Edinburgh’s highest peak whilst wearing a white coat and pretty city boots. This is just one of the numerous inappropriate outfits spotted on the mountain trails that day.

I admit to wearing a very silly hat which I almost sacrificed to the wind gods, as well as bringing a hand bag which really should have been a practical rucksack. Ok, so the coat wasn’t ideal either… You should really only venture up there in a wind and rainproof jacket.

arthur's seat wind rain

A word of caution overheard on Arthur’s Seat: In the stormiest of weather, some hikers have had to be plucked to safety by Mountain Rescue having climbed only halfway up the mountain! So, sometimes the “real” Scotland is best experienced from the comfort of a local pub, cradling a glass of whisky.

Edinburgh’s Mews & Lanes

Carlton Terrace MewsEdinburgh is home to a fair few hidden gems, many of which are its gorgeous mews and lanes. Only a select few are lucky enough to live in these quaint cul-de-sacs and alleys, and you can tell from the cars parked there that they’re among Edinburgh’s elite.

Royal Terrace Mews

My personal favourites are Carlton Terrace Mews, Royal Terrace Mews, Circus Lane and Dublin Meuse. They’re conveniently located within walking distance of each other so exploring them makes for the perfect leisurely weekend adventure.

Circus Lane

Just a few of the things that make these Edinburgh secrets so pretty are the chimneys, multi-coloured doorways and windows, potted plants and the overall super safe and cosy vibe. You get the feeling everyone knows everyone here. They’re like wee villages in the heart of Edinburgh where no one’s going to pinch your laundry if you leave it out overnight.

Edinburgh's mews and lanes

If you know of any mews and lanes I simply must explore, point me in the right direction won’t you? Thank you.