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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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.

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”.

Edinburgh Windowsill Gardening

The lack of a proper garden outside my bog standard Edinburgh apartment building led me to try my luck at windowsill gardening. If ever I needed another reason, it’s my undying love for fresh vegetables, and my disapproval of the sweaty, plastic and polystyrene-wrapped kind you get at supermarkets these days.

windowsill gardening

As much as I’d love to buy all things organic, their current classification as a “luxury item” doesn’t quite suit my graduate level salary.

Instead, I recently bought a few packets of seeds. My perfectly sized, sunny windowsill now serves as my kitchen garden. The basil and radishes I’ve got growing at the moment seem to be doing well with just a sprinkling of water every other day, and a few encouraging words now and again. My flatmate can confirm I shrieked upon seeing my basil sprout its first leaves.

It’s great fun to imagine in a few weeks time I’ll be cooking with my homegrown veg and herbs, adding a touch of flavour to my pasta. As soon as my Lithuanian sets off for America for the summer, I’ll be running to the garden centre for more seeds and a tomato planter. Him being the rational one, he’s forbidden me from buying them until I see whether my radishes and basil bear any fruit…

Unfortunately, basil and radishes aren’t quite enough for me to subsist on. So when I can, I like to support lovely, local retailers like Tattie Shaw’s, Earthy, and Real Foods all conveniently located in and around the area I live, work and play in. During weekends I enjoy nothing more than visiting Scotland’s farmers’ markets

East Lothian & Scottish Borders: A Seafood Lover’s Paradise

St Abbs Head, Scottish Borders

St Abbs Head, Scottish Borders

I think I’m single-handedly responsible for Scotland’s depleting seafood stocks… last week’s ones anyway, while I was in East Lothian and the Scottish Borders enjoying mouthwatering fresh seafood at least once a day. Did you know that the East coast of Scotland is where Spanish resorts source most of their lobster? So I found out from Dougie, our guide of sorts. Needless to say my vitamin D levels are now at a healthy high regardless of the lack of sunshine outdoors.

Cove Scottish Borders

Cove, Scottish Borders

Mum and dad were on their annual UK holiday and chose a gorgeous cottage in Spott, East Lothian as their base (owned by the aforementioned Dougie). So together we trekked along the beautiful coastal areas of Dunbar, Cove and St Abb’s Head with their rocky beaches and daunting cliff faces. The weather may not have been sunny on the day we chose to visit Cove but it didn’t make the scenery any less impressive. Personally, I think the dramatic, dark and angry-looking clouds just add to Scotland’s stunning natural scenery.

If you happen to be in the area or if you’re looking for ideas on how to spend your next weekend, I heartily recommend exploring the beaches of East Lothian and the Scottish Borders. Just take the A1 and you’ll be there in a jiffy.

East Lothian seafood

Fresh seafood at The Avenue, Haddington

Make sure you stop for fish tea at Mackay’s in Eyemouth, haddock fish cakes at the Garvald Inn, mussels at The Avenue in Haddington or a bite at the Linton Hotel in East Linton. Alternatively, just pop in anywhere that promises fresh seafood!

And don’t forget to indulge in some animal spotting. The Borders and East Lothian are home to deer, sheep, bunnies, pheasants, partridges and even badgers as we found out.

– Red (P.S. Thanks for the photos, dad!)

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!

Apple Pie Recipe – In Honour of British Pie Week

My highlight of the week was when a friend turned to me for recipe advice and deemed me her cooking guru. To me, this is a compliment of the highest calibre.

I’ve always liked helping mum prepare family meals. She’s one of those women who never seem to get anything wrong in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to learn not to mess up sometimes… But I keep trying, and so it was that on the eve of International Women’s Day I found myself preparing an apple pie in honour of British Pie Week and our office bake off.

The apple pie in all its glory

After a few successful tries last summer, I decided it was high time I baked “my” special apple pie again. Unfortunately, this time I had to make do with Tesco apples not hand-picked ones from the garden… No matter what apples you use, part of the fun is always the delicious smell wafting from the oven. Here’s the recipe if you ever fancy giving it a go. I like to think it’s a somewhat healthy desert because it uses yogurt instead of a heavy cream.

Ingredients

Shortcrust pastry (I’m lazy and use the ready-made kind)

8 Medium Apples

350ml Plain Yogurt

50ml Milk

2 Eggs

Cinnamon to taste

Sugar to taste

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.

Prepare your apples by peeling them and chopping them into bite-sized pieces.

Rub a baking tin with butter and line it with the shortcrust pastry. Leave some pastry aside for decorating your pie.

Scatter the apples in the pastry-lined baking tray. Douse them in sugar and cinnamon, then give them a good stir.

Beat the yogurt, milk and eggs into a mixture. Add the vanilla extract.

Cover the apples with the milky mass.

Use the leftover pastry to make a lattice across the apple mixture. Rub the pastry with butter or egg to keep it from burning.

Bung it into the oven for 35-45mins and voila!

My flatmate Miss Bulgaria approved

Eat it on its own or enjoy it with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or custard. Delicious!

Let me know how it goes if you attempt baking “my” apple pie.

– Miss Red