A Guide to Edinburgh’s Neighbourhoods
Since 2012, we’ve produced an Annual Guide to Edinburgh. When thinking about putting together the 2016 version, it increasingly felt like too static an approach. So, while MJ and I have a bit of think about a more dynamic way to construct a city guide, I thought a post offering a little spin through the city, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, would be a handy thing for locals and tourists alike.
The Festival month can be hectic, you could be staying in a number of different spots across the city, or visiting shows in venues you’ve never heard of far less visited, without a clue of where to get fed and watered before or after.
So hopefully this little guide will help. It probably doesn’t cover the whole of the city – and I’ve completely omitted street food and markets – but it covers everywhere that we have content and have found good places. It’s not comprehensive; it’s a brief tour of our favourite places.
Tomorrow, we’ll follow up with a little “best stuff” – best burgers, best pizza etc – guide, which might also come in handy.
So, let our journey around town begin. I live in Haymarket, so let’s start there.
Nearest to my house we have the excellent raw and allergen-free café Grams. Stop here for breakfast and coffee treats.
In Haymarket, you have outstandingly good Indian at Mumbai Mansion, the meaty delights of Turkish mangal place Rodi, Vietnam House for pho, sushi excellence at Sushiya, the best bacon rolls in the city at Maialino, the joyful Strumpets for delicious cake and coffee, and Noir for coffee excellence.
Coming back towards town, Café Colpamia is a lovely little cafe in Roseburn, B&D’s Kitchen is probably the best place for Chinese in the city and Piatto Verde could be the same for Italian food. Streat Hawker at the Polwarth Tavern is really good, too.
Heading up the road from Polwarth, you soon hit Bruntsfield which is very well stocked with cafes and eateries, with the adjoining areas of Marchmont and Morningside offering some good options, too.
Three Birds is the pick of the restaurants here, so make sure to visit for their excellent platters. There are many good coffee options with Artisan Roast, Project Coffee, Century General Store, and The Counter.
From Bruntsfield heading towards the city centre, we run in to Tollcross then Lothian Road. This provides rich culinary pickings.
I really like Coletti & Co for breakfast.
Bread Meats Bread is the best burger diner in the city.
I like Patisserie Maxime for breakfast.
L’Escargot Blanc has an exceptionally good wine bar, Bar a Vin, as part of their offering, too.
City Centre/New Town
The City Centre keeps the quality up and there’s plenty of good value on offer.
George Street can be pish and pricey, but there are still good places to try nearby including Café St Honore, Chez Jules, Mark Greenaway, The Dogs, and the spectacular El Cartel. El Cartel’s big brother bar restaurant The Bon Vivant currently has one of the best lunch deals in the city and a bangin’ cocktail list to boot.
Henderson’s Vegan is really good and not just for vegans.
Gannet & Guga is impressively good for hot sandwiches, Time 4 Thai is one of the better Thai restaurants in the city, Social Bite is a good lunch spot, as is Rabbie’s, and Dough serves very fine pizza.
The Table is something quite special and requires significant booking ahead. It’s currently the best place I’ve been in Edinburgh, so well worth the wait.
Stockbridge is packed with good places.
The Pantry is a really good breakfast, brunch and lunch place.
Broughton Street is a goldmine of great places. L’Escargot Bleu, Nom de Plume, The Ox, Rollo Broughton, Artisan Roast, Pickles, Educated Flea, Broughton Deli, Seasons, Casa Angelina, and Life Story are just a few of them.
At the top of the street you have the excellent police box Barnacles & Bones, which is always worthy of your attention.
Leith has some great places.
Portobello has a lovely feel to it, so make sure to visit for a walk along the prom. When there make sure to visit Breadshare and call in for a beer at the Forrester’s or the Skylark. You should also stop by Giovanni’s on Northfield Broadway on your way there. And sushi delivery demons Soul Sushi have their commercial kitchen in this neck of the woods, too.
The White House Kitchen, in Craigmillar, is a must-visit as you wend your way back into town.
The first place on the southside you’ll run into, if coming from Craigmillar, is the Edinburgh Food Studio, which is unmissably excellent.
And finally, our grand tour of the city takes us to the Old Town, which is not so crammed with tourist-traps as people sometimes suggest.
Coming from the southside, Ting Thai Caravan, Wildmanwood, Tapame, Tupiniquim, Checkpoint, Union of Genius, Beirut, Dovecot by Leo’s, Whistle Stop Barber Shop, Lucky Pig at Paradise Palms, and Brew Lab are all very good.
And that’s our whistle-stop tour of the city. Enjoy August and make sure to eat and drink in lots of great places.