August 1, 2016 Review of the Year 1 Comment

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.

Eggs from Grams

Eggs from Grams

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.

Further West from me, there’s the excellent Redwood Bistro, winner of the best dish of 2015, and a very good Indian called Spice Lounge Kitchen. Both are worth the journey.

Foie gras from The Table

Foie gras from The Table

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.

Two nearby places offer excellent deli selections, so make sure to visit both Moon & Hare and 181 Deli.

Morningside’s Rocket is one of my favourite places in the city from breakfast, while Marchmont’s The Rabbit Hole is a great, informal local eatery. Deadly Donuts is worth a look, too.

Salad at the Walnut

Salad at the Walnut

Tollcross/Lothian Road

From Bruntsfield heading towards the city centre, we run in to Tollcross then Lothian Road. This provides rich culinary pickings.

On Fountainbridge you have Akva and The Counter on the Canal, both of which are excellent. You have a couple of further branches of The Counter nearby, too.

You have good Japanese options in this neck of the woods with Harajuku Kitchen and the superb Kanpai.

For light lunches, Jeelie Piece, Khartoum Café, and Taquito are good choices.

I really like Coletti & Co for breakfast.

Coffee options include Leo and Ted’s, Machina Espresso, Pekoe Tea, which also does excellent tea, and the macaron delights of Mademoiselle Macaron.

Squid from Rabbit Hole

Squid from Rabbit Hole

Bread Meats Bread is the best burger diner in the city.

Cloisters, and The Hanging Bat will keep you in good beer.

West End

The West End includes excellent coffee from Cairngorm, but has recently said goodbye to Brewlab West End.

I like Patisserie Maxime for breakfast.

There is restaurant excellence at The Bonham, Galvin Brasserie de Luxe, Castle Terrace, and L’Escargot Blanc.

L’Escargot Blanc has an exceptionally good wine bar, Bar a Vin, as part of their offering, too.

Duck from Redwood

Duck from Redwood

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.

Then you’re in to the heart of the New Town with great places such as The New Chapter, Nira Caledonia, Roamin’ Nose, Leo’s Beanery, Bon Papillon, and Archipelago.

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.

Great coffee can be found at Baba Budan, Fortitude, Pep & Fodder, Wellington, Lowdown,
The Milkman, Cairngorm, and Castello.

Pizza from Dough

Pizza from Dough

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.

The legendary Bramble will sort you for cocktails, as will its little brother Lucky Liquor. For beerier tastes The Guildford Arms is very welcoming.

And even Princes Street itself boasts a couple of decent places in the shape of Restaurant 100 and Twenty Princes Street.


Stockbridge is packed with good places.

For burgers, you have Feed at the Vinnie, which is a good watering hole, too. Other places for a good beverage are the Stockbridge Tap and the Last Word Saloon.

For coffee there’s Grounds, Artisan Roast, Pekoe, Ronde and Gamma Transport Division, which showcases the coffee from nearby roastery Mr Eion.

The Pantry is a really good breakfast, brunch and lunch place.

Then there’s restaurant excellence at Field Grill House, Purslane, Rafael’s, and Rollo, as well as rather charming Thai at Nok’s Kitchen.

Also worth seeking out are the deli and sherry delights of Goya 23, the chippy charms of L’Alba D’Oro, the cheesy cheese at IJ Mellis, and the fantastic eclairs and macarons at Patisserie Madeleine.

Squid tacos from El Cartel

Squid tacos from El Cartel


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.

Down towards Canonmills the Water of Leith Café Bistro, Di Giorgio’s, and Earthy are all very good.


Leith has some great places.

On Easter Road there’s Al Dente and Polentoni.

On Leith Walk you have the pizza excellence of Origano and the value Italian Taste of Italy. There’s also The Walnut, Yellow Bench, Ada, Twelve Triangles, and Desi Pakwan.

Crab from Nok's Kitchen

Crab from Nok’s Kitchen

Down around the Shore there’s Domenico’s, Ostara, King’s Wark, Bistro Provence, Nobles, the Michelin delights of Wishart, Ship on the Shore, Tapa and Teuchters Landing.

In Newhaven, C-Shack, The Haven, Sasso and Porto & Fi are lovely.

Towards Abbeyhill you have Century General Store and the Safari Lounge, which are both fine purveyors of drinks and grub.


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.

The Apiary and Field are two of my favourite restaurants in the city.

The Salisbury Arms, Knight’s Kitchen, La Sal and Tanjore all require a visit. Indaba Deli, Richmond Café, Blonde, BBL, and Kim’s Mini Meals all offer really fantastic options, too.

For coffee, there’s Cult Espresso and Filament. And Usher’s is great for beer.

Soup at The Walnut

Soup at The Walnut

Old Town

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.

On or near the famous Royal Mile, Angels with Bagpipes, Civerino’s, Edinburgh Larder, La Garrigue, Michael Neave, Ondine, Wedgwood, Salt Horse and the Devil’s Advocate are worthy of your attention.

Around the Grassmarket, there’s the Grain Store, Lovecrumbs, Grassmarket Community Café, Hula and the great Timberyard. The Bow Bar is a must for beer and pies.

And down towards the Parliament, there’s Hemma, and the fantastic Reekie’s Smokehouse.

And that’s our whistle-stop tour of the city. Enjoy August and make sure to eat and drink in lots of great places.

Written by BKR