I’d popped in to a cafe on Lothian Road called McNamara’s a few weeks back and been charmed by the welcome. I’d been less impressed with the coffee but made a note to come back for lunch and see what their food was like. I made good on that on a recent Monday afternoon.


With a strong commitment to supporting local suppliers, they have an excellent array of local produce on offer. Baked goods are from Breadwinner, meats from Skinner of Kippen and much is being done in house. It’s a really commendable approach.

The interior of the place, which used to be a frozen yoghurt shop, is simply appointed in a clean, neutral style with vibrancy from orange detailing.

Toastie and cous cous

I ordered at the counter after pondering their very broad menu for a moment or two. I settled upon a slice of quiche and a cheese and ham toastie as my one man assault on the worldwide cheese mountain continued. I took a seat and awaited my items.

They arrived promptly both accompanied by salads, with the toastie also featuring a ramekin of rather powdery cous cous salad and the toastie a mayo drenched coleslaw.


I started with the toastie which was a solid crowd-pleaser. The quiche, featuring chorizo and smoked sausage, featured lightly crisp pastry and a well-seasoned filling.

So overall, McNamara’s is on the right track with its locally-sourced approach. The welcome is warm, but some of the intangibles of a really buzzing cafe don’t seem to be quite in place yet. I couldn’t argue with what they’re aiming to do but it feels like it needs an injection of energy to get it really singing. And they need to work on improving their coffee as it’s a notable weakness. Give it a visit and see what you make of it.

Blythe scores McNamara’s
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 14/20

I ate: chorizo and smoked sausage quiche, cheese and ham toastie

I drank: water

I wore: grey windowpane suit

Total bill: £9.50

Address: 37 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH1 2DJ

Written by BKR