Edinburgh’s food scene doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Perhaps this is mostly because Scotland has a bad reputation when it comes to food (which I think is unfair). Yes, you will come across deep-fried Mars bars and the intimidating haggis, but Scottish cuisine has a lot more to offer.
There are several great lunch spots in Edinburgh, from indie cafes with innovative menus to pubs that serve good old-fashioned grub. To help you explore the city’s food scene, I’ve rounded up a list of my favourite lunch spots in Edinburgh, which also includes some suggestions from fellow travel and food bloggers.
Whatever your budget and food preferences, here are some of the best places for lunch in Edinburgh.
Note: I was not paid or offered any form of compensation by any of the businesses mentioned in this post. I have recommended places that I visited during my time in Edinburgh and have also asked some fellow bloggers to share their favourite lunch spot in the city.
1. The City Restaurant (Nicolson Street, Southside)
One of my favourite lunch spot in Edinburgh is The City Restaurant on Nicolson Street. I visited this place several times when I lived in Edinburgh, mainly because they serve some of the best seafood dishes in the city, including fish and chips, scampi and tempura prawns.
The City Restaurant has a very sleek and colourful interior, with comfortable seats and large windows overlooking the bustling street. Besides popular dishes like fried fish and kebabs, they also serve some wonderful salads and burgers.
2. Auld Hundred (Rose Street, New Town)
Rose Street is lined with bars and pubs. This pretty lane is home to my favourite pub in Edinburgh – Auld Hundred.
This cosy pub has an upstairs restaurant that serves a variety of dishes, including pasta and burgers. The salmon here is delicious!
Auld Hundred is also the best place in Edinburgh for traditional Sunday roast – in fact, my husband and I love taking friends and family there for Sunday lunch. You can choose from pork, chicken and lamb, which is served along with roast potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire pudding.
3. The Storytelling Cafe (High Street/Royal Mile)
Located within the Storytelling Centre, this cafe sells a variety of homemade snacks, from soups to sandwiches and wraps. The food is prepared with fresh, local ingredients. They also serve delicious homebaked cakes.
The Storytelling Centre is a hub for local writers and visual artists and hosts regular exhibitions and events. The cafe is open to everyone and is very family-friendly. You can enjoy your lunch and coffee by the window, with views of the Royal Mile.
4. Karine (Morningside Road, Morningside)
If you love cheese and cold meats, make sure to check out Karine’s Epicerie Fine Patisserie, in the beautiful neighbourhood of Morningside.
The owner of this cute French-style cafe imports a selection of cheeses from France, which you are welcome to sample. The shelves are packed with jams, chutneys, biscuits and other French products.
The cafe serves a selection of gourmet sandwiches and fresh croissants, available in a variety of delicious fillings, including French cheeses and salami.
5. Elephants & Bagels (Marshall Street, Southside)
The name of this place says it all. The decor is all about elephants, and the food is all about bagels.
At Elephants & Bagels you get to create your own bagel from scratch. You get to choose the type of bagel and pick your own fillings (so many options!). I love their seeded bagel with cream cheese and salmon! The coffee is nice, too.
6. Cafe Grande (Bruntsfield Place, Bruntsfield)
This lovely cafe is located on one of my favourite streets in Edinburgh.
Cafe Grande in Bruntsfield serves a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as several options for meat lovers. It’s a great place for lunch as well as a romantic dinner.
I’m a big fan of Cafe Grande’s goat cheese salad with beet root and walnuts. They also serve delicious cakes.
7. Laila’s (Cockburn Street, Old Town)
Laila’s a great place for lovers of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food. Located on the atmospheric Cockburn Street, this Mediterranean bistro serves an array of delicious dishes, including vegetarian and vegan options.
They make some nice fried calamari here, as well tasty sandwiches and wraps. The place itself has a very Mediterranean ambiance, and it also has a small outdoor seating area.
8. Cafe Ink (Dundee Street, Fountainbridge)
Located in a modern art gallery, Cafe Ink at Edinburgh Printmakers is a super cool cafe with spacious indoor seating and a nice terrace. This cafe is located in the quirky neighbourhood of Fountainbridge, along the Union Canal.
Cafe Ink serves sandwiches prepared with fresh ingredients, as well as a selection of salads, cold pasta and delicious cakes. My husband and I enjoyed eating hereon a nice day – we would sit on the sunny terrace with a nice drink and fresh snack.
9. The Standing Order (George Street, New Town)
The Standing Order is possibly my top favourite restaurant in Edinburgh. I love everything about this place – the food, the atmosphere and the service.
Housed in a former bank building on George Street, this Wetherspoon pub serves a large selection of staple meals at a very good price. I’ve tried a variety of dishes at this place, including burgers, salads and baked potatoes, and I never had a bad meal.
The Standing Order has an app that allows you to place your order from your phone. The service is normally very quick. The only downside about this place is that it tends to be very busy throughout the day, so you won’t always find a vacant table (make sure to check every room in the building).
10. Olly Bongo’s (Teviot Place, Old Town)
I had several nice meals at Olly Bongo’s during my student years at Edinburgh University.
This Mediterranean cafe offers a selection of sandwiches and wraps, as well as Turkish and Greek dishes, including moussaka and lamb koftas (very tasty!)
I also love the Greek and Turkish decor of this place – it’s so bright and colourful. You can also enjoy your meal on the cosy window seat with views of Bristo Square and the beautiful McEwan Hall.
11. Cafe Florentin (Polwarth Crescent, Polwarth)
I used to be a regular at Cafe Florentin when I lived in Polwarth. This quirky cafe was just two corners away from my flat and I loved going there for some coffee and lunch.
Besides being super cosy and friendly, this cafe serves freshly made sandwiches, wraps and soups, as well as delicious sweet treats. I’ve had so many sandwiches with hummus and sundried tomatoes at this place!
12. Hula Juice Cafe (Victoria Street)
“We didn’t know much about Scottish cuisine, except for Haggis and whisky we couldn’t actually think of anything specific. Imagine our surprise when we discovered the plethora of vegetarian and vegan dining options Edinburgh has to offer! It must be one of the most vegetarian/vegan friendly cities we’ve come across during our travels so far.
So…this is it. Our favourite place for lunch in Edinburgh. Whether you’re craving a quick snack on the run or a sit-down lunch of homemade soup, toasted wraps, toasts or Buddha bowls complete with all the trimmings, you’ll find it all at the vibrant and buzzing Hula Juice Cafe. Located at the foot of Victoria Street on the West Bow, it is conveniently located to grab lunch in between all the sightseeing nearby.
Renowned for its healthy breakfasts and lunches as well as its affordable prices, Hula Juice Cafe is fan-tas-tic! Our favourite? We fell in love with their Avocado sourdough toast and Oscar juice!”
Marlo and Kristof from Along Came An Elephant
13. The Dome (George Street, New Town)
“As soon as you walk into The Dome you know you are somewhere special. The decor is very elegant, you almost feel like you are the guest at a palace.
The food will impress you as well. They have a very creative menu of Scottish favourites and each dish is beautifully presented. I had never tried haggis before, but I knew if it was on the menu at the Dome, it must be good. The haggis was wrapped in filo dough and served with a whiskey sauce – delicious! We were a large group and the service was excellent. They offer special menus for those that are vegan, gluten free, or dairy free.
There are four different restaurants inside the Dome and they also serve afternoon tea. The Dome is conveniently located in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town at 14 George Street. I would recommend making a reservation for lunch at the Dome, you won’t be disappointed.”
Anisa from Two Traveling Texans
14. The Witchery by the Castle (Castlehill, Royal Mile)
“Located in in the heart of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, with Edinburgh Castle for its neighbour and frequented by the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Cameron Macintosh, two gurus from the theatre industry, The Witchery’s Secret Garden restaurant is Edinburgh’s best kept secret and an escape from the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile that is perched right on its doorstep.
The Secret Garden was opened in 1989 but has held on to its charm rather well. Entirely lit by candles, dark wood panelling, beamed ceiling, luxurious tables beautifully decorated with flowers and candles creating the perfect ambience for a romantic setting. If you a food lover, this is definitely a spot you have to stop by when visiting Edinburgh.
I would highly recommend the lamb wellington, a pastry baked lamb loin stuffed with wild mushroom and chicken mousse wrapped in Serrano ham. Smoked aubergine pureé and served up with spring greens is just party in the mouth! It was so good I wanted a second helping! Make sure you leave room for the chocolate brownie dessert. Just heaven!”
Bianca from It’s All Bee
15. Oink (Victoria Street, Canongate and Hanover Street)
“My favourite lunch spot in Edinburgh is Oink, I was in the city for a weekend last year and went there twice it was so delicious. They specialise in pulled pork sandwiches, and have managed to make the best damn pulled damn pulled pork sarmie that I’ve ever had.
Their menu is simple: choose your size (Piglet, Oink or Grunter), choose your bread (white or brown), choose a stuffing (sage and onion or homemade haggis), and choose a sauce (mayo, BBQ, chilli cheese, or chilli jam). I still dream of this sarmie, and hope to one day go back!”
Bridget from The Wandering Bridge
16. Urban Angel (Hanover Street, New Town)
“Edinburgh is such a beautiful city with and overwhelming number of food options.
My favourite lunch spot in the city is a cool little place called Urban Angel on Hanover Street. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I’ve only ever been for lunch and I can confirm that it is delicious. I would highly suggest the eggs benedict! They change the lunch menus everyday based on the produce they have available, but you can definitely bank on finding something you like!
On top of the food being absolutely gorgeous, they are very environmentally friendly. The source seasonal, fresh and local. They also recycle as much of their waste as they can! The vibe of the cafe is so chilled out. Only thing is that it’s quite popular so there is almost always a queue but the turnover is pretty fast.”
Chiera from Young and Undecided
17. Southpour (Newington Road, Newington)
“Tucked away in the student centred neighbourhood of Newington, Southpour stole my heart the minute I walked in.
Exposed brick walls, chevron tilework, bouquets of thistle, and twinkling fairy lights all contribute to an elegant aesthetic without ever trying too hard. You’ll find Scottish classics like kippers, haggis, and scotch eggs as well as your classic burgers and sandwiches.
All of their food is priced with students in mind, with daily specials for just a fiver and more elaborate options not much more. It’s also perfectly located as a base for your journey to Arthur’s Seat, whether you want to fuel up before or recover after with a warm meal and hot cup of tea.”
Rosalie from Rosalie Goes
18. The Caley Sample Room (Angle Park Terrace, Merchiston)
“During our most recent trip to Edinburgh, we stumbled across an amazing place. It has an unassuming exterior and is very much off the tourist path, but this place was delicious and worth a visit.
The Caley Sample Room has a charming ambiance, a bevy of beers, and, aside from fantastic mains, we had an entree of haggis bonbons: deep fried, breaded pieces of delicious haggis. I’m salivating just thinking about them.
If you want to try Scotland’s signature dish in a unique format, we can’t recommend those bonbons enough!”
Amy and Nathan from Two Drifters
19. Maki & Ramen (West Richmond Street, Southside)
“Scotland is not especially renowned for its culinary highlights. However, if you are staying in Edinburgh, you will be blessed with a very rich food scene extending much further than Haggis and fish and chips.
As every major city, Edinburgh has a very broad and multicultural food scene. After a week in the highlands and tired of pub food, we were looking for some more exotic treats.
By complete chance, we landed in the Maki & Ramen Sushi Bar and it was one of the best culinary experiences of our entire trip. The ramen pastas are freshly made, the atmosphere is authentic and the prices suitable for small budgets. We chose to go for ramen soups, which were incredibly good, but the Maki also proposes a choice of dumplings and sushi.
We would like to give a special mention to this great idea: notepads are provided to the visitors who can use them to draw and pin their creation to the wall. This is a great way to kill time while your dish is being prepared, whether you want to draw or admire the art of previous visitors. You will almost regret that your dish arrived so quick!”
Amélie from The Roving Puffin
20. Chop Chop (Morrison Street, West End)
“Having won Gordon Ramsay’s approval a few years ago for having the best dumplings in Scotland, Chop Chop was high on my list of eateries I wanted to visit and when I did, I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I’ve been back more times than I can count.
Not much to look at from the outside, and by no means flashy or modern inside, the food speaks for itself and I love everything about it. Head chef and owner Jian Wang’s dumplings are to die for; soft, light and packed with flavour.
My favourite has to be the pork and coriander, but the beef and chilli comes a very close second, especially soaked in the sauce you are shown how to make at the table. The restaurant is family-run and has a homely, comfortable feel. The team are always really friendly and helpful.
A few times I’ve been I’ve had an unlimited banquet, where they bring dish after dish of delicious freshly made taster plates, including an amazing cucumber salad, lamb with cumin, sweet and sour pork ribs and spicy northern beef. I have to agree with the polls, this is definitely the best Chinese restaurant I’ve been to.”
Nicola from FunkyEllas Travels
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