Edinburgh’s food scene doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Perhaps it’s because Scottish cuisine has a bad reputation (which I think is unfair).
Yes, you will come across deep-fried Mars bars and the intimidating haggis. But you’ll also find a variety of restaurants that specialize in good old-fashioned grub and innovative menus.
There are several great lunch spots in Edinburgh. To help you explore the city’s food scene, I’ve rounded up a list of my favourite cafes. I’ve also included some suggestions from fellow travel bloggers.
So, let’s look at the best places for lunch in Edinburgh.
1. The City Restaurant
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. They also make wonderful burgers and salads.
The restaurant has a very sleek and colourful interior, with comfortable seats and large windows overlooking the bustling street.
Learn more about The City Restaurant on Nicolson Street, Southside.
2. Auld Hundred
The iconic Rose Street 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, burgers, and popular pub meals.
Oh, and the salmon here is delicious!
Auld Hundred is also the best place in Edinburgh for traditional Sunday roast. You can choose from pork, chicken, and lamb. It also comes with roast potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire pudding.
Learn more about Auld Hundred on Rose Street, New Town.
3. The Storytelling Cafe
Located within the Scottish Storytelling Centre, this cafe offers a variety of homemade snacks, including soups, sandwiches, and wraps.
The food is prepared with fresh, local ingredients. They also serve delicious home-baked 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.
Learn more about the Storytelling Cafe on High Street, Old Town.
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.
Learn more about Karine’s in Morningside.
5. Elephants & Bagels
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 can 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.
Learn more Elephants & Bagels on Marshall Street, Southside.
6. Cafe Grande
This lovely cafe is located in one of the nicest streets in Edinburgh.
Cafe Grande in Bruntsfield serves a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as delicious dishes for meat lovers. It’s a great place for lunch, though you could also go there for a romantic dinner.
I’m a big fan of their goat cheese salad with beet root and walnuts. They also serve delicious cakes!
Learn more about Cafe Grande on Bruntsfield Place.
7. Laila Lunch & Brunch
Laila Lunch & Brunch is 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.
Learn more about Laila Lunch & Brunch on Cockburn Street, Old Town.
8. 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 (though make sure to check every room in the building!).
Learn more about The Standing Order on George Street, New Town.
9. Olly Bongo’s Cafe Bistro
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 enjoy your meal on the cosy window seat with views of Bristo Square and the beautiful McEwan Hall.
Learn more about Olly Bongo’s on Teviot Place, Old Town.
10. Cafe Florentin
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!
Learn more about Cafe Florentin in Polwarth.
Southpour is a cool, modern cafe in the heart of Newington, the student neighbourhood of Edinburgh.
Here, you’ll find Scottish classics like fish & chips, haggis, and scotch eggs. They also serve delicious burgers and hearty sandwiches.
It’s located close to Arthur’s Seat, so you can come here to fuel up before your climb, or to recover with a warm meal and hot cup of tea.
Learn more about Southpour in Newington.
12. Hula Juice Bar & Eatery
Whether you’re craving a quick snack on the run, a sit-down lunch of homemade soup, or Buddha bowls complete with all the trimmings, you’ll find it all at the vibrant and buzzing Hula Juice Bar & Eatery.
Located at the foot of Victoria Street, this place is the perfect place to grab lunch in between all the sightseeing in the Old Town.
It’s renowned for its healthy breakfasts and variety of vegan snacks. We fell in love with their Avocado sourdough toast and Oscar juice!
– Marlo and Kristof from Along Came An Elephant
Learn more about Hula Juice Bar & Eatery on Victoria Street.
13. The Dome
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!
They also offer vegan, gluten free, and dairy free options.
There are four different restaurants inside the Dome. I would recommend making a reservation as the place is very popular!
– Anisa from Two Traveling Texans
Learn more about The Dome on George Street, New Town.
14. The Witchery
Located in in the heart of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, The Witchery’s Secret Garden restaurant offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the Old Town.
The restaurant is entirely lit by candles. Its dark wood panelling, beamed ceiling, and beautifully decorated tables create a very romantic ambience.
I would highly recommend the lamb wellington, a pastry-baked lamb loin stuffed with wild mushrooms and chicken mousse wrapped in Serrano ham. It was so good I wanted a second helping!
Oh, and make sure you leave room for the chocolate brownie dessert!
– Bianca from It’s All Bee
Learn more about The Witchery’s Secret Garden on the Royal Mile.
15. Urban Angel
One of my favourite lunch spots in Edinburgh 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. They source seasonal, fresh and local ingredients. They also recycle as much of their waste as they can!
– Chiera from Young and Undecided
Learn more about Urban Angel on Hanover Street, New Town.
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