Food can be a door to a different culture but it can also be very expensive. Splurging on it often feels better, when you already know it’s going to be delicious. So here are some food places in Edinburgh we can recommend. Of course experiences can vary, depending on your own preferences or who was cooking that day but here are some places where we loved the food and it was affordable too.
Breakfast & Sandwiches
Scottish breakfast from the supermarket for the Week: £ 4.47
Since we’re not necessarily morning people, we like to eat breakfast before having to leave the house. For example, Julia bought porridge oats, milk and bananas, as well as Scottish Breakfast Tea at a supermarket; an easy way to have an affordable local breakfast.
Two Sandwiches & Scones from Greggs: £7.80
If, however, we left the house early for an adventure, we also stopped at Greggs to get sandwiches, which are around £ 2.50-3 each, or also their breakfast pastries. Whenever we felt like dessert, we got a four pack of scones.
3-Course Lunch at Mamma Roma for £9.95 per person
If you’re looking for lunch but don’t want to step into any tourist traps, check the side streets of popular roads. Good lunch deals can often be found around university campuses and office areas. There you can often find 2- or 3-course lunch deals for a relatively cheap price. This will generally be much cheaper than eating a la carte or dinner in a restaurant. The portions at Mamma Roma may have been a bit on the small side (or perhaps that was also all that walking) but very delicious and worth the money.
Soup & Drink at Scottish National Museum’s Brasserie: £23
Normally, we would avoid lunch at sightseeing attractions but it was raining and we were starving, so we decided to eat at the Scottish National Museum’s Brasserie. The portions weren’t the biggest but decent for a museum. Sam had a sweet potato burger and Julia traditional Scottish Cullen Skink with brown bread. It’s basically fish soup with a lot of leek and potato. Seriously, if you don’t like leek stay away. Otherwise it’s a good hot meal on a cold day. We also tried Victorian Lemonade, which was very lemony indeed.
Lunch & Dessert at Eteaket: £ 23.1
We went to Eteaket more than once but for lunch we had a halloumi courgette burger and smoked salmon wraps with home-made iced tea. Feeling a little lickerish, as Bajans might say, we followed it up with some cake and scone and, of course, more delicious tea.
Small Pork Box at Oink: £3.4
When Julia researched this trip one food place, which kept coming up was Oink. Being stereotypically Austrian, Julia loves her pork, so she was eager to try a dish in a takeout place, which only does pork. Since there weren’t any options for vegetarians, aka Sam, Julia just got the smallest box from their branch on Victoria Street to go. Each serving of meat comes with stuffing, such as sage and onion, as well as a sauce, in Julia’s case, apple sauce. Definitely one of the best pieces of pork, Julia has ever eaten and she’s eaten a lot!
Chopstix at Waverly Mall: £4.5 per person
One of the first nights we walked around the city, looking for a restaurant to eat dinner. We had expected to find a wide range of cuisines and price ranges. But the relatively little restaurants on the North side of the city centre were packed full and their prices quite steep. It was only later that we realized a lot more restaurants can be found in the area South of Edinburgh Castle.
We were too hungry to queue for a table so we ended up at small takeout place in Waverly Mall, which is located above Waverly train station. Even the small box at Chopstix made a quite decent dinner.
Splurge dinner at Trenchtown: £40.1
When we heard there was a Caribbean restaurant and they served Banks beer from Barbados, we just had to give it a try. However, upon walking in, it becomes clear quickly by the music that the owners aren’t Caribbean. With so many amazing Caribbean music genres, it’s a pity they passed up on the essentials ingredients for Caribbean vibes. As a starter we had Trinidadian Doubles, which were very good. Afterwards we had Trinidadian Mango Coconut Curry Chicken and Vegan Rundown, along with an extra side of plantain. The mains were served in traditional enamel pots which was a nice touch. While authentic ingredients were used, it didn’t quite add up to an authentic dish, being too overwhelmingly spicy to allow for any other flavours. Even the Caribbean person had to have a glass of milk when we got home.
Treats & Sweets
With walking as much as we do (over 150km, while we were on this trip) we sometimes just need that extra boost of a little dessert. At least that’ll be our excuse. Here are some of our favourites.
Iced Gelato Shake at Smoov: £ 4.5
Since gelato means ice cream in Italian, that’s what it basically is, an ice cream shake, decadently served with a chocolate bar on top.
Tea & Tea cocktails: £13.7
Eteaket is a cute little hipster tea house, which attracted Julia with its wide range of loose leaf teas. The hipster music from the 2000s playing softly in the background, seems to make it also a favourite with many locals. Our favourites include the iced apple cranberry tea, matcha latte and chocolate tea, which surprisingly did taste quite a bit like dark chocolate.
When we saw they also had tea cocktails on the menu, we just had to try them. So, we ordered an Iced Chai White Russian and a Peppermint Mojito. We’re still not quite convinced by the idea of tea cocktails but they were still enjoyable, as we sat on the windowsill bench, with the sun warming our backs.
Belgian Chocolate Cookies from Sainsbury’s: £1.5
This one might seem a bit random but for us these cookies are full of nostalgia. Sam used to bring them over to Julia, when we first started dating. Partially, we probably like these cookies because they remind us of our first dates but they’re also absolutely delicious.
Eating on a Budget in Edinburgh
If you’re looking to splurge a bit on some meals, you may want to save money on other meals. Generally, lunch is often cheaper at restaurants rather than dinner, as well as is going with a set daily menu rather than ordering a la carte. You can also save on lunch or dinner by getting takeout or bringing sandwiches if you’re going to an area with less choices of eating possibilities. Just keep in mind that skipping on meals means you might not be at your full energy, which make you feel exhausted and stops you from enjoying your holiday to the fullest.
To try local dishes, you can also check local supermarkets who often stock traditional dishes or prepared ingredients for them at a much lower cost than they would be at a restaurant. If you just love food too much and are looking to save up for foodie splurges elsewhere on your travels, also check out our other money saving tips for holidays in Edinburgh (coming soon).