Edinburgh: Where to eat and drink

(William Stubbs)

Makars Gourmet Mash Bar, Edinburgh

It’s not particularly well-known in Edinburgh yet, but we reckon it won’t be long before Makars is one of the most talked-about restaurants in the capital. Two words. Mashed potato. As the owners themselves say, it’s the king of comfort foods. They’ve taken their love of this great classic and come up with several variations of mash to go with their main dishes. We can’t decide whether to recommend the black pudding mash or the spring onion and smoked ham mash. Both are equally creamy and delicious. There are also plenty of great main dishes to go with them. Service is good, too. It’s different but down-to-earth. What’s not to love?

Price: ££

Where: Makars Gourmet Mash Bar, 
9 North Bank Street, Edinburgh, 

Tel: 0131 226 1178



Piemaker, Edinburgh

Need fast food to go? Piemaker has every pie imaginable and each one is better than the last. Cheap, cheerful and fabulous.

Price: £

Where: Piemaker, 38 South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1LL

Tel: 0131 558 1728



Kay’s Bar, Edinburgh

Kay’s is just minutes from George Street and well worth checking out. It’s a lovely Victorian bar, and it feels like stepping back to another era. We particularly love The Library, the snug which is lined with old books. It’s the perfect place to hide away on a rainy day. Just add a nip and relax! Speaking of nips, if you enjoy a dram or two, you’ll love the “top shelf” selection of whiskies. There’s a great range of real ales, too. And you can pick up a tasty lunch at a reasonable price. Beef curry for under a fiver? How about stovies for £4.50? Well, we don’t mind if we do!

Price: £

Where: Kay’s Bar, 39 Jamaica Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6HF

Tel: 0131 225 1858


2013-04-06 13.34_20426226

The Bridge Inn, Ratho

It’s a restaurant and pub with a handful of lovely rooms. It’s got views and great craft gin and beer. Staff know the menu well and will make recommendations. You could say it’s a family affair – head chef David is following in the footsteps of his dad who also worked here. Dad taught him well. Their sticky toffee pudding is delicious – even though it’s made with tomatoes!

Price: £££

Where: The Bridge Inn, 27 Baird Road Ratho, Midlothian, EH28 8RA

Tel: 0131 333 1320



Spitaki, Edinburgh

They say Edinburgh is the Athens of the north so it’s right there’s a great Greek restaurant we can recommend. Take a bow, Spitaki! The restaurant specialises in meze – bigger than a starter, smaller than a main and made for sharing. It’s a relaxed way to eat. The htipiti – pepper and feta dip – is fab. And leave room for the bougatsa – custard in filo pastry. You’ll be glad you did.

Price: ££

Where: Spitaki Greek Taverna,133-135 East Claremont Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4JA

Tel: 0131 556 9423



Mamma Roma, Edinburgh

Heading to the Playhouse? Mamma Roma is just across the road. There’s a popular three-course theatre menu at £16.95 and an even better value lunch menu at £8.50 for three courses. Some restaurants around the theatre can be pricey, but you won’t break the bank here. Portions are decent – we’d be surprised if you leave here hungry – and sometimes you can get a half-pizza, half-pasta deal. Is it just us or is this the best idea ever? Staff are friendly and efficient and generally cope well even in the busiest of situations. Bellissimo!

Price: ££

Where: Mamma Roma, 4/7 Antigua Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3NH

Tel: 0131 558 1628


(Ian Jacobs Photography)
(Ian Jacobs Photography)

The Dome, Edinburgh

Head to The Dome if you want glam, glitz and fancy pretending you’re a celebrity for a while. The building is gorgeous. It’s an old bank headquarters and it has been totally refurbished without losing any character. The centrepiece is the beautiful dome-shaped ceiling which you’ll find yourself gazing at. There are several choices for eating. Afternoon tea in The Georgian Tearoom is special indeed and a luxury experience. If you fancy a more lively atmosphere, head to The Grill Room. There’s a three-course menu for £20, but with my crowd if we’re enjoying a drink or three, we like the snack menu. Think sandwiches, bowls of chips, sharing platters and even good old toast. Sometimes you just fancy more snacky food, rather than a full-on meal, and The Dome does it especially well. Oh, and if you like cocktails, it would be a crime to miss them here. We can’t decide whether to recommend the apple crumble 
or the French martini. Tell you what – we’ll have both!

Price: ££

Where: The Dome, 14 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PF

Tel: 0131 624 8624


(Andrew Cawley)
(Andrew Cawley)

Pizza Express, Edinburgh

We know our pizza. And we reckon that Pizza Express is one of the better chain restaurants. The branch on George IV Bridge is particularly good. Service is slick, friendly and efficient. Always check their deals. We ate on 2 for 1 Wednesday, which was great value. We love the location of this branch. In the heart of the city, it’s perfect for people-watching.

Price: ££

Where: Pizza Express, 1 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2JL

Tel: 0131 225 9669


Scone Spy Recommends…

(Andrew Cawley)
(Andrew Cawley)

Carrubbers, Old Town

“They’re offering white chocolate and apricot scones. I’ve had this elsewhere. Not keen. But I give it another whirl.

“I know. I’m crazy that way. I made the right choice. Because it’s a scone with icing on it. It’s fabulous. A cake, scone and bun in one. I take a trip to the toilets and somehow get lost. I swear when I find my way back, the waitress is having a wee laugh at my expense!”

Where: EH1 1SR


Eteaket,  Edinburgh

“They love their tea here as much as I love a scone. There is an unbelievable amount of teas.

“I opt for a pot of Breakfast Blend to go with my cream scone. I’m a traditional soul at heart. I’m thrilled when my teacup and saucer is blue willow pattern.

“My dear old nana loved blue willow and I raise my Breakfast Blend to her and have a wee smile at memory of endless cuppas and Gypsy Creams with her. It makes my scone all the better.”

Where: EH2 1EP


Cafe Truva, Leith

“I opted for a white coffee and plain scone, and while the scone arrived cold, it was fresh and home-made, as its odd shape and crumbliness proved. It was as tasty as it was big and it was a fair old size.

“Across the table, my friend had a pot of tea and slice of pecan pie. The pecan pie was a real treat. Sweet, gooey and the pecans had just enough crunch – very nice.”

Where: EH6 6RG

A cheese scone and mint fresh tea from the Secret Herb Garden (Andrew Cawley)
A cheese scone and mint fresh tea from the Secret Herb Garden (Andrew Cawley)

Secret Herb Garden, Edinburgh

“Two plain scones are the order of the day. Clearly homemade, they are thick and bulky in size, but lovely and moist.

“A nice quirk of the place is there are no restrictions on where you can take your food. “With tables and chairs dotted around outside, there’s plenty of space to sit and take in the surroundings.”

Where: EH10 7EA


Want to explore more of Scotland? Head to our Scottish Gems section.