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Jun 1, 2008 09:36 AM

Edinburgh-Where to go for Breakfast, great Salmon, and other dining recommendations ?

Hi Chowhounders,
I am hoping for your expert recommendations.

I am going to Edinburgh in August (staying in New Town, very central location).

Can you please share your insight on some great and inexpensive places to get breakfast?

Also, I am crazy about Scottish Salmon. Are there places that do a particular good job serving Smoked Salmon, and other fish?

Also interested in inexpensive/moderate dining options for the other meals of the day. Lordie, the dollar is in the dumps! I would love to go to some great extravagant places, but I can't do that every day on the budget :) . Would love to get a range of options, mainly inexpensive, moderate--although some can be more expensive.

Looking for--
Afternoon Tea, cafes, Breakfasts, Fish places(especially Smoked Salmon finds), Tradional and modern Scottish food, Eclectic, some French and Italian. Places also where you can 'grab and go'.
(no steakhouses, no Indian, no Chinese/Japanese food)

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Your feedback is greatly appreciated as this is a wonderful forum for the expert foodies. :)

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  1. hi - for breakfast try Toast in Marchmont, Cafe Grande in Bruntsfield. For fish - head down to Leith, which is the area around the docks/waterfront. Try The Shore, Fishers, Skippers, Room in Leith.

    1. I loved The Grain Store - they use fresh, seasonal local produce (and I had the best steak ever there) and Martin Wishart in Leith, Edinburgh's first Michelin-starred restaurant. I thought the smoked salmon and scallops at Creeler's was very nice too - I found this fish restaurant by accident. They have their own smokehouse too.

      I've written about these restaurants on my blog if you're interested. I hope you have a wonderful time there!

      Helen Yuet Ling Pang

      1. Valvona & Crolla (just off the Leith Road in Edinburgh) is one of the best Italian delis in all of the UK. A visit there is highly recommended.

        They have a side room that serves lunch. They may be serving dinner there as well by now. Do a web search for more info.

        1. Other than myself (and I'm a very recent transplant), I'm not sure that there's much of an Edinburgh contingent on chowhound, so do be aware that you won't be getting much insider guidance here. For that, I'd recommend that you browse through Edinburgh Menus ( ), which is probably the closest local equivalent, though it's review-oriented rather than discussion-oriented. The List ( ) is also a useful guide. My best meals have been:

          -Valvona & Crolla VinCaffe: excellent Italian.
          -Urban Angel: locally sourced, creative cooking.

          Tapas Tree is pretty good Spanish and the Guilford Arms on West Register is a classic pub with a good selection of guest ales. Though the Scottish salmon is excellent, there is quite a bit more to Scottish seafood than that, so if you get a chance, try the cullen skink, abroath smokies, scallops, or razor clams. As the other posters suggest, Leith is probably your best bet for seafood, though Fishers in the City is quite good.

          Note that for many upscale places in Edinburgh, booking in advance is recommended, even during the week.

          There are also many places open only for lunch, though I don't work in New Town so I have no guidance for you there.

          For cafes, I'm partial to coffee (Scotland seems less tea-oriented than its neighbor to the south, in any case). Most of the chain coffee shops in the city are lousy, but there are two gems: Artisan Roasters on Broughton street roasts their own right in the main room, and it is truly excellent. Kilimanjaro on Nicholson Street makes excellent cappuccino, latte, and scones. They get their beans from AR.

          There are no shortage of "grab and go" places in Edinburgh (the local term is "takeaway"). For chip shops in New Town, D'Alba D'oro and L'Aquila Bianca are good options.

          If you are in town for most of the month and you've got time and space to cook, please come on down to Stockbridge to visit our excellent butcher (George Bower), fishmonger (Armstrong's) and cheesemonger (Iain Mellis). (Stockbridge is great to walk around in any case and most tourists miss it). There's also an excellent farmer's market on Saturday mornings on the Castle Terrace parking deck (just southwest of the castle).

          Hope you enjoy the festival! Anyway, give me a couple more months of eating around the city and hopefully I'll have more recommendations by the time you get here. :)

          8 Replies
          1. re: alopez

            Thank you so much for your recommendations. It's exciting to hear about your fun dining experiences and the places you recommend. I look forward to hearing more insights from you all.

            1. re: alopez

              Nobody's mentioned The Kitchin in Leith. Any good?

              1. re: PhilD

                Thought his starter on Great British Menu looked outstanding - and clever, too. Other dishes seemed a bit underwhelming.

                Good Food Guide write-up indicates prices at around £24 a main course which sounds a tad expensive.

                1. re: Harters

                  It seemed to me watching the programme, that Kitchin has a lot of promise but is a work in progress. I wouldn't turn down a meal at his place.

              2. re: alopez

                I'm interested in the farmers market you mention. Do you know the hours on that market? I have a flight that lands around 11, so I'm hoping the market is open past noon.

                Thanks for your recommendations -- they're helpful.

                1. re: glutton

                  Farmer's market is open till 2pm though some of the stalls empty earlier. Some of the eating stalls can be found elsewhere. Well Hung and Tender (they have a website) do steak sandwiches on Castle Streek, Oink do hog roast roll (also have a website and their apple sauce could be vastly improved) on Victoria Street.

                  for coffee shop in the centre of town, wellington cafe on the corner of george street and hanover also get their beans from Artisan Roast - proper coffee and nice cakes, sandwiches and coffee.

                  Sprio on St.Stephens Street in Stockbridge is a tiny, simple, neighbourhood, italian style cafe who do sandwiches and soup. don't know if they're any good as I only ever get an almond croissant or pear almond tart!

                  There's a new tea place on Frederick street called eteaket who say their coffee is from Artisan Roast - haven't popped in yet.

                  The Bailie's (pub in Stockbridge on corner of St.Stephens) doesn't have the best pub food but it has the best cosy local pub vibe. The Kitchin for lunch £25 I think is worth it.

                  There's a branch of Urban Angel who are open all day and have a venue on Broughton Road as well as the central location of Hanover Street. And also on Hanover Street, along with everybody else I would recommend the Dogs.

                  Another Cafe in town would be the Fruitmarket Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery do nice scones in their cafe, the underground complex under the National Gallery on the Mound has a cafe with nice views, for views go to the top floor of Waterstones on princes street, the chain coffee shop - I think it might be starbucks has views over the castle, much more peacefull than the actual starbucks next door as its just a few tables amongst the bookshelves. The national modern gallery has a lovely homely cafe with great cakes and outdoor seating on their terrace in the summer. Walk there via the Water of Leith after you have gone through all the above recommendations in Stockbridge. If you have an oven a steak pie from George Bowers is great comfort food.

                  Don't normally like going out for Mexican as I can usually make just as well at home, but the Tex Mex on Thistle Street is cosy and tasty. Monday is 2 for 1 burger night.

                  Calistoga is a californan restaurant that has a branch in the centre of town on rose street. They have a good deal on their pre theatre menu - three courses £14.50.

                  Wedgewood which I have never tried - on the Royal Mile do a two course lunch for £10. The best lunch deal is a pie of the day in a pub - but I have no idea where it is - maybe somebody can help - its exceedingly popular.

                  There's also Crombies for a great range of wonderful sausages. I would second Toast for breakfast.

                  1. re: orchidalbion

                    Hi orchidalbion, are you also based in Edinburgh? You're the chowhound I've noticed who seems to be. [if so, feel free to send me an email at the address in my profile]

                    I agree with most of the list (although I'm not convinced that there's worthwhile Mexican food here). I can confirm that the soup and sandwiches at Sprio are very good. I'd also add a couple of things:

                    -Circle Cafe on Brandon Terrace, especially the puy lentil stew with wine merchant sausages (from Crombie's) and the beef stew. (For out-of-towners, this is a good rec if you're headed towards Inverleith Gardens).

                    -Nile Valley on Chapel Street offers excellent North African food at dinner (lunch is also good, but much less interesting Mediterranean wraps and the like).