Edinburgh/Grassmarket Dinner Options
We will be spending 4 days in Edinburgh in late May and will be staying at a flat on W. Port just west of the Grassmarket area. We are looking for non-touristy -- if possible -- lunch and dinner options within walking distance or a short taxi ride from where we are staying. We are looking for very good food, casual vibe and not top end in cost. All cuisines are good and we would love to go where the locals go for lunch and dinner. There will be 4 of us dining together ranging in age from the 40s to 50s. Not looking for super trendy places, but comfortable places with an emphasis on good food and value. A good beer selection would be great too.
Any good coffee/tea/breakfast places too.
Appreciate any recommendations you can provide.
Can’t really that this is the kind of city with ‘tourist’ places and ‘local places’, anywhere half decent, i.e. you can take the places hitlisted by the list as a starting point will have locals. Personally I've never heard/encountered any tourist places except I think the Witchery which i've never known anybody to go to but it is still recommended in tourist guides and Rose Street has a lot of tourists although there are a couple of nice places there.
I would recommended you buy ‘the list eating and drinking guide’ (not ‘the list’ which has just entertainment listings), which as well as available online can be brought from most newsagents and have handy maps , requires a bit of reading between the lines as they don’t often say negative things but is a useful guide for getting a feel for the areas in Edinburgh and what is around. The new edition should be out soon.
I guess the further away from the centre of town you go, i.e. the royal mile/princes street the less tourists you will encounter. So go and wander around some of the areas of Edinburgh, for example take a walk across the meadows to Marchmont, which is studenty but home to the cosy locally Toast which does breakfast through to dinner, then through to Bruntsfield and down to Morningside both are areas are have cute little boutique shops and cafes and delis. This place could be your type of thing if you want cosiness, homebaking and teas but I haven’t been yet been http://www.loopylornas.com/da/86375 There’s also French deli across the road. You can then hop onto the 15 bus to Rosslyn Chapel if that’s on your itinerary. Or on the 23 northwards to the botanic gardens – just before the botanics in a street called brandon terrace – there’s coffee shop called coffee angel and a french café I think called circle, both have nice cakes/food. From the botanics – you can walk to another area called Stockbridge with nice pubs and cafes, as mentioned by other posts, and all findable in the list eating and drinking guide. Kays bar and the stockbridge tap have good beers. The stockbridge tap has good value food. Wandering around stockbridge delis, picking up things for a picnic then head to Inverleith park or the botanics is good for a sunny May day.
I've posted previously on good places for coffee/tea/breakfasts so do a search. I haven't posted that much.
Walking to Stockbridge or Marchmont from where you are is about 20 minutes - half an hour at the most. This is a small walkable city.
On Saturday very near to you is the farmers market in the morning in Castle Terrace Car Park. Round the corner from you is the blue blazer pub on spitall street which is often very busy, certainly is local and has a decent selection of real ale. If you are after value then go for pre-theatre menus. There are two theatres about five minutes from you. The traverse theatre has a bar at the bottom and a restaurant at the top called blue (don't go to the atrium which is located in the atrium(!) of the theatre, not casual, not worth the money). Next to the traverse theatre is the lyceum theatre which has a restaurant called zucca next to it. I’ve never been to either but they are going for the ‘use local ingredients in a simple fashion served in a casual bistro friendly fashion yet still smart as the interior is modern and simple’ niche - so would fulfil your brief. The tower restaurant which I also haven't been too is also close to you in the other direction. It has a pre theatre menu I think and has nice views from the top.
As an aside, take care when you're crossing town, particarly if you are trying to cross princes street, tram works are taking place. Enjoy your trip.
Excellent timing! Hitting Edinburgh in May gets you there before the hordes arrive and before the midges start biting.General suggestion is to log on to the following url: list.co.uk - does a fairly comprehensive listing of whats on in Edinburgh ( and Glasgow) and a great eating and drinking section, with fairly reliable views on where to chow down and where to avoid. The Dogs in Hanover St is great fun, Bells Diner in Stockbridge great for decent value meat. But as someone has already said, this IS a tourist city so no avoiding this - less likelihood of finding that secret place that only the locals go to. Having said that, remember the pubs - brilliant real Victorian hostelries, the Guildford Arms, Cafe Royal ( with oyster bar), Bennet's Bar, Mathers,.....the list is endless. If you like crime novels, buy a couple of Ian Rankin's great crime thrillers starring the grumpy, whisky quaffing Inspector Rebus which will give you a grainier view of Edinburgh - and then go to the Oxford bar where Rebus does his drinking for a pint or two and where virtually every local has appeared as someone in a Rankin/Rebus novel. Go to the Alba D'Oro for seriously good fish and chips, and some quaint vegetable fritters if you're feeling healthy(!!?) Remember this is NOT the land of tartare sauce but salt and sauce. Just ask for it. A unique Edinburgh phenomenon - altho only revered by Edinburgh residents, it has to be said. Valvona and Crolla I also second. And get down to Leith for some brilliant seafood restaurrants, or deeply posh Michelin food at Wisharts or Kitchins, or a great pub meal at the Kings Wark. Have fun. Hope the sun shines.
The Valvona Crolla deli might be a 15-minute walk from central Edinburgh towards Leith. It could be the best Italian deli in the UK. It is worth a visit for shopping, but the also serve good food there. I am sure they serve lunch and they now be serving dinner there as well.
Valvonna Crolla now also operate a cafe in Jenner's, one of the department stores in the center of town.
I second The Grain Store. Amazing food in a lovely atmosphere and the owner is delightful. For a cozy coffee and pastry experience, head into Stockbridge to Cafe Florentine and sit in the back room overlooking the river. The Elephant House is close to where you're staying (can be a bit crowded at lunch) but if you go in the morning it's not too bad. For a good beer experience, try The Last Drop in the Grassmarket (good food, too).
Been in Edinburgh since Tuesday. Had dinner at the Grain Store on Thursday. It is a very nice setting for dinner. We were there when they opened and noticed it filled up quickly. The food was quite good and the prices were reasonable. I would definitely go back and try to get in for lunch!