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good everyday dinner in Edinburgh

Hi all from Boston

I have read the saved boards and seen raves for your Michelin star restaurants. But frankly, I'd love to find the places you all go for an everyday or date night good meal, not a 75 pound tasting menu!

I have gleaned Urban Angel, Tailend for fish and chips, Grain Store, Bon Vivant, Iris, The Outsider, and Halfway House. We eat just about anything. What would you all suggest?

We are staying in New Town, but willing to take a cab or walk for a good meal.

(btw, thanks for the suggestion of museum cafes. Will probably do that. We tend to do quick lunches when we're traveling...)


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  1. I really really liked The Dogs (http://www.thedogsonline.co.uk/index....). It's got a bit of a hipstery vibe but the food is top-notch and well-priced (lunch will come in at under a tenner a head, dinner can be done for under £15). It's on Hanover Street, so very accessible for New Town and central Edinburgh.

    1. If you are in the mood for Italian, try Valvona & Crolla's Vin Caffe.


      Valvona & Crolla also serves lunch in the Caffe Bar at their shop.


      1. The Mussel Inn on Rose Street might be worth a try if you are looking for seafood.


        1. thanks! getting on a plane soon...

          1. Head to the Mosque Kitchen in the Old Town. Its about a 20 minute walk from New Town.

            Its a real experience and everyone I've ever taken there has loved it. It is an Indian restaurant and a total institution for the area. It takes no profit, all funds raised are for funding the local Mosque. It used to be an outdoor place where everyone sat informally on long tables, but now they have brought it inside. Cafeteria style. Get there, find a table, possibly sharing with locals, and queue up to get your food. And the food is FANTASTIC - totally authentic (which is important), tasty, varied and delicious. Plus you'd be hard pressed, even with an appetite rivalling a herd of elephants, to spend more than 10 pounds! For example the average curry is about .....3.50 for meat, less for vegetarian.
            Always packed out and open for both lunch and dinner.


            1. Sorry we missed the Mosque Kitchen rec. We ended up with a quick meal the night we arrived at Urban Angel, which was perfect. Then dinner at Iris the second. The owner was friendly and chatty. Grabbed a lunch at The Cellar Door which was fine and super convenient to the museum. Wish we had longer in a great city. thanks, all

              1 Reply
              1. re: LauraBear

                Thanks for telling us what you think. It is a great city, hopefully you get more time to explore next time that you're here!

              2. Hello folks I'd like to bump this thread. I'll be in Edinburgh from Nov 5 to 10 adn I'd love to hear some more more recos for restaurants along these lines. So far I really like the sound of The Dogs. We'll be based in Newington and will be doing a lot of walking. Looking for places that are both cosy and lively, with friendly service, and great food of course. I'm a wine fanatic as well so an interesting well priced list would be a plus.

                16 Replies
                1. re: haggisdragon

                  i'm heading up in a couple of weeks and the more casual option i have lined up is the gardeners cottage (they tweet their daily menus which is great for building anticipation!).

                  other places i noted were kanpai (sushi, best newcomer, 2012), timberyard (lunch and early eve) and la pompadour (offshoot of london's galvin), urban angel (two lcations, only forth st branch serves dinner), peter's yards (scandi grazing), whighams (wine bar).

                  i'd be interested in any views other 'hounds have about these places :)

                  1. re: abby d

                    peter's yard is good though quite expensive, but worth it. Urban Angel does a good brunch - not been for dinner but great food. If it is cold I would also recommend Union of Genius for some soup for lunch. It is on Forest Road, not too far from Peter's yard. Very small but great home made soup and breads.

                      1. re: alisonk

                        You're so right about Pete's Yard's expense and the quality of soup in UoG!

                        1. re: AWaiting

                          you can also get one uofg soup in brewlab a cafe which also does sandwichs and proper coffee and nice interesting cakes (had a cheese and chilli muffin that had a proper chilli kick) the baking is sourced from lovecrumbs which has a nice selection of cakes if that interests you. Back to brewpub can get mobbed by student crowd at certain times thought it is fairly large - their menu is posted up on their Facebook page, peters yard i would agree is expensive but if they still do them before 12 the breadbasket with cheese and jams etc is good value - this is in the original branch in the city centre, not sure if the new branch in stockbridge does this. I find kanpai very expensive for something that is okay but I'm biased against the price of sushi in Edinburgh due to memories of past places. Timberyard does a set menu for affordability and has an extensive drinks list if that interests you. I've not been yet, trying next week. If you're in Newington you might be close to the Southern which is a pub which has a proper range of beers and decent burgers.

                      2. re: abby d

                        Coming to end of lunch so this will be brief!

                        GC, very good, I'm sure that you'll love it.
                        Kanpai - No idea but I'll look into it although I'm not a huge Sushi fan
                        Timberyard - pretty decent depending on what you go for. Kind of caught in trying to compete with Castle Terrace or aim slightly lower.
                        La P - I've not been yet, it's v new. Initial reviews seem to be ok
                        UA - I'd see more as a brunch rather than evening venue
                        P Yard, see below
                        Whighams - I'd avoid for the food, it's a nice enough bar but nothing to write home about unless there's been a big turnaround since last I was there

                      3. re: haggisdragon

                        Ecco vino had a great wine list last time I was there - a whlie ago now though. They do a small range of food and it is usually really busy, but I have fond memories! There is also a wine bar called Bon Vivant which has a nice list and a good atmosphere - very cosy and again can get really crowded. The Dogs, I used to love it, but the last couple of times I have been the wine list hasn't been sooo great and the food not as good as I remember. Worth a shot though and they do use more unusual cuts of meat which is great.

                        I had a surprisingly decent lunch at the Whiski rooms on the mound a couple of weeks ago - good beer list and of course great whiskies. If you would be up for a Michelin lunch then the £24 3 course lunch at Castle terrace is AMAZING - lots of lovely amuse bouches and great service - the £19 wine paring is excellent value as well - you get generous pours.

                        I like Toast in Marchmont for lunch/brunch - not so far from Newington and they do good cake as well. Hewats in Newington has always been great when I have gone for dinner and they do a 3 course for around £10 early evenings. Hope this helps, I will have a think about some more places too - haven't lived in the city for a while so just reacquainting myself with it!

                        1. re: alisonk

                          Bon Vivant is great, as is its next-door off licence, the Bon Vivant's Companion - they're super enthusiastc, and have regular tasting nights in their downstairs 'tasting rooms'. If you can't find a space to sit down in Bon Vivant, just down the road there's Dusit, which is Edinburgh's best Thai restaurant.

                          1. re: bodessa

                            Would you say that Bon Vivant is a wine bar? Semantics maybe but to me this is just another new town bar. Is there anything that sets BV out as having a special wine list? I always thought that it was more spirit based bar.

                            1. re: AWaiting

                              Well I guess it depends on your outlook. There are not many places that have 80 odd types of wine and 10 or so champagne (OK I admit on the champagne front they are mainly large houses and nothing particularly 'out there' or 'different') where they are ALL served by the glass. I do love wine - not particularly knowledgeable, especially compared with some of the folks on here - but I have not had a bad glass in the few times I have been there and the glasses are all a very respectable 175 ml. None of this try to fit a third of a bottle in a glass.

                              Since it has an extensive range of spirits and a growing cocktail list, maybe it is just a bar, I dunno - don't like to get too hung up on semantics. Not being snarky, because I am interested and we clearly have similar tastes on places around Edinburgh, but where in Edinburgh would you class as a proper wine bar?

                              1. re: alisonk

                                That's totally cool, I've only been into the BV a couple of times and it didn't come across as particularly wine orientated but if you're saying that they've 80 types then I clearly was focussing on other things the days that I've been in!!

                                They're are always going to be issues about trying to pigeon hole venues. To me though, I think a wine bar would be somewhere which has a decent selection of wine by the glass and by selection I don't mean the full range of Blossom Falls!

                                My phone crashed when responding to this post originally and I omitted something yesterday that was supposed to be in. The best wine bar in Edinburgh (in my opinion) is Divino. They always have in the region of 20 glasses of wine stored on the Enomatic machine across a range of styles, prices and producers with a heavy influence to the Italian region (being an Italian bar/restaurant). They also do wine flights of 5 mini servings on a theme. The bar itself is gorgeous and has clearly cost a heck of a lot of money to kit out however it can sometimes lack a bit of atmosphere as it never seems to have grabbed the attention too much. The food seems to be an issue as they are continually changing chef/menu. The chicetti offer when they have it on is a bargain (£1 per head and you can tuck into the buffet as much as you like until 7), the meat/cheese platters have been decent (although not necessarily cheap) and the one proper main that I've had - pork with walnut and marsala if my memory serves me right - was over cooked and dry with uninspiring sautéed potatoes that were flaccid. The other bar in Edinburgh that I can think of that could be classed as a wine bar is Le Di -Vin. I need to get back here some time as it's ages since I've been and rebranded since last I was there.

                                1. re: AWaiting

                                  Oh I should check out Divino. I love wine flights - I think it is someone picking and knowing what goes with what and having some guidance through the tastes - why I also love tasting sessions too!

                                  My one issue with BV could be that that having so many wines and having them by the glass perhaps means not such great freshness or rotation of stock? I would hope that they would not serve wine that had been left open for too long - even if it's not 'off' I would hope that the wine was being served at its optimum quality.

                                  Thanks for the added reccs shame I live in St Andrews - not as easy to have as many nights out in Edinburgh as it once was!

                          2. re: alisonk

                            Thanks for the recs folks. I am starting to get excited.

                            1. re: haggisdragon

                              and you should try out Freemans. AMAZING coffee, chill place to sit, great sweet stuff and I have heard some excellent lunch/brunch options too.

                          3. re: haggisdragon

                            If you're in Newington then there are a couple of decent wine shops near by which may allow you to go BYOB if you were so inclined. There's Woodwinters who are excellent and v friendly and Peter Green. Sweet Melindas is a small tucked away restaurant in Newington that does fantastic fish based food and they do BYOB on Tuesdays.

                            You may also consider Calistoga for well priced wine as they have a fixed £5 mark up on their list. The food is decent without being too exciting but they do have a very nice (mainly Californian) wine list.

                            You're also close to the student area in Newington which has some great Asian cheap and cheerful restaurants. There's an excellent Korean called Kim's Mini Meals and a Malaysian restaurant called Kampong Ah Lee that I've tried (although there are lots of others in the area that I've not tried!).

                            1. re: AWaiting

                              Agreed re Peter Green's there is also this other shop which is part of a local chain which I can't for the life of me remember. The have a shop in Morningside - i think that the name sounds kinda Italian, the shop frontage is grey and modern and the name could perhaps be just one word. They are GREAT for wines at all price levels and also international beers as well.

                              +1 for Sweet Melinda's though not been for a LONG time.

                              Calistoga is closed in Newington now - not been to the new(ish) location in Rose Street, but it never disappointed for a casual night out. The wine list is great and they also have'had an off license called Sideways next door.