Edinburgh is a great place for pub food, but there are some pretty good restaurants too. Following several stays in the capital, here is our list of the 10 best-value pubs & restaurants in Edinburgh – in no particular order.
Usquabae Whisky Bar and Larder
Usquabae is a place we find ourselves returning to on each visit to Edinburgh.
On 2 levels, this whisky bar and larder features a vibrant pub scene as well as cozy and secluded alcove tables where you can find privacy whlist ordering some excellent food.
It gets very busy here, especially at weekends, so booking ahead is essential if you want one of the alcoves or a quiet table.
Booking by email is the easiest option.
All of their dishes are hearty and inexpensive.
On our last visit we ordered their Cheese Board. The portions were enormous – there must have been almost a kilo of assorted cheeses on my plate (Dunsyre Blue, Mull of Kintyre, Clava Brie and Auld Reekie), accompanied by chutney, olives and oat cakes.
Pubs & Restaurants in Edinburgh – Michael Neave
Located just off the Royal Mile,down the steep and narrow Old Fishmarket Close, we chose the Michael Neave restaurant for a birthday celebration.
We knew this would be fine dining, and priced accordingly, so we expected to pay more here than our other dining venues.
Inside, the restaurant is quiet, modern and relaxing and the service (like everywhere in Edinburgh) was good.
Sharing our dishes for variety, we ate salmon and pidgeon for starters, followed by halibut and venison for mains. All this washed down with a bottle of Chilean wine, sparkling water and a splash of deliciously-smoky 10-year-old Ardbeg whisky.
The food was good and well-presented, as long as you’re happy with small portions.
Our bill came to £92.25 – our most expensive meal in Edinburgh, but not excessively so.
For a real late afternoon treat, it’s hard to beat The Colonnades.
Situated in the heart of Edinburgh, at the Signet library just behind St Giles Cathedral, the Colonnades offers a grand and imposing venue.
They offer a first course of delectable sandwiches and savouries, followed by a second course of decadent cakes. Both courses are served on silver tea stands.
The service is excellent, with the staff explaining in detail the various treats on the stands.
The menu includes unlimited tea and coffee, with a huge selection to choose from.
We booked our table online a week earlier for £25 per person, instead of the standard £30 per person. Together with a nice bottle of Australian wine our final bill came to £76.50 for two.
Pubs & Restaurants in Edinburgh – The Sheep Heid Inn
If you’re up for a bit of exercise, why not take a walk around Holyrood park, past the lake to Duddingston. Here you can find not just Edinburgh’s oldest pub, but the oldest pub in Scotland.
The Sheep Heid Inn takes around 40 minutes or so to reach by foot from Holyrood Palace.
You’ll be in good company: The inn’s famous patrons include Robert Louis Stevenson, Robbie Burns and Bonnie Prince Charlie (when his army was encamped at Duddingston for a month prior to the Battle of Prestonpans).
Apparently, back in July 2016, the Queen unexpectedly dropped in from Holyrood Palace for a drink with some lamb and mash, so you never know who you might bump into.
On our visit, we sat at a corner table in the side room and ate Salmon Supreme with buttered mashed potato, chorizo and garden peas. Together with a couple of rounds of drinks our bill came to £70.90 for two.
Not the cheapest pub by any means, but look at the clientele…
For any fans of the Outlander miniseries and books, The World’s End pub is a must-see. It’s located about halfway down the Royal Mile, and is handy for a pint while you’re wandering around.
The food here is good and inexpensive.
Pubs & Restaurants in Edinburgh – The Standing Order
Although not the easiest place to find, the Standing Order pub has to be seen to be believed. Previously a bank, this building has been converted into a Wetherspoons pub and eatery – so you know you’re going to get value for money
We enjoyed a complete meal for four for £33.95, and of course the drinks are reasonably priced.
The main takeaway here though is the splendour and grandiosity of the building. Just don’t get lost finding your way back from the loo.
Located a little way from the center of the city, and with high reviews, the Rodi Restaurant offers an alternative to the ubiquitous (but tasty) haggis, nips and tatties of the pubs.
Since this is a Turkish restaurant, portions were not small, so we decided to skip the starter. We nevertheless received complimentary pita bread with spicy pepper and hummus dips before our meal.
For our main course we ordered charcoaled grilled lamb on a bed of aubergine with a special sauce rice and salad plus a grilled mixture of adana, sis, chicken and lamb.
The mixed grill was a little dry, but the lamb with special sauce was delicious.
Before leaving we were offered complimentary Turkish tea
Together with a bottle of red wine and sparkling water our bill came to £50 for 2 people.
Located not far down the street from Edinburgh Castle, the Ensign Ewart is not the cheapest place to drink (£12 for a large glass of wine and a pint). However, they have live music several nights a week (fiddles and violins), and the place has a great calming atmosphere.
There’s also a large glass-covered painting of the Ensign himself famously snatching the French standard at the battle of Waterloo (the actual standard can be viewed a few hundred yards away in the castle museum).
The Ensign Ewart pub closes at midnight.
Pubs & Restaurants in Edinburgh – Kilderkin
The Kilderkin is a little pub close to the bottom of the Royal Mile, not far from Holyrood Palace. We visited on a typical Scottish day: It was cold, wet and drizzling outdoors and we needed a refuge to warm up and dry out.
We got a table for four and ordered a standard fare of typical pub food. This included a Malted Wheatgran Bloomer (doorstop sandwich with chicken), warm flour tortillas stuffed with pulled pork, and of course haggis, neeps and tatties.
Together with a round of drinks our bill for 4 people came to £42.
Quite a good filler for lunchtime.
Though it’s not actually a restaurant, Oink deserves a mention here.
Treat yourself to a ‘crackling’ lunch or snack from a freshly carved hog roast roll. Great for a sandwich snack on the go.
They have outlets in Victoria Street and at Canongate (bottom of the Royal Mile).
For further culinary inspiration, you can also try The Piemaker, The Union of Genius, Pickles, and The Amber Restaurant. We haven’t got around to these places yet (there’s only so much you can eat per trip).
However, it’s always good to have a reason to return to this city.
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