Cheap really can mean cheerful

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EATING out can be an expensive proposition - but it doesn't have to be. There are a multitude of good restaurants, bars, cafes and exotic chain outlets across Scotland where you can find a great meal for around a tenner, and you don't have to give up on quality in the process.

Whether you're a student, traveling the country on a budget, or you just like to get good value for money when you eat out, scotsman.com is here to help. We have compiled a list of affordable eateries - divided by geographical area - for you to enjoy, but we also need your help in making this list a more comprehensive resource. So, don't keep your favourite a secret - we all need to know where to find a cheap eat. Please use the comments section below to share your hidden gems.

SCOTTISH BORDERS

EDINBURGH AND LOTHIANS

GLASGOW AND RENFREWSHIRE

FIFE, PERTH AND CENTRAL

THE NORTH, HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS

SCOTTISH BORDERS

The Kings Arms Hotel: High Street, Melrose, Scottish Borders

Tel: 01896 822 143

You are treated like a king at Kings Arms, where a family friendly environment also features a good selection of bar food. There are nearly 30 main courses to choose from, most of which are reasonably priced. The Sunday lunch is a particular favourite, with two- and three-course options.

Cobbles Inn: 7 Bowmont Street, Kelso, Scottish Borders

Tel: 01573 223548

A great pub in the heart of Kelso offering good, home-made food in portions fit for the hungry. There are also a selection of daily specials displayed on the blackboard and a selection of locally supplied desserts for those who feel the need to indulge further.

The Clansman Restaurant: 11 The Square, Port William, Wigtownshire, Dumfries and Galloway

Tel: 01988 700 344

The Clansman is the place to go to find a quality meal for a reasonable price. The specials change daily, and the evening menu is very popular. Stay long enough to watch the sunset over the harbour – magical by all accounts.

The Star Hotel: High Street, Moffat, Dumfriesshire

Tel: 01683 220 156

Reportedly the world's narrowest hotel, which may prove burdensome following one of the great bar meals on offer. The food is good quality and plentiful and the steak pie in particular offers terrific value for money.

The Steam Packet Inn: Harbour Row, Isle of Whithorn, Wigtownshire, Dumfries and Galloway

Tel: 01988 500 334

The Steam Packet Inn offers traditional pub fare, but with a more exotic range of dishes on offer on the daily specials board. The harbour front location ensures the seafood is as fresh as you'll find, and at affordable prices. The location alone is worth the journey, but be sure to book in advance as this is a popular venue.

Review by Sarah Milne, Scotland on Sunday

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EDINBURGH AND LOTHIANS

Always Sunday: 170 High Street, Old Town, Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 622 0667

The name rouses thoughts of lazy days sharing big meals with friends and family. Well, you get the best of both worlds at Always Sunday every day, with no fighting over who does the washing up. The food is healthy and fresh, presenting traditional Sunday fare as well as a choice of more liberal dietary offerings. A selection of vegetarian options, sandwiches and pastries, as well as an assortment of fresh juices and smoothies means it caters to just about every taste.

The Balmwell: 41 Howdenhall Road, Liberton, Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 672 1408

A restaurant based in somewhat stately surroundings, offering a large beer garden, cocktails and two-for-one meal deals, with the cheaper of any two main courses being free. The food is good quality and the portions err on the side of colossal.

Review by Alan Roden, Edinburgh Evening News

Bonsai: 46 West Richmond Street, Old Town, Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 668 3847

Bonsai is a very affordable Japanese restaurant that serves up a varied selection of traditional sushi and noodle dishes. Quite popular with local students – always a good sign - which means it can be tricky getting a table during peak times. The pace of the service means the turnover is fairly brisk, so you won't wait long.

Review by Richard Bath, Scotland on Sunday

Chop Chop Chinese Restaurant: 248 Morrison Street, West End, Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 221 1155

If you're having difficulty finding this restaurant, just look for the shop front glowing like a Belicia beacon on the horizon. The exterior dcor may instil fears of what lies within, but the food is really good and the value for money unquestionable.

Review by Richard Bath, Scotland on Sunday

The Creel Restaurant: 25 Lamer Street, The Old Harbour, Dunbar, East Lothian

Tel: 01368 863 279

You'd be hard pushed to find any restaurant that comes close to the quality and value of the Creel. The locals usually know best, and this restaurant's clientele share a similar camaraderie to those who share a favourite drinking den. Go forth and mingle!

Goblin Ha' Hotel: Main Street, Gifford, East Lothian

Tel: 01620 810 244

The Goblin Ha' restaurant meals are cheap enough, but the real value can be found in the bar menu. Incredibly reasonable prices, an emphasis placed upon quality of ingredients and local sourcing and great presentation make this a bar/restaurant to travel a little out of your way to enjoy. There are also rooms available, just in case the savings from the meal are to be utilised in the hotel bar.

Hanam's Restaurant: 13 Brougham Street, Tollcross, Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 228 8082

A taste of Kurdish and Middle Eastern cuisine in Edinburgh, Hanam's has quickly gained a loyal following. The best deals are to be had with the set menu, which offers a veritable feast of the best of the regional flavours for a around a tenner.

Review by Richard Bath, Scotland on Sunday

Monster mash: 4a Forrest Road, Old Town, Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 225 7069

and 41 Byers Road, West End, Glasgow

Tel: 0141 339 3666

Monster Mex, 64 Thistle Street, New Town, Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 225 7906

Who would have thought that making good, old fashioned food in a restaurant environment would actually take off? Well, just about everyone who has eaten at Monster Mash or its Tex-Mex equivalent, Monster Mex. The quality of food is top-notch, and the no-nonsense helpings make either restaurant a great way to enjoy an inexpensive meal.

Review (Monster Mex) by Simon McKenzie, Edinburgh Evening News

Sheep Heid Inn: The Causeway, Duddingston, Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 656 6951

The Sheep Heid Inn claims to be the oldest pub in the city, and at 600 years old it's definitely a step up from the concrete and glass that epitomise its modern equivalents. The food is good, and there's plenty of it - just the thing after enjoying a few drinks and trying your hand at a primitive version of bowling, on what is reported to be the world's oldest working skittle alley. Also, every weekend from May until September - weather pemitting - there is a barbecue that can't be beat.

Review by Bill Lothian, Edinburgh Evening News

The Golf Inn: Main Street, Gullane, East Lothian

Tel: 01620 843 259

The Golf Inn may be a little exotic, and the dinner menu may not be what could in any way be accurately described as cheap eating, but the lunch menu is a bargain, with a wide selection of starters and mains. The food quality is second to none, and the surroundings sublime.

Review by Gillian Glover, The Scotsman

The Park Bistro: Park Farm, Linlithgow, West Lothian

Tel: 01506 846 666

A little out of the way maybe, but the walk to the Park Bistro along the canal from Linlithgow is a highlight in getting there. The menu is mainly traditional fare and pub favourites but at reasonable prices. The views are not the best considering the area – even from the tables outside – but it's still a welcome eatery to find on an afternoon stroll.

Review by Judy Vickers, Edinburgh Evening News

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GLASGOW AND RENFREWSHIRE

Aziza Caf Bazaar: 517a Great Western Road, West End, Glasgow

Tel: 0141 357 1117

Dining at an eatery where all of the furnishings are for sale - including the table and chairs at which you're seated - may lead to confusing assumptions of a closing down sale rather than a vibrant and well-attended restaurant. The menu is a little sparse - though that may well be down to the fact that they prepare everything on just a couple of hobs – but the food is both healthy and cheap, bringing the tastes of North Africa and the Middle East to Glasgow's ever-trendy west end. It may be difficult to get a table at times, as the restaurant seats just 16 (maybe less if a table happens to be sold in mid-sitting), but a "bring your own bottle" policy means you can take a good quality wine with you from one of the many local delis and off-licenses. The Shisha pipes had to go when the smoking ban came into effect, so you'll have to buy your own to sample the flavoured fruit tobaccos on offer.

Caf Gandolfi: 64 Albion Street, Merchant City, Glasgow

Tel: 0141 552 4462

Caf Gandolfi is a restaurant that has quickly becoming a Glasgow institution in its own right, serving affordable meals in rather nice surroundings. The food is prepared from a mixture of organic and locally sourced produce, with some nice added touches for which you would expect to pay a lot more for. There is an all-day menu which is on the good side of reasonable, and a number of daily specials - as well as a selection of more exotic items which will set you back a little more than others. There are a number of desserts to choose from, as well as a reasonable wine and cocktail list.

Dings Grande Buffet: 29 Albion Street, City Centre, Glasgow

Tel: 0141 552 5115

A Chinese buffet with a full range of oriental, as well as more traditional European dishes, pizzas, pastas and salads. The service at Dings is fast and efficient, and the value for money depends upon the time you arrive – with the best deals on offer between noon and 7pm. The rates go up as the day goes on, with the Friday night Karoke being the most expensive. All children less than 1.4 metres (55 inches) eat half-price - a good deal if you have a young family in tow.

Konaki Greek Traverna: 920 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, Glasgow

Tel: 0141 342 4010

It isn't that easy to find an authentic Greek restaurant these days – even in Greece – but Konaki Taverna has all the hallmarks of great Mediterranean home-style cooking at affordable prices. The portions are big – no, actually they're huge – and the service belies the fact the Greeks are never in a hurry, which makes the dining experience all the more relaxing. Simple food prepared with the minimum of fuss.

Review by Jane Cassidy, Scotland on Sunday

Pancho Villas: 26 Bell Street, Merchant City, Glasgow

Tel: 0141 552 7737

15 Bon Accord Street, Aberdeen

Tel: 01224 571 377

240 Canongate, Old Town, Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 557 4416

26-28 King Street, Stirling

Tel: 01786 464 364

Now a chain of Mexican restaurants – with branches in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Stirling – Pancho Villas has brought a Mexican culinary revolution to Scotland, serving up hearty food for surprisingly reasonable prices, all freshly prepared in portions big enough to satisfy even the biggest of appetites. The lunch menu is even better value. A popular choice, so it's advisable to book in advance.

Pietruccio: 30 Campbell Street, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire

Tel: 01698 540 665

A traditional Italian restaurant offering reasonably priced food in a cheery and bustling environment. The dining area has a produce display that takes centre stage that allows customers to see many of the ingredients used in making the dishes featured on the menu. The wine list is exclusively Italian and well-priced.

Tapa coffee & bakehouse: 21 Whitehill Street, Dennistoun, East End, Glasgow

Tel: 0141 554 9981

Sharing a table with a stranger may be a little off-putting, but it's fairly normal at the Tapa coffee & bakehouse in the east end of Glasgow. There is a no-booking policy in place, so it is very much first come, first served. Choose from the selection of freshly prepared soups, sandwiches, homemade tarts and tortillas, with a number of organic coffees, teas and fruit drinks to accompany your meal. The shop front has a select range of organic products for the home larder, and freshly made breads and pastries.

The Venice Caf & Bistro: 4 Ayr Street, Troon, South Ayrshire

Tel: 01292 314 388

There are many places to enjoy a good meal in Troon, thanks to its love affair with golf. The Venice Caf & Bistro serves up quality food and home-made ice cream at reasonable prices. As this eatery is open from early until late, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner without breaking the bank.

wagamama: 97-103 West George Street, City Centre, Glasgow

Tel: 0141 229 1468

Although a global chain with nearly 60 outlets worldwide, wagamama has lost nothing of its original concept - copying the traditional ramen (a mixture of soup and toppings over noodles) bars that have been popular in Japan for hundreds of years with the hungry on the go. The menu also offers salads, chilli and curried- and rice-based dishes. The prices reflect a fast-food nature of the environment, with shared bench seating and a hi-tech ordering system that electronically places your request directly to the kitchen. However, it is the food that has made the chain such a global success, offering sizeable portions and great flavours at reasonable prices.

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FIFE, PERTH AND CENTRAL

Blairmains Farm Shop and Coffee Bothy: Manor Loan, Blairlogie, Stirling

Tel: 01259 762 266

The caf serves a number of hearty lunch items at reasonable rates. It sits adjacent to an award-winning farm shop, a good place to stock up on items for home. The home-made pastries, cakes and biscuits will no doubt temp you into further indulgence.

Amarillo Bistro Bar: 3rd Floor, The Falkirk Stadium, Westfield, Falkirk

Tel: 01324 673 425

Open until late throughout the year and featuring a comprehensive menu at reasonable prices, Amarillo Bistro Bar describes itself as a "char-grill" but also offers a range of traditional pub food, salads and sandwiches. The grill menu however is quite reasonable.

InDulge: 22 High Street, Auchterarder, Perthshire

Tel: 01764 660 033

InDulge is a caf and delicatessen in the heart of Auchterarder with a good selection of sandwiches, pastries and quiche, as well as a small number of specials prepared for the lunch menu. The dinner menu is only available on Friday evenings, but is prepared from a selection of local produce as well as the best of the deli - and it's reasonably priced.

Kerachers: 168 South Street, Perth

Tel: 01738 449 777

The family owned Kerachers restaurant is a progression from their roots dating back to the 1920s when they were local fishmongers based in both Perth and St Andrews. In addition to seafood, the fare also includes locally reared beef, lamb and poultry. The food ranges from traditional Scottish to flavours from the Far East, but all portions are sizeable and uncompromising on quality. The puddings are both hearty – for those who need the extra sustenance – or on the lighter side for the truly stuffed. The wine selection allows you to choose either the full bottle, half or by the glass for the cost-conscious traveller.

Jamesfield Organic Centre: Jamesfield Farm, Abernethy, Perthshire

Tel: 01738 850 498

A restaurant featuring produce from the long-established farm outside Abernethy, the Jamesfield Organic Centre has both a farm shop and restaurant on site to cater to both your immediate and home grocery needs. All the food served in the restaurant is either grown or reared on the farm or sourced from local producers. The food is spared the injustice of over-preparation, allowing the natural flavours to come through – good traditional food that won't break your budget. There's also an impressive array of organic wines and beers for sale.

The Bothy: 33 Kinnoull Street, Perth

Tel: 01738 449 792

Don't be put off by the kilt-wearing staff and the overly Scottish themed dcor; The Bothy is a restaurant that offers value with a touch of the sumptuous. The menu is a selection of old favourites with some notable specials that belie their prices. The set menu offers great value for money, and the long opening hours ensure you'll have time to enjoy anything from a simple coffee and pastry to full dinner.

The Greenhouse Restaurant: High Street, Falkland, Fife

Tel: 01337 858 400

The Greenhouse is a popular restaurant with surroundings to match the food. The menu features a more healthy fare than the usual stodge you would expect for the prices, providing a wide range of healthy options as well as a few well-placed specials to tempt you into something a little more adventurous. The Sunday brunch menu is a mixture of traditional as well as vegetarian options.

The Marmalade Pot: Riverside Drive, Dundee

Tel: 01382 566 864

A child friendly pub – with kids "playbarn" no less – and an extensive menu with prices that may make you think you've been transported to a bygone era. The restaurant area delivers traditional pub fare along with a large selection of steaks and a popular Sunday roast that is reasonably priced.

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THE NORTH, HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS

Caf 52: 52 the Green, Aberdeen

Tel: 01224 590 094

Finding this place can be a little difficult – the Green is a small pedestrianised area just off Union Street - but the food is worth the quest. The dinner prices are a little expensive, but the lunch, tapas and light meal options offer great value for money. The popularity of Caf 52 deems it advisable to book early, even for mid-week lunch and dinner sittings.

Carmine’s Pizza: 34 Union Terrace, Aberdeen

Tel: 01224 624 145

Although the emphasis is on pizza, Carmine's also does a nice line in authentic recipe pasta dishes. The restaurant itself is small, and it's also a local favourite. They also offer takeaway meals, so you don't have to miss out if all tables are booked.

Castle Restaurant: 41 Castle Street, Inverness

Tel: 01463 230 925

Considered a bit of a culinary institution in Inverness, the Castle has been on the go for almost 50 years, serving hearty portions in a bustling environment. The food is fairly basic, but freshly made and great value.

Cobb's Restaurant and Caf: House of Beauly, Station Road, Beauly, Inverness-shire

Tel: 01463 784 702

Cobb's offers a good selection of well-prepared food at affordable prices. A bit more upmarket than the prices suggest, the eatery also offers breakfast items, sandwiches, a sumptuous selection of breads and pastries and fresh-ground coffee.

Falls of Shin Restaurant: Achany Glen, Lairg, Sutherland

Tel: 01549 402 231

Here's a gastronomic oasis to quell the hunger pangs following a hard day trekking the surrounding hills. Falls of Shin Restaurant offers bargain fodder, made just like like your mum makes it. It's home-made cooking at a high standard, with none of the main courses costing anywhere near a tenner.

Girvans: 2-4 Stephens Brae, Inverness

Tel: 01463 711 900

Open from early until late and serving-up great food makes Girvans a popular restaurant. The fare is varied, and there's a reasonable kids menu. There is also a good selection of home baking. Book ahead on weekends to avoid disappointment.

Kishorn Seafood Bar: Bar Bladh Na Mara Chiseoirn, Kishorn, Strathcarron, Ross-shire

Tel: 01520 733 240

Taking in one of Scotland's most scenic and demanding routes - over the Bealach na Ba pass from Applecross to Loch Kishorn - brings you to the oasis that is the Kishhorn Seafood Bar. Although there are a number of predictable staples on the menu - baked potatoes and filled rolls, for example - the specialities are of course the seafood, which is as fresh as you'll find anywhere and reasonably priced.

Mustn't Grumble: Melvaig, Gairloch, Highland

Tel: 01445 771 212

Tucked away on the very edge of Scotland, the remote Mustn't Grumble restaurant and bar is a welcome sight. With views out towards the Atlantic, and a recently added beer garden, all the prerequisites of cheap travel dining are ticked. Nearly everything on the menu comes in at under a tenner, and that includes the hearty array of fresh seafood and rotisserie chicken, duck, lamb and pig hock. Cheap as chips and a jaw-dropping location make this a worthy stop-off on a trip around the north-western Scottish peninsula.

Riverside Bistro: Main Street, Lochinver, Sutherland

Tel: 01571 844 356

Riverside Bistro sells award-winning pies to eat sitting-in or takeaway. A tasty meal encased in pastry and featuring the best in Scottish produce - venison, beef, poultry, seafood, vegetarian and sweet options- will tempt the hungry traveller. Riverside also run a mail-order service for your door-to-door pie needs.

Sutor Creek: 21 Bank Street, Cromarty, Black Isle, Highland

Tel: 01381 600 855

Sutor Creek is a cooperative caf/restaurant venture specialising in pizzas prepared in traditional wood-fired ovens, but also offering well-prepared mains and specials using local produce when possible. The menu relies greatly on what is in season at the time, so you can be sure of a little variety and the freshest of ingredients.

Thai Caf: 27 Church Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis

Tel: 01851 701 811

Not the first place you'd look for a decent Thai restaurant, but don't be fooled by the remote location. This is a gem of a find, offering some of the best Thai food anywhere in Scotland. The lunch menu is even greater value. The "bring your own bottle" policy ensures the evening meal stays well within budget – although you may wish to consider this carefully as you will have to fork out 50p in corkage fee. Yes, you heard me…

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