Even if you can’t afford to drop a couple of hundred quid on a tasting menu, that doesn’t make you any less of a foodie. These are our favourite ways to splash a tenner or less on a properly satisfying treat in the capital.
You can get bunned up to your eyeballs for under a tenner at this excellent restaurant. A set of six pork xiao long buns is £6, and you could chuck in a big steamed bun for £1.50. Or, go for a chicken wonton soup for £7 and oil spill noodles (with chilli oil and pak choi) for £8.50. Wear loose trousers.
32 South Clerk Street (0131 667 2984, www.sisterbao.com)
This ‘old school Scottish cafe’ always cheers us up, with its kitsch aesthetic and neat menu. You’ll have to be quick if you want to sit in though, as there are only a couple of window seats available. They stock Fisher & Donaldson’s iconic fudge doughnuts for £2.50 each, or you can get pie and beans for £3.50, with good quality Williams & Johnson coffee for £2.70. Get all three, and you’ll still get £1.30 change from a tenner.
18 Henderson Street, Instagram @chums_leith
Owner of this street food shipping container, Tony Singh, has just been representing Scotland at a Tartan Day Takeaway event at Tartan Week in New York. If he’s back in his home city, you might find him here, serving up his most excellent Wee Radge. For £6, you get samosa, chana chaat chickpeas, and pakora.
5 West Tollcross, www.tonysingh.co.uk
Visit Stockbridge Market at Saunders Street on Sundays from 10-4pm, and brave the potential queue (especially if it’s sunny) at this authentic paella vendor. They’ve got three pans on the go, with chicken and vegetable or vegan paella for £6, or the seafood one for £8. Everyone wants a langoustine on top of their portion, and they try to make sure everyone gets one.
Get a borek to takeaway from this little Turkish shop, with its neon sign in the window. They cost about £4.50, with various fillings, including feta cheese and black olive, and they’ll give it to you in a little paper bag with a dip on the side. Extra points if you manage not to get this, and crumbs, down your jumper. They also serve gozleme – a traditional Turkish crepe – and lahmacun topped with cheese, tomato and spinach.
356 Leith Walk, Instagram @kukina_edinburgh
Our favourite Leith restaurant has just launched a Bar Menu, with prices ranging from £3 to £10, so you can test out a few nibbles rather than committing to the full a la carte or tasting menus. Dishes include the barbecued octopus with chilli and soy for £7, or monkfish cheek, koji and bonito for £6. It’s available in their bar and lounge areas from 5.30pm until 10pm, Wednesday to Sunday.
87-91 Henderson Street, Leith, www.heron.scot
Of course, you could get a cheese toastie for a couple of quid elsewhere, but you can also get the ultimate version at IJ Mellis’s Cheese Lounge. It’s £9, but will probably be the best you’ve ever had.
330 Morningside Road (0131 447 8889, www.mellischeese.net)
Edinburgers may remember Susie’s Diner from its glory days on West Nicolson Street. It shut down some years ago, but sprung up again as Susie’s Vegetarian Kitchen at 27a Marchmont Road sometime just before lockdown. It’s been offering takeaway since then, but now there’s space to sit in, so you can bag a pew while enjoying their monolithic portions of vegetarian fare. We like the classic - a tenner for spanakopita, falafel, baba ganoush, hummus, rice pilaf and much more.
One day, a cocktail in the capital is going to cost the same as a new pair of shoes. However, if you insist on sticking to your fancy drinks, this bar continues to offer its £5 negroni, which contains Portobello Gin, Carpano Bitter and Carpano Rosso.
11-13 Tarvit Street, www.wildcatbar.com
Although a pizza from this restaurant, with a branch at Morningside and another in Bonnie & Wild, is slightly over the tenner mark, they’ve just launched their pizza dough delivery. This UK wide service starts from £30, but that includes 16 balls of their 72-hour proven pizza dough, which works out at £1.87 per base. All you have to do is roll it out, stick a few toppings on and bung it in the oven.
Our favourite sandwich maker has launched a Brunch Club at Polwarth Tavern every second Sunday, with the next on April 24. We like the sound of the Spicy Chickmuffin, £8, which is an English muffin filled with spicy fried chicken, pickled Turkish chillies, habanero mayo, and fried egg. For more gourmet sandwich action, try Sando at The High Dive, Bross Bagels, or our beloved Alby’s in Leith, where the sannies are so big, you can half for lunch and the rest for dinner.
35 Polwarth Crescent, Instagram @king.of.feasts
CAIRNGORMThis roastery and cafe, with branches on Melville Place and Frederick Street, is planning on taking over the world. Well, not quite, but they have redesigned the packaging for their ethically sourced beans. Prices start from £9 for the Munchique - Colombia 250g box, which has tasting notes of creme brulee, mandarin and apple.
It’s hard to go wrong with a bacon naan roll, £7.50, from this restaurant. This is a bit fancier than your average butty, as it contains Ramsay of Carluke bacon, cream cheese, and tomato chilli jam. We also recommend the new Pineapple & Pink Peppercorn Jam, £6.50, from their online shop, if you want to gussy up your own toast.
3a St Andrew Square, www.dishoom.com