Five Edinburgh restaurants where you don't have to book

There's nothing more disheartening than arriving at a restaurant on a whim only to be told that every table has been reserved in advance.

Mexican restaurant Wahaca always leaves some tables unreserved for walk-in customers (Photo: Contributed)
Mexican restaurant Wahaca always leaves some tables unreserved for walk-in customers (Photo: Contributed)

These five fantastic Edinburgh eateries either leave plenty of tables free for walk-ins, or don’t take any bookings at all, meaning you don’t have to worry about phoning ahead.


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One of London’s favourite Indian restaurants opened a location in Edinburgh in December 2016, and is still as popular as ever.

Luckily, the eatery has plenty of tables set aside on a first-come-first-serve basis. You may have to wait for a little while at peak times, but you can enjoy a drink in the bar - your assigned pager will buzz when the table is ready.

Visit: 3a St Andrew Square, EH2 2BD -

Ting Thai Caravan

Popular with students, Ting Thai Caravan serves up delicious Asian street food at affordable prices.

You can’t book in advance here, although you may have to queue at busy times - especially during the Edinburgh Festival period. Fortunately, the service is speedy, so you shouldn’t be waiting for long.

Visit: 8-9 Teviot Place, EH1 2RA -

The Boozy Cow

There are no reservations whatsoever at The Boozy Cow, meaning that you can simply turn up and tuck in to tasty American comfort food, including burgers, hot dogs and loaded fries.

Visit: 17 Frederick Street, EH2 2EY -


As long as your group isn’t too large, there will probably be an unreserved table for you at Wahaca, the Mexican-style street food chain.

From tacos and burritos to moreish churros, there’s something for everyone here.

Visit: 16 South St Andrew Street, EH2 2AU -

El Cartel

Small and increasingly popular, you can’t book at cool independent Mexican El Cartel, but it’s best to get there as early as you can to be in with a chance of getting a table.

If you’re happy to wait, the restaurant will take your number and give you a phone as soon as a table becomes available.

Visit: 64 Thistle Street, EH2 1EN -