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Quick Bites and Lazy Lunches in Edinburgh: Best Restaurants for Lunch



There are plenty of good places to grab lunch in Edinburgh. The city has a thriving restaurant scene and a huge choice of cafes. There are also many, many pubs and bars that serve food, and of course all the usual chains.

For wonderfully fresh, seasonal produce you cannot go wrong with the delightfully pastoral Gardener’s Cottage in the shadow of Calton Hill. At the other end of Princes Street you can tuck into a delicious gourmet burger at the ever popular Cambridge Bar. Bustling and welcoming, this delightful pub has become famous for the quality of food on offer and also stocks a great selection of real ales.

Manna House in Easter Road serves up a wonderful blend of the virtuous (delicious home made soups, sandwiches and salads) and the decadent (cakes and patisseries to tempt even the most confirmed ascetic) to take away or sit in.

For an indulgent treat you could check out the Michelin-starred Kitchin. While an evening meal would cost a pretty penny, you can sample their wares at lunch time without stretching your budget to breaking point.

Why pick up a limp sandwich when you can have a freshly prepared burrito? Why go to a familiar burger joint when you can get a fresh, homemade gourmet burger? Why eat in the same old chain restaurants when you can enjoy stunning Scottish seafood or sample local produce in a Michelin-starred establishment? Let’s take a closer look at some the top Edinburgh lunch spots and see if we can find something to tempt you whatever your budget and tastes. 


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You'll find an interesting and eclectic menu on at Treacle on Broughton Street. Sandwiches, burgers, pies, and noodles, alongside sharing platters and small snacks, ensure that there's always something on offer to satisfy your craving. There are some irresistible desserts to finish off and the drinks menu includes a stunning array of delectable cocktails. It's a comfortable place with a lively atmosphere and fast and friendly service. It has a trendy feel but it's not exclusive and that makes it a nice place to hang out for drinks after you've eaten a yummy lunch. There's a great of choice of booze but you'll find some good teas and a decent cup of coffee on offer as well.

Recommended for Lunch because: Great food, great cocktails, and great ambience make Treacle the perfect spot for an indulgent lunch.

Simon's expert tip: If you want something you won't get elsewhere then finish off your meal with the deep fried brioche jam sandwich.

Read more about Treacle Bar and Kitchen →




How about a Scottish hog roast? The wonderfully named Oink serves up freshly roasted and carved hogs from the Scottish borders. You can get a white or brown roll stuffed with delicious, melt-in-the-mouth, pulled pork and your choice of toppings â€" sage & onion, apple sauce, chilli relish or haggis. If you're lucky you'll get some crackling to go with it. These tasty treats come in three sizes â€" The Piglet, The Oink, and The Grunter. Cheap, simple and delicious, Oink is ideal for a quick bite on the go. You'll also find a selection of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and soft drinks to wash down your hog.

Recommended for Lunch because: Head for Oink to grab a quick, delicious roll that will see you through to dinner.

Simon's expert tip: If you're in the Old Town and you don't want to settle down anywhere then head to Oink at Victoria Street and grab a hog roll to take away.

Read more about Oink →




Fancy a taste of history with a tasty menu in a country pub setting? The Sheep Heid Inn was first established in 1360 and it has been serving up food and drink for six centuries now so it's clearly doing something right. This traditional old pub is full of character and it's the ideal place to visit after climbing Arthur's Seat as it's located near Duddingston Loch. This is a warm, cozy bar with a fireplace and plenty of delicious and filling options on the menu including Scottish classics like haggis, neeps and tatties, fish and chips, and great pies and casseroles. If it's nice weather you can enjoy the beer garden and make sure you ask about the skittle alley.

Recommended for Lunch because: The Sheep Heid Inn is perfectly placed for lunch after a morning up Arthur's Seat and it gives you a taste of Scottish tradition.

Simon's expert tip: This is the ideal place for a Sunday roast but you will want to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Read more about The Sheep Heid Inn →


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Following on the success of their Hanover Street restaurant and the wonderful cafe in the values of St John's, comes a fully vegan restaurant situated in Thistle Street. This is Edinburgh's first fully vegan restaurant, and it looks to be a great success. The menu is brimming with luxurious flavourful dishes and there is certainly no sense that by eschewing meat and dairy diners are missing out. The cuisine is Scottish-European with an inventive flair, and the wine list fully organic. This restaurant really is a treat for the senses and well worth seeking out.

Recommended for Lunch because: You will find some of the most mouthwatering vegan dishes at Hendersons

Simon's expert tip: Their vegan cheesecake is quite wonderful - make sure to save some space!

Read more about Hendersons Vegan →


Los Cardos
Photo courtesy of Simon Hill


If you are after a spot of Mexican fast food, freshly prepared before your eyes, then Los Cardos on Leith Walk is well worth a visit. You'll find a typical Tex Mex menu with bargain prices. It is like a small cafe for sitting in and you also have the option to order takeaway. The nice thing about Los Cardos is the fact that you can order your food just the way you like it and watch it being put together. This is bargain dining guaranteed to satisfy hungry visitors. No frills, just good honest fresh food in a hurry.

Recommended for Lunch because: A visit to Los Cardos will add some spice to your lunchtime.

Simon's expert tip: Make sure you order the carnitas burrito, the succulent slow-cooked pork is to die for.

Read more about Los Cardos →




Seasonal local produce is the name of the game at The Kitchin. Chef Patron Tom Kitchin is a well-known celebrity chef and he won a Michelin star just six months after opening The Kitchin in 2006. The restaurant has gone from strength to strength since then with a string of prestigious awards. This is the best of British cuisine influenced by French techniques and showcasing the finest Scottish ingredients. The service is nothing short of excellent and you'll find a top notch selection of wine to accompany your food. As you might expect, this is an expensive night out but lunches give you a taste of what it is all about on a lower budget.

Recommended for Lunch because: For a taste of the high life treat yourself to a Michelin-starred lunch at the Kitchin.

Simon's expert tip: Make sure to book in advance and ask the knowledgeable staff if there's anything you're uncertain about. If you're lucky you may even get to meet the chef.

Read more about The Kitchin →




This stylish city center bar is well known as a gourmet burger hot spot. You can choose beef, chicken or bean burgers in a wide range of styles including Cajun, Teriyaki and Aussie. The Aussie burger has bacon, pineapple, mature cheddar, beetroot, and a fried egg on it. All of the classic combos are on offer here as well and you can make your own creation if you prefer to choose toppings yourself. They also do a mean steak sandwich, a tasty Caesar salad, and a small, but perfectly formed, choice of desserts. Service is fast and efficient but space is limited and it gets very busy.

Recommended for Lunch because: Delicious gourmet burgers and really good ales make the Cambridge Bar the perfect choice for a lunchtime treat.

Simon's expert tip: Order the Aussie burger, followed by a homemade chocolate brownie and wash it down with a pint of Black Isle.

Read more about The Cambridge Bar →




The union of Genius is Scotland's first soup cafe. If you think that sounds uninspiring, then you have not yet sampled their soups! Every day they offer six globally themed soups paired with a selection of locally produced artisan breads. These soups are so good they sell out fast, so go early to avoid disappointment. They also serve coffee from Artisan Roast, cakes by Love Crumbs and Love Pure Cakes. The interior is small, but warm and friendly. Takeaways are very popular, but if you sit in you can have their soup in its own bread bowl which is a must try treat. All of the packaging and utensils are bio-degradable and recycled and there's a recycling scheme which rewards customers for bringing utensils back.

Recommended for Lunch because: Union of Genius quite simply serve the best soup you have ever tasted, along with a host of other delicious treats.

Simon's expert tip: The meal deal includes soup, artisan bread, a drink, crisps and a snack bar or fruit which is delicious and healthy while being very good value.

Read more about Union of Genius →




Manna House is a wonderful bakery, caf� and patisserie in a rather unlikely spot, close to the top of Easter Road. That they have flourished despite their inauspicious location is entirely down to the high quality of the savouries and sweets on offer in this delightful treasure trove. They serve a wide variety of delicious breakfast and lunch dishes from wholesome soups to filled croissants, rich quiches and delicious salads and sandwiches. As good as their savoury offerings are, nothing compares to the cakes. Some look so beautiful it almost feels like a crime to eat them. There are only a few tables, and it can get a little crowded when busy, but it is well worth seeking out.

Recommended for Lunch because: Manna House is arguably the city's best bakery and patisserie, and lunch here is a real treat.

Simon's expert tip: Manna House can also provide you with an excellent picnic as well as catering for offices and parties

Read more about Manna House →




The Gardener's Cottage is a wonderfully convivial restaurant located within a charming Georgian cottage in Royal Terrace Gardens. Designed by William Playfair as the home of the gardener in charge of the beautiful grounds, the cottage has been tastefully renovated by owners Dale Mailley and Ed Murray. Diners sit on communal benches at large wooden tables wrapped in the aromas of the trees, plants and the vegetable garden, making for a decidedly rural atmosphere despite the city center location. The restaurant is dedicated to communal eating and seasonal produce. Dishes are simple and delicious, elegant yet unpretentious. As they grow many of their own herbs, fruits and vegetables the food is wonderfully fresh and bursting with flavor. How can you resist?

Recommended for Lunch because: For a delightfully relaxed lunch featuring fresh seasonal produce head to the Gardener's Cottage

Simon's expert tip: The weekend brunch is a thing of beauty and the perfect pick-me-up after a long and tiring week.

Read more about The Gardener's Cottage →


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Meet Simon Hill

Simon has lived in various corners of Edinburgh over the last 18 years. He fell in love with the city as a small child after visiting the castle and returned to study Scottish History.

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