When you think of foodie cities in the UK, I’m sure London automatically comes to mind, and I would agree – the markets alone are a foodie paradise, but I don’t think Edinburgh gets enough credit on the foodie front. For a relatively small city, there’s an impressive variety of restaurants; you can find anything from Indian street food to home-cooked Italian to traditional Scottish fare. And while I love the myriad of restaurant options here, it can be surprisingly easy to spend a small fortune on dining out.
Luckily, it is possible to eat cheaply in Edinburgh, and you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice quality to save a few pounds.
The Baked Potato Shop
If you’re searching for something cheap and hearty near the Royal Mile, head to The Baked Potato Shop near the top of Cockburn Street. For £5, you get a massive potato topped with a hot or cold filling of your choice – anything from chilli to haggis, greek salad or curried sweetcorn.
Hanam’s is easily one of my favourite restaurants in the city, and I can’t help but order the same dish every time I visit because it’s just that good. The menu is filled with an array of delicious Middle Eastern dishes, but my go-to main is the kebab with marinated vegetables, garlic and chili sauces, and clay oven naan – for only £9.95. And, if you’re lucky enough to have good weather during your visit, order some food and a shisha and sit on their back terrace overlooking Victoria Street. (FYI – the restaurant is BYOB as it serves only non-alcoholic beverages, but you can only bring beer or cider).
Ting Thai Caravan
This bustling restaurant is usually packed at lunch; it’s popular with students and has communal-style seating, but the food is delicious and surprisingly affordable. Thai classics like Pad Thai, Massaman Curry, and Tom Yam grace the menu, all for less than £10. Whatever meal you opt for, definitely get a side of roti with massaman and chili jam – you can thank me later.
Kebab Mahal is a typical run down, hole-in-the-wall style eatery, but the food is so good you won’t even notice the façade. The flavourful samosas transported me back to India, and I’m not exaggerating when I say their kebab is one of the best I’ve ever had. Authentic Indian dishes range from £5 to £8 here, and the ridiculously tasty kebabs start at £4 or so.
You’ll find this tiny restaurant amongst the lively pubs on Rose Street, and it serves authentic traditional and contemporary-style Mexican dishes. Their portions are generous, especially the “regular” size nachos, and the mains are reasonably priced – starting around £13.
Do you try to stick to a budget when eating at restaurants while travelling? Let me know if you have any more budget-friendly restaurant recommendations in Edinburgh!