Best casual dining eateries and coffee shops in Edinburgh
1. Southside Scran
Looking to eat out in Edinburgh? You’ll be pleased to know that well-known chef Tom Kitchin recently opened a second gastropub in the Scottish capital, the Southside Scran. Slightly south of the city centre, in Bruntsfield, menus here feature belt-busting hearty dishes based around seasonal Scottish produce but with a French twist. The beautiful dining room features an open rotisserie grill showcasing local produce. Typical menu items include Highland wagyu beef tartare with melba toast or the gluten-free option of a Newhaven crab and chickpea pancake, garnished with chilli, ginger and coriander. The rotisserie serves up such delights as Ayrshire pork fillet and rotisserie leg with a pineapple salsa.
2. Nonna’s Kitchen
Situated in Morningside, it’s a fair distance to Italy but Nonna’s Kitchen has an excellent reputation for its authentic Italian dishes. Specialising in fresh fish and seafood, there is an impressive list of constantly changing daily specials. Their range of artisan-made pasta and pizza dishes are especially popular. Please note reservations are a must in the evenings but it’s perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a small bite you’re after, a full a la carte meal, a family meal, or even for business meetings.
3. Whiski Rooms
This restaurant certainly ticks the box for one of the best views of Edinburgh, and you can expect traditional Scottish dishes with contemporary twists and a firm emphasis on locally sourced fresh produce. Whisky lovers can enjoy the vibe in the bar any time of the day and take part in the daily whisky tastings before browsing around the adjoining whisky shop.
Toast is Edinburgh’s first wine café located at The Shore in Leith. Offering a casual coffee, wine and food experience, the café is open seven days a week and serves simple yet imaginative food alongside a carefully chosen wine list. Located in a former art gallery, Toast brings a unique café destination and is the perfect place to meet friends for a casual chat. Breakfast and brunch dishes include huevos rancheros, shakshuka and avocado toast with poached eggs, lunches of nutritious home-made soup, sourdough sandwiches and salads. For those keen on dining a bit later in the day, they serve a selection of smaller plates with a Mediterranean influence.
Coffee shops in Edinburgh
5. Castello Coffee
Overlooking the edge of the greenery of Bruntsfield Links, owner Sandro uses coffee from his London friends Allpress. The building in which the café is located used to be two shops and the spaces are divided up to provide two independent, funky areas – a mezzanine floor on one side with another airier space towards the back of the shop. There is a varied menu which included cooked breakfasts, salads and sweeter treats sourced from local baker Leo’s Beanery. There is also a lot for vegetarians to choose from.
6. Thomas J Walls Coffee
Spacious and elegant, this shop is located on the southern side of Edinburgh’s Old Town. The owner offers high-quality coffee and the house bean is usually a Red Brick espresso. But it’s not only the coffee that’s good – brunches are hugely popular in the relaxed atmosphere. Think shakshuka, yoghurt and granola or rosti with spinach. Décor includes tables and chairs as well as the more relaxed sofa and armchairs – all adding to the classy feel.
7. Cult Espresso
Cult Espresso, tucked away on Buccleuch Street, opened at the end of 2014. Filled with magnificent, coffee-infused smells and decorated with cosy intimacy in mind, the aim of this establishment is to ensure customers come away with an appreciation for the skill that goes into making that perfect cup of bean-filled perfection. The cafe’s USP is the brewing of Bath-based Roundhill Roastery beans in a Kees Van Der Western machine – what a treasure for lovers of quality coffee.
It’s the name more than anything that makes us love this place. But bear in mind it’s cake only so if you’re a sandwich or soup lover, this is not the place for you. If a salty peanut butter chocolate tart, violet and blueberry cake, chocolate and rosemary cake or vegan brownies, head on over.
Coffee is Artisan Roast, tea from Anteaques and bespoke hot chocolates from Coco Chocolate and, for those trying to stay off the caffeine, try the organic pressed apple juice. It’s very popular with students who love the vintage, upcycled ambiance.
9. The Hideout Café
With a bookcase brimming with literature and lots of comfortable seating, The Hideout Café provides the perfect setting for book lovers – or if you simply want to watch the world go by. The menu comprises gourmet pastries, light bites, cakes, bakes and speciality brews from Clifton Coffee Roasters, as well as Action Smoothies, all named after butch actors like Sly Stalone. Grilled wraps and salads complete the fare and the floor-to-ceiling windows provide your calm window on the world.