The capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh is a place that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. There are many things about this alluring city that stand out, but perhaps the most immediate is the sheer scenic beauty of the place. Here in the seat of the Scottish government, you might expect concrete and fumes, but it manages to balance its busy, modern side with an almost magical feel. From the city itself, you can see the imposing, lush peak known as Arthur’s Seat, while down in the city center there are numerous attractions - particularly if you visit in August during the arts extravaganza which is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Better yet, after a day’s walking around these splendid attractions, you can find a bit to eat at a price you can easily afford - check out these cheap eats in Edinburgh, Scotland for proof.
1. Mosque Kitchen
One of Edinburgh’s hidden treasures is this cheerful eaterie, originally set up as a canteen for worshippers at the Edinburgh mosque. It grew in reputation after opening to the broader public in the early stages of the 21st Century. It’s now an Edinburgh institution beloved for its affordable, traditional dishes such as chicken curry, lamb rogan josh, and tarka daal, all served with generous helpings of rice for less than 10 USD a plate. This welcoming curry house on Nicolson Street also serves a wide range of soft drinks.
Opening Hours: 11:30-22:00
Address: 31-33 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX
Website: Mosque Kitchen
Devotees of the pork sandwich will flock to Edinburgh’s Oink; although the menu may not be especially broad, they’re exceptionally good at what they do. A hog roast on a roll, (small, medium or large), with a choice of stuffings and toppings, and with a drink on the side, will cost you 9 USD at the most. The optional stuffings are either classic Sage and Onion or, for a more Scottish taste, you can add haggis. Gluten-free customers can have the hog-roast and extras without the bread, served in a box, for the same price.
Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
Address: 34 Victoria St, Edinburgh EH1 2JW (and two other locations on Canongate and Hanover Street)
The sister restaurant to Ting Thai-Caravan, a Thai restaurant also found on Teviot Street, Saboteur is a South East Asian-themed restaurant specializing in Vietnamese cuisine. A wide and varied menu, with plenty of options for customers on specialist diets, includes such wonders as Cari Rang Voi Nang (a red curry with beef) and Pho Vit (a duck noodle soup with spice). Lighter bites include the filled rice pancake Banh Xeo, and all menu items can be enjoyed for less than 10 USD. A drink may take you just over that mark, but with a mix of Vietnamese soft drinks and craft beers, it’s well worth the small expense for this dining experience.
Opening Hours: 11:30-22:00, 11:30-23:00 on Fridays and Saturdays
Address: 19-20 Teviot Pl, Edinburgh EH1 2QZ
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The Checkpoint is a classy restaurant with a sense of humor - just check out their website and social media posts for a sample of their subtle, self-effacing personality. The restaurant is basically Edinburgh in a mini form. Their dinner dishes are a little above the $10 mark, but drop in for lunch and you can enjoy the wonders of their crab linguine or beef shin ragu with pappardelle. They also serve a superb range of sides - their coconut chicken tenders are highly recommended.
Opening Hours: 10:00-00:00
Address: 3 Bristo Pl, Edinburgh EH1 1EY
5. Bonnie Burrito
In the world of fusion cuisine, it’s more than possible that the idea of Mexican food fused with Scottish grub never crossed anyone’s mind. Anyone, except the people behind Bonnie Burrito, branches of which are popping up around the Auld Reekie. If you’ve never tried a Burrito with Haggis, then now’s your chance. The takeout specializes in burritos (unsurprisingly), with fillings ranging from the aforementioned haggis to chicken, through the ultimate fusion experience - Irn-Bru or pulled pork. A large burrito with rice and a drink will land dead center on 10 USD, and other options are available including chili bowls.
Opening Hours: 11:00-15:00
Address: 39x Lauriston Pl, Edinburgh EH3 9HA (and others)
Website: Bonnie Burrito
6. Pizzeria 1926
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
A restaurant that marries the twin loves of the town of Naples; pizza and Napoli football club (the year of founding is referenced in the name). Created by members of Edinburgh’s substantial Italian population, this pizzeria offers exciting options such as the deep-fried Pizza Fritta (it may sound typically Scottish, but it’s a Neapolitan invention) with pork crackling and ricotta. Other options available for less than 10 USD, include the Margherita pizza and delicious side nibbles such as Sfizza and Frittatina.
Opening Hours: 17:00-22:00 or 10:00-22:00 on weekends
Address: 85 Dalry Rd, Edinburgh EH11 2AA
Website: Pizzeria 1926
From a city on the side of a mountain, why not sample some cooking from the Alps? This unpretentious restaurant in Leith brings hearty mountain food to the Edinburgh clientele. Based on Henderson Street, Appling’s can also be found in markets around the city, serving a mostly vegetarian menu. Meat-eaters needn’t feel left out though, as they do a very tasty goulash, as well as dumplings, schnitzel, and spaetzle - all of which can be eaten for less than 10 USD.
Opening Hours: 09:00-15:00 Wednesday to Saturday
Address: 16 Henderson St, Edinburgh EH6 6BS
8. Union of Genius
An ethically-centered soup cafe on Forrest Road, Union of Genius is the ideal place for you if you want something warm on a cold day, feel like trying a veggie or vegan option for a low price, or even just want to reserve a warm meal for a person in need. All of their ingredients are locally sourced, and their extensive soup menu includes Lebanese Lentil and traditional Cock-a-Leekie. For a bit of a change, try one of their innovative meat or veggie chillis - in this people’s cafe, everything is available for well under 10 USD.
Union of Genius
Opening Hours: 09:00-16:00 weekdays, 11:00-16:00 Saturdays
Address: 8 Forrest Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2QN
Website: Union of Genius
9. Taste of Italy
Another restaurant that draws on the Italian-Scottish connection, Taste of Italy is a casual dining establishment with a full traditional menu of the finest options Italy has to offer. Unsurprisingly there are some Scottish twists to be had - the Scozzese pizza comes topped with Aberdeen Angus steak strips - while there is an expansive pasta menu including creamy tagliatelle with pepperoni as well as a warming Mac'n'Cheese. All 10-inch pizzas and most of the menu, in general, comes well within budget. Cocktails are a little extra, but well worth it!
Taste of Italy
Opening Hours: 08:00-23:00, 08:00-00:00 on Fridays and Saturdays
Address: 9 Baxter’s Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3AF
Website: Taste of Italy
A Euro-centric, cafeteria-style restaurant on South St David Street, Vapiano lets you order your meals and then cooks them in front of you while you wait. The pasta is freshly made, and there is a mouthwatering range of risottos, including the Gamberetti e Pomodoro, packed with fresh king prawns. Prices depend on what you order and how much you eat, but the main course can be comfortably under 10 USD and includes such delights as classic lasagne, strawberry spinach salad, and pasta carbonara.
Opening Hours: 11:00-23:00
Address: 7 S St David St, Edinburgh EH2 2BD
Get a taste for Edinburgh, at a price you can afford
The many delights of Edinburgh will not be lost on anyone who visits the city, whether to enjoy the arts festival, for a spot of sight-seeing or to enjoy the thrills of a rugby match at the national stadium in Murrayfield. Whatever you do while here, make sure you sample some of the affordable gastronomic delights of the city locals referred to affectionately as “Embra”. This is a city where you can fill your belly without having to empty your wallet.
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