This blog comes from the lovely Sarah who shares with us her insider knowledge on some of the best places to eat and drink in the fabulous city of Edinburgh.
Living in Edinburgh is pretty much a dream for anyone enjoys seeking out tasty and sustainable food. For me, I care about where my food comes from and the impact it has on the world around me, my health and the local economy. I do Instagram the odd photo of meals and I love getting people together to share food, but I don’t consider myself a hardcore foodie. Sometimes I really find cooking a chore, especially thinking of something quick for dinner after work or when I’ve been a bit ambitious and made a total mess of the kitchen or accidentally put together a rather odd dish! But then I stumble across a new café, decide to bake a cake or pick up some exciting, fresh, local ingredients at the market and I remember how great food is and how powerfully positive it can be, not only for my taste buds but as a vehicle for a more sustainable Edinburgh too.
Edinburgh offers up a fantastic range of eateries, from the pricier (but fabulous) ethical restaurants I’ve headed to for special occasions, Gardeners Cottage highly recommended from this category, to really stunning cheaper eats, the fantastically welcoming Nutan’s springs to mind. There is a wealth of options for sustainable dining, something close to my heart. Food grown or reared locally and in a way that supports the environment and local economy tastes all the better for it. Café St Honore does a great job of championing Scottish, organic and ethical food, which of course is also super tasty and with a French twist. Edinburgh Larder café has a menu bursting with local, Scottish ingredients which go down a treat.
Some of my other favourite cafes include Love Crumbs with its delicious cupboard of homemade cakes and Café Milk which boasts some fab locations – one is at the top of Calton Hill, one in the Fruitmarket Art Gallery, another at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and another out of town at Jupiter Artland (definitely on my list to visit); they all champion local, seasonal, fresh food.
For pubs, look no further than the Roseleaf Inn in Leith (you can get cocktails in teapots, what’s not to love!).
For brunch, Urban Angel or Hula Juice Bar are ideal. Bia Bistrot in Bruntsfield has got to get a mention because the one time that I went there, just before Christmas, their brussels sprout side dish was absolutely delicious, surely worth a visit for that accompaniment alone.
Then I couldn’t write a blog about eating in Edinburgh without mentioning my number 1 food haunt… Mary’s Milk Bar. Their gelato like no other. You have to go. A close second would probably be the winter alternative, Chocolate Tree for their incredible hot chocolates. Clearly I have a sweet tooth…
There are also a fair few markets to visit with several weekend markets across the city, as well lots of pop-up options throughout the year. You can get very reasonably priced organic fruit and veg at the Saturday Castle Terrace market, immerse yourself in a street food bonanza at the Pitt markets or join the throngs of tourists at the still wonderful Sunday Stockbridge market. There is now also a monthly indoor market (necessary in Scotland) run by Edinburgh Larder’s social enterprise arm at the Biscuit Factory and a couple of markets have been held at Leith Community Croft. If you can’t make it to any of these you could order your groceries through one of two Food Assemblies based in the city – online farmers markets which cut out the middle man and allow you to meet the people behind your food (there are also lots of food assemblies across the UK).
Scotland’s only urban farm, Gorgie City Farm, is also based in Edinburgh and does a fantastic job of connecting people living in the city to where food comes from, other than the supermarket! Recently they have also begun hosting a weekly morning yoga, not quite yoga with goats but you can say hi to them on your way past.
There are so many more places to recommend (Secret Herb Garden, El Cartel, Indaba, Henderson’s, The Dogs, Contini’s…) but I guess a blog post shouldn’t go on forever and there is fun in spontaneously happening upon a hidden foodie gem and if you’re visiting Edinburgh, there’s certainly plenty to stumble on.