Ten of the best cheap places to eat in Edinburgh

Eating out on a budget needn't be boring, Edinburgh has plenty of exciting options for those light on funds.

Monday, 3rd September 2018, 8:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th September 2018, 9:15 am


(51 West Nicolson St, EH8 9DB)

Cheap, quick, filling, formulaic and delicious, at Red Box Noodle Bar it couldn’t be simpler (or cheaper).

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Enjoy Tex Mex cuisine at Bodega. Picture: Bodega
Enjoy Tex Mex cuisine at Bodega. Picture: Bodega

You pick your noodles, pick your meat, pick your vegetables, pick your sauce, hand over £7, take your change and enjoy your dinner – at a table in the adjoining dining room or across the street on Bristo Square watching the world go by.

Best of all you can order online in advance for collection so you can always beat the queues if you’re in a rush.


(64 Thistle St, Edinburgh, EH2 1EN - 15-16 Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2QZ)

Mexican street food eatery, El Cartel, is easily one of the best places to grab a cheap munch in the capital.

A firm favourite with the city’s residents, hit up either their Thistle street venue or their newer eatery on Teviot Place and choose from hand pressed soft tacos stuffed with Crispy shredded Ox Patties, Baja Cod or Flat iron steak, or if you want something more substantial, the Quesadillas, pork ribs and chicken wings might be more your thing.

And speaking of chicken wings...


(5 - 7 Old Fishmarket Close, High Street, EH1 1RW)

Spawned straight from an 80s and 90s kid’s fever dream, Wings is heaven for those who are more than a little geeky about their gaming and their chicken.

Grab a few pals, pick up a controller and enjoy some multi-player action on one of the restaurant’s in-house consoles while you await your wings (6 for just £3.50) which have been lovingly smothered in your choice of the eatery’s nearly 100 rubs, sauces and spices.

Be warned though, only take on the Suicide challenge if you can handle your spice and are prepared to openly weep in front of your friends.


(62 Elm Row, EH7 4AQ, 36 Leven Street, EH3 9LJ)

By now our love of Mexican and Tex Mex cuisine is probably readily apparent and in Bodega you have another of the city’s great little cantinas.

The Taqueria takes delicious soft shell tacos and wraps them around some of the world’s best fillings, two for around the £7 mark, you can choose from the likes of Baja cod bites, tempura tiger prawn and Vietnamese pork.

Oh yeah, and did we mention they do Korean fried chicken for £6 here too? Wash them all down with delightful Mexican sodas or BYOB  for £2.50pp.


(34 Victoria Street, Grassmarket, EH1 2JW; 82 Canongate, EH8 8BZ; and 38 Hanover Street, EH2 2DR)

For food on the move, Oink is unbeatable and on budget.

Thanks to the whole roast pig in the window you can’t miss it, and – at £2.95 for a pile of freshly carved succulent pork in a soft roll topped with sage and onion or homemade haggis, then smothered in a variety of homemade sauces, topped with crackling – you really shouldn’t.

Choose from the Piglet (£3.40), the Oink (£4.60) or the Grunter (£5.80) as appetite dictates, then add your stuffing and select a sauce (apple, homemade mustard mayo, homemade BBQ, homemade chilli cheese or homemade chilli jam).

For those looking for something a bit lighter you can grab the Hog in a Box option (£5.80) for all the good bits without the bread.


(80 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4AG)

For budget comfort food that will leave you satisfied, you can’t go wrong with a cheese toastie from Meltmongers.

Choose from the classic Meltmonger Classic Melt or their hugely popular Mac & Cheese Melt, or, should you wish to be more adventurous you can go for the smoked chilli cheese and jalapenos, or the Philly Cheese Steak Melt for under £7.

Adding on chips costs extra, but you’re unlikely to need them – the generously sized sandwiches here are more than enough to fill you up at lunchtime.

Don’t worry those with a sweet tooth are catered for too - check out the Meltmallow with Nutella, banana & melted marshmallows.


(28 Clerk St, Edinburgh EH8 9HX)

Pick up a delicious lunch from this Malaysian favourite. For only £5.50 (lunch time special) diners can either sit in or takeaway and enjoy authentic dishes such as Chicken Nasi Goring, Curry Laksa soup and Hakka pork.

All accompanied by sides like honey wings, capital ribs and spring rolls for an extra £2.30, and maybe perhaps a homemade lemon ice tea (£2.20)?

Set dishes and specials of the day will also make for a quick, easy and tasty dinner if you’re out later.


(96 Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 1DR)

Indian cuisine has long been a favourite of Scots and in the humble pakora, you have one of best comfort foods you can find after a night out or a particularly hard day at work.

The Pakora Bar on Hanover Street offers the traditional options (Chicken, vegetable and mushroom) but where it really shines is in its extra options; choose from the likes of haggis (a must try), veggie haggis, black pudding, white pudding, aubergine and even asparagus.


(8-9 Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH1 2RA)

Situated in Bristo Square, this fast paced venture brings authentic Thai food born of pop-up success.

Bursting with flavoursome spices and colour, their menu guarantees a healthy yet filling meal.

In keeping with the street vendor aesthetic, food is served in cardboard takeaway boxes at £3-4 for a small box, perfect if you’re in a rush to catch a show or can’t settle on just one dish from their impressive menu.


(8 Forrest Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2QN)

Whether working from their trusty van, Dumbo, or their bohemian Forrest Road premises, Union of Genius are living up to their name.

They offer an inventive and belly-warming selection of soups and salads that change daily, ensuring their status as a firm favourite of students and festival-goers.

When paying normal prices, £4-7 will see you heartily fed with superfoods and veggies.

With over 100 recipes at their disposal and plenty of vegan/gluten free options, Union of Genius is sure to become an integral part of your weekly survival kit.

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