Restaurant review: Bell’s Diner, Edinburgh

A PARTICULARLY unassuming restaurant, Bell’s Diner is one of St Stephen Street’s oldest gems.

Opened more than 40 years ago, it specialises in steaks and burgers and has an excellent reputation so be sure to book – popping in on a whim on a quiet Monday, there was, luckily, only one table available.

Having been advised on the size of the burgers, we decided to skip starters, options of which include coleslaw and deep fried mushrooms. Skipping to the burger options, we scanned down the list which include various butter-based toppings – mustard and garlic – as well as the classics including cheese, bacon and gorgonzola.

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Choosing the irresistible garlic topping (£9.50), we also went for cheese with an additional mustard topping (£10.10). Coming in three different sizes, we ordered both in the medium 6oz size.

The burgers came with oven chips, a deliciously light bun and an iceberg cup with onion, gherkins, cucumber and tomato and a tray of sauces including ketchup, mustard and the more unusual sweetcorn relish. I am not sure I have ever tasted such a juicy burger. Something that is relatively easy to make at home, I was somewhat dubious about the rave reviews I’d heard, but I was wrong. Patently excellent quality mince cooked to perfection, and dripping in garlic. What more could you want? The chips were good and the salad was fresh and a welcome addition but it is the burgers that clearly carry the reputation.

Sharing a bottle of Concha y Toro Chilean Merlot (£13.95) we had been tempted by the fresh milkshakes – from banana to raspberry with everything in between – but thought they might be too heavy along with a buttery burger. Likewise, the dessert list which includes sticky toffee pudding and crepes was tempting but unmanageable.

One table next to us shared a cheesecake, which looked delicious, and the largest crepe covered in cream and chocolate sauce. Next time we agreed to bypass breakfast and lunch so we have room for a crepe.

Very friendly staff and quick service give this Scottish diner a happy relaxed atmosphere.

• Bell’s Diner, 7 St Stephen Street, 0131 225 8116