17 of the best cheap places to eat in Edinburgh
We've picked out a selection of the best places to eat in Edinburgh that don't skimp on quality and won't break the bank.
With no shortage of Michelin stars (and with a few more accolades potentially on the way), Edinburgh is well known for high end places to eat.
While the city may have blossomed into a destination for foodies as much as for history buffs, culture vultures and tartan tat aficionados, there are still plenty of places to fill your plate without emptying your wallet.
(13 Market St, EH1 1DE)
Known for its burgers, Belushi’s is situated in the heart of the Old Town and an ideal place to stop for a filling pub grub and a sports match.
With daily food deals and £4.50 cocktails, it’s easy to see why this bar is popular with students, tourists and residents alike.
Red Box Noodle Bar
(51 West Nicolson St, EH8 9DB)
Cheap, quick, filling, formulaic and delicious, at Red Box Noodle Bar it couldn’t be simpler (or cheaper).
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 (which now does takeaway) 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 andchicken 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.
The Royal McGregor
(154 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1QS)
A weekend morning is often not complete without a full Scottish breakfast and one of the best and cheapest places to indulge in a fry up is the Royal McGregor in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
For just £6.75 you can tuck into sausage, fried egg, bacon, black pudding, haggis, mushrooms, tomato, tattie scone, beans and toast. Enjoy!
(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 (£3.95), the Oink (£5.40) or the Grunter (£6.80) 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 (£6.80) 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.
(33-41, Ratcliffe Terrace, EH9 1SX)
Vegans and veggies don’t need to miss out on cheap eats in the capital as this wellness cafe proves.
Serving a wide range of vegan dishes such as Sloppy Jacks (jackfruit burgers), smoothies, mac and cheese and a selection of cakes and sweet treats, Beetroot Sauvage also hosts yoga classes.
There’s often special deals on too, such as two for one cheese toasties or buy one get one free mac and cheese.
The Pakora Bar
(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.
Ting Thai Caravan
(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 around £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.
Union of Genius
(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.
(31-33 Nicolson Square, EH8 9BX)
When seeking great value it’s probably smart to follow the student crowd by heading to the much loved and now legendary Mosque Kitchen on Nicolson Square.
The kitchen, which used to cater only for its congregation when it first began in the 80s, opened its doors to non-Muslims following the attack on the World Trade Center’s twin towers in 2001 and is still going strong.
The no-frills restaurant offers fresh and flavoursome curry dishes for as little as £4.
(44-45 St Patrick Square Edinburgh EH8 9ET)
If you love Burritos you have to check out Illegal Jacks, which coincidentally, has been named “Best Cheap Eat in Scotland” several times over the past few years by various websites.
Burritos, chilli bowls, tacos… they all appear on the menu here and they are all as delicious as they are cheap.
(41 Lothian Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1HB)
Vegetarians and vegans needn’t feel left out as the ever popular Paradise Palms comes to the rescue with its Vegetarian Soul Food from Lucky Pig.
Choose from big plates like the Black Bean Burger for £7.80 or the Chipotle Mac & Cheese for £7.50, or grab several small plates to share with To’fish Bites, Onion Rings, Buffalo Cauliflower and Hand-cut Fries all on offer for around £3-4 each.
(186 High Street, Portobello, Edinburgh, EH15 1EX – 105 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 8NP)
Hailing from the bagel capital of the world (that’s Montreal, not New York by the way) Larah Bross hit the headlines recently by bringing Ben & Jerry’s flavoured bagels to the capital.
Used to a Bagel store on every street corner, when Lara moved to Edinburgh, she couldn’t face the thought of only eating supermarket bagels and so teamed up with Breadshare organic bakery to open her own bagel shops – and we couldn’t be happier.
Choose from an incredible range such as the Hungry Vegan (smashed avocado, tomatoes and chilli oil), the London Beigel (salt beef, dill pickle and English Mustard) or the Porty (hot smoked salmon, crowdie cream cheese and posh pickles) – all for £6 or less.
(16 Henderson Street, EH6 6BS)
After the success of their street food stall, Alplings have set up a more permanent home in Leith.
Open for lunch Wednesday to Saturday, the cafe offers hearty alpine cuisine and draws inspiration from Austria and Italy with dishes including their signature Alplings dumplings – a meal in themselves – alongside goulash, pretzel Sandwiches, potato rostis and home made pastas, all for £8 or under.
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