17 of the best cheap eats in Edinburgh
Dining out doesn’t have to break the bank.
Edinburgh is home to plenty of restaurants and cafes offering delicious food on a budget.
Sister restaurant to the ever-popular Ting Thai Caravan, Saboteur offers reasonably priced Vietnamese and South East Asian food.
Most main courses come in at around £7, with filling options like beef pho noodles, pork belly bao buns and roasted duck coconut curry on the menu.
Visit: 19-20 Teviot Place, EH1 2QZ - saboteurrestaurant.com
Mosque Kitchen has a legendary reputation (especially among the student population of the nearby University of Edinburgh) for the best cheap and cheerful curry in the city.
The no-frills restaurant offers fresh and flavoursome curry dishes for as little as £4.
Visit: 31-33 Nicolson Square, EH8 9BX - mosquekitchen.com
Cosy cafe, Fatty Owls, offers wholesome, hearty lunches at an affordable price.
As well as traditional options, like soups and sandwiches, you’ll also find interesting salads and American-style grilled cheese sandwiches (with fillings like pulled pork, gammon, dill pickle, Swiss cheese and mustard or grilled mushrooms, brie, garlic cream cheese and chives).
Visit: 33 Bread Street, EH3 9AL - facebook.com/33BreadStreet
Serving up tasty hog roast rolls, Oink is the perfect place for a budget lunch – especially as they now have three locations across the city (on Victoria Street, Canongate and Hanover Street).
A small ‘piglet’ sized filled roll will set you back just £3.10, crammed full of tender pulled pork, haggis or sage and onion stuffing, and your choice of sauce including homemade chilli jam, mustard mayo or apple sauce.
Visit: 34 Victoria Street, EH1 2JW - oinkhogroast.co.uk
Originally opened as a Fringe pop-up, Checkpoint is now a permanent and popular restaurant (Photo: Checkpoint)
Checkpoint’s daytime menu offers a range of delicious dishes for less than a tenner, with options like the crispy halloumi burger, mac and three cheese toastie, and fish bouillabaisse stew on offer.
The evening menu is slightly pricier (with most mains around £15), but the relaxed restaurant still offers affordable dining without compromising on taste or portion size.
Visit: 3 Bristo Place, EH1 1EY - checkpointedinburgh.com
Specialising in budget-friendly chicken wings, Wings has over 50 different kinds on the menu.
Each bowl comes with six wings topped with your choice of sauces and seasonings, from spicy pineapple jerk rub to maple barbecue sauce.
Visit: 5/7 Old Fishmarket Close, EH1 1RW - wingsedinburgh.com
Originally starting out as a food truck, Bonnie Burrito now have a permanent home on South Clerk Street.
The menu features Mexican street food classics, like build-your-own burritos, chilli bowls and nachos, with most items costing around £5.
Visit: 82 South Clerk Street, EH8 9PT - bonnieburrito.com
Stack Dim Sum Bar
It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but Stack Dim Sum Bar serves up some of the best traditional dim sum in Edinburgh.
The menu is great value for money, with each dim sum portion costing around £3 and main courses around £8, allowing diners to try out a variety of authentic Chinese dishes on a budget.
Visit: 42 Dalmeny Street, EH6 8RG - facebook.com/Stack-Dim-Sum-Bar
Offering traditional Neapolitan pizzas from the heart of Italy, Pizzeria 1926’s menu is fresh, simple and delicious.
The generously sized pizzas are all under £10, and come with a range of interesting toppings such as baby octopus, Gaeta olives, baked potatoes, smoked buffalo mozzarella, croquettes, and spicy broccoli.
Visit: 85 Dalry Road, EH11 2AA - pizzeria1926.com
Former street food stall Alplings has put down permanent roots in Leith (Photo: Alplings)
After the success of their street food stall, Alplings have set up a more permanent home in Leith.
The cafe offers Alplings’ signature hearty alpine cuisine (including dumplings, goulash, spätzle, potato rostis and schnitzel), all for £8 or under.
Visit: 16 Henderson Street, EH6 6BS - alplings.co.uk
The Pakora Bar
The pakoras at The Pakora Bar are a far cry from the greasy late-night takeaway options many of us are used to.
Instead, the Indian street food here is fresh and interesting, with unusual flavours of pakora such as black pudding, aubergine and asparagus, as well as dhals, curries and wraps.
Visit: 96 Hanover Street, EH2 1DR - facebook.com/thepakorabar
Roots’ motto - “where food doesn’t cost the earth” - alludes not only to their environmentally-friendly commitments, but also to their affordable menu.
Offering a variety of healthy and delicious options, including exciting salads and homemade soups, stews and pasta dishes, lunch starts from just £3.
Visit: 18 William Street, EH3 7NH - facebook.com/RootsEdin
A grilled cheese sandwich is the ultimate cheap and cheerful comfort food, and Meltmongers’ gourmet toasties start at £3.80.
Choose from classics like the American grilled cheese or the tuna and cheddar melt, or opt for something a little bit different like the brie and caramelised onion sandwich.
Visit: 80 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4HG - facebook.com/meltmongers
Union of Genius
Serving a simple menu of warming soups and hearty chillis, Union of Genius is a bustling lunch spot (Photo: Union of Genius)
Perfect for lunch, the much-loved Union of Genius cafe offers an ever-changing menu of freshly made soups, with six different varieties available every day.
Speedy, unpretentious and healthy, Union of Genius is also budget-friendly as a large, comforting bowl of homemade soup will cost you just £4.
Visit: 8 Forrest Road, EH1 2QN - unionofgenius.com
Taste of Italy
If you’re looking for a cheap pre-theatre dining spot, or just fancy some delicious Italian food, head to Taste of Italy.
With starters from £2, pasta from £5.50 and pizzas from £5.95, diners can indulge in a three course meal and a drink for under £15.
Visit: 9 Baxters Place, EH1 3EF - vittoriagroup.co.uk/tasteofitaly
Famous for their large portions, Mexican street food takeaway, Taquito, is great value for money.
A regular burrito costs £4.20 and comes packed with rice, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, vegetables and your choice of meaty filling, including smoky pork, chorizo or shredded beef.
Visit: 32 Home Street, EH3 9LZ - taquito.co.uk
Italian chain Vapiano opened recently in St Andrew Square (Photo: Vapiano)
New to St Andrew Square, Vapiano offers fast, fresh and tasty Italian food without a huge price tag.
Pasta dishes start at £6.95 and pizzas are available from £7.95, plus there are salads, antipasti and risotto on offer too – all of which can be customised to your liking as they are prepared by chefs right in front of you.
Visit: 7 South St David Street, EH2 2BD - uk.vapiano.com