5 Near Neighbours You Don’t Want to Confuse

Some neighbourhoods have nothing by high quality, others have nothing but horrors, but quite often places that sit side by side cover that spectrum in neighbouring proximity. Here are some of our faves/not faves in that regard.

Castello Coffee/Strada
Castle Street’s Castello Coffee, home of outstanding Allpress espresso, has some very crappy neighbours. Ignoring Costa, I reckon Strada, the “top end” Italian experience from the geniuses at Bella Italia is the one to bring biggest contrast. A vast, soulless barn, Strada couldn’t be further away from the compact excellence of Castello, with its great soups made fresh daily. Never confuse these two, please.

Espresso
Espresso

Castle Terrace/Il Castello
Continuing the Castle theme, Il Castello is a perfectly decent, traditional Italian right next door to the stratospherically delicious Castle Terrace. I suspect many a kite-flying walk-up punter finding Castle Terrace fully booked has gambled on Il Castello being a reasonable nearby alternative. With expectations set at Castle Terrace level, your likely experience of Il Castello, despite its charms, is likely to be rather compromised.

Divino/Merchant’s
Merchant’s and Divino Enoteca are on opposite sides of Merchant Street and at opposite ends of the quality spectrum. Divino is a beautiful wine bar serving great cheese and nibbles, while Merchant’s is a tired and lacklustre purveyor of staggeringly pish fare. Confuse these two at your peril.20141020_144705

Nanyang/No 8 Lister
The Quartermile has proved a slightly tough nut for some businesses to crack, but Nanyang, a Malaysian restaurant serving brightly spiced classics from that cuisine, has established itself very nicely. Next door at No 8 Lister Square, they continue to flounder with one of the poorer bar restaurants of its type – think 56 North and/or the Blackbird done really badly. Stick with the rendang beef at Nanyang and give the dreadfully poor burgers at No 8 a major swerve.

Paradise Palms/Boteco do Brasil
Boteco do Brasil is a slightly brash, loud Brazilian bar with a pretty disappointing food and drink selection. Paradise Palms is a slightly brash, loud bar with an excellent food and drink selection. With food from the outstanding Ninja Buns and a cocktail selection including a buckfast daiquiri, Paradise Palms is one of our favourite spots in the city, while Boteco just doesn’t quite cut it.

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8 Brilliant Edinburgh Burgers

The burger wars in Edinburgh have never reached the fever pitch of Glasgow, but there it’s still the source of many a good pub and online conversation. Here we present 8 places that are rarely part of the core argument, but deliver consistently high quality items.

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BBL
With burgers made on site using beef from Michael Malone’s, and outstanding vegan and veggie burgers, BBL (Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch) is a gem of a place on the Pleasance. With an appreciative audience of Fringe performers during August, their year round burger quality is second to none.
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Broughton Deli
The Broughton Deli is probably better known for fresh salads and flavour-packed brunches, but their burgers, often featuring local producers like Grierson, are outstanding. In tranquil surroundings that are often packed to the gunwales at weekends, the little café oasis is one where you can sample delicious burger glory in wonderfully understated surroundings.
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Crombie’s
The famous Broughton Street butcher Crombie has a slightly less well-known hot food counter, which offers competitively priced and high quality offerings, including excellent burgers, throughout the week. Made on the premises the burgers are an absolute treat which you should sample soon and often.
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Greenmantle
A great place to know about for late night snackage, Greenmantle serve their fantastic Puddledub buffalo burgers until midnight. With a great menu of tempting combos and regularly changing specials, the is one burger purveyor that you should add to your list for a visit.
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Nobles
A great bastion of Leith pub food goodness, Nobles does quality brunches and excellent burgers from their signature Constitution Street premises. Their regularly changing menu always keeps things interesting with a solid commitment to showcasing local produce.
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The Square
The Square has two branches: one just off St Andrew Square, which does a fine line in catering for the lunchtime needs of many of the local offices; and one on Dublin Street, which showcases an excellent and very reasonably priced array of burgers. Presented in a no-nonsense fashion, they’re flavour-packed and really satisfying. Make sure to pay them a visit, soon.
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Twenty Princes Street
With the joys of a Josper grill backing their meaty selection, the burgers at Twenty Princes Street are consistently delivered to a really high level. With views across the city centre, their smart hotel premises give things a touch of class, so this is perhaps the most stylish place to chow-down on a burger in the city.
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Whistle Stop Barber Shop
A newcomer to the burger block, quirky cocktail bar the Whistle Stop Barber Shop has breezed into town with an impressive menu of burgers and other American diner staples. So, next time you fancy a Martini with your burger, this is the place to come.
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4 Great Streets for Food in Edinburgh

Pickles
Pickles


Broughton Street

Broughton Street perhaps offers the most diversity in one street. We have the likes of L’Escargot Bleu, Pickles, the Riparian Rooms, Barony Bar, New Town Deli, Something Fishy, Crombie’s, Bonsai, the Basement Bar, Treacle, Burger Meats Bun, the Broughton Deli, Ox Bar, Smoke Stack and Artisan Roast. It’s an extremely impressive selection, for sure.

Royal Mile
Are you insane? The Royal Mile’s full of tourist traps and tat shops, isn’t it? Well, let’s look at the evidence. As long as we’re willing to include some of the adjoining closes and side streets, you have: Cucina at G&V, Contini Cannonball, Wildest Drams, Michael Neave, Dubh Prais, Angels with Bagpipes, the Edinburgh Larder, Blackfriars, Wedgwood, Cranachan & Crowdie, Devil’s Avocado, Civerino’s, Whiski Bar, Vinyasa, Kilderkin, and the Colonnades.

Wildest Drams
Wildest Drams

Fair enough, there are some dreadful shit-pits along the way, too, but anyone telling you to avoid it because there are no good places to eat is not to be believed.

The Shore
The only one of the candidate with a Michelin star to its name (and another very nearby), Restaurant Martin Wishart is the centrepiece of The Shore’s claim to the title. But we also have Mimi’s Bakehouse, the King’s Wark, Ship on the Shore, Shore Bar, Malmaison, the Shore Deli and Fishers doing impressively good work.

Thistle Street
I’m going to stick my neck out and say Thistle Street is my favourite street for overall quality dining in Edinburgh. The street includes Café Marlayne, breakfast offerings from the Thistle Sandwich Bar, El Cartel, Iris, Fishers in the City, the Bon Vivant, Café St Honore, Dusit, Henderson’s Bistro, and Lime. That’s enough quality and choice to keep you busy for quite a while.

14 Edinburgh Lost Loves

Soba soup at Artcafe Morita
Soba soup at Artcafe Morita

Artcafe Morita
Artcafe Morita was a glorious curio right in the heart of tourist land on the Royal Mile. Ostensibly the café that formed part of a bed & breakfast, it was a fine purveyor of haggis sushi amongst other things. Owners John and Kozo meticulously prepared dishes to a wonderfully impressive standard and it built a small but devoted audience. The internet tells me they now run another B&B in Newington, but sadly the sushi marvels are no longer available.
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Bindi
When successful places have to close due to rent disputes, it tends to leave a bitter taste in the mouth. Such was the case, I believe, with Bindi, a fantastic Gujarati and East African place on St Patrick’s Square. It served vegetarian sharing dishes of excellent quality and variety, and was quite unlike any other restaurant in the city. Owner Bindiya Kanani is now a fixture on STV Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge Show, so she is still connecting with her appreciative audience.
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Copper Bird
Once home to the finest breakfast rolls in the city, it was a sad day when Morrison Street’s Copper Bird finally closed its doors. With bacon and sausages sourced from Stockbridge’s George Bower, the first bite of their tripler (bacon, sausage and egg) roll will live long in the memory. Nowhere before or since has quite matched that magic breakfast moment.
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Hernandez & Co
Hernandez & Co

Elbow
An awkward location tends to be major contributing factor in the closure of a place, with Edinburgh often quite brutal and indescriminate in its designation of what is and isn’t a “good location”. Elbow, a former bar and kitchen on East Claremont Street, was definitely a victim of being rather betwixt and between places. It was a crying shame when it closed as it was home to one of the best Sunday roasts in the city and had a quirkily enjoyable feel to the place. Now home to Greek restaurant Spitaki, here’s hoping the location gods smile more broadly on this new venture.
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Freeman’s
Freeman’s was at the vanguard of Edinburgh coffee for a good little while, with excellent Climpson’s coffee served in slightly hipsterish surroundings in Marchmont. The atmosphere of the place was always welcoming and with their espresso pop-up Lock Up Coffee they provided an outstanding showcase for different roasteries from across the UK. The energy and ideas of owner David Freeman are much missed in the city.
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FYUL
FYUL – Food You’ll Utterly Love – was a great cafe on Bread Street serving a smart menu of sandwich and platter dishes in quirky and eclectic surroundings. They’d spent a lot of money to get the place looking as smart as it did, and this was possibly responsible for their downfall, as it was always going to be hard to make back that investment. Still, it is much missed as it was a very smart and friendly place.
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Lunch at Mithas
Lunch at Mithas

Hernandez & Co
It’s always lovely to discover a little takeaway shop that’s ploughing an otherwise unexplored furrow. Hernandez & Co on Queensferry Street was such a place with it’s smart menu of simple but flavour-packed Spanish dishes. Their morning chorizo omelette rolls were a thing of incredible reviving power and are much missed.
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Meadowood Cafe
The Meadowood Cafe was on the market for a long time before it finally closed its doors. With Edinburgh not overly blessed with quality Chinese eateries, it was a considerable shame to see it close as it served excellent dumplings and delicious soups for a very reasonable price. The excellent Bentoya now occupies the premises, but the Meadowood is still much missed.
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Mithas
The outstanding fine dining exploits of Mithas built an appreciative audience during their tenure on Dock Place, Leith. However, the failure to build a solid lunch trade, among other things, led to them closing their doors after seeing in 2015 with their Hogmanay feast. Fans of the place have been given a reprieve, though, as some of the kitchen and front of house team have now reappeared at Mumbai Mansion in Haymarket.
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Dinner at The Mulroy
Dinner at The Mulroy

The Mulroy
The Mulroy brought country house chic to West End premises that have sadly now sat empty for a considerable stretch of time. Eccentric owner Clemens Hoss d’Estenfeld Macdonald was a character whose lack of continued involvement in the Edinburgh restaurant scene makes it an entirely less luminous place. A gem that shone brightly but briefly, it brought much joy to those who visited.
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Russian Passion
Sometimes you’re glad to catch a place before its sudden and unexpected demise and such was the case with Russian Passion. Our first and (to date) last Russian restaurant, the compact cafe at Canonmills was notable for daily fresh pieroshkies, ready at about 1pm, and then only being open in the evenings for advance bookings. I believe the owners came to the end of their British work visas so had to close up and head home, which was a shame for all concerned.
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FYUL
FYUL

Seadogs
Seadogs was David Ramsden’s dedicated seafood restaurant when The Dogs’ empire encompassed four restaurants. Thankfully the mothership still remains, but the fall of Seadogs (as well as Amore Dogs and Underdogs) remains a niggling sore point as it was such a fantastic purveyor of high quality fish dishes. Their Cullen skink in particular will live long in the memory.
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Tea at 94
Tea at 94, the 94 referring to their 94 Buccleuch Place address, was a tea and cake favourite, particularly with adherents to gluten free diets. With an excellent range of teas from Jenier, there was always something new to try and it was almost always an absolute delight. For devotees of owner Michelle’s baking, she can now be found at Archipelago Bakery on Dundas Street.
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Soup at Wild
Soup at Wild

Wild
If there was a more completely bonkers restaurant in Edinburgh (the famous Armenian place near Holyrood, aside) than Wild, we’d like to see it. Keeping quails in the back garden, cooking everything from scratch (including making soup from scratch to order), and keeping the heating to an icy minimum, some of the food served was quite spectacular…when it finally arrived. A real loss to the diversity and creativity of our restaurant provision when it closed, it will live long in the memory of those who were lucky enough to visit.
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