7 Fantastic BYOB Options in Edinburgh

Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) represents a good way to minimise drink costs when visiting restaurants. Quite a good number of places in Edinburgh offer it, with some charging a small fee per bottle or person, but many choosing not to charge at all. Here are some places worth considering.

Pera
Pera

B&D’s Kitchen
In a city where Chinese food is not one of our strengths, B&D’s Kitchen provides a welcome, fresh take on this much loved cuisine. Their hakka beef is outstanding, and all dishes are produced with considerable care and attention. The restaurant is very small, so booking is advised. You have Appellation Wines just down the road and a local Co-Op store, both of which can ably supply the required bottles.
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Beirut
Beirut is a very good quality middle eastern restaurant on Nicolson Square where you can add to the delights with a wine or beer of your choice. Their leg of lamb is delicious and excellent value. Given its proximity to the university, there are no shortage of local bottle shops for you to pick up the essentials.
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Kampong Ah Lee
Malaysian food often need a little liquid accompaniment, not least to cool the spices of their flavour-packed dishes. The canteen style of Kampong Ah Lee on Clerk Street is a very good informal location to sample classic dishes from the cuisine in relaxed surroundings.
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Pera
Turkish restaurant Pera, on Elm Row, does a good array of classic dishes from Turkey, with a particularly good sweet counter. The value on offer, augmented by the BYOB approach, is impressive.
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Rodi
Another Turkish favourite, Rodi is all about the meat. On Morrison Street, it has grown an appreciative audience for its generous portion and really tasty dishes.
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Shangrila
A warmly welcoming and reliably good Chinese, Shangrila offers both a drinks list and BYO option. The nearby Beerhive offers an excellent range of beers and wines for you to accompany things with, so is well worth checking out.
Shangrila

Tanjore
The south Indian delights of Tanjore represent some of the finest Indian cuisine you can find in the city. Their lunchtime “build your own thali” is well worth checking out, as are their dosai. And you can take along your own booze, with free corkage to boot.
Tanjore

4 African Culinary Delights in Edinburgh

A growing group of rather lovely African restaurants and eateries have grown up around Edinburgh in recent years. Here is just a small sample of the greatness on offer.

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Jambo Grill
With east African delights ranging from goat curry to zebra steaks, Jambo Grill started life in Falkirk before transferring to Edinburgh earlier in 2015. In a slightly tricky location on Gilmore Place, it will hopefully find an appreciative audience, not least because their name has good potential pun crossover with the local football team.
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Khartoum Cafe
The kings of Edinburgh wraps, Khartoum Café is a Tollcross stalwart. A friendly welcome always awaits in this smart little café. Why not try their cardamom-infused Sudanese coffee, next time you stop in for a visit.
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Knight’s Kitchen
Having started life as a popular street food stall at markets such as the Saturday Grassmarket (where they still regularly trade) and the Tram Stop market, Knight’s Kitchen opened permanent premises on Nicolson Street in August 2015. Serving a diverse menu of south and east African delights, it’s a place you should make sure to visit.
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Mam Kangu’s Delicacy
The Gambian and west African dishes on offer at the gloriously named Mam Kangu’s Delicacy represent some of the best value food in the city. Where else can you get lobster balls for £3.99, or a super-tasty, filling two course meal for under a tenner? What’s more, you can sample their treats via a Deliveroo delivery.
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8 Great Pizzas in Edinburgh

This is always a hotly contested list and ours comprises pizzas in many different styles, but we enjoyed all of these in one way or another.20141222_200957-300x169

Civerino’s – Meatball and porcini ragu
Now established as part of the friendly family fabric of Edinburgh Italian eateries, Civerino’s is a great place for a quick or slow pizza stop. You can munch by the slice on the go, or stay and take down one on their excellent topping combos.
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Dough – Quattro Formaggi
Seeking to bring a real game-changing approach to takeaway pizza, Dough’s massive wood-fired oven is an awesome sight to behold. Their pizzas are top notch with their four cheese a particular favourite.
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La Favorita – Montanara
The classic Edinburgh pizza place, La Fav has probably been surpassed for pizza excellence just of late, and they seem to draw an inordinate amount of flak for the dubious quality of their delivery service, but they were the trailblazers in bringing really top notch pizza to Edinburgh, so we should be thankful for their excellent work.
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Moratti – Moratti
Home of some late-night pizza excellence, Moratti’s baked egg, chicken and spinach pizza is an absolute beauty. If you’re feeling in charge of your faculties, risk the soft-baked yolk but only if you have a bib to hand as it could go anywhere.
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Origano – Spinacio
Current pizza champs of the city, Origano’s move to larger premises has illustrated their level of popularity, as they’ve been every bit as busy as they were in their previous place, which was a third of the size. Their pizza, in sizes 11”, 14” and 16″, is just spectacular so you must visit soon.
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Peter’s Yard – Vegetarian
With the finest sourdough bases from their baking magicians, Peter’s Yard and Soderberg offer a limited range of toppings, but focus on making them absolutely outstanding. With pizza hubs in both the Old Town and Stockbridge, these are places you want to check out.
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Pizza Mafia – Ham & Mushroom
Some really good pizza is served in the drab location of Princes Mall by the folks at Pizza Mafia. If it was in a different location, I’m convinced this would be one of the more popular pizza slice joints in the city.
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Three Coins – Meat Feast
Nowhere could look a less likely home to pizza excellence than Three Coins. I’m not sure about the rest of their menu, but their pizzas, cooked in no time due to their super-thin bases, are absolutely remarkable.
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7 Places for Splendid Steaks

Scotch beef is some of the best in the world, but until recently there was a dearth of places using that ingredient to best advantage. Here are some of the city’s best purveyors of beefy delights.20140615_214006

Blackwood’s
The unchallenged king of Edinburgh steak places, Blackwood’s is spectacular. Using Highland Drovers beef to best advantage with their Josper grill. It’s the only place where I’d order fillet steak as their fillet has all the flavour of ribeye married with the silky texture of fillet.
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Chez Jules
Still home to the best steak frites in the city, Chez Jules also offers an excellent lunchtime skirt steak and a very decent steak tartare. The value on offer is hugely impressive making this a really tempting spot for regular visits.
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Earthy
You might more readily associate Earthy with bread and veg goodness, but their meaty delights are just as strong. Locally sourced beef is cooked to exacting standards to very good effect.
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Field Grill House
A newcomer to the carnivore scene, Field Grill House brings all the charm of their first restaurant to a more meat-centric menu. Sourced from local butcher Shaw’s, their steaks are of really pleasing quality.
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L’Escargot Bleu
Their steak tartare, made to your exact specification at the table, is as much a great piece of theatre as it is a phenomenally good dish. They often showcase specials of the more unusual cuts of beef, so can be considered a true carnivore’s paradise.
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Twenty Princes Street
Another place giving full vent to their Josper grill, Twenty Princes Street offers a great range of meaty treats, with their lunchtime steak sandwich a particular strength. Their signature city centre location makes their offering very compelling.
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Wildfire
With an atmosphere quite unlike you’d expect from a conventional steakhouse, Wildfire has a very broad appeal. Their steaks are very good and their approach understated and welcoming, making it one of the better places for steak in he city.
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7 Epic Edinburgh Sandwiches

Everyone loves a good sandwich. Here are some of Edinburgh finest:
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Caffe Piccolo
Caffe Piccolo has been a bit of a sleeper success at the heart of the Grassmarket, quietly going about making knockout sandwiches. Their prosciutto and pesto focaccia is a joy to behold and should be munched on a regular basis.
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Cairngorm
Two places have serious claims on the crown of finest grilled cheese sandwich in the city. Firstly, there is Cairngorm, with its patented three-cheese and chilli jam sandwiches proving hugely popular. With excellent coffee at the core of their offering, this is a smart little café that demands your attention.
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IJ Mellis
The second place that aspires to the grilled cheese crown is Mellis. A cheesemonger at heart, it’s no wonder that they have probably the best range of different grilled cheese options. Their Stockbridge tasting room is a wonderful little hideaway in which to sample these sandwiches of distinction.
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Jacob
Jacob does the sandwich fundamentals as well as anyone in the city. Their bread is excellent and their fillings, although sometimes fairly straightforward sounding pack a considerable punch. Their Thai chicken sandwich is a particular favourite and should be added to your list of must-try items, soon.
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Knight’s Kitchen
The herdsman sandwich at Knight’s Kitchen is one of the most impressively bonkers sandwiches in the city. Packing in an extraordinary amount of meat, it’s a meal in itself and guaranteed to chase the hunger away for hours on end.
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O Canto Do Passerinho
A pimped-out croque monsieur filled with steak and sausage then served in secret beer and tomato sauce. Sound pretty crazy? Well, that’s exactly what O Canto Do Passerinho will serve you when you order the Francesinha, a truly epic sandwich that is apparently a cornerstone of Portuguese cuisine. It’s a dish that needs to be eaten to be believed.
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Twenty Princes Street
Twenty Princes Street will serve you the best steak sandwich we’ve come across in its very smart and elegant Princes Street premises. A lunchtime favourite, cooked on their Josper grill, this is a dish that will hit the spot very nicely when you try it.
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5 Brilliant Places for Mr Eion Coffee

Local coffee roaster Mr Eion has gone from strength to strength since launching in 2013. But where are some of the best places to sample his wares. Here are just five of our favourites: 20151024_131830

Cairngorm
When they originally opened, Cairngorm was ploughing the thankless furrow that is trying to make Matthew Algie coffee taste good. They soon teamed up with Mr Eion to develop a custom blend that really suited their needs. It sits very nicely next to their excellent sandwiches and wonderfully appointed little Frederick Street café.
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Colpamia
A roast in much more of the traditional continental style, as suits their Sicilian heritage, Roseburn’s Café Colpamia provides evidence of the sheer range of different coffees that Mr Eion is producing. The café is a really quirky spot, too, with their haggis bruschetta well worth trying.
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The Counter
Having started out with one little police box in Morningside, The Counter has now expanded its operation to include three boxes and a canal barge. They’ve recently had a lovely splash of publicity after winning a competition resulting national TV advertising exposure. This was due recognition for this create coffee and cake business that serves both to a very high standard.
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Gamma Transport Division
Right across the road from Mr Eion’s shop, Gamma Transport Division capitalises on one of modern urban living’s more unexpected associations – great coffee and cycling. A shop of real warmth and charm, even for those who don’t partake of the pedalling, Gamma is well worth a visit for a cracking good coffee.
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Odds & Ends
Smartly appointed Polwarth café Odds & Ends opened towards the end of 2014 and quickly established itself as a very enjoyable place to stop of for coffee and tasty treats. If you haven’t visited yet, make sure to do so soon.
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6 Great Edinburgh Food & Drink Beards

box beardEveryone loves a good beard, from Peggy Hughes to Victoria Coren. Here are some of the finest available in the Edinburgh food and drinks trade.

Beerd
Craft Beerds have been a staple of the real ale world since time began. Taking things to the next step by adding a trucker cap, the St Vincent’s Bar’s Chris has a look that’s part beer aficionado, part cheery man of the woods.
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Blogger Beard
Champion Blog Bearder is Gary from Edin Blogger, who has an unrivalled face hedge amongst the food writing community. It’s a key component of the blog’s branding, which can even be seen adorning bottles of beer brewed in Stewart Brewing’s Craft Beer Kitchen.
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Cocktail Beard
There are many fine purveyors of the facial hair arts in the world of cocktails, but the daddy beard makes his home at the daddy bar, Bramble. Manager Sam has a gloriously extensive chin tapestry that is an absolute joy to behold, from any angle.
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Coffee Beard
I could perhaps have gone for Mr Eion (who would definitely win the coffee moustache contest), the Bearded Barista or Lucasz from Artisan Roast, but my favourite coffee beard make its home on the face of Sandro from Castello Coffee. A fine purveyor of Allpress espresso, Sandro’s luxuriant facial furniture is a constant source of hirsute inspiration.
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Soup Beard
Lord of the Soup Beard is Bruce from Union of Genius. One of the more closely groomed beards in this collection, it plays a key role in aiding soup contemplation, and played a very prominent part in Union’s two successful Kickstarter campaigns.
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Street Food Beard
Toby from Jones & Son, the pulled pork and burger guys, is a great beard sporter. Perfectly judged to deliver extra facial warmth on the cold winter trading days, it’s a street food beard to aspire to.
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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.

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.