Site Overlay

Our favourite places

Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian.
Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian.

We do realise that, astonishing though it might seem, sometimes you may want to eat something other than soup. So, with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe upon us the soupmongers have put out our heads together and come up with a list of our favourite places to eat in the city when you’re not having soup. Read on to find out more.

Indaba. This is an absolute staff favourite: tasty, friendly and casual and that’s just the owners. Indaba (pronounced In-DAA-baa) serves a mixture of Spanish, South African and Scottish dishes tapas style. The menu features a diverse and constantly changing set of specials. The springbok medallions are particularly brilliant while Elaine believes the pork ribs are possibly the best in Edinburgh. If at all possible, leave room for the dessert trio and ensure that one of them is the “crying cake.”

Mary’s Milk Bar. OMG. If we could live on ice cream we would never leave Mary’s Milk Bar. We occasionally fantasise about building one of those vacuum tube things so that we could simply suck it up from the Grassmarket to Union. The salted caramel milkshake is by itself enough to make you weep. You can also find Mary and her positively rude looking icecreams on twitter every day.

Bindi. We all heart Bindi. It’s a combination of cookery school plus cafe specialising in a fusion of Gujarati and East African streetfood located in the heart of the southside. The menu is full of bite-sized treats and we like to go for the tasting platters so we can have a bit of everything. Bruce was particularly taking by the Mogo fries made from cassava.

The Dogs. Jay Rayner knows a thing or two about food and he’s right about The Dogs too. It’s simply, reliably good. The menu is never short of a surprise or two. The food is superb but understated. The Dogs is not about showing off culinary fireworks it’s all about finding meals that you will devour like hyenas. When it comes to innovative menus we reckon it is probably the most under-rated restaurant in Edinburgh.

Jones and Son. You’ll find Jones & Son popping all around the place with their porky treats. They do one thing and, like the Wolverine of pulled pork, they are the best there is at what they do. Unlike a pulled pork Wolverine, what they do best is very, very nice. Find them on twitter at and get your pork on.

Leo’s Beanery. Our favourite breakfast spot in town. End of. One day Bruce will manage to eat something other than the Croque mon scone but that day is yet to come. It’s rare to go into a cafe when you run a cafe and find yourself thinking “you know, I don’t think I can improve on a single thing here.”

Mithas. There are so many good reasons to go to Mithas that it is hard to know where to start. The idea is to take the tastes, variety and essence of Indian cookery and treat it with the respect it deserves. No more plush carpets and flock wallpaper and huge stacks of poppadums. The a la carte menu mixes Scottish traditions with Indian spices and the only problem is not being able to eat them all. The tasting menu solves that problem. Go to Mithas. Then keep going back. That’s what we do.

The Roamin’ Nose. After a day in the soup mines a particular treat for Elaine is to stop in at The Roamin’ Nose. It’s a classic neighbourhood cafe/bistro. There’s a short but punchy menu, a good little wine list and a lot of paintings of Bill Murray. We realise that one of those things is not like the other. It’s hard to pick what we like best about The Nose but the standards are reliably top notch (I’m looking at you, possibly the best burger in Edinburgh) while the varied specials are always tempting. Also, try out the small bites if you get a chance.

Field. You can find some of the best eating in Edinburgh in a restaurant recommended in the Michelin Guide on a downmarket street you would never expect. We haven’t been in as often as we would like but this is super friendly fine dining in a tiny room for tiny prices. They also do an extremely good Festival express menu. Do book though. They are very popular for good reason.

Sushiya. Ah Sushiya, If you knew Sushiya like we knew Sushiya you would buy a house in the Haymarket colonies just so you could eat there for lunch. Their sushi really is that good. It’s the same standard as that served in their glamourous sibling, Kanpai, but presented in their tiny, no-frills cafe. You should track it down and eat there right now. (Unless it’s 3am and you’re reading this blogpost after a hard night’s drinking in which case a) don’t go there now, it’s closed and b) what the hell are you doing reading blogposts at 3am while you’re drunk?)

Happy eating from the soupmongering crew.