I have recently moved jobs from Leith back into the city centre of Edinburgh and I thought I would record my favourite lunch haunts. I have deliberately excluded the mall tedium of Ocean Terminal (although it contains many lunch spots) and Leith’s many Michelin starred restaurants (where I couldn’t afford to eat lunch on a daily basis!!) I am no fan of sandwiches, so I haven’t included any of the many deli/sandwich bars, so if you know them, rate them!
Beside the Sandport Place Bridge, Café Truva is a small part of the Mediterranean in sunny Leith. From the wide selection of Turkish and Middle Eastern dishes, my favourites are the platters featuring crispy falafel and creamy humus. There is also a range of wraps, salads and hot dishes to choose from as well as cakes and tray bakes for dessert. There are another 2 branches at the Art College and in the Canongate.
Café Truva, 77 The Shore, Leith. Tel: (0131) 554 5502
Domenicos is worth a trip across town for. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful and the food is incredibly good. Sit in for daily pasta and other Italian-inspired specials (book if you come with a group – it’s really not very big!) or take away one of their DIY salads or mega sandwiches (just pick whatever you fancy from the fridge). A daily pasta dish and soup are also available to take away. You can even order online in advance!
Café Domenico, 30 Sandport Street, Leith. Tel: (0131) 467 7266
Don’t let the superfit mountaineering equipment put you off – the café at the back of the Tiso shop in Leith is normally full of civil servants (don’t let that put you off either). There are daily specials and a great base menu of jacket potatoes, sandwiches, paninis and the like plus a huge range of cakes and traybakes. Great value, simple, delicious lunches. The service is quick, too, in case you’re in a hurry.
Fit Food Bistro, Tiso Edinburgh Outdoor Experience, 41 Commercial Street, EH6 6JD. Tel: (0131) 555 2211
Now part of the same chain as the ever popular Three Sisters (in the Cowgate) and Ghillie Dhu (Rutland Place), the Granary offers a range from a simple soups through bar lunches to full-blown meals. For a light lunch, the daily soup and sandwich deal is good value at £5.95 and features a high quality filling from the main menu (rather than the skimpy cheese or egg sarnies of cheaper deals elsewhere). The Granary has large plate glass windows overlooking the Cruz restaurant boat and the Water of Leith.
The Granary, 32-34 The Shore, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6QN. Tel: 0845 166 6005
source: google maps
I prefer the King’s Wark for dinner, as the award-winning pub nosh is generally pretty substantial. Using local ingredients, there’s always plenty of Scottish beef, locally caught fish and a few veggie options on the menu. It’s really good and not for rushing, so I’d recommend it when you don’t have to head back to the office!
King’s Wark, 36 Shore EH6 6QU. Tel: (0131) 554 9260
The latest in the Edinburgh French mini-chain, La Garrigue at Commercial Quay offers an excellent value lunch menu for the slightly more special occasion. Although it’s a bit more expensive that a soup and a sarnie at Fit Food Bistro and is more expensive than its (also French) predecessor, Daniel’s, the quality makes it worth the occasional splurge. Seating in the conservatory at the back offers an uninspiring view of the Scottish Government building, so best concentrate on what’s on your plate!
Pitching itself as offering Indian cuisine ‘redefined’, Mithas isn’t the kind of place you’d go for lunch on a daily basis – it’s more of an evening restaurant. For a special occasion or the Friday at the end of a long week, though, it’s great. The taster menu offers a sample of the best of their dishes, all of which are subtly and exquisitely spiced and presented.
Mithas, 7 Dock Place, Leith, EH6 6LU. Tel: (0131) 554 0008.
Docklands sister of A Room in the West End, this is housed in Teuchter’s Landing – the brother of Teuchters in William Street. Again, the menu is a bit more upmarket than the local sandwich bars and delis, but the food is excellent and the setting very pleasant for a more relaxed lunchbreak.
A Room in Leith, 1c Dock Place, EH6 6LU. Tel. 0131 554 7427
This erstwhile old man’s corner pub has been turned into a haven of foreign bottled beers, cocktails in teapots, cupcakes and light lunches. My kinda pub! The lunch menu features hot and cold dishes as well as some vitamin-boosting fruit and vegetable smoothies.
Roseleaf, 23/24 Sandport Place, EH6 6EW. Tel: 0131 476 5268
Hidden around the back of the bars and restaurants on the shore, Tapa is a great find for lunch. The £10 deal for 7 tapas for 2 people to share is a bargain – just make sure you let them know if there’s anything you don’t eat.
Tapa, 19 Shore Place, EH6 6SW. Tel: (0131) 4766776
Ana Meslé offers a warm welcome to one and all, particularly younger guests at the bistro she runs with her French chef husband, Mickael at the juncture of the Water of Leith walkway and Coburg Street. The lunch menu is chalked up on a board and features excellent value British and French dishes from soups to risottos to fish dishes. There’s a kids corner to keep young ones happy, and a changing table to keep them clean. And if you are tempted not to return to work, you can pick up a map of the Water of Leith walkway and wander off!
Water of Leith Café Bistro, 52 Coburg St, Leith. Tel: (0131) 555 2613
Do you lunch in Leith? Where’s your favourite place to go for a light bite in the middle of the day?
© Lynn Sheppard