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Suzi Edwards

Edinburgh

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I'm going to the fringe for a week in August. Last time I was in Edinburgh (earlier this year) we went to Martin Wisharts (excellent) and Stac Prolly (or Prolly Stac, can't quite remember) which was ok. We'll definitly go back to the former...but am keen to keen to get any other recs.

It has been so long since I was there I can't remember if places tend to do pre theatre menus (or whatever the fringe equivalent would be ;-) ) and if that might be a good idea. Also, would probably like to linger over lunch rather than eating at night....

So, any recs appreciated, also on perhaps some less fine dining establishments as i think it's going to cost more than two weeks in the maldives at this rate.

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I like Kalpna, a vegetarian Indian place, just off Nicholson Street. Been there several times, always eaten really well, dead cheap. I admit to being pissed the last time I was there, but I've been equally pleased with the food when sober :wink: Long-time GFG entry. The dosas are terrific.

Edit: that would be Stac Polly I believe - anglicisation of Stac Pollaidh, a mountain in Sutherland. The mountain is terrific, but I've never been to the restaurant - it looked a bit like a Scottish theme park from the outside.

Adam


Edited by AdamLawrence (log)

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Off the wall on the high street. Last summer lunch was £15.50 for three courses for serious cooking in a lovely airy room overlooking, but away from, the chaos.

v good. Tel 0131 558 1497

i note it's in the gfg

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cheers for those suggstions guys. i've dug out a few other places so i'm just planning it now. oddly enough, edinburgh seems to have four mexican places, so i'm going to try those in the vain hope that somewhere in the uk can serve good mexican food.

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Tarka

I am up there on business in a couple of weeks. Can you let me know what other places you have rooted out, which would be worth going to ?

Any other suggestions gratefully received.

Thanks

B

Emoticon at the top is how I am still feeling after last night

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Hey Tarka

As promised last night, here are my suggestions for Edinburgh (though of course, I take no responsibility if you don't like them :biggrin: )

Cocktails - Borough on Mayfield Road. Is actually a hotel but has a very good cocktail bar. You can also eat there, but we never have, so I don't know what it is like for that.

Italian - Gennaro in the Grassmarket. A nice, cheap and cheerful italian restaurant. Don't stray from the pizza or pasta and you'll do fine.

French - Petit Paris (I think) also in the grassmarket, basically two doors down from Gennaro's. Again very nice, actually run by french people, good authentic cuisine, be warned, it is quite samll and therefore doesn't require too many people to be packed.

While in he grassmarket, go and see Isobel at the Cooks Book Shop (owned by Clarissa Dixson Wright, who occasionally is in residence). Say John sent you. Fantastic bookshop which I used to frequent very often.

Kalpna always gave me wind (just be warned)

None of the mexican restaurants are worth the money you pay for them :angry:

Blue moon cafe does an excellent full breakfast (the gut-buster really lives up to its name) and also a good selection of lunchtime meals. Can also get very crowded, so get there early to get a table.

Umm, thats about all I can think of right now, but if any more comes to me then I'll be sure to let you know.

John

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We're planning to eat at the Tower (0131 225 3003) and Scalini (0131 220 2999) and I got chatting with two ex-Edinburgers last night (David and Jonathan who have kindly promised to add to this thread with all of their excellent suggestions........) and it seems there are a few more places they can suggest.

I won't steal their thunder by adding their recommendations just yet, but I will say they've warned me off the Mexican places ;-)

There's a place called The Witchery which keeps cropping up on my searches. It's been around for ages (in fact, the resturant I worked at in Edinburgh (now sadly gone bust) was ran by ex Witchery staff who really put me off. This was 10 years ago though...) and has a reputation as a "romantic restaurant"

Let me know how it goes.

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The Witchery is very atmospheric, but the food is strangely old fashioned and very expensive. For the kind of money that you will spend there, there are many other better restaurnats in Edinburgh. But for ambience it does get 9/10.

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Martins (70 rose st, north lane 0131 225 3106) is a good place for lunch, down a back st but fairly central. Lots of fish but also a very serious cheeseboard. been there years and very reliable.

i also like le cafe st honore (34 nw thistle street lane eh2 1ea 0131 226 2211) www.cafesthonore.com. I really like this place very convivial, solid french bistro food, very authentic decor, not massively expensive from memory.

on thistle st (i think) is 'Marlene' it is virtually opposite the road Caf st h is on. A small restaurant handwritten short menu and wine list but decent french-y food good value

for a decent curry try the indian cavalry club 3 atholl place eh3 8hp 0131 228 3282, quite decorous for a curry house but decent food in interesting surroundings.

one over-rated place it the tower restaurant, nice views but food a bit lacklustre for the money, pretentions above its station.

edit: i've just seen your post re the tower!

cheers

gary


Edited by Gary Marshall (log)

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edit: i've just seen your post re the tower!

my "research" has consisted of googling and there doesn't seem to be a single reliable info source on edinburgh. and i'm a sucker for marketing speak...

lots of ideas seem to be coming through now though so i am prepared to cancel all plans at the drop of an egullet hat :-)

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Cafe St Honore is indeed a good restaurant. Not really cheap, but also not too expensive. They do a pre-theatre, apres-cinq menu 5-7pm.

The Vintners Room down in Leith is excellent as well. Very rich French stuff available there. I could barely walk out the door last time I was there. A bit more expensive, but very reasonable by metropolitan standards.

Petit Paris is decent for honest and cheap French scran.

As well as Kalpna, there's another very good veggie indian (Gunjarati?) place across the road from it called Ann Purna. Of the two, it's the one I prefer. Both are very affordable.

Valvona and Crolla's cafe/restaurant is well-worth a visit for lunch, and they may be open during the evening during the festival as well.

Plaisir du Chocolat in the Canongate is pretty damn good if you're a chocoholic.

I've heard the Tower is over-rated as well, though I've never been. I think it's owned by the Witchery people.

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Dub Prais (sp?). Fantastic.

The Witchery is as advertised, pretty to look at, but not much to write home about.

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I currently live in Edinburgh and thought I might add my 2 cents worth:

Plaisir du Chocolat is fabulous! Go there for afternoon tea and you won't be disappointed. Fantastic individual brioches and homemade raspberry jam that is to die for.

I just discovered a new favorite Indian haunt: Suruchi on Nicholson Street opposite the Festival Theatre. They do wonderful tandoori and chicken jalfrezi and the service is always friendly. The menu written in Scots can't be beat for entertainment value.

Also, for Indian is a tiny hole-in-the-wall called Namaste in West Preston Street. It's a tiny space and the service can be a little slow if they're busy (I watched our waiter run down to buy some diet coke for me at a nearby All Days, after I ordered) but the food is worth it.

For reasonable lunch, if you don't mind sub-terraean dive-like surroundings head to the City Cafe on Blair Street just down from Hunter Square. They do a terrific lamb and rosemary burger with grilled apple chutney for about 6 quid including chips.

I'm a student and too poor to know anything about The Witchery or Stac Polly, but I definitely agree that people should steer clear of Mexican. While not hideous, it just seems wrong.

Hope this has been helpful!

Bee

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"Sweet Melinda's" has wonderful food and is situated next to the best fishmonger in Edinburgh, so their fish dishes are rather good.

"Kalpna" for Veg. Indian

"Namaste" for another interesting Indian selection (meat this time).

"Nargile" in the New Town for some of the most interesting food I have had in the UK. It is Turkish, but not as we know it Jim. The Mezze selection is particularly recommeded.

"Le Petite Foile" in the New Town again for cheap, honest family run French Bistro type food.

"Petit Paris" for slightly more expensive, but still cheapish French Bistro fare of a high standard.

A "Toastie" (toasted sandwiches of high quality) from the "Bow Bar" in Bow Street, plus a whisky and a half of real ale.

Deep fried haggis pudding from a fish and chip place.

Avoid "The Tower" at all costs.

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I ventured up to Edinburgh last week and taking my life in my hands trusted Gary Marshall's advice and had a meal at Le Cafe St Honore. It had been years since I was last in Edinburgh as my mad ex was at University there, ( I shall pray Rosie doesn't read this post ). I had quite forgotten what a beautiful city it is to walk around as we ventured up behind the back of Princess Street towards Thistle Street. We decided that it was either Le Cafe St Honore or Fishers in the City and on the day we opted for the former. We just managed to get the last postage stamp sized table in the back room of the restaurant, the front room having much more character (and drunk people on this occasion). The back room was frighteningly warm though and had only inadequate fans for a warm July night and, as I said the table was just too small.

I started with a salad of Squid and Crevettes- nicely cooked squid, which was tender and nicely caramelised in places, the crevettes were okay but nothing special. My friend had gnocchi with roasted vegetables and cheese. He said it was pleasant but a bit too rich. Starters were about the £ 6 / 7 mark

Mains, I opted for Rare sirloin steak with a confit of garlic. This was a good dish, the garlic cloves - of which there many- had reduced down to a sweet pungent pulp and worked well with the rich sauce served with the steak. My friend had Roasted Guinea Fowl and I am afraid I can offer no more details, as there was an abundance of shop talk that evening, so I wasn't really paying attention. Both dishes were good but I think a little over priced for what they were, and the level of cooking offered, at about £17/18 each.

We had a decent bottle of Chateau La Bosq ( Medoc) 1999 at £22. Including two aperitifs and a tea and coffee (no desserts) the bill was £80 excluding service. A nice little place with real character, but not a place I would rush back too before trying other places first.

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Don't think anyone's mentioned the Atrium yet. One of the best restaurants in Edinburgh, although its 90s decor (and its tiny toilets) could do with a refresh. I haven't heard anyone say a good word about the Tower, apart from its views--but you can get the same, if not better, views munching a Pret a Manger all day breakfast sandwich in Princes St Gardens.

On Dalry Road (a bit out of the way, I know, but during the festival the centre of the town will be hoaching with people) there's a brilliant Neapolitan restaurant called La Partenope--excellent seafood specials and a good blustery trattoria-style ambience. Across the road, there's a very good bistro-style restaurant called First Coast which does magical mussels and a fried jam sandwich dessert. (It is Scotland, after all!!)

For Festival atmosphere, you should get yourself down to the Traverse Theatre Cafe for some pretty good bistro nosh--if you can stand the crush of braying meedja luvvies.

Word of warning: One of the best veggie restaurants, David Bann's on St Mary's Street, isn't taking reservations for the month of August.

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Just got back from a long w/e at the Fringe (disappointing standard this year though Dave Gorman was cracking).

Although the missus had booked Martin Wishart by e-mail a month or so back we found out Saturday morning that they weren't open for lunch. Mightlily pissed off though they were very apologetic. So to make up for that we took Jay's advice and opted for Off The Wall which is above Victoria Wine on the High St opposite the Crowne Plaza.

A lovely airy room as Jay says though would be much improved if the heavy duty artex was taken down and the fake tudor windows replaced don't you think? (unless that's what passes for style in Rayner Towers). We were surprised to secure a 1.30 booking at about 12pm and even more surprised when the only other customer was leaving just as we arrived.

Started with a beatifully cooked piece of seabass slightly overwhelmed by an intense lobster sauce. Mrs Winot had nicely done asparagus with mussels and again a vaguely pointless sauce (tarragon I think). Mains were duck supreme for me which was a large portion perfectly cooked resting on a potato rosti with roasted carrots and green beans. Mrs W had peat smoked haddock which was intensely smokey and pronounced very nice indeed. To finish I had cheese and oatcakes -- actually oatcake and some bread -- which was a bit disappointing as it was served too cold and two of the four cheeses were very strong blues and one was a bland scottish brie. However the coconut parfait was deemed sublime and wolfed down before I could get a look-in.

The bill with two coffees and a bottle of 1996 Gewurztraminer grand Cru (£31) was £73 for two before service, which I thought was good value. Not so much "Off The Wall" as "straight down the line". 7/10.

The next day we went for a boozy lunch (well breakfast actually - this is the fringe) with three friends at La Garrigue, a languedoc inspired place on the road curving round to Market st from St Mary's St (the tables in the front room have a great view overlooking Calton Hill). I don't know why no one's mentioned this on this thread as it was a real find.

The menu is a bit complicated, encompassing alc, a prix fixe with no choice and a more expensive set menu with about 5/6 choices per course. To make things even more complicated you can mix and match between the menus.

To start I had four beautifully cooked & tasty sardine fillets which were served with a nicely judged spicy chick pea salad and various drizzled sauces "modern european" style which added to the experience rather than detracting from it as with Off the Wall. Others had a deconstructed duck rillete which was moist and meaty. Can't remember what else was on offer I'm afraid but these were an excellent start.

My main course was a beef and pasta casserole -- not really a summer choice but I was keen to try it as apparently it's a languedoc speciality that I've never seen in 5 years holidaying there. Again it was quite deconstructed -- not really soupy/stewy but more like a daube without much gravy and with pasta mixed in. Great comfort food and much improved with the judicious addition of some mustard on the beef. Others had a nicely roasted rabbit leg with roasted veg and steak with a roast shallot sauce. The steek was tender and tasty but they did overcook it a bit which is a bit sloppy.

No puds as we were rushing off to a show but the bill came to £29 each including three bottles from the very good value list (a viognier at only £14 and a couple of reds from Domaine D'Auphiliac) plus only 10% service charge (added by them) which was well deserved as (a) we were a tad noisy and (b) we were a bit short of time yet they managed to whisk us in and out without our feeling rushed.

All in all a great lunch which just had the edge on OTW. This place deserves our support, eGulleters.

7.5/10.

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You may have noticed that I have been conspicuous by my absense of late. But don't worry, I have not turned by back on eGullet.com, I have been merely slaving for my real employers in Edinburgh and staying in hotels with no internet access i.e. cheap ones.

So I have given my collegues the slip for one night only and am enduring the unpleasant surroundings of a crappy internet cafe to bring you news of my recent adventures in eating, with only a sandwich and cappucino to sustain me. My credit is running out so maybe I ought ot get into it :

Kalpna - probably the best Indian meal I have had in the UK. A stunning thali of Gujarati vegetarian dishes with great breads, rice and dhal. £40.00 for two with some beers and service.

Cafe St Honore - decent enough grub in romantic surroundings, very pleasant, slightly flirty service. Nicely cooked squid and prawns made a pleasing start to the meal, whilst a cassoulet of pork and veal with mash was very light on beans but flavourful. With a bottle of wine (sorry can't remeber the details) water coffee and service 2 of us paid £70.00. I would return.

Hard Rock Cafe - opposite our hotel, I had never been in one, what the hell. A "pig sandwich" of pulled pork was very heavy on the vinegar and not very pleasant as a result. Spring roll type thingies with black beans and chicken to start were a bit of a mistake. In fact the whole idea mis-fired. Some interesting memorabilia on the walls though.

First Coast - the esrtwhile Mr Balic graced me with his presence at this Haymarket area newcomer. Tightly packed tables, noisy room, upbeat service, the place was rocking. A funny old starter of oxtail mash and gravy was expertly cooked, whilst Adams white bean and salt cod soup was delicious. Ling with some sort of pea and potato casserole was a damn sight better than my special of grey sole with a cheesy topping, new potatos and red onion and tomato salad. Adams roly poly pudding with custard (something he'd never tried before!!) again efforlessly trumped my inedible poopyseed parfait. With way too much wine, we paid £70ish.

More soon.

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i really should have done this before, but here are my thoughts from august (oops) overall none of the food was as bad as the jerry sadowich late show we saw, but neither was anything as good as dave gorman or adam hills. owing to shows in the evenings we made lunch our main meal of the day and i think the resturants of edinburgh are missing a festival trick by serving fairly boring lunchtime menus. anyway....my thoughts...

nargile, 73 hanover street, 0131 225 5755. really interesting mezze to start followed by some average grilled meat specials but overall spoiled by churlish service from the sean connery lookalike owner.

off the wall, 105 high street, 0131 558 1497. boring, bland and another word beginning with b that i can't think of. probably better outside of the festival when they are not cranking out a safe set lunch menu for the festival hoards. i left surprised that this has a mention in the good food guide.

oloroso, 33 castle street 0131 226 7614. this was my biggest disappointment. we went for sunday lunch and were faced with a preposterously expensive set menu with only two choices per course or eating from the grill menu with steaks at £25. nice view of the castle, service so poor that they eventually got what they deserved, great chips. which they ought to be for £25.

martins, rose street, 0131 225 3106. again let down by a limited festival lunch menu and we were slightly put off as we were two of four people in their, but the cheese is amazing. i *loved* that were shown a picture of bertha the cow, whose cheese we were eating.

general khushi: popped in randomly for some sustinance before a late show. complete revelation. we just had naan and two of their "special" curries. i know very little about indian food but i am guessing that this place might not be especially "authentic" but the minced beef was probably the tastiest thing i ate all holiday. simply a small dish of really spicy mined meat with one potato in it. unlicenced, byo.

valvona and crolla: lots has been said about this place before. i loved it. it made me want to open my own deli. i think it beats any london deli by a long way.

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Does anybody ever eat at Henderson's anymore? It was THE veggie place in the early 70's . I used to splurge on their salads and bread once in a while.

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There's another excellent Gujarati restaurant about 30 metres away from Kalpna called Ann Purna. I prefer it there as the service is so pleasant.

I really don't like Henderson's at all. I've never seen what the fuss was about and have the feeling that it's one of the many fairly poor restaurants in Edinburgh that has become a local institution simply because it's been here so long, not because it's any good.

Andy, I'm assuming you were staying at the George Hotel. It's not that cheap is it?

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George the first week, The Point the second. BT gets quite hefty discounts on rack rates so it wasn't too bad. I couldn't really recommend either of them however.

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The Point would like to be modern, clean, minimalist and boutiquey. In fact its a cheaply made over office block and it really shows. The bar is about the best thing in the whole place. The food is pretty dire, and seems to rely on a lot of bought in stuff.

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