You might be struggling to find a good place to eat in Edinburgh if you’re traveling on a budget. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. While most places will charge £10-£15 for a meal, and some places on the Royal Mile are far more expensive than that, I’ve found several places where you can get a meal for £5 or less. Not just any food either. These places, in my opinion, are the best places to eat in Edinburgh. As a bonus, most of them offer vegan and gluten-free options, not that I have any limitations on what I eat.
Use the Google Map below to find the locations. Blue markers show the restaurants listed in this article, while green markers are for free attractions and red are recommended paid attractions. Please note, the hours and prices listed here are subject to change. You can also click any of the addresses below for the location on the map.
If I had to choose the best restaurant in Edinburgh, this is it. Not just serving the best soup in town, they also have the best hot chocolate too. All of their ingredients are organic and locally-sourced. The soups and bread are made fresh in-house. Each day there are six soups and three salads to choose from, which is a blessing compared to being faced with a menu with a hundred items. There’s nothing on the menu that isn’t good. The staff are friendly and the small room is cozy. There aren’t many places to sit, so get there early or off-peak times. If they are full, grab their picnic deal and enjoy it on the Meadows down the road.
Price: £4 regular soup, £3 hot chocolate
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30-16:00; Sat 12:00-16:00; closed Sun
Location: 8 Forrest Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2QN
As to overall ranking, Tupiniquim is probably number two in town behind Union of Genius, and just barely. Their gluten-free, Brazilian-style crepes are delicious and huge. One of them is a full meal. Located at the top of Middle Meadows Walk, their crepes are a great choice for a cold day (or any day). My favorite crepe is Release the Chicken (chicken breast, cheese, avocado, sweet corn and spinach). Fernando and Gardenia are super friendly, and they attract quite the crowd. A 20-minute wait is not unusual, but more than worth it.
Price: £5 most crepes
Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00-18:00; closed Sun
If I ever need a place to get all my food for the day at a great price, Mosque Kitchen is it. For £7 I can get enough food for all three meals. The cuisine here is Pakistani, which means it’s all gluten-free. Half the menu is vegetarian, but all of it is delicious. I’m particularly fond of the lamb curry, with a side of mushrooms and naan.
Price: £5 average for a meal
Hours: Mon-Sun 11:30-22:00
Location: 31 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX
I was told the pizza here wasn’t that good, but that they had the best falafel in town. I can’t say one way or the other on the pizza, as I took the advice and got their falafel…several times. It really is the best in town, and five quid gets you a large which is more than a full meal. Great for a late-night bite or sharing with a friend.
Price: £5 large humus and falafel wrap
Hours: Sun-Thurs 16:30-1:30; Fri-Sat 16:30-2:00
Location: 22 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DH
Edinburgh has a LOT of amazing burger restaurants. I can’t say BRGR is the best, but for a budget traveler trying to eat in Edinburgh, I don’t know a better one! The choices are really good. My favorites are the blue cheese & bacon burger, the Highland Coo haggis burger and the cheese and bacon chicken burger. Add on the chips (fries) and a Fanta and your bill is only £7 (£8 Sat-Sun). Their hard milkshakes are also highly recommended.
Price: £4 any burger Sun-Thurs, £5 Fri-Sat; £2 chips; £2 shake
Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00-22:00
Location: 4-6 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DH
I found this place after purchasing their Groupon. It only took one burrito to fall in love with them. Similar to Chipotle in the USA, they make your burrito right in front of you with quality ingredients. Choose between chicken, pulled pork, Irn-Bru pork and haggis, with all the usual toppings. I always get extra guacamole and the habanero and mango salsa. The supersize burrito for £7 is more than enough for two people.
Price: £4.50 regular burrito
Hours: Mon-Sun 11:00-23:00
Location: 82 S Clerk St, Edinburgh EH8 9PT
If you’re just looking for a coffee break, this place has become my home-away-from-home. Their coffee is good, but I usually get one of the smoothies. They also serve pastries, sandwiches and bagels. A little-known fact is that the owner is the brother-in-law to JK Rowling. He used to own the cafe upstairs (now called Spoon), where Rowling wrote Harry Potter from time to time. While she never wrote in Black Medicine itself, the location is much better than Spoon on the 1st floor. The cozy basement is perfect for working on the blog.
Price: ≈£3 drinks
Hours: Mon-Sat 8:00-20:00; Sun 9:00-19:00
Location: 2 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DH
There’s no question in my mind that this place serves the best coffee in Edinburgh. Actually, some of the best coffee anywhere outside of Italy. Unfortunately due to a personal matter there, I’ve stopped going. I’d still recommend anyone else visiting Edinburgh to try their artisan roasts. Get their avocado sandwich for brunch while you’re at it. Just too bad I’m not there to make it for you.
Price: £2.40-£3 coffee or tea
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00-18:00; Sat-Sun 9:00-18:00
Location: 6-8 S College St, Edinburgh EH8 9AA
This place might not be entirely budget-traveler friendly, but sushi is my favorite food and this is my favorite sushi restaurant in Edinburgh. It’s cheaper than other sushi restaurants in town, and has a special where you can get 18 rolls for under £12. Miso soup comes with the meal, and the service is very friendly. If I have any reason to celebrate with a special meal, this is my go-to location.
Price: £11.70 18-piece maki rolls special
Hours: Website says Mon-Sat 12:00-22:00, but usually closed in the afternoon
Location: 20 Forrest Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2QN
Again, not altogether budget-friendly, but no post on places to eat in Edinburgh would be complete without mentioning the best pizza parlor in town. Oh, and pizza is also my second favorite food. No other parlor in town really comes close to these Italian-style pizzas. Unfortunately, my favorite flavors are also the most expensive there, which is why I’ve only been once. If you have a little extra to spend, I can’t recommend them enough.
Price: £7-£12 10-inch pizza; £9-£16 14-inch pizza
Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00-23:00
Location: 331-325 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EH6 8SA
Haggis! I didn’t think there were any good places to get it in Edinburgh until I went here. What is haggis? Don’t ask. Just eat it. Well, I’ll say it’s basically spiced lamb, and it’s delicious! Commonly served with neeps and tatties (potatoes and turnips), MUMS cooks it to perfection. Get a whole plate, or as a starter followed by bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes). You’ll have a hard time choosing between the different flavors they offer. 4 flavors of sausage, a dozen of mash and 3 styles of gravy. My favorite was the lamb and mint sausage, obviously.
Price: £4.25 haggis starter, £9.95 bangers and mash
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-22:00; Sun 10:00-22:00
Location: 4A Forrest Rd, Edinburgh EH1 2QN
Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with ice cream. To round out the list, here’s the best ice cream in Edinburgh. All their ingredients are locally sourced, and most are produced directly on their farm a little ways north of Edinburgh. Hard to say what the best flavor is, but butterscotch, single malt whiskey ripple, and Kaluha & curlywurly are my favorites.
Price: £2.50 single, £3.00 double
Hours: Mon-Sun 13:00-17:00
If you have a place to cook, or are staying in Edinburgh a bit longer, Lidl is the best place to buy your groceries. I’ve purchased a week’s worth of food for under £20. Lidl stores are all over town, but key locations are on Leith Walk down by the harbor, and on Nicolson Street across from Mosque Kitchen (see above). All the uni students know this is the cheapest place to shop as well, so it can get quite busy. Everything in the picture here cost under £10.
Part of knowing how to save money when you eat in Edinburgh includes knowing what part of town to eat in. You’ll notice almost all the places I recommend are a short distance from Edinburgh University. These places cater to students and their budget. The Royal Mile, the Grassmarket and similar locations will charge top dollar to their tourist clientele.
If you plan to eat out for all your meals, you can get by with £20 a day including drinks. If you buy your own groceries, it’s possible to get that down to £3 a day.
Of course, you could always consider cutting back on alcohol. It’s not cheap in Edinburgh. But, then again, it’s hard to be in Scotland without drinking. This is the whiskey capital of the world after all, and it seems a fundamental part of the culture is to get drunk with several pints in a night on a routine basis. Consider yourself warned.
Easirent is the cheapest car company to rent from within the UK (but perhaps not the best).
If you’re traveling with more than one person, I’d recommend using Airbnb. Some locations can be fantastic. I’ve even had free, delicious Scottish breakfasts provided!
Couchsurfing is my favorite way to stay in a city. Edinburgh can be very difficult to find hosts, depending on the season, but not impossible. I’ve had some amazing hosts there.
You could also find a hostel or other volunteer job to work at via Workaway.