The best cheap eats in Edinburgh: 18 incredible finds, loved by locals

Eating out on a budget doesn't have to mean lowering your standards. Edinburgh's best cheap eats are a winning combination of street food, fine dining and international cuisines.

Updated on • Written By Pete Dreyer

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The best cheap eats in Edinburgh: 18 incredible finds, loved by locals

Capital cities aren’t typically known for their cut-price eateries, but luckily the canny Scots aren’t going to be caught out by inflated tourist-trap menus. Here, in Edinburgh, cheap eats can be found on nearly every corner and range from authentic sourdough pizzas through to richly fragrant Thai curries.

While some of the best cheap eats in Edinburgh are found around the Royal Mile or George Square, there are also small, family-run restaurants on the outskirts which offer incredible cooking for a snip of the price of their city centre counterparts. Take Leith, for instance, which is a trendy neighbourhood in its own right, and a bit of an under-the-radar foodie destination. Just a short bus ride out you'll find its sunny shores (don’t you know there’s always Sunshine on Leith?), the perfect place to treat yourself to coffee and pastries from one of the boutique bakeries, or to bag a table at one of Leith's inexpensive local restaurants.


During The Edinburgh Festival, the best cheap restaurants in Edinburgh get booked up fast, with acts and audiences alike streaming in before and after shows to get their fill of some much-needed fuel. If you’re planning on visiting Scotland’s capital city in August then we’d recommend securing a table early to guarantee yourself a great value, delicious lunch or dinner (or breakfast or brunch come to think of it, we don’t discriminate against mealtimes).

We’re pretty strict about what constitutes a cheap eat, with all meals having to come in under £15. We’ve put in plenty of research to bring you loads of affordable options, starting from just £5, so that you can embrace the Champagne lifestyle you deserve on a good old lemonade budget. To ensure we uncovered all the city's hidden gems, we asked a group of Edinburgh locals for the best cheap places to eat in Edinburgh that they return to time and time again for something delicious and comforting that doesn't require re-mortgaging a house. 

The Outsider

the outsider dining room

What: At lunchtime The Outsider in Edinburgh runs a menu of delicious, seasonally inspired dishes at budget-friendly prices. Here you’ll find things like red lentil and roast vegetable soup for just £6.20, while hearty mains come in around the ten-pound mark - think steamed mussels with basil cream, bacon, pine nuts, Parmesan and fries; or a steaks frites with peppercorn sauce. The split-level space offers castle views from upstairs too, for a seriously atmospheric way to enjoy one of Edinburgh's cheap eats.
Meals from: Lunch starts from £6.20
Where: 15 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EE
Book now: The Outsider

Pizza Posto

pizzas at pizza posto

What: For one of the best casual lunches Edinburgh has to offer, Pizza Posto serves up some seriously good Italisn food. Here you’ll find a range of authentic Neapolitan style pizzas made from slowly fermented, multi-cereal dough which are then baked hot and fast in clay ovens for charred, bubbled crusts. Toppings range from a classic Margherita though to an award-winning combination of tomato, fior di latte, rocket, Parma ham, burrata, basil and extra virgin olive oil. Sides of fries, garlic breads and salads complete things with a few Italian desserts on offer to round things off nicely too.
Meals from: Pizzas start from £9
Where: 16 Nicolson Street, EH8 9DH
Book now: Pizza Posto

10 to 10 in Delhi

chicken curry and rice

What: A legendary cheap eats hangout in Newington, 10 to 10 in Delhi has saved many broke students over the years with delicious and highly affordable curry and rice deals. Daal and rice will leave you more than satisfied and clocks in at a manageable £6.50, the same as a box of vegetable curry and rice. If you can pull together an extra quid fifty you can walk away with a big box of chicken curry and rice, and the menu also includes wraps, samosas and other light bites.
Meals from: Vegetable curry and rice from £6.50
Where: 67 Nicolson St, Newington, EH8 9BZ
Book now: 10 to 10 in Delhi

Holyrood 9A

egg on toast

What: If you’re on a budget the best thing you can do for yourself, we think, is to set yourself up for the day with one big breakfast. Holyrood 9A might be famous for its casual and cosy pub feel come the evening, but it also does a cracking brekkie. We’re talking sandwiches stuffed with avocado, grilled halloumi and a fried egg or a full Scottish breakfast, complete with black pudding. If you’re passing by later in the day you can expect a bar menu of burgers and buns, like the Smokestack which comes with a 6oz steak patty, haggis, smoked cheddar, whisky and cracked pepper mayo and lettuce, all stuffed into a brioche bun.
Meals from: Burgers, served with fries and slaw, start from £11.95
Where: 9a Holyrood Road, EH8 8AE
Book now: Holyrood 9a

Baba Edinburgh

menu at baba edinburgh

What: Inspired by flavours of the Levant, this relaxed George Street restaurant has a surprisingly affordable menu given its plum location. Younger sibling to the award-winning Ox and Finch in Glasgow, Baba Edinburgh is the perfect place for groups who are happy to order a selection of plates to share. There are snacks, sharing dishes and grills to choose from, all fragrantly flavoured with heady herbs and spices. With no one item going over the £15 mark, you can eat well here from a fiver - the perfect cheap eat. Build your own mezze platter with baba ganoush, hummus or labneh, or go for a larger plate like chuck-eye steak with grilled lettuce and chimichurri.
Meals from: Mezze plates start from £6
Where: 130 George Street, EH2 4JZ
Book now: Baba Edinburgh

Harajuku Kitchen

bento box

What: With a clutch of high-end awards under its belt, Harajuku Kitchen is one of Edinburgh’s top restaurants, and the best bit is that dining here won’t break the bank. The pared back dining room has exposed stone walls and scrubbed wooden tables while everything has been given a little lift from Japanese art across the walls. The blackboard displays the day’s specials, but sushi and gyoza are mainstays. Crowd-pleasers include crispy and succulent Japanese fried chicken, a plate of chive and pork dumplings and sushi bowls which come with all sorts of interesting toppings. Our favourite things for eating here on a budget are the set menus which include rice, miso soup and your choice of main. For around £15 you’ll leave stuffed and have your pick of things like aubergine katsu curry or chicken teriyaki.
Meals from: A plate of dumplings starts at £6
Where: 10 Gillespie Place, EH10 4HS
Book now: Harajuku Kitchen

Civerinos Slice

pizza slice and chips

What: Paying homage to true Italian cuisine, this is one of Edinburgh’s most popular places for pizza, earning its listing as one of the best cheap restaurants Edinburgh has to offer when it comes to casual, great dining. Huge 14" or 20" pizzas (there’s no messing around here guys) are sold by the slice or, if you're feeling super hungry, as a whole pizza; we do recommend sharing one of these with a friend! Stay classic with a margherita or try the signature Civerinos - double sugo, Italian sausage, pepperoni topped off with herbs and a burrata mix. If budget allows, don’t skip the small plates and sides – we’re talking mac and cheese bites and parmesan truffle fries. 
Meals from: Pizza slices start at £4.50
Where: 9 Forrest Road, EH1 2QP
Book now: Civerinos Slice

Franco Manca

pizza at franco manca

What: Chewy sourdough bases and carefully chosen topping ingredients are Franco Manca’s calling card, and their Edinburgh site follows the same format as its older siblings down south. The cheapest thing on the menu is a tomato, garlic, basil, and oregano pizza which comes in at just £6.50. Expect a clean, contemporary dining room with an open kitchen, wooden tables, and retro-style chairs. Lots of other pizzas still only just break the £10 mark too, and you're bound to leave feeling happy and full. A fantastic place for a casual lunch in Edinburgh. 
Meals from: Pizzas start at £6.50
Where: Unit E2, The Mint Building, 19-23 St Andrew Street, EH2 2AU
Book now: Franco Manca

El Cartel

el cartel menu

What: Promising tacos, tequila and good times, El Cartel has proved so popular in Edinburgh that it now has three sites across the city. The main event – the tacos – come stuffed full of toppings and are arranged in little metal stands for a fun way to share a bit of everything with friends. Veggies and vegans are catered for with plant-based specials, while meat eaters get the pick of everything from crispy confit duck leg through to pork shoulder. Other sharing plates include charred corn on the cob and a salmon ceviche. For around a fiver per plate, this is leagues ahead of making do with a sandwich, and about the same price.
Meals from: Tacos start at £7.50
Where: 15-16 Teviot Place, EH1 2QZ
Book now: El Cartel

Chez Jules

steak frites

What: Consistently the most popular choice when we asked locals for their recommendations, Chez Jules is famous for its plates of fine French food at old-school prices. For a great lunch deal, you can choose from a one-, two- or three-course menu costing £8.90, £10.90, and £12.90 respectively. Each option comes with salad, bread and butter, pickles, and pate, so even if you plump for just one course, we can almost guarantee you won’t leave hungry. Mains include a steak frites with pepper sauce and a classic coq au vin with mash, while chocolate mousse or pannacotta take care of your afternoon sugar in a much classier way than a bar of Cadbury’s.
Meals from: Lunch menus start at £8.90
Where: 109 Hanover Street, EH2 1DJ
Book now: Chez Jules

Victor Hugo Deli

pastrami sandwich

What: Fancy a quick takeaway lunch that’s way better than a Tesco meal deal? Victor Hugo Deli comes to the table with far superior options. We’re talking rye bread sandwiches generously stuffed with pastrami, pickles and cheese or freshly baked baguettes filled with French ham, brie, fresh apple and chutney. Ciabatta melts will set you back £6.25 or you can nab yourself a hefty slab of lasagna or a piece of quiche for around a tenner. For a casual, cheap bite to eat, we couldn't ask for a better spot. 
Meals from: Sandwiches from £6.25
Where: 104 George Street, EH2 3DF
Book now: Victor Hugo Deli

Mosque Kitchen

mosque kitchen front

What: No frills dining doesn’t mean low standards of cooking, a rule that is proved by Mosque Kitchen in Edinburgh. While the cutlery might be disposable and the chairs might be plastic, the food is good, and it comes in large portions at rock-bottom prices. From £6.50 you can treat yourself to a generous plate of tarka daal and rice or go all out with a pile of chicken biryani for £8.50. The service is hit and miss, but sort of part of the charm, and because it’s open until 10pm every evening you get a fun, mixed crowd there for a bite to eat before bedtime.
Meals from: Chicken biryani from £8.50
Where: 31-33 Nicolson Square, EH8 9BX
Book now: The Mosque Kitchen

Kim’s Mini Meals

bibimbap at kims

What: Having been previously recommended by the Michelin Guide, Kim’s Mini Meals is an unassuming Korean restaurant that has built up a loyal following since it opened. This family run spot is headed up by the motherly matriarch and serves the signature sweet, spicy and sour food of Korea. Favourites like bibimbap and bulgogi feature on the menu alongside some lesser-known dishes. Each order of a main dish – which cost £12 – come with a free side and soup for a fully rounded meal that will leave you feeling full (and smug potentially, thanks to all that inside knowledge).
Meals from: Mains – with a free side and soup – set you back £12
Where: 5 Buccleuch Street, Newington, EH8 9JN
Book now: Kim's Mini Meals


pizza at razzo

What: Razzo is the type of place where cutlery is served in old passata cans and is so popular that you can’t actually book - this is a walk-in only joint. Veggie options, white pizzas and traditional toppings are all present and correct, while there’s a regular run of specials too. For such a well-rounded, popular spot, we're big fans of their lunch deals and cheap eats. Our favourite is the salsiccia sausage and broccoli combination which has a perfect balance of sweet and savoury notes and costs just £12. If you’re willing to splash a little extra cash, there is also a pretty tidy line-up of desserts for a fiver or less.
Meals from: Pizzas start at £8
Where: 59 Great Junction Street, EH6 5HX
Book now: Razzo


bodega dining room

What: Trendy pink interiors, colourful menus and an open kitchen all add to the appeal of Bodega - a modern taqueria in the heart of Leith which offers a BYO option for wine and fizz. While the main inspiration for the menu naturally comes from Mexico, there are international influences throughout, seen in dishes like the tempura tiger prawn taco with house slaw, sweet chilli and soy dressing, or the chargrilled pork belly one with kimchi, ginger jam and spring onions. Get yourself down to Bodega for one of the prettiest casual restaurants Edinburgh has to offer - just don't forget to update your Insta grid while you're there!
Meals from: Tacos start at £8
Where: 14-15 Albert Place, EH7 5HN
Book now: Bodega

Ting Thai Caravan

ting thai caravan menu

What: There’s something about Thai food that makes it almost addictive - we can’t get enough of those sweet, sour, salty combinations and Ting Thai Caravan bring bucketloads of flavour to each plate they make. Expect steaming bowls of beef soup, fragrant Massaman curries and big plates of wok-fried noodles, and with most dishes coming in under a tenner, you can eat really well for a good price here. Ting Thai Caravan has three sites across the city, so there’s never one too far away, and it’s a great, casual restaurant to gather with friends so that you can share a range of things from the different sections of the menu. There’s a no bookings policy, so make sure to turn up early if you want to grab a seat.
Meals from: Mains start at £7.80
Where: 8-9 Teviot Place, EH1 2QZ
Book now: Ting Thai Caravan

Snax Cafe

full english at snax cafe

What: Snax Cafe is an independent cafe that proves popular with locals and tourists alike. The cafe is often busy at breakfast, with plenty of classic fried breakfast options available. From a full cooked breakfast, to bacon rolls, burgers, filled baked potatoes, toasties and wraps, the Snax Cafe menu is an endless list of delicious and reasonably-priced things. Yes, you can even get yourself a chip butty for a couple of quid and some change. You can't go wrong with Snax Cafe if you're looking to secure a cheap breakfast or lunch. 
Meals from: Breakfast baps from £2.60, burgers from £5
Where: 15 West Register Street, EH2 2AA
Book now: Snax Cafe


piggy roll at oink

What: Vegetarians and vegans look away now - OINK is the place to get your hog roast fix in Edinburgh. Locals farmers Adam Marshall and Sandy Pate teamed up to bring their fresh, high quality meat to the city after finding success on farmer's markets. The product is simple, hog roast pulled pork in a roll, but what more could you want for a cheap lunch than natural, freshly carved, local pork? Customise your roll by choosing the size, type of bread, sage and onion or haggis stuffing, and finally your sauce with seven to choose from.
Meals from: Piglet roll starts at £5.45
Where: 34 Victoria Street, EH1 2JW
Book now: OINK

Edinburgh isn't just a great place for food and fun dining spots, it also has some pretty cool views and landmarks. Check out some places to relax and 'drink' up the city sights by having a read through our list of our favourite rooftop bars in Edinburgh.

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