Whenever my friend Ruth chats about the restaurants in Edinburgh that she’s been lunching in, I am honestly baffled. We are both high school teachers so I know that our wages do not cover the plates in the photos that I am staring at on her phone. Luckily for us, she is happy (dying) to share her secret so we can all do a bit of fine dining Edinburgh on the cheap.
Hi, let me introduce myself. I’m what you’d call ‘A Real Housewife of Fife’, sassy, classy and just a little bit on the forthright side. I have a penchant for all things sparkly and glittery however my purse strings are controlled by a true Scotsman and there lies the problem. I like to think of myself as someone who can take herself off into the Big City, heels and Pradamark (a slang for our economical clothes shop, Primark); waltzing around the dizzying array of cocktail bars of George Street, drinking prosecco until the wee small hours. Yet how do you keep this ‘lady what lunches’ lifestyle up on the budget of teacher? This is a question posed to me frequently by my friends when they stalk my Instagram. So much so in fact, Two Scots Abroad asked me to spill my little secret in an article on affordable dining out in our glorious capital.
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Fine Dining Edinburgh
It starts when I turn to my t’other half and whisper to him, ‘I am off out on Saturday for a boozy lunch’. I can hear a gulp, then the padlocks on his wallet closing faster than Donald Trump’s staff leaving the Whitehouse. Grinning wickedly, I bring out my iPad (other tablets do exist) and search through names such as The Witchery, The Tower, Wedgwood, Chez Jules, Maison Bleue, The Grain Store, The Wee Restaurant, Mark Greenaway, oh I could simply go on and on and on, for Edinburgh is full of gastronomic delights that will make any tastebuds quiver in anticipation. Yet I know that these will have most of your pockets cry in anguish due to the thought of going bankrupt at the prices already. But here’s the secret, and it’s killing me to tell you this, because once it’s out, it’s out and I’ll find it more difficult to get a table. You can eat lunch at these establishments for under £30. Yes you read that right. Up to 3 courses for under £30. Now I don’t know about you, but I’d say that’s a blooming bargain!
Wedgwood the Restaurant
Wedgwood. Award winning restaurant on the Cannongate in Edinburgh, serves a lunch menu from 12-3pm. You walk into this unassuming building and are met by the wonderfully friendly staff. The modern decor suits the plating of the delectable dishes coming from the kitchen. Scottish and European cuisine married together ensures your tastebuds are given a delightful dance. Price? For 2 courses you pay £14.95. Sweet tooth? Then 3 takes you up to £18.95. Am I tickling your fancy? This is only the middle of the road pricing.
- Address: 267 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8BQ
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Predilection for opulence and history? Well one of Scotland’s most famous restaurants The Witchery is just for you. Be warned, pre booking is an absolute must. In the shadow of the castle, you couldn’t get a more enchanting setting for such a glorious eatery. And let me tell you, simply walking into this building with its sumptuous velvets, the dark corners where secrets are hidden, the wood where the stories of the past simply ooze out of; you know that you’ve just hit luxury and mystery at its best. Yet lunch is served from 12 until 5.30 and 2 courses in this little piece of heaven, will only set you back £22; or 3 courses for £27. Can I hear a gasp of disbelief? Get booking folks!
- Address: 352 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NF
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If these are just a little too much for the the other half’s wallet, then don’t despair, there’s still one more trick up my sleeve. A little piece of Parisian heaven in Hanover Street. Chez Jules is my special go to when I’m trying to butter up the banker, and yes it always works. Serving lunch from 12 until 4pm you walk into this French bistro thinking that you’ve just stepped straight over to Europe. You’re seated and brought bread, olives and salami – on the house. The water is on the table – ready for you. You’re brought the menu, written on a blackboard and the choice of 3 different items for the 3 courses. You order, the chat and the atmosphere is cosy yet vibrant. However, let’s get to the nitty gritty, how much will you be out of pocket? The 3 courses will cost you £9.90. No that’s not a mistype, under a tenner!
- Address: 109 Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 1DJ
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So, when you see this Real Housewife of Fife living it up on Instagram; enjoying fine dining Edinburgh in these name dropping restaurants; remember that you can too. Edinburgh is full of these amazing bargains to be had if only you put a wee bit of effort in and have a look round. Believe me, if I can break open the padlocks on the Real Scotsman’s wallet, then your lunch out, looking like a champagne lifestyle whatever your budget.