With the perpetually-skint month of January finally over and Valentine’s Day on the cards, you’re probably going to be treating yourself and eating out in Edinburgh at some point this month.
Don’t fall into the tedious trap of visiting the same old, familiar restaurants or pubs every time you fancy a meal out or just a drink. This month, make an effort to branch out and visit one of these seven exciting new restaurants and bars waiting right under your nose.
Although it opened at the end of last year, New Town restaurant New Chapter has remained a relatively well-kept secret – perhaps due to its location just slightly off the beaten track. Specialising in seasonal Scottish and European dishes, the restaurant has affordable set menus as well as a vast and exciting collection of a la carte options.
Some of the more surprising dishes here include venison and sauerkraut pithivier (a posh word for pie), pumpkin and amaretto agnolotti pasta and pineapple carpaccio with coconut parfait. For the traditionalists, there are also tempting takes on old favourites like steak and scallops. Their decoration is a pleasant mishmash of modern meets traditional, with a laidback and cosy vibe – the perfect location for a Valentine’s Day meal, and New Chapter are even putting on a special menu for the lovers.
18 Eyre Place, EH3 5EP – more info
The Joker & the Thief
Facebook / The Joker & the Thief
After opening late last year where the Brunswick Ale House once was, The Joker & the Thief has undergone a makeover both inside and out and is now a welcome addition to the Leith pub scene. Traditional yet quirky inside, the bar is full of comfortable corners and mis-matched armchairs just waiting to be curled up in. Prices are reasonable, their beer selection is on point (with brews from Drygate, Alchemy and Stewarts to name a few) and you can enjoy an authentic Italian pizza from Origano in the pub. Oh, and dogs are welcomed, so you can bring your furry friends along when you visit.
71 Elm Row, EH7 4AQ – more info
Brand new on the Bruntsfield foodie scene is the simple yet completely brilliant restaurant and takeaway, Meltmongers. As you might have gathered from the name, this places specialises in all things melted, from gorgeously gooey cheese toasties to fried peanut butter and banana melts, topped with Nutella. Sit in for lunch and enjoy their pleasingly minimalist interior and friendly service, or take the champion of all grilled cheese sandwiches back to the office to be the envy of all your colleagues.
80 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4HG – more info
The second Rigatoni’s Italian pizzeria and restaurant opened at the turn of the year in Tollcross, a few doors down from the King’s Theatre. Unlike the casual, homely feel of the original Rigatoni’s on Clerk Street, the new premises is sleeker and more sophisticated in terms of decoration.
The menu and food quality, however – with many ingredients imported directly from Naples – remains of the same calibre. As well as providing plenty of pizza and pasta, the Tollcross Rigatoni’s menu puts a greater emphasis on traditional Italian meat and fish dishes, with their new Frittura Mista sea food platter proving extremely popular.
30-32 Leven Street, EH3 9LJ – more info
— [ r i c h y ] (@iamrichyedwards) January 28, 2016
After much anticipation, Edinburgh’s first ever Byron burger branch got up and running on North Bridge at the end of last month with another restaurant planned for Lothian Road. Their menu isn’t cluttered, but it does give customers the option to build your own burger which will be greatly appreciated by some. There are also some epic sides and desserts on offer. Edinburgh may already be bursting with burger joints, but there’s always room for one more, especially when it comes this highly recommended.
29-31 North Bridge, EH1 1SF – more info
— Daffys Gin (@DaffysGin) January 26, 2016
Located on Jamaica Street where Iglu once was, Wee Buddha is a brand new Asian fusion restaurant and bar in the New Town which opened at the very end of January. Their menu brings together the best of Asian street food influenced tapas and good old pub grub with a twist. Modern and stylish inside but with a casual atmosphere, it looks like this place could quickly become a sparkling, hidden gem in Edinburgh’s foodie crown.
2b Jamaica Street, EH3 6HH – more info
Facebook / Carters Tap
We gave you a first look at the new and improved Carters Tap (formerly Carters) in the West End back in mid-January, but have you checked it out for yourself? Once a shrine to the 1971 Michael Caine crime thriller Get Carter, the Morrison Street bar has been modernised and now specialises in Scottish independent craft beer and spirits from the likes of Stewart Brewing and Barney’s Beer. Despite the refurb, two parts of the original Carters still remain in the pub – the brass water tap (one of only three left in Edinburgh) and a signed photo of Michael Caine.
185 Morrison Street, EH3 8DZ – more info
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Main image: Facebook / The Joker & the Thief