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Oink hog roast
Photograph: OinkThe hog roast at Oink

The 12 best cheap eats in Edinburgh

Enjoy fine food in the city without the need to splash out. Here’s our guide to the best cheap eats in Edinburgh

Huw Oliver
Arusa Qureshi
Written by
Huw Oliver
Written by
Arusa Qureshi
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Looking for a slap-up meal but not up for emptying your wallet? Well, good news – there are plenty of restaurants and cafes in Edinburgh that will satisfy your hunger pangs without breaking the bank. Whether you're after Indian, Thai, Italian or even Scottish dishes for under a tenner, our list of the very best cheap restaurants in Edinburgh has it all. So dig in and enjoy, banishing those money worries in the process.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Edinburgh

Best cheap eats in Edinburgh

  • Restaurants

Next door to Edinburgh Central Mosque, and in the heart of studentland, Nile Valley has been churning out cheap and filling food for nearly two decades. It serves tasty Sudanese and Middle Eastern cuisine, and keeps the prices down – expect falafel and baba ghanoush wraps, rich tagines, spicy Egyptian lamb molokhia, chicken wings, tabbouleh and fish curry.

Oink Grassmarket
  • Restaurants

Oink – about halfway down Victoria Street, with another branch near the foot of the Royal Mile, and a third on Hanover Street – is a tiny shop serving hog roasts, and you’ll probably smell it before you see it. It sells fluffy morning rolls stuffed with moreish roast pork, crackling and a choice of sage and onion stuffing, apple sauce, chilli relish or haggis. The Piglet (£4.95) suits a smaller stomach, the Oink is somewhere in the middle (£5.95) and the Grunter (£7.70) is best for bigger appetites. A soup of the day and hot and cold drinks are also served.

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  • Restaurants

From 5pm (and 12pm on Saturdays and Sundays) Origano serves up excellent, well-priced antipasti, pasta and pizza. The pizza dough is made in-house and is probably the main pull here; pizzas are crispily thin, topped with gorgeous cuts of prosciutto, spicy sausage and salty olives, and available in three sizes (starting from £7.65).

The Pakora Bar
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • price 1 of 4

Founded in 2005 by three brothers wanting to share their mum's recipes, The Pakora Bar has grown arms and legs, with a now hugely successful permanent spot in the Canongate area. This quirky restaurant serves up the best in Indian street food – notably, pakoras – but also dhals, wraps and curries. The haggis pakora comes highly recommended but you can pimp it up by making it a pakora wrap for only £7.

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  • Restaurants

Highlights of the Ting Thai menu (and there are many) include succulent marinated chicken dish gai cha plu and the nam tok nua, a fresh, spicy take on the traditional Thai beef salad. Although it’s the same menu throughout the day, prices and portions go up slightly at night, so expect to pay anything from £4 to £9 as the day progresses.

  • Restaurants

This noodle bar invites you to tailor your order based on a selection of ho fun, ramen, udon, egg or rice noodles, then add duck, vegetables, tofu, pork, chicken or beef. Throw in three bits of colour and roughage, customise things with options of chilli, spring onion or coriander, and finally pick from one of ten sauces. One of these paper Chinese takeaway boxes filled to the brim will set you back an overdraft-friendly £7.20.

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Nothing will make you feel whole after a heavy night out quite like a Snax breakfast will. This heroic institution has been curing hangovers in the city for years, with its all day breakfast priced at only £5. And with that, you get two link sausages, bacon, a fried egg, black pudding, beans and a buttered roll. It's also a fantastic spot if you're after veggie or vegan options, or even wraps, baked potatoes, burgers and toasties, all of which come with a deliciously low price tag.

  • Restaurants

Modern décor and a decent buzz make this friendly bistro an obvious pit-stop for local professionals and hungry neighbours, keen to explore the excellent à la carte and very reasonable ‘lunch and early evening’ set menus. Fish features heavily, but by no means dominates – there are some fantastic meat options too, plus some surprisingly original vegetarian offerings. 

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The Mosque Kitchen
  • Restaurants

A full belly, and change from a fiver. That’s the main draw of The Mosque Kitchen – a no-frills, queue-up-with-a-tray canteen-style set-up, with plastic cutlery and plastic plates. The owners aren’t angling for anything more ambitious than filling up their customers with cheap and tasty Indian food – and the curry is good, so, as mission statements go, they deliver.

Bonnie Burrito began life as a mobile food van which was so successful, the owners had no choice but to open a shop in 2016, followed by another shortly after. Burritos start at only £5 and with that, you can construct whatever kind of masterpiece your heart desires. Choose from delicious irn-bru pulled pork, haggis (or veggie haggis), steak, chicken or veggies, fill up your burrito with as many extras as you want and then pack on the heat using some of the team's fiery homemade Bonnie Sauce.

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  • Restaurants

With its turquoise frontage and neon sign glowing with the words ‘Halal, Indo-Pak, East Indian and Kebabs’ in the window, Kebab Mahal’s been a student favourite for decades thanks to its low prices and filling platefuls. Most of the main courses (mainly lamb and chicken dishes, with one or two fish and a good range of vegetarian options) come in at around a fiver – rice and naan bread cost extra – and are best enjoyed with a glass of mango lassi.

And here’s where to find that cheap pint...

  • Bars and pubs

Think Edinburgh, think cheap whisky and pints of Tennent’s? Time to reassess – there’s so much more to the city’s pub scene than just the stereotypes. With quality beer flowing from the taps and smart bartenders pouring endless drams of single malts, this city can very much do classy...

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