The best restaurants in Edinburgh and Glasgow for cheap eating in January
Dining out options that won't break the bank
In the post-Christmas lull, when every penny counts, you can still eat well for not much money. David Pollock picks five cheap, but quality, eateries
Under a fiver
The Mosque Kitchen
Now relocated from its former al fresco spot outside Edinburgh’s mosque, the café-style Mosque Kitchen still serves a fine range of halal meat and vegetable curries in no-fuss polystyrene dishes for under £5 including rice, alongside breads, kofta kebabs and Indian sweets.
31 Nicolson Square.
The Manna House
Sit-in space is limited, but Easter Road patisserie The Manna House is worth taking home with you. From their range of croissants, pastries and delicately designed cakes to savoury tarts and shortcrust pies, the whole range is a delight. Worth it just for a loaf of their bread, even.
22-24 Easter Road, themannahousebakery.co.uk
A fast food option with a difference on Lothian Road, serving thick-packed, build-your-own burritos, tacos and quesadillas. Add your choice of meat, beans and sauces to a foil wrap of Tex Mex delight for under £7, also serving fajitas, salads and nachos from around £7-12.
113-117 Lothian Road, illegaljacks.co.uk
One of a few venues making the north end of Lothian Road a new dining destination, this quirky pub offers good food at cheap prices, including homemade burgers or fish and chips for around £7-£9 or sharing ‘planks’ (cheeses, ham, artisan bread and chutney) at £12 between two.
21 Lothian Road, Red Squirrel website
A welcoming family restaurant, the relatively new Bia Bistrot is a real find, offering locally and seasonally sourced mains like venison haunch and partridge breast alongside a fine wine list. Great value at any time, but the set menu (£9.50 for two courses, £11 for three; Tue to Sat lunch and early dinner) is amongst the best deals in Edinburgh.
19 Colinton Road, biabistrot.co.uk
A Southside institution amongst fans of Turkish food in Edinburgh, Hanedan offers a range of meze and fish specials alongside delicately charcoal-grilled lamb and meat mains. Two-course lunch is only £8.95, but a similarly sized dinner won’t set you back more than £15.
41 West Preston Street, hanedan.co.uk
Under a fiver
The Banana Leaf
The original Dumbarton Road branch is well-renowned for the cheap and cheerful café atmosphere which hides some of the city’s finest and most authentic south Indian food, including their famed dosas, lentil pancakes filled with meat or vegetables. For value, though, this second branch’s £3.99 thali lunch is hard to beat.
105 Albert Drive, thebananaleaf.co.uk
Tom Lauckner and John Moore’s gourmet sandwich bar and coffee shop in Finnieston serves one of the best ‘pieces’ in Glasgow, with Thai pork, coronation chicken and ham, egg mayo and cheddar sandwiches all coming in under a fiver. Make space for a gorgeous cake too, if you can.
1056 Argyle Street, laucknerandmoore.com
A trendy bar and club venue in the ground floor and basement of a Charles Rennie Mackintosh building, Stereo offers affordable food all week long and some great off-peak deals, including pasta for £5 on Tuesday, a daily special for £5 on Wednesday and best of all, five generous tapas plates for £10 on Monday.
20-28 Renfield Lane, stereocafebar.com
Lucky 7 Canteen
The shabby chic ‘love child of an empty tummy and a fragile bank balance’ offers no-frills feeding at an affordable price. The best deals are their ‘Lucky 7s’, mains like battered fish and chips, coq au vin and homemade beef burger for £7 each.
166 Bath Street, lucky7canteen.co.uk
With an outlook on food which begins in Scotland and explores the world (‘stravaig’ means ‘to wander’ in Gaelic), Stravaigin is one of Glasgow’s most beloved fine dining outlets. Yet the lunch and early/late dining menus are anything but exclusive, with the café bar offering soup and a main for £10 during the day and the restaurant serving full three-course pre- and post-theatre meals for £15.95.
28 Gibson Street, stravaigin.co.uk
Described recently by Joanna Blythman as ‘stylish but not bourgeois, cosmopolitan but local, fresh but familiar’, this high-quality and popular tapas bar offers a range to suit all budgets. Plates are priced between £1.95 and £5.95, with a lunchtime and early dining menu from which three tapas cost £8.95.
562 Dumbarton Road, pintxo.info