The best restaurants in Edinburgh and Glasgow for cheap eating in January

Dining out options that won't break the bank

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The best restaurants in Edinburgh and Glasgow for cheap eating in January

Stereo

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

EDINBURGH

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

Mid-range

Illegal Jack’s
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

Red Squirrel
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

Under £20

Bia Bistrot
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

Hanedan
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

GLASGOW

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

Piece
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

Mid-range

Stereo
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

Under £20

Stravaigin
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

Pintxo
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

Banana Leaf

105 Albert Drive, Glasgow, G41 2SU

The Banana Leaf offers good value, authentic Indian food. From an extensive menu, the manager is happy to make recommendations and even demonstrate cooking to curious customers. Don't miss their famous dosas – huge lentil and rice pancakes, thin, crispy…

Banana Leaf

76B Old Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, G3 8RE

You’ve got to trust the food will speak over and above any impressions a style-free, humble interior may give. And trust you do, as seating and feeding hungry customers is a priority from a diner that began as and still is a takeaway. Having grown in…

Bia Bistrot

19 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH10 5DP

It’s what everyone wants to find, local or visitor: the hidden gem that, through clever use of ingredients, manages simultaneously to guarantee you a good meal, offer something a bit unusual, and do it for blindingly good value. Since taking on this…

Hanedan

41 West Preston Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9PY

Since opening in 2004, this simple, straightforward Turkish restaurant has proved to be a popular addition to the Southside scene, thanks to its reasonably priced meals and a relaxed neighbourhood vibe. The Lalezar, a shared six-plate mixed mezze…

Illegal Jack's

113-117 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9AN

If a multinational fast food outlet woke up in heaven cleansed of all sin, it might be a bit like Illegal Jack’s. A glance through the plate-glass windows fronting Lothian Road reveals a cavernous interior with rows of tables and a brightly lit service…

Lucky 7 Canteen

166 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4TB

Billing itself as a canteen rather than a restaurant, Lucky 7 has a distinct ‘distressed tenement chic’ aesthetic. The former townhouse has been re-imagined as a cross between a European squat and an East Village hangout with artfully peeling mismatched…

The Manna House

22–24 Easter Road, Edinburgh, EH7 5RG

It’s almost impossible to begin describing the Manna House in anything but a gushing tone. Small but perfectly formed, the reputation of the place as possibly Edinburgh’s best artisan bakery is spreading across the city, and what’s most inspiring is…

The Mosque Kitchen

31–33 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9BX

Quite who is the Mosque Kitchen, who is the Original Mosque Kitchen and who is the original Original Mosque Kitchen is very much up for debate – just ask one of the staff here. However, regardless of who is more authentic, the two venues share a similar…

Piece

1056 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8LY

A superb gourmet sandwich selection makes this small, unobtrusive café one of the best places in Glasgow to grab a gorgeously crafted ‘piece’, as weegees would say. A few new additions include unlikely favourite the Smackdown – smoked peppered mackerel…

Red Squirrel

21 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2DJ

Red Squirrel follows a recipe of premium burgers and beer similar to its older sibling Holyrood 9a – indeed the menus at both bars are practically identical. Substantial burgers, including three vegetarian versions, dominate the menu and provide a…

Stereo

20-28 Renfield Lane, Glasgow, G2 5AR

City Centre alleyways are generally best avoided but Renfield Lane makes a rare exception with its pair of laid-back hipster hangouts – the Old Hairdressers for small artsy events and big sister Stereo in the Mackintosh building across the road for…

Stravaigin

28–30 Gibson Street, Glasgow, G12 8NX

Stravaigin feels as fresh and inventive as when its doors first opened back in 1995. The emphasis on local, seasonal produce combined with a global approach to flavour means even the most jaded palate should find something to please. Look beyond the…

Comments

1. Kate McGregor27 Apr 2012, 5:29am Report

GLASGOW......WHERE IS THE CABIN RESTAURANT AND THAT GREAT WEE PLACE IN PARTICK WITH PAVLOVA CAKE ON THE MENU

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