Olive Branch Bistro

Olive Branch Bistro
91 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3RX
  • Telephone 0131 557 8589
  • Seasonal times Midnight in Festival
  • Food served Mon–Thu 11.45am–10pm; Fri 11.45am–11pm; Sat/Sun 10am–11pm. [Extended in Festival]
  • Pre-theatre times 10% off for those with theatre or cinema tickets
  • Average price £12.95 (set lunch); £18 (evening meal)
  • Email
  • Website www.theolivebranchscotland.co.uk
Olive Branch Bistro
Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2014 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

This review is taken from the current (2014) edition.

Laid-back and friendly, this cosy local hangout remains a favourite after a decade in existence, and for the last three years, under the stewardship of the Young family, it has shown an impressive dedication to Mediterranean-influenced food. While the evening and lunch menus have a decidedly southern European flavour – with polentas, Marsalas and chorizos to the fore – the OB by no means ignores local ingredients: home-cured lamb bacon adds a pleasing punch to the bruschetta starter, while slow-cooked venison gives a depth of flavour to the ragû with gnocchi. These touches are in keeping with the decidedly Caledonian vista offered by the vast windows that look out on to bustling Broughton Street, as is the brunch menu, with its sprinkling of Scottish staples such as tattie scones and black pudding. Meanwhile those happy to watch the world go by for a few extra moments should give in to the temptation of a burger, which may take 20 minutes to prepare, but is well worth the wait.

  • High point: The view and the vibe mean you could happily eat here solo
  • Low point: Some dishes have more weight than flavour
  • Notable dish: Gnocchi with slow-cooked venison ragû and parmesan crisp
  • Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Gluten-free options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Post-theatre menu, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
  • Capacity: 38
  • Largest group: 20
  • Open since: 2003
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 10
  • House wine: £15.15 per bottle

Comments & ratings

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20. FF16 Mar 2012, 10:52pm5 stars Olive Branch Bistro Report

This bistro has now become a regular of mine when my parents come to visit as my hard-to-please father complimented the meal on their first visit to it. I also visit it with my husband or friends. Each time, service has been excellent throughout, and each course turns out to be better than I expect- and beautifully presented and delicious in taste. Better still, there's always been the feeling of being able to stay as long as we wish (unlike other restaurants which often try to "hurry" customers out the door).

19. MaryP23 Jan 2012, 11:20am Report

Four of us had dinner here last weekend. Food was pretty good (even the hand-cut chips which to me signify 'soggy' usually). Service started off fine (waitress even noticed a dropped fork!) but went steeply downhill after mains. Had to ask for dessert menus (they suggested a break); had to ask for our coffee (already ordered) and then had to ask to pay - a good while after they'd brought the bill - staff too busy talking to each other or into their mobile phones. Music too loud - on for the staff not the customers; they did turn it down after being asked - but only for 1 track! Sorry, but there are too many restaurants in Edinburgh (indeed, on Broughton St!) to bother returning.

18. The Gourmet10 Apr 2011, 10:29am Report

Four of us ate at the restaurant on a Saturday night. The service was abrupt rude and surly. The menus like the food were thrown at us. The food was very dissapointing,with small portions of bland tasteless mush. The fish was not fresh. Our waitress was packed with negative attitude. Definitely NOT RECOMMENDED. Oh yes the toilets were dirty with a broken loo seat and showed no evidence of having been cleaned recently. Steer well clear. This place deserves to go under.

17. foodee27 Mar 2011, 7:46pm5 stars Olive Branch Bistro Report

I visited the Olive Branch for the first time this week , I had not read any of the previous reveiws until just now, and Im glad nobody put me off. I will definately be going back it was a great find. The food was first class, the girls front of house were so friendly and happy, nothing seemed a bother. Even though they were busy and pushed for tables, they didnt hurry us away, unlike alot of other restaurants. I also notice they use local produce which I compliment them on. I read the review about not wanting to move table and I would say the restaurant doesnt need clients like them anyway. Times are hard for everyone at the moment and anything we can do to help good restaurants from closing down should be supported.

16. customer NO 127 Mar 2011, 3:23pm Report

I have felt the need to review this restaurant - after reading some of the bad reviews posted. I would hate to think that this would put
anyone off. They must have been very unlucky. I regulary eat here its fab and I have only found the staff to be a breath of fresh air!
They are attentive, freindly, polite and extremely hardworking. The food is excellent and worth every penny. Try it, I promise its good!

15. Iain_Glyn13 Mar 2011, 12:43pm4 stars Olive Branch Bistro Report

Eaten here many, many times over the years and haven't had a bad experience. The present serving team are polite, hard-working and fun. A favourite spot of ours, especially the window seats - great for people watching as you nosh.

14. aaa5 Feb 2011, 11:17pm1 star Olive Branch Bistro Report

I felt so strongly about how TERRIBLE the service was at the Broughton Street Olive Branch I had to write a review. The service was SLOW, the waitresses were RUDE when they actually did bother to come to the table our dinner was practically thrown at us and they spent the rest of the evening bumping anf grinding each other by the bar. I will not be returning. For the ammount the food cost the service should have been better. Not worth it. Go somewhere else.

13. JMcC23 Oct 2010, 4:40pm Report

Visited the Broughton Street Bistro (23/10/10) around 1pm and was busy with only one table available, which actually seated 5. We were shown to our table and ordered. After 10 mins we were advised that a table for 2 was available at the window. We politely declined as we do not like eating at the window. A further 10 mins passed and a party of 5 arrived. We were again asked if we would mind moving, again we politely declined, to which the reponse was "thanks very much for your help" in an extremely rude and sarcastic manner. At that point we walked out and won't be back. Clearly from most of the other comments posted, it is a common occurence to serve up poor service!!

12. DR19 Apr 2010, 9:48pm Report

Having visited the Broughton Street restaurant 3-4 times mid-week, I recommended to my sister that we take our mum and her mother-in-law there for a treat in January. Imagine my disappointment and embarrassment when we were ignored for more than 20 minutes when seated without even a drinks order taken, we had to physically stand up and go over to ask for menus despite being the only people in the restaurant at 5pm. But the reason I am posting this now almost 3 months post our visit is I don't think I will ever quite get over being rudely asked "to make some space" when our main meal arrived and feeling bullied in to clearing and piling up our own starter plates. The food is good just let down by rude front of house staff. We would have complained but our server appeared to be the head waitress - I couldn't call her the maitre d' as I'm sure jeans and a jumper on a Saturday evening would not be the associated attire despite the relaxed atmosphere. Very disappointed and won't be back. I think they have a lot to learn from their staff at Bruntsfield.

11. luglio1 Aug 2009, 9:06pm1 star Olive Branch Bistro Report

saturday lunch- it should have been a relaxing experience- but we selected the table next to the kitchen .... but the loud, heated , swearing conversations from the chefs within ,coupled by a raw black bean stew with my lamb and my partners mediocre seafood spaghetti set our blood pressure sky high!
The response from the kitchen via the poor waitress was arrrogant to say the least .Word must be out because their was only another 2 customers in the place at 13.30, I wish we had been forewarned.
Never again

10. Em Rider14 Jun 2009, 11:59am2 stars Olive Branch Bistro Report

I have been here quite a few times. Food is usually very good, however, service is usually TERRIBLE! Service is extremely slow, and quite often the only way to get anything is to go up to the desk (where the waiting staff are usually chatting amongst themselves). Its a shame, as this could be a little gem, but after waiting 45mins just for a cup of coffee on my last visit, on a not particularly even busy day, it tipped me over the edge, and I WONT be going back.

9. Shawn21 Feb 2009, 2:00pm Report

Having gone back to the Olive Branch last Thursday, I found the service (which seems to be the chief complaint of most of the people above) to be both friendly, polite and prompt. The food again was good, especially the spiced orange cheesecake that I enjoyed despite being quite full from my main course.

8. MC20 Feb 2009, 4:11pm1 star Olive Branch Bistro Report

Food is nearly alway excellent. Customer service has let place down badly on a couple of occasions. We had to wait over 40 mins for breakfast one Saturday and were repeatedly ignored by serving staff. On finishing drinks, we asked again if the breakfasts would be long only to be told it would be another 10 mins - a very grudging apology given. Needless to say we left at this point for a juice and sausage roll at the fantastic Sejuiced just up the road!

7. Shawn18 Feb 2009, 3:19pm5 stars Olive Branch Bistro Report

I've eaten at the Olive Branch on Broughton Street a few times for nice brunches and also had one of the best evening meals ever there during the last festival. I was catching up with a friend I hadnt seen in years, and we really took our time over the three great courses of food. The atmosphere and service must have been spot on too as I cant remember a single negative thing about the whole evening. I wonder if the mixed reviews above suggest that sometimes the staff have off days, but given my own positive experiences, i'd happily go back and take the risk.

6. M10 Feb 2009, 6:32pm1 star Olive Branch Bistro Report

Having already given this establishment the thumbs up (see review 2 above) for their breakfasts, I am disappointed to have to post a poor review to balance it out.

Our last (and it will be our last) visit to the OB in Broughton Street to get a freshly cooked breakfast was a disgrace. Having ordered two breakfasts, the breakfasts we were served were a million miles away from the one we had enjoyed before. Among our complaints were poached eggs cooked beyond recognition and black pudding served raw!

I can forgive an establishment making the occasional mistake, but what I can't forgive is the attitude of the staff. To be told that the black pudding they buy in is cooked already is nothing short of ridiculous. No hint of an apology, no interest in taking feedback, in short no customer service whatsoever.

Shame really.

5. C5 Jan 2009, 10:49pm3 stars Olive Branch Bistro Report

I'm surprised to read some of the poorer reviews as I was pleasantly surprised by the Olive Branch. The food was delicious and of a high quality that I thought merited the prices charged when compared to some of the rubbish served up in other bistros for about the same price. It's not the sort of place to go if you're looking for the eat-all-you-can buffet experience but nobody in our group seemed hungry afterwards.

I've never felt cramped there either, but maybe I've just been lucky in the tables I've been given. It could also be pointed out to those who don't quite have a handle on restaurant economics that in a small space like the Olive Branch prices would have to go up quite a lot if there were fewer tables in order for the owners to cover their costs.

Having been to The Olive Branch several times now my only complaint would be about the staff, who do range from the slightly complacent to the downright useless. However if you're not in a rush to eat and want somewhere quite central The Olive Branch does the job nicely.

4. Nina24 Dec 2008, 3:27pm1 star Olive Branch Bistro Report

We went there for brunch with a friend. The food was delicious but there was too little on the plate. I was still hungry after we left. I found the food overpriced and won't be returning for that reason. The place also was cramped. Our table was against a pillar and stuck in between 3 other tables on each side. I felt that our table shouldn't have been there as there was no space for it really !!! Cramming as many tables as possible in a confined space is not the way to go because it gives your customer an unpleasant experience and they won't come back.
The service was bad. We were totally ignored for quite some time and the waitress was borderline rude.

3. Archie25 Nov 2008, 12:18pm1 star Olive Branch Bistro Report

Was really looking forward to my first visit to the Olive Branch as I'd heard excellent reviews. We were extremely disappointed and shocked to arrive for a celebratory late lunch to be told they needed the table back in an hour and a half (there were 6 of us dining and we hadn't been told this prior to our arrival). No apologies, very matter of fact. We begrudgingly took our seats at a table that was clearly only for 4 people but they squeezed two extra chairs on the end - again, no apology.

Very blunt, can't be bothered service and the whole organisation of the place seemed a total shambles.

On a positive note the food was excellent and we did manage to have a nice lunch but will not be going back until there are new staff hired.

2. M25 Sep 2008, 5:25pm4 stars Olive Branch Bistro Report

Excellent breakfast which is piping hot, cooked to order with attention to detail. No boiled mushrooms here folks! It is lightyears better than the standard excuse served by many city centre establishments.

I've not gone back for lunch or dinner, so cannot comment on this side of the business, but it is a regular stop for our Saturday morning fry up!

1. Darren20 Aug 2008, 1:56pm1 star Olive Branch Bistro Report

Honestly honestly honestly not worth a visit, the food is very basic and over-priced - the tables are so close you are almost sitting on somebody's knee - which i find really uncomfortable, especially when taking your girlfreind out for a meal -
Just felt the whole dinning experience was very false and when i left i felt really dissapointed with the food and for the fact i had lined the owners pocket with my hard earned cash.

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Average rating 2.5/5 from 14 reviews of Olive Branch Bistro.

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