The Dogs

Hitlisted
The Dogs
110 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DR
  • Telephone 0131 220 1208
  • Opening times Daily noon–4pm & 5–10pm.
  • Seasonal times Closed 25 Dec & 1 Jan.
  • Food served Mon–Sun noon–4pm, 5–10pm.
  • Average price £12 (lunch); £20 (evening meal)
  • Email
  • Website www.thedogsonline.co.uk

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The Dogs
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.

The Dogs on its original, first-floor location on Hanover Street has been a reliable friend to Edinburgh’s budget lunchers and diners for half-a-dozen years now. Inside feels like a dog’s domain: a relaxed living room, adorned with a décor of poodles, Scotties, bulldogs and greyhounds, with stone pooches guarding the clubby vestibule. The menu’s great British dishes do indeed ‘comfort and excite’ as billed, whether a small, yapping Scottish smoked trout salad, or a growling devilled ox liver and gravy on toast. Mains and desserts can be equally butch – think Barnsley chops, braised oxtails, stargazy pie, toffee Eton mess – or you can even chase a rabbit with black beer sauce. Every dish is cooked with skill and precision, except perhaps the kedgeree, which is disobediently bland. But The Dogs still wins a ‘best of breed’ big pink rosette, thanks to its mix of generosity and good, simple food at reasonable prices. So if The Dogs at times runs off the lead or strays, you want to forgive it, staying a Dog-lover, and leaving with your tail wagging.

  • High point: If you like its style, it's the dog’s bolognaise
  • Low point: Front room perkier than the back room

It’s no surprise that The Dogs is the perfect refuge for diners in these austere times. Born amid the credit crunch, its no-frills, back-to-culinary-basics formula is well-honed. Dishes rarely stray above £10, even in the evening. Beyond cost, there’s ample substance to the highly seasonal cooking, making the most of humble ingredients such as offal and vegetables with crafty ways of making things go further. Have a look at the website for details of the current menu.

Text supplied by third party.

  • Private dining: None
  • Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Gluten-free options, Children's portions
  • Music on stereo: Nothing
  • Capacity: 60
  • Largest group: Sun–Thu: 24; Fri/Sat: 6
  • Open since: 2008
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 7
  • House wine: £14.95 per bottle

Reviews & features

The Dogs

10 Apr 2008

There’s a little place I know – great spot for a bite to eat, glass of wine, right in the centre of town, up a staircase, not the most obvious. A little place I know... and so does the rest of Edinburgh, despite the fact that the launch party was held…

Comments & ratings

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38. Alexandr Lavrenov16 Feb 2014, 4:21pm5 stars The Dogs Report

Too bad we had to leave back for Russia. If not, we would come back on and on.
Dave, I say!!!

37. Mrs Cee5 Apr 2013, 1:53pm5 stars The Dogs Report

My colleague & I had lunch again at The Dogs and once again we could not fault a single thing! The food is delicious, the service is great. We would probably go everyday if we were in this part of town (you could certainly afford to as lunch costs about the same as a fancy sandwich shop!!!).

36. Susiejacobs2 Feb 2013, 8:27am1 star The Dogs Report

Eating in the Dogs is like living the famous Woody Allen joke - terrible food, and such small portions. Honestly - it was almost inedible. Disintegrating mussels in an unspeakable reduction of what I can only imagine was salt, pickled onions and petrol. A lump (the most accurate description) of hake and three halves of microscopic potatoes in a revolting brown thick salty sauce which tasted and looked like it had been thickened with cornflour. In 1974. Bread 'for the table' (you had to ask) was ok but turned out to be a single slice cut into 4 to share between two of us. A glass of Merlot (£4.30) was undrinkably disgusting. Yes, prices are on the low side for a central Edinburgh restaurant - but all the above still came to £26 without service. A hefty sum for tiny amounts of truly vile food. This is mean, bad food.

35. Yumbo Gumbo5 Jun 2011, 8:17pm5 stars The Dogs Report

Had lunch yesterday, and thought it was terrific! Loved the haggis hash, brown sauce with fried duck egg. The room had a great buzz about it, and the service was slick and informal, I will definately return!!

34. y.s visitor29 Apr 2011, 11:51pm5 stars The Dogs Report

I heard so much about the Dogs, mostly that this is "the best value for money" restaurant in Edinburgh, so I had to go there...
Small place with a very nice atmosphere and lots of photos of dogs and dogs monuments.
We booked a table for 18:30 and have been told that we can have it for 2 hours only, so obviously we got there at 18:25.
A quick look at menu was enough to understand that prices are more than fair so all we have to do now is order the food and hopefully enjoy it... :-)
I choose for a starter the lamb rissoles with homemade garlic mayo, it was pure delicious but not enough garlic in the garlic mayo...
My missus took the pear, stilton and walnut salad. not much to say here beside the fact that it was fresh and tasty!
For main courses we had the lentil and nut roast with mushroom sauce (for my vegetarian wife...) and the pan fried hake (fillet) with smoked fish potato cake and mustard sauce for myself.
Well for me that lentil nut roast was the proof that I needed that a vegetarian food can be actually tasty, my wife said it was one of the top 5 vegetarian meals she had in ten years.
The hake was good, really nice with the smoked fish potato cake and there was definitely enough mustard in the mustard sauce.
After that we felt really full but I had try the lemon posset. Good decision! nice, tasty and refreshing way to finish a lovely meal.

5 stars to The Dogs, recommended to peoples who like good food in more than a decent price.

33. GW21 Sep 2010, 5:43pm Report

Very average food at decent prices. Other reviews have said just how bad the owner is. And yes its all true. He really is an obnoxious character. Rude and not at all funny. Perhaps that's where I went wrong he must have though he was funny! His previous restaurant was the Rogue same, ruined by his attitude by him. Lets hope it does not last long as with this kind of service it does nor deserve to. AVOID this place.

Edinburgh has many great places to eat where your custom will be valued. This is not one of them.

32. HR14 Sep 2010, 1:40pm5 stars The Dogs Report

I love this place, I have been back and back. I agree that sometimes The waiting staff are also a bit rough round the edges sometimes, but it is much better than a whole load of fake smiles. It all depends whether you want an over priced meal in a pretentious restaurant, or a well priced good menu filled with interesting combinations plus well cooked classic dishes. The dogs should stay on the hitlist.

31. AG20 Aug 2010, 8:45pm1 star The Dogs Report

Very disappointing. Yes it's cheap but you can pay the same or slightly more and get a far superior meal elsewhere in town. The waiting staff are friendly and efficient.

30. sbrwn30 Mar 2010, 12:38am Report

I have just read review RG1980. This wouldn't be the owner by chance? It reads like an advert! Not the place we've just been to.
Anyway.

29. sbrwn30 Mar 2010, 12:33am1 star The Dogs Report

I ate there with my friends tonight and in every way it was awful. I shall sum it up in 5 words. tastelessfood, tackydecoration, rubbishservice, placesmellsodd, noatmosphere.
Now, I am annoyed with the List as it is in your 'Hit List' and that's why we went there. Has the List lost its judgement? such a bad call. You could redeem yourselves by asking for the award back :)
Anyway, what a disappointment.

28. Sandie21 Feb 2010, 7:09pm Report

Rude waitresses, food undercooked and lacking inspiration. Changed so much in the last year. Think with the introduction of the new restaurant next door the owner has forgotten to keep up standards of the original.

27. RG19807 Feb 2010, 1:45pm5 stars The Dogs Report

Have eaten lunch in the Dogs several times and have yet to be disappointed. GREAT value for money. Simply no other place in town can match such great quality food for such low prices (lunch dishes are around £5). The kipper pate, seafood pie, boiled bacon with cabbage and mash and creamed kale and mushroom crumble all come very highly recommended. Try the parsnip and lemon cake for desert - you won be disappointed. Staff are efficient and friendly if a little rushed, but what else can you expect for such a popular and busy eatery.

26. accomplished cook6 Jan 2010, 3:18am1 star The Dogs Report

I'm going to keep this as short as i can, went for Dinner this evening with my other half she ordered the whole grilled Place and a side of Cheesy Potatoes (as described on the menu). Now i can understand the cook is entitled to put whatever cheese he/she wishes on the potatoes, but i really think that if you choose Goats cheese you should maybe mention that on the menu. Its just a little different from what you would normally expect. Also (moving on to the fish now) it may be an idea to gut the fish properly before cooking it and sending it out to your guests, grilled fish intestines aren't so yummy.
On to my main course now, Pork Belly with butter beans, green-beans and mustard. A dish looking at the components should be a very simple tasty dish, maybe not. The Belly had next to no seasoning on it and was covered in sweet sweet sweet honey which was all i could taste. The Butter Beans were so dry i finished my peroni in about 2 visits in my lips and the green-beans, well if raw is how you like them fair enough. I really grudged paying for this meal, i understand the concept of the restaurant (large portions, simple well priced food) but if you cant even gut a fish properly cook beans or season a piece of meat right then i think you need to have a few words with yourself, these are things that should be second nature to a Chef.
If your thinking about going here for a meal do yourself a favour and don't, I'm fairly confident you could cook a better meal yourself at home and spend no where near as much.

25. kf89630 Dec 2009, 8:00am1 star The Dogs Report

so disappointed with this restaurant. Took my parter and our baby along for lunch this week and was verbally abused by the same waiter/owner person mentioned in previous posts.

Was trying to get the buggy through the door whilst another waiter just stood and watched us when i heard 'WAAAAATCH THE DOOOOOR' being yelled across the room at us. i looked up and it was this tall, skinny, grey faced grump on a man with glasses on. The waiter by the door covered for him and said he was actually yelling at him. The entire restaurant was looking at us.

Ridiculously we still went in for our meal. If soggy food, burnt pizzas, your chair, harrassed service, your chair being banged every 2 seconds and a disabled toilet with no working light are youre idea of a nice lunch then- enjoy!

I wont be going back, i dont care WHO that guy is, owner or otherwise, you dont shout at customers like that, it just shows the arrogance of the place.

24. ilovefood16 Nov 2009, 1:40pm5 stars The Dogs Report

The dogs is one of the best places in town. I eat there regularly & so do my friends. We've been served by Dave the owner many times & we think he's a riot. Charming, funny & an impeccable host. People are merely mirrors of ourselves. If you enter a place with an uptight, negative attitude, don't blame anyone but yourself if its reflected back at you.

23. TK12 Oct 2009, 7:45pm4 stars The Dogs Report

Good restaurant, great atmosphere.. Good honest food, no frills, but good quality.. The staff are very friendly and efficient also. My only gripe is that a bottle of Bitter and Twisted beer costs 4.95 which, quite frankly is disgraceful. Good restaurant terrible beer prices!

22. caroline_edinburgh2 Oct 2009, 12:53pm5 stars The Dogs Report

Spotted this thread while googling for the phone number, to book my ??th visit to The Dogs / Amore Dogs. In numerous visits, everything I've eaten has been good, I love the atmosphere and Dave is always good to have a laugh with. (And for the previous poster who said "people who think this is great food simply need to get out more" - we do eat at all types of restaurants, including Michelin-starred ones.) Those who don't like it obviously just don't get this type of food and/or Dave's sense of humour. IMO it's the perfect place for these straitened times, and the many other local regulars obviously agree with me.

21. marsbar28 Sep 2009, 8:04pm5 stars The Dogs Report

I love this place, and that's why we keep coming back. The front room is particularly lovely, as it's quirky with it's mis-matched glasses, tables and chairs, and old fashioned crockery. The menu is always surprising with lots of choices and incredibly tasty. The prices are great, even for a Scot, so what's not to like? If you go in expecting a really good plate of food at a good price in a relaxed atmosphere, you'll never be disappointed. If you want something fancy, don't go. Simple as that.

20. cp12318 Aug 2009, 9:22pm2 stars The Dogs Report

Popped in for a quick lunch some time ago. Cheap and not so cheerful. When we ordered desert and were asked if we would like cherries with it......when we said yes the response was "some people have it all and still want more". Charming.

Mediocre and not worth dealing with the owners pish!

19. Paul S6 Jul 2009, 5:16pm Report

My friend and I had recently a weekday lunch at The Dogs. First of all I would like to say that I was really looking forward to going; I too had read a couple of good reviews and liked the idea of the concept.

However, I have never witnessed such a case of the Emperor's New Clothes in my life: virtually everything was terrible.

I like quirky venues, but this went well beyond that; it was shabby, grubby and uncomfortable - which is disappointing when considering how little time this has really been open.

The service was ok and not unfriendly; but frankly I don't appreciate being harrangued and harrassed during what was already a very short and very hurried lunch.

But actually the biggest problem was the food: it was appalling. I had a criffel salad: this was disgusting - the salad ingredients were limp, depressing and merely dumped on the (small) plate and the dressing was overwhelming and drowned the entire salad. My friend had an unpleasant risotto.

I then had the beetroot cake which I thought was badly made and almost inedibly sweet. My friend had some sort of fruit mousse that was also, again, unpleasant.

We had planned ordering more food but what we chose was horrible and frankly the staff seemed to be on a bonus for getting people out the door as quickly as possible (despite the fact the restuarant wasn't anywhere near full).

Having been previously bored by David Ramsden's caberet shtick in Rogue; I was delighted he wasn't lurking like some ill mannered preying mantis when we arrived - however, that was a brief respite because his personality has unfortunately imbued everything in The Dogs and made this a less a gastropub, and more a gastlypub.

Avoid!

18. bobc3 Jun 2009, 10:44am2 stars The Dogs Report

Astonishing that this place should be 'hitlisted' by The List for its food, and be described by reviewers on here as 'great'. It is a sure sign of the dearth of quality of restaurants in Edinburgh that this place should be singled out for praise. The interior and the atmosphere are pleasant but the food is very ordinary indeed - the utterly bland fish stew tastes of nothing other than tinned tomatoes, the whitebait and spinach (from a bag) is tasteless and soggy, the soda bread under-baked, the menu is lacking in ideas. People who think this is great food simply need to get out more. Two stars for atmosphere and wine, one for food. Very disappointing.

17. C4 May 2009, 11:47am4 stars The Dogs Report

Delicious use of a wide variety of seasonal ingredients, innovative cooking, very reasonable prices. I hope to go back many times in the future. I left feeling inspired by what had been created and wondering how so many restaurants that charge considerably more can get away with such dull, lackluster cuisine by comparison.

Maybe it's not right for those who go to restaurants to be seen and be schlepped to, but for passionate foodies who appreciate having somewhere to go that isn't priced in a way that only merits 'special occasion' eating, this is just the ticket.

16. D+A27 Apr 2009, 4:35pm Report

Completely agree with the first two reviews and the one above.

Don't believe the hype

Un-remarkable food, fish full of bones
poor service
and a strange smell in the back room we were sat even though we had waited and hour and a half to sit in the main dining room.

not impressed

15. Nicky6619 Mar 2009, 8:43pm Report

I don't get it, how have the people behind The Dogs fooled Edinburgh's newspapers in to giving them rave reviews!!!?? I invited visiting friends there this Sat'day past and the whole experience was shocking,laughable a joke. It's as if Edinburgh has been blinded by a flute playing hypnotist and the reality is something distasteful in your mouth, something far removed from the expectation of the write ups. THE FOOD IS AWFUL PERIOD and anyone that says different needs a reality check. I am so angry at having read these reports that I was fooled into going. Is this how it works in Edinburgh, a man sings a tune that has all the critics barking insanely together, one big howl, one following the other, afraid to stand alone in voice. I have pointedly asked after this place with my friends and it turns out that they are equally baffled, but they do say that he has Edinburgh's critics in his pocket, why is this so?? and should the press not be objective? The Michelin Bib is a joke, they belittle their merit in giving it. Edinburgh! is it all judged on the price rather than on the food, if this is what you rave about? then you need to get out more, you are fooled. How embarrassing, roll mop herring and you clap loudly. NC

14. Dave10114 Feb 2009, 1:25pm Report

I love this place. The food is great and in combination with the price - wow. I actually like the owner's style of service but I can understand how it would catch someone not prepared for it. Service was attentive and he was good at recommending dishes/wines etc. The rib of beef was melt in the mouth and the beef dripping cooked chips great - I wish more restaurants did chips this way.

It just got the Michelin Bib Gourmand as well and there is talk of him opening an Italian version. Can't wait for that.

13. Andrew16 Dec 2008, 4:36pm4 stars The Dogs Report

Went to dogs by chance after going to the recommended Amicus Apple first (ordering a £5 pint of Hoegarden! before being told that they weren't serving any food except christmas parties)

Decided to give the dogs a punt, being a bit apprehensive after reading the comments at the top. Whilst the chap with grey hair was a bit brusque he was absolutely fine and the food was great, cheap and well proportioned. I had the Coley which was brilliant

I would definately go back, when next in edinburgh, this is not fine dining but for the price you aren't paying for it either. Its as it says on their website 'a chilled environment with no frills or fuss'

12. rodger8 Dec 2008, 5:12pm1 star The Dogs Report

I totally agree with the first two comments. cheep and cheerful it is Not.
Cheep maybe but that is all. And the maitre d is "amusing" if you can tolerate his humor. I had read the reviews of the place by the "experts" and it seemed like a totally different place.
Disappointed Edinburger

11. Burger Gal23 Nov 2008, 11:31am5 stars The Dogs Report

I am giving the Dogs 5 stars given its local competition. I have eaten both lunch and dinner here and I believe some of the other reviewers are missing the point of the Dogs. It is simple, tasty, served in moderate portions, quickly for a very reasonable price considering it's the centre of Edinburgh. You can easily spend three times as much in a generic bar around the corner.
Yes the owner's mannerisms can be difficult but he is clearly passionate about providing an alternative venue and menu to the sea of banal that is George Street.

10. shibs6 Nov 2008, 11:36pm4 stars The Dogs Report

We went here on Monday night, fairly late on, after a very busy day!

We found this place to be very accommodating, service great and food of a high level. I agree quaint in the way that nothing matched in decor, furniture, cutlery etc. However in some places could be seen to be annoying but here it fitted in and was quirky!

My partner has a starch intolerance and on the menu found many a thing to choose, which is kind of un heard of, without having to ask for different things. Also he is a big lad and I would definitely say that the portion sizes were absolutely fine, I couldn't finish mine at all!

I loved this place, would definitely recommend and go back!
My advice is to go and make your own mind up!

Ps The waiter who looks like step toe and son etc is not the owner, thats the little almost Italian looking man who was also very pleasant!

9. Sue5 Nov 2008, 5:34pm4 stars The Dogs Report

I went for dinner to The Dogs last night and I thought it was simply fab. I am sick of overpriced, average food in the centre of town, served in average settings and lacking in atmosphere. This place is what Edinburgh has been lacking. Yes, it is quirky and I can see how folk may think the owner comes across as rude, but go with the flow and you will have a fab time. I agree that this place might not be everyone's cup of tea but the atmosphere was great (heaving on a tuesday eve!), the service was brilliant (I asked for lime and was brought a little jug of lime juice and a slice of lime, and a quirky waiter who I guess was the owner) and simple food cooked very well (I had the pork chop and the black pudding was to die for!). I went based on three other people's recommendations so try it for yourself before judging it.

8. corpal4 Nov 2008, 9:17pm Report

Went to this restaurant with a group of 4 other women on a Thursday night, I will definitely be going back again. Service was attentive without being intrusive, i had freshly baked bread for starters, followed by bean, walnut and feta cheese salad - this was delicious (especially since salads can sometimes just be thrown together without thought), followed by vanilla ice cream with warm toffee sauce. Wine was lovely as well as peppermint tea at the end. I was not only impressed by the food which was top quality, but also the value for money, the food is not at all expensive, and for 3 courses and a glass of wine with tip it came to about 20 pounds each. I also really like the eclectic style - from different wine glasses you drink out of to the furnishing throughout the restaurant. A relaxed, fun place to eat that I would definitely recommend.

7. Benji3 Nov 2008, 11:21am4 stars The Dogs Report

Very suprised abou the comments left with regards to service. It was speedy and attentive and we were recommended some great local drinks whilst there. The food was simple but extremely well cooked and I'd heartily recommend this quirky little place to anyone.

6. Bean13 Oct 2008, 12:00pm2 stars The Dogs Report

I too am confused. Having heard great things about this place, I was eager to see what all the fuss was about. So you can imagine my disappointment when I visited this weekend, to discover this place cooks food on a par with what you'd expect from a second-rate cafe or at a push, a meal you'd pop in the microwave. It was all very average, and I could have done better myself. I appreciate that the prices are very good value, but I still expect decent food. And don't get me started on the portions - they are tiny!!

Their only saving grace is the staff who were excellent - very friendly and obliging, so credit where credit's due there.

My advice - pay a little extra for nicer food elsewhere, or save your money and do a better job at home.

5. ejclark8 Oct 2008, 10:40pm4 stars The Dogs Report

i was a bit apprehensive before we went to try the dogs - all the critics reviews seemed excellent but the user reviews were less than complementary.

However, we were certainly impressed with what we had and will be back. 3 of us went for an early dinner and each of us had the soup of the day (black pudding and mushroom) for starter, then had the squash risotto, the pollock, and the special (chicken & ham pie and mash). Together with a bottle of wine it came to less than £50. Service was good, and we left 6 clean dishes, which is as good a comment as you can leave.

Recommended.

4. Boydy26 Sep 2008, 5:09pm Report

I went there only a few weeks ago and it was great. Quirky wee place, fab food for us all and the waiter who we think is the owner in question was busy but very nice and very attentive.
Its a charming place with good wholesome food and I will be going back for sure.
I hope other people have had the same experience as me!
Thanks,

3. warrenb23 Sep 2008, 8:02am4 stars The Dogs Report

This is most definitely not a place for everyone (as the previous reviews clearly show). However, what The Dogs offers is something a little different, in a very casual and relaxed environment.

Nothing matches in this restaurant, from the chairs, to the candle holders and plates, but that all adds to its unique charm. Add to this several dishes you won't find anywhere else, my pick being an inspired and incredibly delicious Sardines on Toast!

True the service is a little rough around the edges. in fact, scratch that, everything about the place is! However, as I said that's all part of its charm, and a refreshing antidote to the often pretentious Edinburgh scene.

2. Edinburgher138 Sep 2008, 1:11pm Report

I believe the guy that owns this place used to own Rogue down Morrison Street / Fountainbridge way, which to nobody's great surprise shut down a few years back. He stated at the time (I paraphrase somewhat) that his cuisine was too far ahead of its time for the people of Edinburgh, but that was a load of rubbish. I ate at Rogue a few times. The food was ok - nothing special - but what really put me off was the proprietor's sheer lack of class and manners, and the fact he outright insulted members of my party when we asked a few basic questions about the menu.

He is indeed, as dadam in comment 1 suggests, a rude, obnoxious and arrogant SOB. The concept of good manners, customer service and being nice to the people who are paying his wages seems to have passed him by. No doubt he has some good pr in operation (there was a decent review in the Observer recently) but I for one would not consider lining this fella's pockets with my hard earned cash again until he starts remembering that the customer is always right.

Avoid like the plague is my advice.....there are far more restaurants in Edinburgh that are more deserving of your custom.

Would be interested to know what other people think. Also, am I right with my belief that he did used to own Rogue? If not I apologise!

1. Dadam26 Aug 2008, 6:54pm Report

We are pretty confused. We ate at The Dogs at the weekend and were left pretty ruffled by the whole experience. The food was not what was expected and to be honest pretty shabby, not at all tasty. We were served by this character resembling the old man out of Steptoe an Son who was incredible rude and not at all funny, just rude, pretty disgusting really. We are confused, as this place was given pretty good write ups and yet it was a third rate experience. Now I may be wrong, but is the chap that runs this place in any way got a direct line to critics and the newspapers?? Don't be fooled by what you read, this place is pretty awful ( or it must have gone down hill like a greased toboggan since the article was written ) and the rudeness of this old man was staggering, not funny, just rude.
Please don't erase this review, in our minds it's a fair appraisal DA

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Average rating 3.5/5 from 27 reviews of The Dogs.

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