The City Café

The City Café
19 Blair Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1QR
  • Box office 0131 220 0125
  • General enquiries 0131 220 0125
  • Opening times Mon–Sun 11am–1am
  • Seasonal times Festival Mon–Sun 9am–3am
  • Bar open Mon–Sun 9am–1am. Extended in Festival to 3am. Alcohol served from 11am
  • Food served Mon–Sun 9am–10pm
  • Average price £13 (lunch); £13 (evening meal)
  • Email
  • Website

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City Café
Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2015/16 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

This review is taken from the current (2015) edition.

The City Café is an American-style diner set just off the Royal Mile – think large booths, neon lights and a queue for the pool table. The location, price and style mean that it's a honey pot for students and visitors to the capital. The tag line of ‘diner by day, drinks by night’ ensures that the space is fully utilised at all times and you can expect a short wait for the booths during peak times. The menu is filled with expected diner dishes including a selection of burgers, fried chicken, mac ‘n’ cheese and the all-day breakfast. As the diner doubles as a bar in the evening the drinks menu boasts almost as many options, with cocktail pitchers, homemade milkshakes and the usual selection of bottled and draught beers. Friday and Saturday nights are enhanced by live DJ sets.

  • High point: Lively city-centre location
  • Low point: Quantity wins out over quality when it comes to the food
  • Notable dish: All day breakfast and homemade milkshakes

From February 2013. We’ve all heard of the Man V Food phenomenon; a programme so full of food that it makes you at once nauseated and extremely hungry … well this year a popular stateside-themed spot in Edinburgh has decided to jump on the craze and challenge Edinburgh to its first year-long Ultimate Burger Challenge.

Text supplied by third party.

  • Private dining: Up to 150 covers
  • Provides: Gluten-free options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
  • Live entertainment: Upstairs: Fri/Sat night DJs; downstairs (City2) is bookable
  • Capacity: 200
  • Largest group: 150 at City Café 2 downstairs
  • Open since: 1985
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 9
  • House wine: £16 per bottle

Event times

LOUD Poets

Slam-style poetry devoid of pretension. Ages 15+.

Sat 27 Feb

£4 / 0131 220 0125

Loud Poets' second birthday: the world's drunkest slam

Reviews & features

Edinburgh's City Cafe introduces 7lb burger challenge

1 Feb 2013

The mega-sandwich will cost you £30, unless you can finish it in 45 minutes

The City Café has delved deeper into its 1950s Americana and come up with a food challenge that would floor most, but undoubtedly not all, of our supersized cousins across the pond. Their Ultimate Burger Challenge offers up Edinburgh's biggest burger…

Bar crawls: Edinburgh - The Prudent Student

18 Nov 2011

A cheap and cheerful crawl from Marchmont to Grassmarket

I have a confession to make. I’ve never really been much of a bar crawl sort of gal. The idea of systematic drinking (vb. to lash, I suppose) with a bunch of overgrown rugby boys, with their girlfriend’s underwear on as outer wear, has never really…

Comments & ratings

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5. The City Cafe31 Mar 2011, 3:42pm5 stars The City Café Report

Glad you loved the shiny booths!

Thought we had better let you know we have skinny fries back! If your in for food just let us know you'd like them!

Much love x

4. Morna11 Feb 2011, 1:05pm4 stars The City Café Report

I was in this week for food & had been a little wary (as I loved the old city cafe!) but I was pleasantly surprised.

The food was tasty - I had a burger which was hearty & good, and we all liked how the chips came in metal buckets that were heated, so they stayed warm throughout the meal.

I do miss the skinny fries (bring them back!), but it was nice and I'd go back. I also liked the glittery booths.

3. Stephen in Dalry10 Dec 2010, 7:07pm1 star The City Café Report

Sadly, the City Cafe has changed for the worse. The old ambience which everyone loved has gone and in its place visitors will find an over-lit diner, no pool table, garish tables and decor, a huge plasma TV, juke box (oh well, Lynda will be happy) bar staff in cheesy themed costumes and - according to the American I was drinking with - inauthentic food. The 'children's menu' with colouring-in games suggest a radical change of policy and clientele. We arrived hoping for the traditional camp and glam Xmas tree, low-lighting, beloved zinc tables, and pool table and left very depressed at the loss of this once-great spot. Poor bar staff.

2. Lynda16 Sep 2009, 5:09pm5 stars The City Café Report

Been to the City Cafe for lunch countless times and honestly never had a bad meal there.

It is a really cool bar with a great vibe, only thing missing is a juke box.

1. Juliet23 Jan 2009, 3:50pm5 stars The City Café Report

I went to the City Cafe today for lunch & it was lovely! There was a small group of us so we grabbed a booth & I had the chicken fajitas - I can highly recommend them!

Lovely, good quality pub food. Mmmm.

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Average rating 4/5 from 5 reviews of The City Café.

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