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 (set lunch); £13 (evening meal)
  • Email
  • Website

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City Café
Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2014/15 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.

Checkerboard floors, neon signs, Art Deco lights and booth seating – the City Cafe ticks most of these obligatory American-style diner boxes. An all-day menu covers familiar comfort food staples with mac and cheese, southern fried chicken and club sandwiches all outshone by bountiful breakfasts and signature burgers. For most, the impressive Apache burger with its tangy hickory smoked BBQ sauce and super chunky home fries should suffice. For others lamenting Adam Richman’s Man vs Food retirement there’s a 3kg burger-eating challenge that is sure to test anyone’s resolve. Self styled as ‘diner by day, drinks by night’, there’s a fairly standard range of draughts on tap, boosted by a stand-out selection of bottled Scottish craft beers with Stateside cocktails and quirky home-made bacon-flavoured vodka perking up a reviving Bloody Mary. With a chilled-out daytime vibe that caters for all, the joint can liven up with soulful and funky tunes matching an eclectic clientele enjoying pitchers of beer or cocktails before late-night weekend DJs crank it up a notch.

  • High point: Funky and fun with top-notch burgers
  • Low point: Baby back ribs not so finger-licking good
  • Notable dish: Breakfasts and burgers (the Apache the most popular)

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

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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