Edinburgh is without question one of the most beautiful cities and in winter it boasts an elegant charm with a sprinkle of magic in the air. And as a popular choice for weekend Christmas shopping break we want to help you make the most of your time here and really live by our moto to ‘live like a local‘.
So we asked three of Edinburgh’s well-loved food bloggers where their favourite winter warmer hang-outs are.
Ms Monkfish: AKA as Hilary Sturzaker, resides and eats her way around the capital. From Monkfish Towers she champions and celebrates those who are doing something a little bit different. Mymonkfish.com was named BBC Olive magazine blog of the month and was voted one of Scotland’s best websites by The List.
Nadine Pierce: An Edinburgh-based foodie, founder of chefr.com and author of the popular Eating Edinburgh blog, a self-confessed ‘gluttonista’ who has been known to eat out every day of the week in the course of research!
Edinburgh Food Girl: Pam Newby is the author of the Edinburgh Food Girl blog: a blog about Pam’s eating and cooking adventures in and around Edinburgh.
Best place for a hearty breakfast to help you take on a chilly day in the Burgh?
Ms Monkfish (MM): Weekend brunch at Gardener’s Cottage – Smoked sea trout, scrambled eggs and toast – great cosy atmosphere, great setting just off London Road, definitely a winter location, candle lit, vintage records being played, just lovely.
Nadine Pierce (NP): Centotre on George Street – does a fantastic americano, one to really get the heart racing and the best bacon roll in town in my opinion! They only use the best ingredients which are either home grown in their own secret garden Casa San Lorenzo or come from Italy.
Edinburgh Food Girl (EFG): I’m a big fan of Loudon’s Cafe & Bakery at Fountainbridge. The eggs benny with smoked salmon and homemade Hollandaise sauce is the perfect start to a days Christmas shopping! It also means you’re at the beginning of Princes Street so you can work your way along throughout the day.
Favourite pit-stop for a morning coffee or a hot choccy to warm the cockles?
MM: Wellington Coffee – the best coffee in the centre of town by far – ask for a flat white – recommended for location too. For hot chocolate head to The Scottish Cafe on the mound, amazing velveteen hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows, naught but very very nice – perfect views over Princes Street Gardens.
NP: Leo’s Beanery on Howe Street is a gem of a place – they do a good flat white and their cakes are dreamy! In the city centre it would probably be Urban Angel on Hanover Street or Wellington Coffee on George Street, all great options for a wee pick-me-up and some cake of course!
EFG: Around half way along George Street (33a George Street) you will find Wellington Coffee hidden away. They serve some of the best coffee in Edinburgh (Square Mile) so you’d find me here having a flat white and I can never resist their freshly baked scones. They are HUGE! It’s not the cheapest coffee in Edinburgh but worth paying a little extra for.
Winter city seeing and Christmas shopping can be hard-work, where would you head for lunch to keep energy levels high?
MM: Centotre on George Street, lovely atmosphere particularly at Christmas. You’re guaranteed a warm welcome from Victor and Carina, with fresh, simple ingredients their food tastes fantastic, especially if washed down with a warming glass of red.
NP: The Dogs on Hanover Street is always a great shout, it’s quirky, surprisingly inexpensive for the city centre and has a great menu bursting with seasonal Scottish classics. My all-time favourite is their ox liver in a rich spicy sauce with lardons and baby onions – washed down with a cheeky lunchtime vino is always a great way to refortify yourself.
EFG: Thistle Street is a beautiful little cobbled street just round the corner from Wellington Coffee, packed with lovely little boutiques and restaurants. My favourite restaurant in Edinburgh can be found here – Iris. (47a Thistle Street). They serve a 3 course lunch menu 7 days a week and I can highly recommend the mussels!
Baby it’s cold outside! Where would you recommend for a cheeky afternoon beverage (mulled wine, perhaps?) and what’s your tipple?
My tipple would be sherry – no, not in the way your Granny used to drink it – sherry bars are very on trend in London just now, let’s bring that trend to Scotland! A chilled Fino for me or an Oloroso for the true taste of Christmas in a glass.
NP: I’m really loving the new bar Juniper on Princes Street – it’s comfortably glamorous and their apple martinis are a fantastic way to warm up. The only trouble is that it’s so comfortable and the staff so welcoming that it makes it very hard to leave!
EFG: After lunch, it’s definitely time for some mulled wine. I usually head to the German market in the Princes Street gardens but it’s taking a different slant this year and is being branded a European market and is being extended to include a Children’s market and a Scottish market, in St Andrew Square. If you weren’t in the Christmas spirit before, you will be after a visit here!
Dinner time. Which restaurant ticks all your festive boxes for a good wholesome feed?
MM: Top tip at the moment is Timberyard – hang out with the cool set. Unbelievable interiors and the food is completely different to anything else happening in Edinburgh just now. They even brew their own beer!
NP: Wedgwood on the Royal Mile has long been a favourite of mine, locally sourced ingredients and beautifully presented, every dish is a winner! The menu changes seasonally but I’m still recalling a pork belly and black pudding main that was heart-breaking to finish and they also do the most amazing ginger beer and raspberry sorbet palate cleanser!
EFG: I love Wildfire on Rose Street for a steak. The Scottish menu is varied, and always consistently excellent. My menu of choice would be the haggis to start, followed by a medium rare fillet steak with blue cheese sauce and if I had room, their puddings are always yummy! I love the butterscotch sauce that they serve with ice cream. Delicious! And after all that walking and shopping – well deserved!
One for the road? Where will we find you unwinding after an action packed city living day?
MM: If you’re lucky enough to know a member then head to the Scottish Malt Whisky Society down in Leith, very cosy particularly at Christmas, open fire, the best whiskies you’ll ever taste.
NP: Generally somewhere that is out of the way and a little less hectic – I love Monteiths hidden away down a pretty little fairy light decked close on the Royal Mile. It’s like being tucked away in a comfortable and well used study in a stately home and they do a fantastic Malbec, served from a decanter it adds a touch of old fashioned elegance. The Jolly Judge further up, with its open fire and real pub feel also gets my vote!
EFG: After a day of shopping and eating, I’d head to The Dome on George Street for a glass of festive fizz. The decorations here are the best in Edinburgh – even if you don’t stay for a drink, it’s worth dropping in just to see the Christmas decorations – they are wonderful! A word of warning though, it gets very busy!