Friday, 11 September 2015


I have just been on holiday in Ireland and I am afraid I found it impossible to avoid multinationals while I was away. I didn’t manage to post either.  Sorry!

Ireland is brilliant though, so much culture and history with the added benefit that they all speak English. Fantastic!  We ate out every day though as we were in B&B’s so I am going to write this post on where a tourist avoiding multinationals could eat here in Edinburgh.

Although we could probably find restaurants specialising in the food of any country in the world I am just going to mention a few of the major ones and concentrate on the centre of town, to keep the post short(ish).

View from Walter Scott Tearoom
For Scottish restaurants I am going to plump for Romanes and Paterson’s Walter Scott Tea Room on Princes St as it has a great view of the Castle.  It is on the third floor but they have an ancient lift which you can use if you ask the staff, they have to come with you it is so old and involves two concertinaed metal doors.  The food is also good and not bad price wise.  It is part of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Family which has about 500 shops in the UK but nowhere else. Another is Howie’s2 in either Victoria Street in the old town or on Waterloo Place. The only other Howie’s is in Aberdeen so it is Scottish only! Henderson’s3 on Dundas Street is good as it is vegetarian only and it caters well for vegans too.

For Spanish food I would recommend Cafe Andaluz4 on George St, their food is good and they are Scottish only.  La Tasca5 on Charlotte Sq has branches in the USA and Ireland so avoid it! 

I’ll do Italian next.  Don’t go to Pizza Express10, it is owned by a Chinese private equity firm! Pizza Hut11 is even worse; it has Huts in 59 countries! Try Croma12 on Lothian Rd which operates in the UK only or the City Restaurant13 on Nicholson Street which is unique.  A Taste of Italy14 on Leith Walk or Vittorio’s15 on George the Forth Bridge are both good too, one being cheap and cheerful, the other fine dining both from the Vittorio’s Edinburgh Restaurant group.

There is no shortage of Indian Restaurants in Edinburgh.  I would recommend Kushis6 on Antigua Street at the top of Leith Walk and The Indian Cavalry Club7 at Coates Crescent, West End for fine dining.  If you are really broke the Mosque Kitchen8 on Nicholson Street is the place to go, huge portions of basic but tasty curry.  Kebab Mahal9, a cafe and takeaway on Nicholson Square is also great, half the clientele is Indian! I am fairly sure none of these are multinationals.

The town centre is a bit berefit of French Restaurants. Cafe Rouge16 is probably the most conspicous but it is a multinational.  La Garrique17 on Jeffery Street, however, gets good reviews and isn’t.  Bijou18 a wee place on Leith Links is great, get a 25 bus from town or get a 22 bus down to Leith Shore and go to Martin Wishart’s19 for excellent food at huge prices! All three of these are UK only.
We do a good Turkish Restaurant in town, Cafe Truva20 on the High Street even add a Turkish touch to Lentil Soup!  Empires21 in St Mary’s St is great too; it is a tiny, rug covered and tiled, taste of Turkey in Edinburgh. Both of these are family businesses.

I haven’t been for a Chinese meal in decades as I became allergic to MSG but I notice on the internet that Karen’s Unicorn22, Abercromby Pl, doesn’t use it.  I must try it out.  There is also Rendezvous, 23 Queensferry St and Lune Town, 24 William St which get good reviews.  If you jump on either the 23 or 27 bus you can get to the Loon Fung 25 on Warriston St which is where I had my fist Chinese meal in 1972 and it is still a town favourite.  All these are family business’s too. As a consequence of the MSG problem I don’t normally have Thai food either but I am assured Thai Orchard26, Johnston Terrace is one of the best in town!

All the big chains like Nando’s27, KFC28, Subway29, MacDonald’s30 and Papajohn’s31 are of course mulitinationas but a few you wouldn’t guess at like Harry Ramsden’s32, La Tasca and Cafe Rouge are. Harry Ramsden’s operates in Eire and Cafe Rouge in Dubai as well as the UK! 


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