When I asked for some recommendations on Twitter, Just Beers and Burgers, which is situated bang on the Royal mile, was hands down the most popular. A new burger place seems to pop up every other week, and a few Glasgow ones that were recommended to me turned out to be a bit disappointing (nothing bad, but nothing I'd turn round on my red chair for either) so I was a little sceptical about this one, but it well and truly exceeded my expectations. I opted for the veggie burger on foccacia bread and had to hold back a sob of happiness when I first bit into it and it's since gone down in history as the best burger I've ever had. With the emmental, the spiced vegetables, the gherkin and the garlic mayo it was like a party of flavours going on in my mouth, and a party that I definitely wanted to be invited to. Mac went for the 'make your own option' (choose your bread, your meat, your toppings, you can really go crazy) and Rob went for the pulled pork and steak burger - two meats on the go at once, what a caveman I know - with a side of chips. Now, I really do hate to fall victim to clichés, but I did the horribly typical girly thing of pinching a chip, then two chips, then a handful of chips, despite not ordering any myself because I was 'trying to be healthy'. That old chestnut. It was honestly one of the worst cases of food regret I've ever had, so learn from my mistake and make sure and order a side'a friiies. If you're a beer fan then this is the place for you, you can either one at random or go on their recommendation of which one will best compliment the particular burger you've ordered. The can of the beer above was designed by the same illustrator who did the 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas books' which is pretty snazzy, and taste-wise was described by Rob as being 'mad. Just mad'.
We then had a wander up and down the Royal Mile, stopping to watch the bagpipes for a while - speaking of cliches, I know - and then stopped in at Hula Juice Bar, which tops 'best of...' cafe lists time and time again.
HULA JUICE BAR
I've yet to have lunch at Hula, but every time I'm down in Edinburger I make sure I stop in for a smoothie and a traybake. It's sat down in the Grassmarket so is the perfect spot to take a break if you've been down there exploring and playing tourist. They have an endless list of smoothies, milkshakes and juices you can choose from and then you can go ahead and add boosters - like the 'energy booster', the 'hangover cure & detox' etc - if the thought tickles your pickle. Being the wonderful hosts that they are, Hula go out of their way to cater to dietary requirements, and always have some gluten free traybake options available too. I picked up a gluten free date crumble which was overwhelmingly tasty, I've since made it my mission to try and recreate them at home.
Laila's was the second of the trip that I didn't mange to photograph, but let that be a testament to how tasty it was. Again it's well located, just off the Royal Mile, and the prices are really reasonable too. Oh - big plus - it's BYOB with no corkage charge. The menu's nothing too fancy; just nice, simple, delicious Mediterranean food. Me and Rob both opted for the fried halloumi with cranberry to start, then salmon with date couscous and grilled chicken skewers for main, while Mac opted for the pasta of the day. It's got a really lovely, relaxed atmosphere, like you're eating at a friend's house, and the service was incredibly fast considering how busy it was.
After that we headed back to the hotel, making sure to walk home past the beautiful Balmoral hotel to see it all lit up at night.
We woke up with a big appetite on us the following morning so got dressed and hopped it over to the Edinburgh larder cafe (there's a bistro over on Alma street too). I opted for my usual, the trusty veggie breakfast - which I would put in top 5 veggie breakfasts I've had, yes there's a list - which included home-made baked beans, veggie haggis (I can't get on board with normal haggis but this was scrumdiddlyumptious) and a big slab of tasty homemade bread. Rob chose the scrambled eggs with salmon, and Mac the home-made scone with cream and jam. I finished mine off with a really lovely, unusual green tea, the 'blooming marvellous', which was flavoured with vanilla fruit, sunflower and rosebuds and tasted kind of like sherbet. A big thumbs up from all three of us brunch-wise, but make sure and book in advance if you fancy it as it's very tiny and very popular, which is not a helpful combo when you're looking for a seat.
Yeni was one of those beautiful accidentswhich involved us stumbling upon it whilst looking for somewhere else. It's a mix of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food and, although you can order just one meal, I'd recommend taking advantage of the '3 mezi dishes for £9.95' lunch deal so that you can try a range of the foods on offer. My particular favourites were the kebabs (really tasty and tender meat) and the Kizartma (Mediterranean veg topped with garlic yoghurt). This is another one that's perfect if you've got specific dietary requirements; each plate is clearly listed on the menu to let you know if it contains dairy, gluten, nuts and if it's suitable for vegans or vegetarians, so you don't need to go through the whole, 'does this contain...' dance with the waiter. And, believe me, there's dishes for everyone there!
This little cafe on George Street was introduced to me by my Mum - A.K.A The Scone Queen - and has been one of my go-to's since. There's always a tasty array of home-made traybakes on the go to accompany a hot drink of your choice and - if you're lucky enough to get a seat - it's a perfect place for a pitstop when you've been shopping on either Princes or George Street and need a break
And with that our food tour was over and it was time to head back home, but not before taking some snaps of the beautiful sunset on George Street (... and then Princes Street, it was a big 'un). We were so, so lucky with our food choices this time round - normally there's always one dodgy one you and you belly would rather forget - but I couldn't have been more pleased with our meals. I've had quite a few of you ask for recommendations since so hopefully this'll help you source some tasty dishes next time you make a trip down!