Last Tuesday was my husband’s birthday and what better way to celebrate than to head into the capital for the day. If we could have found a babysitter for the night we would have definitely looked for an affordable hotel in Edinburgh, because there really are hundreds to choose from to suit every budget. There are so many wonderful restaurants and attractions in Edinburgh. Of course you can do the obvious and go for a meal at the Omni Centre, do a little shopping on Princess Street and even book tickets to see a show at the Edinburgh Playhouse, however, we actually have a lot more fun when we venture outside of the hustle and bustle and simply stumble across new eateries and hidden gems. Don’t worry, if you get lost, there’s almost always a bus or taxi to pop on that’ll take you back into town.
It was a beautiful morning so we started our day in Morningside and strolled through Bruntsfield were I popped into many of their boutique-like charity shops along the way, whilst Ross played Pokemon Go and looked for a somewhere for a bite to eat. We came across Castello Coffee (7-8 Barclay Terrace, EH10 4HP), a tiny artisan coffee shop overlooking the meadows. We both ordered two frothy lattes and Ross went for a sandwich and I chose the stack of sticky toffee pancakes. I had the disappointing feeling I’d been out-ordered at first, the bite I took out of Ross’ sandwich was heavenly. The heat from the pastrami and sriracha mayo made my lips tingle and the pickles cut through it perfectly. My pancakes weren’t much to look at but, wow, they were delicious. They were soaked in a sickly sweet toffee sauce and I made sure that I mopped up every last drip. The bitterness of my coffee was the perfect accompaniment. Even though seating was limited, I liked the cafe’s cosy but modern decor and relaxed atmosphere. I also eyed up their selection of baked goods as I was leaving but thought I better pace myself…
We then took a long walk into town and found ourselves looking for a cosy pub overlooking the historic cobbles of the Grassmarket, an area of Edinburgh hidden behind the castle and a short distance from the Royal Mile. We sat at Biddy Mulligans (94-96 Grassmarket, EH1 2JR), an authentic Irish pub known for its live music and warm welcome. It has an outside drinking area, but we soon headed inside where it’s obviously a lot less lively during the day but just as friendly and cosy. We sat at the window drinking a huge glass of Edinburgh Gin’s Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueur with lemonade served over a mountain of ice with a wedge of lime. We’ve both drunk nothing but Edinburgh Gin since we took a tour of their wee distillery last year which is another hidden gem just a stone throw away from the shops here. We then headed up to the Royal Mile via Victoria St, which is now popular for it’s surprisingly tiny, but hugely popular Harry Potter inspired giftshops…
We walked down the Royal Mile for a bit and contemplated visiting the National Museum of Scotland (Chambers St, EH1 1JF), their rooftop terrace is one of my favourite spots in Edinburgh, however, the birthday boy wanted to visit a Mexican street food restaurant we’d heard about and catch a showing of Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse at the Omni Centre. Wahaca (16 S St Andrew St, EH2 2AU) is actually a chain of Mexican inspired diners, but from a quick look at their location map, I think this is currently the only one in Scotland. We ordered a passionfruit mojito and a basil and strawberry daiquiri along with the Chargrilled Bavette Steak Sharing Taco Board. It came on a huge turquoise plate inside brightly coloured clay pots full of grilled fundido cheese, guacamole, fresh slaw, black beans, salsa, and a basket of 6 corn tortillas for £16.25.
Everything tasted incredibly fresh and I was impressed at how reasonable the prices were considering how central it’s location is. There were pops of colour and artwork everywhere, upbeat music and laid back atmosphere; there was even a football table upstairs. We will definitely be returning as I loved the amount of smaller dishes you could mix and match from depending on your appetite and I was also impressed with the number of vegan options available including sweet potato burritos and poblano pepper enchiladas. I’m afraid my photos don’t fully capture how fresh and vibrant the food was, but we were in such a hurry to devour it!
The thing I love about the capital is, yes, you can hit the usual tourist spots (the castle, ghost tours, Dynamic Earth, national galleries etc.) but you can also discover your very own Edinburgh. You can dine at a new restaurant every time you visit, treat yourself to a wee dram at the Whiski Rooms, visit the Surgeon’s Hall Museum; home to the largest pathology collection in the UK, stumble across a hidden gin distillery, visit a comedy club, wander around a food festival, simply sit in a beautiful beer garden with spectacular views of the castle or even visit Tom Riddle’s grave at Greyfriars Kirkyard. The possibilities are endless.
*This is a collaborative post. The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.