The best soup and sandwich places in Edinburgh
Where to find a quick, fresh and tasty lunch in the Scottish capital
This article is from 2011.
Old town & University
15 Bank Street, EH1 2LN, 0131 220 4400
It’s hard not to waste your lunch break choosing from the long list of sandwich fillings at this unassuming gem of a café. Or just take the advice of regulars and go for the ‘number 9’ with spicy chicken, jalapenos, Manchego and special home-made sauce, then leave feeling stuffed.
61 Cockburn Street, EH1 1BS, 0131 662 7447, www.cafemarina.co.uk
With legendary deli Valvona and Crolla ancestry, the eponymous hostess of this small café knows good Italian food. Daily pasta specials are hearty and flavoursome, and along with a classic meat loaf and frittata they make for more interesting takeaway than standard paninis.
103-105 West Bow, EH1 2JP, 0131 220 1121, www.hulagood.co.uk
Perfect for a midday vitamin boost, Hula offers a multitude of juices or smoothies. The ‘Pink Lady’ is a particularly refreshing combination of apple, ginger, lemon and lime, and things remain healthy in the savoury department, with filled wraps and bagels also available.
6 Chapel Street, EH8 9AY, 0131 667 8200
This is the best place for falafel-stuffed wraps, with all the usual salads plus various additions such as smoky grilled aubergine and authentically Sudanese ‘Ful’ fava beans. Soups are also available, and if you don’t want to take away there’s plenty of room to sit downstairs.
34 Victoria Street, EH1 2JW, 0131 220 0089
It’s reassuring to see that a fast food joint can be just as simple as a whole roast hog in a window, gradually falling apart as chunks of meat are sandwiched into buns with choices of apple sauce and stuffing.
27 Simpson Loan (Quarter Mile), EH3 9GG, 0131 228 5876, www.petersyard.com
Classy Swedish café Peter’s Yard lives by the ethos that the first ingredient one needs when making a good sandwich is passion. Swiftly followed by a piece of really good bread – which is hand-made on site using traditional methods. Recently opened takeaway shop Savour-to-go behind the original café serves soups, sandwiches, coffees and homemade ice-cream.
138 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4ER, 0131 228 8265, www.ooudkitchen.com
Finally finding its feet, this Ottolenghi-inspired outlet serving Eastern Med cuisine does wonderful mezze boxes chockful of falafel, lemon hummus and baba ganoush with either rice or fresh flatbread. Add in a sweet hit of nutty baklava.
10 Gillespie Place, EH10 4HS, 0131 228 5200
Now in new hands, the bubbly Ashley Alongi runs a freshly-scrubbed place that’s perfect for veggies with salads full of freshness and imagination and a different soup every day. Get your hands around a hot Stromboli bursting with a marriage of spinach and mozzarella.
44 Leven Street, EH3 9LJ, 0131 656 0513
When the sun’s out, students and other enlightened types grab a picnic from the Treehouse and head for the Meadows. Just about everything is freshly made on-site, and beyond the well-filled bagels, rolls and paninis, cakes like chocolate and orange sponge are highlights.
366 Morningside Road, EH10 4QN, 0131 466 8337, www.thezululounge.co.uk
Grab a little South African sunshine at this tiny shebeen-style café where the menu hits plenty of familiar notes, but a couple of exotic ones too with biltong salad and boerewors (a sausage with a spicy coriander hit) rolls. Soup’s fresh daily and never run of the mill.
New Town & Broughton
42 Howe Street, EH3 6TH, 0131 225 3711, www.appetitedirect.com
Making the most of a small space, Appetite Direct is a deli kitchen serving soups and salads alongside their speciality range of hot takeaway dishes, including fish pie, Vietnamese flavoured mince with rice and home-made hamburgers.
7 Barony Street, EH3 6PD, 0131 558 7111, www.broughton-deli.co.uk
The Broughton Street area’s overflowing with good lunchtime cafes, and this is one of the best. For sit-in, takeaway or office delivery (for ten or more), they offer an extensive range of crêpes, salads, soups, sandwiches, flat-bread pizzas, homemade pies and cakes.
23 Henderson Row, EH1 3SA, 0131 556 5835; 42 Broughton Street, EH3 5DH, 558 3837
Formerly known as The Globe, this two-branch chain has more than just a smart new makeover to recommend it. Breakfast (including porridge), soup, wraps, paninis, rolls and stovies are all available, and can be ordered online pre-11am for pickup or delivery.
1 Forth Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3JX and 121 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DJ www.urban-angel.co.uk
Urban Angel eschews multinational brands in favour of local, organic and fairly traded produce. The Hanover Street branch is a warren of basement rooms with vintage mirrors adding character to stark white walls, and the Forth Street décor is similarly cool and contemporary.
Leith & Leith Walk
35 The Shore, EH6 6QN, 0131 553 1922
A Shore staple, the Clock is a stalwart with locals and businesses in the area (to whom it delivers). Daily-changing soups and hot panini are on the menu alongside a fridge stuffed with flatbreads, vegan and vegetarian salad boxes and sweet traybakes.
29 Haddington Place, Leith Walk, EH7 4AG, 0131 652 3880, www.embo-deli.com
For Leith Walkers, Embo’s reputation precedes it. As a café it’s snug, but the exciting range of focaccia, baguettes, wraps and salads are just as enjoyable back at your desk. As with the extensive vegetarian options and the homemade juice of the day, freshness comes as standard.
22–24 Easter Road, EH7 5RG, 0131 652 2349
There’s some amazing food on offer at this beloved little bakery/café, with sweet and savoury goodies including various handy lunch options en croute, in pies and on bread – plus, it’s all created without the aid of additives, shelf life improvers or flavour enhancers.
36 Commercial Street, EH6 6JA, 0131 476 1920
Located in a gorgeous, high-ceilinged store just off the Shore, this welcoming little deli serves quality dry goods, and is also a multi-purpose sit-in or takeaway café. Offering bread, cakes, soup and sandwiches, it often shares menu items with its nearby sister café Rocksalt.
17a Queensferry Street, EH2 4QW, 0131 226 3005, www.breadandolivesedinburgh.co.uk
Spice up your end-of-week lunchtime with ‘Curry Fridays’ or soup it up with chicken, sweet potato and chorizo or sweet spud and courgette, made fresh on the premises. And grab a hunk of bread to go, all very good stuff from the great Au Gourmand bakery.
232 Morrison Street, EH3 8EA, 0131 629 6022, www.cafemilk.co.uk
Fresh new kid on the block, Milk has clear ideas about food. Fresh and seasonal if at all possible and served in compostable containers, there’s a Thai/Goan/Moroccan slant to the flavours of salads, sandwiches and hot dishes including North African chickpea and lentil soup.
68 Haymarket Terrace, EH12 5LQ, 0131 467 2671
Lorena Crolla is the West End’s queen of the salad box. She offers nearly 30 choices, all made fresh. Flavours range from Thai to Italian. Carbs come from cous cous, udon noodles, pasta or tatties. Balance all that healthy eating with a slice of Lorena’s accomplished baking.
7 William Street, EH4 1HJ, 226 6366
No-one does more soups than Herbie: at least seven – yes, seven – choices hit the chalkboard every day, all-year-round. All made with real stock too. And since this wholesome William Street soup machine is owned by Morrison’s Bakery, the bread, rolls, pies, quiche and tarts are guaranteed fresh daily. Even on Sundays.
9a West Maitland Street, EH12 5DS, 0131 221 1894
Go Gallic with the well-thought-out lunch offers at this bustling temple to all things French. Go for cheese, pâté, or charcuterie and salad on a baguette, while more substantial hot dishes such as chicken Provençal is good to go. Patisserie favourites will tempt too.