Edinburgh’s best budget lunch spots

Edinburgh Budget Lunch

Are you like me – you’ve not even finished drinking the milk from the bottom of your cereal bowl and you’re already thinking about what’s for lunch?

So, I love to eat? It’s only my waistline that has a problem with this.

I also can’t really cook, which has lead to a pretty regular eating out habit. Economical for a student and avid traveller? Probably not. 

It’s through this ‘Grand Tour of Edinburgh Eateries’ however, that I’ve managed to pinpoint where my pennies are likely to stretch that wee bit further. These places are not only great value but are perfect if you’re in a hurry on your lunch hour or if the sun has actually made an appearance, allowing for some al-fresco dining.

So, I give you 5 of Edinburgh’s best budget lunch spots where tasty satisfying lunch doesn’t have to burst your purse as well as your belly. 

The Baked Potato Shop

56 CockBurn Street

Now first thing’s first, I am the self confessed queen of carnivores so the fact that a VEGETARIAN/VEGAN eatery has featured in my best lunches list speaks for itself.

The takeaway is in a prime location where Cockburn Street meets the Royal Mile and is the perfect non-guilty pleasure.

The absence of meat is in no way detrimental to the quality and variety of fillings, in fact the selection of tempting creations rivals that of any similar shop I’ve visited. My favourite is the Mexican salad; a mixture of colourful crunch with a wee kick; accompanied by a generous helping of cheese.

My monstrous, Mexican salad spud

If that doesn’t tickle your pickle why not opt for chunky, home-made guacamole? Or perhaps the fruity coleslaw or Greek salad?

Either way, your visit will only set you back between £3.99 and £5.99 depending on the size and number of fillings you opt for. A small baked potato with 2 fillings is enough to send me in to a near food coma!

There’s only a small space to sit in so I would recommend grabbing it to-go and finding a seat at nearby Hunter’s Square or downhill to Princes Street Gardens.

Oink Hog Roast

34 Victoria Street – Website

Completely contrasting to my previous recommendation, this popular lunch spot tempts carnivorous indulgence from the moment you approach the window. Have you joined the widespread worry, post-horse meat scandal,  about where the meat you’re eating has come from? Well fear not, you’re fed straight from the roasted piggy in the window (veggies, avoid looking in at all costs!).

Edinburgh Budget Lunch

Juicy pork and crunchy crackling

Embrace the local culture and infamous stodgy cuisine of Scotland by double dosing your animal intake with a dollop of haggis. Not a fan? Pimp your simple hog roast bun with apple sauce, sage & onion stuffing or chilli relish.

Prices are £2.60 for the child-sized ‘Piglet’, £3.60 for the Kay-sized ‘Oink’ and £4.60 for bad boy ‘Grunter’.

Stockbridge Markets

Sundays only at Stockbridge Market, 1 Saunders Street Website

Venture to little village-like area of Stockbridge – just a short escape downhill from the city centre – for a Sunday stroll and open air lunch at the Stockbridge Market.

Weave through the pottering people and colourful stalls, taking in the passing smells of coffee, freshly baked bread and scented soaps. Then head to one of my two favourite food stalls for some funky, fresh food on the go…

Budget lunch Edinburgh

The only place better than your bed to spend a Sunday

Harajuku Kitchen


The Japenese Deli delights found at this stall include:

– Chicken, pork or veggie udon noodles

– Pork & Shrimp Dumplings and veggie gyoza

– Miso Soup

– Sushi

All are prepared fresh that morning (or right in front of you) and are served by one of the dynamic duo that is husband and wife, Keith from Scotland and Kaori from Japan. A warm and enthusiastic pair, Keith took delight in proudly telling me that Kaori comes from three generations of Japanese chefs.

I love their food and service, plus the fact you can enjoy any of the above dishes for under £5 is a major bonus.

Budget Lunch Edinburgh

Mango and Avocado sushi courtesy of Keith and Kaori

Babu Bombay Street Kitchen


Just a stones throw from the stall above is where you’ll find the perfect marriage between Indian street food and Scottish classics; Bombay mince & tatties (spicy chicken mince with cumin potatoes) and my favourite brunch choice, a bacon chapati wrap (a hot chapati filled with juicy bacon, crunchy stredded lettuce and chutney). They also do specials each week and have a selection of home made chutneys, a must have condiment for any kitchen!

Their dishes are hot, healthy treats for your taste buds and come in under £5.

Perch to enjoy your purchases on the wee wall or steps at the market, or head down to the nearby river for a seat with a view.

Budget lunch Edinburgh

The owner Rachna preparing my hangover cure

 The Original Mosque Kitchen

50 Potterow

Hidden behind Edinburgh’s Central Mosque, The Original Mosque Kitchen sits in modest, unsuspecting surroundings. It’s a wee gem and was once featured in the ‘Best Indian Restaurant’ category.

The food is served in cafeteria style but if a far cry from the bland, sloppy school dinners I remember!

Choose from all the classics; a variety of chicken curries, spinach and potato with rice, samosa, pakora and naan.

Chicken curry, chick peas with masala sauce, a naan bread and a can of mango juice came to a grand total of £5! And the portions are MASSIVE. A couple could easily share this sized serving.

I enjoy eating outside under the canopy, allowing myself to imagine I am somewhere more exotic than Edinburgh. There is also a new and strangely stylish upstairs Aroma cafe, where you can order the same food as downstairs with table service or lounge on one of the sofas with a coffee. I personally think this modern addition is ill fitting with the original, rustic kitchen downstairs so I’ll be sticking to my paper bowl and plastic fork thank you!

Budget lunch Edinburgh

The Mosque Kitchen the way I like it!

Have you eaten in any of these places? What did you think?

Where’s your favorite place to grab a budget lunch in Edinburgh?




  • Amanda says:

    Yum! The only one I’ve been to on your list is the Baked Potato Shop. But I can vouch that it is indeed amazing! Had a Greek salad potato that was very tasty – especially since I’d just spent a month traveling through Eastern Europe and was desperately craving all those veggies!

    Definitely need to try Oink Hog Roast next time… that looks beyond delicious!

    • Kay says:

      There is a distinct lack of good, healthy food in Eastern Europe. I always felt so sorry for the veggies on my Go East tours!

      I’m sure the Eastern Europeans would favour for the Oink Hog Roast over my other recommendations.

      Definitely pop on it on the list for your next visit to Edinburgh and be sure to invite me along when you do it 😉

  • Jeff says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to the Oink Hog Roast, smells amazing from the outside and the giant hog at the front it always impressive.

    Bombay mince n tattles at the Babu Bombay Street stall sound immense!

    Defo checking both out when am back in town 😉

    • Kay says:

      I thought you’d appreciate a wee food blog Jeff! We’ll go and eat our way through Stockbridge Market when you’re back 😀

  • Kate Munro says:

    It’s also worth a mention that Oink Hog Roast is even more amazing after a BIG night…a pork roll with chilli sauce and an irn bru will fix you right up in no time 🙂 wish I’d checked out the other places when I was living in Edinburgh! Oh we’ll…will just have to visit again 🙂

    • Kay says:

      Wait for it Kate, when I was hungover on Sunday I had a hog roast roll with chilli sauce AND I went to the Mosque Kitchen for a curry for lunch! ha ha. Somehow I convince myself that I deserve it when I’m hungover because I’m ‘unwell’ but it’s totally self inflicted!

  • Liam says:

    Got to get LetMeEat ay holyrood down there. Their soups, wraps and paninis are great and stuffed to the brim. Would recommend a visit.

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