When wandering around the beautiful city of Edinburgh, you will inevitably need a lunch break.

We are here to help, with our list of the best places for lunch in Scotland's capital.

From street food to sandwiches, Mexican to Malaysian, Edinburgh has a whole host of brilliant eateries which will make your lunchtimes the best times.

Ting Thai Caravan

(Teviot Pl, EH1 2RA, 0131 225 9801)

First time at Caravan, with my hunnies!???? It did not disappoint!???????? #instafood #omnomnom #rice #pork #prawns

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The street-food of Thailand has been brought to the capital by this gem of a joint.

It’s certainly not fancy, but the food is to die for. Meals are served in cardboard containers at a very reasonable cost, making it popular with Edinburgh’s students.

Dining at the Caravan is a fun experience, with the staff’s favourite music playing, and the tables crammed together to create a cosy atmosphere.

The kitchen is open plan, so you can see how each dish is created.

The Pad Thai is delicious, as is the roti flatbread with chilli jam.

There are also plenty of gluten-free options.

El Cartel

(64 Thistle St, EH2 1EN, 0131 226 7171)

It tastes as good as it looks ????

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The tacos at El Cartel are unparalleled. Ever since opening in 2014, this Mexican eatery offers a simple menu of tacos and street snacks, but these few dishes are fresh and inventive.

You can choose between seven or eight varieties of tacos, with fantastic fillings such as pineapple, white onion and coriander. The old favourites, chicken wings and guacamole, also make an appearance.

Although the restaurant is small, and can feel cramped when it is busy, the food more than makes up for any inconvenience.

Manna House

(22-24 Easter Road, EH7 5RG, 0131 652 2349)

Billed as a bakery and café, the Manna House also has some sublime savouries which will definitely whet your appetite at lunchtime.

The bacon and cheese croissants, the soups and the salads are all made with the greatest care, and the sandwiches are created using the bakery’s own rustic bread.

If all this is still not enough to fill you up, why not try out one of their incredible range of cakes.

The cinnamon and apple crumble slices are particularly good, but there is also a wide selection of patisserie to choose from.

Nile Valley

(6 Chapel St, EH8 9AY, 0131 667 8200)

That's a wrap! #edibledinburgh????

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This Sudanese restaurant has been a popular lunch spot for decades.

The Middle Eastern dishes are both authentically tasty, including falafel, char-grilled aubergine, and hummus.

The restaurant is particularly popular with university staff and students, who will queue for as long as it takes to get their favourite lunch.

Nile Valley can be found in a small basement, which is decorated with posters for local events. If you want a full meal rather than a snack, the set menu is a complete bargain.

Edinburgh Larder

(15 Blackfriars St, EH1 1NB, 0131 556 6922)

Monday ain't so bad | #EdLarderCafe

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The focus of the Edinburgh Larder is local Scottish produce, and its regular customers fully appreciate the high quality of the food here.

Often, the windows are steamed up because of the hordes of hungry punters looking for the best lunch in town.

The morning rolls are a good way to start the day, and the deli platters are perfect for sharing with friends. The salads and sandwiches are expertly put together, and the walnut chocolate brownie is highly recommended.

Mother India’s Café 

(3-5 Infirmary St, Old Town, EH1 1LT, 0131 524 9801)

Indian Food #instafood #foodporn #spicyfood #edinburgh #indianfood #sogood

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The first Mother India eatery opened in Glasgow in 1996, which was followed by the popular Edinburgh branch in 2008.

This café-restaurant specialises in tapas-style Indian food, making it ideal for sharing, or a light lunch.

Every dish is freshly prepared, and infused with the most fascinating flavours. The menu lists a whole range of delicious morsels, including patina lamb, made with mint; lamb saag, which has spinach; and chana daal, made from fresh lentils.

Los Cardos

(281 Leith Walk, EH6 8PD, 0131 555 6619)


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Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, told Shortlist Magazine that the haggis burrito at Los Cardos is one of his guilty pleasures, and we think it will soon be one of your’s too.

The carnitas burrito is equally wonderful – filled with slow-cooked pulled pork which has been marinated for hours in a zingy salsa verde.

Union of Genius

(8 Forrest Road, EH1 2QN, 0131 226 4436)

Flight hype ????

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Soup may not always be the most exciting food in the world, but Union of Genius is sure to make you re-think this humble lunch-time staple.

Local ingredients and suppliers take precedence, ensuring the highest quality and the best flavours.

Some of the soups are pretty innovative, including the Ghanian chicken and peanut curry soup, and the Moroccan harira soup.

One of the perennial favourites among regulars is the caldo vede, which is made with paprika and chorizo.

If you are lucky, one of the few tables will be free, but if not, you can always grab a take-away.

About The Author

Maddy Searle

Maddy lives in Edinburgh and has written for the Sunday Herald and the Ed Fringe Review. She is passionate about authentic, sustainably sourced food, and is always keen to discover exciting new flavours.

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