Is Bruntsfield about to become Edinburgh’s new food hotspot?

Bruntsfield has always been well known for its independent shops and cafes. Restaurants, however, have traditionally been few and far between in the area.

Published 21st Dec 2017
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

Aside from a handful of stalwart bistros offering evening dining, Bruntsfield’s streets are usually empty after 6pm.

But this is beginning to change, as more eateries are moving in to the neighbourhood and helping to create a food hotspot away from the city centre.

New openings in Bruntsfield

A big name on the Edinburgh dining scene, Chop House, is set to open in Bruntsfield in spring 2018.

Rumours suggest that Tom Kitchin’s gastropub, The Scran and Scallie, will also be moving in to the area.

Over the past year, more and more cafes and restaurants have sprung up in the south Edinburgh neighbourhood, including LeftField (formerly Katie’s Diner), Honeycomb and Co, and Black Ivy.

Add to this the bistros which have been holding the fort for years (such as the Three Birds, Montpeliers and Osteria del Tempo Perso) and it seems like Bruntsfield is well and truly becoming a must-visit destination for foodies.

A desire for hyper-local dining

Around 10 years ago, Leith’s Shore saw an influx of gourmet restaurants and Michelin-starred eateries, putting it firmly on the map as a gourmet destination for food fans.

Now, Bruntsfield looks set to follow in its Leith counterpart’s footsteps – but why are areas like these, away from the city centre, proving so popular with restaurateurs?

Edinburgh food blogger, Ailidh Forlan (who documents some of the best food in the city on her Instagram, @PlateExpectations), believes it’s because of a desire for hyper-local dining.

“In Edinburgh, there's a real desire to support local producers and independent restaurants, but also a yearning for that neighbourhood feel,” she says.

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“This is certainly the case in Bruntsfield, where a diverse crowd (many with a disposable income) are hotfooting it to the nearby watering hole, Montpeliers, and piling into the likes of Honeycomb and Co, where the ethos celebrates the provenance and quality of Scottish produce.

“Dining locally and being part of a Bruntsfield community resonates with so many of its inhabitants.”

The local crowd are certainly eagerly anticipating the arrival of new restaurants, but a concentration of great eateries in the neighbourhood will surely attract discerning diners from further afield, too.

Chop House Bruntsfield – which is due to open in spring 2018 – will be the third Chop House outlet for the capital’s restaurant group, The Compass Group.

With restaurants already in Leith and at The Arches, embracing locality and immersing themselves in the neighbourhood community has always been important for Chop House.

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Picture: Chop House Leith Facebook

“Bruntsfield is a fantastic area with a great range of coffee spots, bars and bistros, and we think our brand of cocktail bar and butchery will be a great addition,” says Murray Ainslie, the operations director at The Compass Group.

Moving away from the city centre

Another reason for the rise in popularity of local dining is the soaring cost of opening a restaurant in the city centre.

St Andrew Square has recently been dubbed Edinburgh’s ‘cuisine quarter’, yet almost all the businesses there are national or international chains.

The huge size of units, coupled with the expensive running costs, have priced out small, independent, local businesses and instead luxury restaurants such as The Ivy, Gaucho and Dishoom have moved in.

Independent restaurateurs are increasingly looking towards neighbourhoods like Bruntsfield to create thriving restaurants on a smaller scale.

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According to Forlan, diners are also looking for an alternative to the expensive city centre.

“There's no denying that Edinburgh's thriving New Town is a hotspot for eating and drinking but - let's face it - getting dolled up and splashing out on those George Street premium prices just can't compete with strolling down the road to your relaxed local,” she says.

“It's no wonder that we're all hotly anticipating the arrival of Chop House - that's less distance between the comfort of your living room and, I'll boldly say, irrefutably the best steakhouse in Edinburgh. We're ready for it!”

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Gillian is a writer and blogger from Edinburgh, with a penchant for drinking cocktails, exploring the city's independent shops and trying out as many new restaurants as possible.
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