It’s going to be scorchio, so head to the Edinburgh Riviera, aka Portobello - currently the capital’s hippest hood..
Don’t pack a picnic, as there are plenty of food businesses to keep you fed.
We’ve included a selection of our favourites. However, locals also rate the “institution of a public house” that is Ormelie Tavern, tapas restaurant, Malvarosa, and Butternut Squash. Then there’s Sugar House, micro-baker, Wildside, The Fine Wine Company, Foresters Guild, Portobello Tap, where they serve Jones & Son Burgers, The Beach House and cafe Skylark.
This special business opened during lockdown as an East Lothian delivery service, but now they’ve brought their handmade pasta, sauces (and bread) to lucky old Porty. “We’ve been incredibly busy since the first day. Bestsellers are Gorgonzola and walnut ravioli paired with sage butter and our own tagliatelle with Macduff braised beef shin ragu””, says co-owner Giada Betti. Although they’ve only been here for a month, they’ve decided on their favourite neighbours.
“We often enjoy a bagel from Bross Bagels, lovely bread loaves and pastries from Twelve Triangles or fresh fruit and vegetables form Root Down.”
186 Portobello High Street, www.aemilia.online
This “corner shop green-grocer”, which stocks local brands including Bad Gal Boocha and Pittenweem Chocolate Company, opened four weeks before lockdown 2020. “We love working and living in Portobello because of the diverse community - folk of all nationalities and backgrounds”, says owner Robbie Glendinning. “Some have lived here all their lives, others just moved here last week”. Their bestsellers are Perthshire strawberries and fresh vegetables from Pittormie Farm in Cupar. “We love the Golden Bite for the best fish and chips in town, Portobello Tap for beer and amazing burgers, Greek Artisan Bakery for pies and baklava and the newly opened Tanifiki. We're spoiled for choice”.
79 Portobello High Street, www.rootdown.co.uk
On hot days, this cafe and roastery is a cool retreat, with an industrial and cavernous feel. Its name is a portmanteau of two other business titles, since it’s a partnership between Jonathan Quinton, the owner of Tani Modi on Hanover Street and Benjamin Murenzi of Rafiki Coffee, who source high-quality specialty coffee from Rwanda. “Customers get to know who grew the coffee they’re drinking, see how it’s roasted in the shop and interact with our professional baristas,” says Ben. “We believe in the strength of community and small business, which is why Portobello is a perfect location.” Oh, and they serve excellent cakes.
44 Portobello High Street, Instagram @tanifiki
THE PORTOBELLO BOOKSHOP
It’s not officially a food business, but Portobello’s favourite independent bookshop has a great selection of cookbooks. “Recently published books that we're excited about include The Green Barbecue by Rukmini Iyer and Amber & Rye: A Baltic Food Journey by Zuza Zak”, says employee Helena. They’re also planning an event on Friday October 1 to celebrate Jessica Elliott Dennison’s forthcoming book Lazy Baking, see their website for details.
“Portobello has so many amazing places to get great food from. Some of our favourites are Portobello Tap, Greek Artisan Pastries, Tanifiki for incredible coffee and pastries from local bakers, Crumbs of Portobello for delicious rolls, crepes and coffee right in front of the sea, and the new arrival, Aemilia.”
46 Portobello High Street (www.theportobellobookshop.com)
THE LITTLE CHARTROOM ON THE PROM
You’ve got until September to visit this popular takeaway van, from the team behind The Little Chartroom (who are transforming their Albert Place premises into new restaurant and wine bar, Eleanore, and relocating the original venue). Dishes might include the grilled squid, dressed fregula, tomatoes and fennel, or prawn katsu bun.
47-49 Figgate Lane, Instagram @tlc_ontheprom
“Since opening in April, Prom Slice has sold nearly 45,000 slices”, says owner Michele Civiera. Their current bestseller is the Smiddy BBQ collaboration pizza which sells out daily and is topped with white oak slow-smoked BBQ brisket, salsa verde, mozzarella di bufala, San Marzano sugo and pimento chilli. They’re also just about to add a buffalo cauliflower pizza with ranch dressing and vegan sriracha mayo. Civiera is a local and says; “My favorite Portobello business is The Little Green Van and a hidden gem is the Golden Bite - a proper old-fashioned family run chippy who gives you the friendliest service ever”.
47-49 Figgate Lane, www.civerinosslice.com
GREEK ARTISAN PASTRIES
There’s always a queue outside this Greek pastry shop, which has a sister branch on Edinburgh’s Bread Street. Bypass the local Greggs and get along here early for gravieropita - gruyere cheese pie sprinkled with breadcrumbs, or loads of sweet options, like traditional syrupy baklava.
32 Portobello High Street, www.aristonfoodsltd.co.uk
These days, you’re never far from a Twelve Triangles almond croissant, as they have branches all over town, including a new one coming to Morningside. This is one of their more bijoux venues - perfect for taking away a flat white, a sausage roll and/or a couple of pastries to eat on the beach. “Porty has exploded recently”, says owner Rachel Morgan. “We moved in in 2015, when there was Skylark, but it wasn’t quite as booming”.
300 Portobello High Street, www.twelvetriangles.co.uk
This Montreal-style bagel business has outlets at Leith, West End, Bruntsfield, Stockbridge and a deli branch on Little King Street, opening soon as part of St James Quarter. The four-year-old Portobello branch was their first, so it’d be remiss not to try the Porty bagel, which contains a lemon and dill schmear, hot smoked salmon and lemon and dill pickles.
177 Portobello High Street, www.brossbagels.com