As I’m sure you all know by now, I love Edinburgh and all the lovely things it has to offer. So as part of the Hertz Big Travel List, I’ve put together a few of my very favourite Edinburgh places which might not be tourist hot-spots, but are definitely worth a visit. Remember to check out my City Guides and Edinburgh posts for more inspiration!
Drinking: The Dragonfly, West Port
As cocktail bars go, The Dragonfly is pretty dreamy. I’ve definitely professed my love for The Dragonfly once or twice on here before, but I shall do it again, just in case you needed any persuading. Tourists usually flock to the overpriced pubs in the Grassmarket, but if you venture another 30 seconds up the road you’ll come to The Dragonfly which is infinitely better. They make all sorts of cocktails, many of which are original Dragonfly mixes, including just about every ingredient you could think of. I love that The Dragonfly is pretty relaxed and a wee bit fancy without being pretentious – I’ve been here for many occasions, from pre-dinner cocktails with my parents, to birthday drinks with friends, to a few quick ones before heading to a club. The cocktail menu has something to suit everyone, but my personal favourites include the Joe Le Taxi, Up the Apples and Pears, and Raspberry Ripple. It’s a fairly small bar, and can get really busy on weekend evenings, so I’d definitely recommend coming here for a late-afternoon cocktail to make sure you can grab one of the comfy sofas up on the mezzanine level and soak up the atmosphere (and booze). I came here last Friday evening whilst my friend was up visiting, and we enjoyed a couple of cocktails courtesy of Hertz before heading off for dinner elsewhere.
Eating: Passorn, Tollcross
I love trying out new eateries, but one I always come back to year after year is Passorn. If I had to choose (don’t make me!), I think this would be my number one favourite restaurant in Edinburgh, yet it’s still relatively unknown and I wish more people knew how amazing it is. Passorn do authentic Thai food with a bit of a modern Scottish twist. They have lots of traditional recipes as well as some more contemporary ones, all cooked to order by talented Thai chefs, using fresh Scottish ingredients. The spicy tenderloin beef salad is always my starter of choice, and then I usually have a bit of a difficult decision narrowing down my choice for a main! There are lots of different curries, soups, stir fried dishes and noodles to choose from and they’re all equally delicious – even the side orders like coconut rice with crispy onions are mouthwatering. The food is really what makes Passorn stand out for me, but it also helps that the staff are all friendly and attentive, plus I love their choice of indie background music (I’ve heard everything from The Smiths to The Shins!).
Shopping: Lupe Pinto’s, Tollcross
Edinburgh has lots of nice wee boutiques and vintage shops, but if I’m being totally honest I think my favourite Edinburgh shop would have to be a food-related one – Lupe Pinto’s. Specialising in Mexican food and also stocking lots of other world foods, Lupe Pinto’s has all sorts of weird and wonderful ingredients that you can’t get in the average British supermarket. The shop is tiny (and I mean really tiny, more than 3 or 4 people and you can barely move!) but I could happily spend ages browsing to find new spicy things to try. It’s worth going for their fresh flour tortillas alone – puts the packets you get in Tesco to shame! There’s every type of hot sauce and tequila you could image, plus cooking sauces, tinned goods, baking ingredients and even a little deli counter. They also stock a good range of American groceries and candy, so if you fancy getting your hands on some Marshmallow Fluff, Jell-o or Frank’s RedHot Sauce, Lupe’s is definitely the place to go. They also have a couple of Lupe Pinto’s cookbooks if you need some recipe inspiration, plus there’s another branch in Glasgow for those of you over in the west.
Snacking: S. Luca’s, Morningside
The weather might be a bit miserable just now, but no matter the season, you can’t beat a nice big ice cream sundae. S. Luca’s is a family-run business who have been making their own ice cream for over 100 years. During the summer, it’s nice to have a wander along to Luca’s for a cone of ice cream and then go sit out on the nearby Bruntsfield Links, but if the weather’s not so nice it’s definitely worth going upstairs for a seat in the cafe. Plus you’ll get to indulge in an ice cream sundae instead of just a cone! I’m a big fan of the classic hot fudge sundae, but there are lots of options on the menu – and be sure to check if there are any special flavours on the menu that day so you can ask for a scoop of that in place of vanilla or strawberry. The Irn Bru sorbet is a must if it’s on the menu, can’t beat it! Luca’s feels like a lovely cross between a 50’s diner and an old-fashioned ice cream parlour, plus there are lots of retro sweeties to purchase too if you can fight past the swarms of hyper children!
What are your favourite places to visit in Edinburgh? Any insider tips to share?