Everyone loves burgers, whether they’re beef, chicken or of the veggie variety. They always seem to be a go-to on the menu for me. Recently Edinburgh has seen a surge in restaurants dedicated to the burger. I have by no means tried them all – I still have Five Guys, Byron, Whistle Stop Barber Shop and Burger Meats Bun to try to name a small few! However here’s a snapshot of the burgers I’ve had my chops around and would recommend you do the same!
The Red Squirrel
The Red Squirrel is situated at the bottom of Lothian Road just off princes street. It’s a great stop for a juicy burger and a pint of craft beer to wash it down with. My brother and I were going to a gig at the castle so it was the perfect location for us to have our dinner beforehand. My brother loves his chicken burgers so he opted for ‘the dirty bird,’ fried chicken with baby gem lettuce, emmental cheese, a lemon mayo served with sweet potato fries. I am a beef lover when it comes to my burgers and I’m becoming more adventurous with spicy food so I opted for ‘the chilli death,’ fresh chillies, jalapeños, applewood cheddar, habanero ketchup and some sour cream to cool it down slightly. We went halfers so I got to taste the dirty bird and he had some chilli death too.
We had some sweet chilli jam and garlic mayo for dipping our chips. They have a loyalty scheme too just like when you collect stamps for a free coffee. The drumsticks were a nice wee touch at the end.
One of the new kids on the block, TriBeCa is situated in upmarket Bruntsfield which is a haven of foodie goodness. Set on the corner as you come into Bruntsfield from the Tollcross area, it’s a little piece of NYC in Edinburgh. There was a New York Taxi cab held in place above my head where I was sitting and the American flag cushions are very kitsch. On to the food, and I had to start with a milkshake, a dime bar milkshake topped with whipped cream and a big chunk of dime bar, it was creamy goodness but oh so filling! I went ‘All American’ – American cheese, sautéed onion, dill pickle and TriBeCa burger sauce with a helping of streaky bacon. It was just what I’d expect if I’d had the burger in the real New York City! When I went they didn’t have an alcohol license and it was £2 for corkage. You may want to double check with them before you go as they may have their license now. I got a deal of 2 burgers and 2 fries for £10 via Groupon so you may want to see if the deal is still going. I’ve also had brunch here – pancakes with streaky bacon & maple syrup and it was glorious!
The Boozy Cow is smack bam in the middle of the city just off Princes Street, on Frederick street. It’s a basement bar and restaurant with a few seats outside that are always packed on a sunny day. I went here for a bank holiday lunch with some girly mates and I immediately ordered their milkshake of the week, a Reese’s peanut butter and raspberry ripple shake. I felt like I’d had dessert before my main with this but I couldn’t resist! I chose the ‘Maple bacon cheese burger’ and it was mouth-wateringly amazing! With it’s mixture of Swiss cheese, red onion, mustard ketchup, pickles, tomato, crisp lettuce with crispy maple cured streaky bacon combined with a chunky beef patty, I gobbled it all up! It feels quite trendy in here, good for drinks or some food, your burger comes on a tray that you share with your friend or in my case, because of the odd number, I got my own tray.
This place was unknown to me until I saw an offer on deals website itison.com offering theatre tickets and 4 burgers and chips for a reasonable price (the price I can’t remember now). So I took my dad, his partner and my other half and we had a lovely experience. The Boards is the restaurant which is part of the Edinburgh Playhouse, very convenient for your pre-theatre meal. The burgers were succulent and juicy, the buns filled with lettuce leaves, red onion and tomato with a crispy flame grilled burger that I can only describe like one you’d have straight off a BBQ, it was delicious. We also had skin on fries in a cute little fryer basket with coleslaw and all the sauces we could want. Do not overlook this place next time you need some pre-theatre nosh.
Ed’s Easy Diner
This quirky 1950’s style American diner is the ideal place to take a break from the various shops at Edinburgh’s Fort Kinnaird on the east side of the city. Ed’s Easy Diner have an open kitchen, cute little individual juke boxes per table which you can play songs from Buddy Holly to the Beach Boys for 20p which play out to the whole diner. Their milkshakes are to die for, I went for a peanut butter and banana shake and for once I wasn’t too full so it nicely complimented my burger which was ‘Big Bubba’s Bacon N’ Cheese.’ You get bargain for your buck here by ordering an Ed’s plate – your choice of burger, fries, onion rings and coleslaw for approx £11.50. I went for sweet potato fries which I love and the onion rings were fab for dipping into their creamy coleslaw. They’ve also just launched a Tobasco menu, pairing up there burgers with Tobasco sauce favourites from habanero to chipotle, so if you like it hot you know where to go! They also have ‘Ed’s Club’ a loyalty app that can gain you some great benefits like free burgers and shakes!
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Shout out to one of my old faves Gourmet Burger Kitchen. I know it’s been around for awhile but I love it! It’s my little piece of Kiwiana in Edinburgh. Started by three Kiwi guys in London, they have taken over the UK with their delicious burgers. My personal fave is the Kiwi burger – no we’re definitely not eating the bird here! The Kiwi burger is prime beef, topped with pineapple, beetroot and a fried egg with all the usual lettuce and tomato combos. It’s juicy it’s messy and it’s an incredible mix of flavours. I also love GBK because of the quirky Kiwiness that can be found here – Lemon & Paeroa or L&P as its better known, is a Kiwi soft drink similar to lemonade but with its own unique taste. They also serve New Zealand beers like Steinlager and when you buy a Kiwi burger, 25p of the cost is donated to a Kiwi birds charity in New Zealand to help preserve them and stop them from becoming extinct. Their baconnaise aioli (mayonnaise) is also something I find hard to live without when eating kumara (sweet potato) fries anywhere else.
Another chain restaurant I hear you say… Jamie’s to me is different in every city I’ve been to. I love the George Square setting in Glasgow because of all the glass and mod cons whereas Edinburgh has an olde wilde feel and is sexy as hell in the dim light and grandure of the Assembly rooms building situated between George and Rose street. I attended a blogger event at Glasgow’s George Square venue some time ago now on behalf of my blogger friend House of Herby. I learned so much about Jamie’s and their commitment to sustainable sourcing of their food and wine. For example their salmon comes from Shetland and their pork from Ayrshire, they have good relationships with their suppliers and Jamie signs off each new menu.
What I love about Jamie’s is the diversity of food on offer, this is an ‘Italian,’ but that didn’t mean the burger suffered. It was a great hunk of beef cooked medium-well served with smoky pancetta, balsamic onions and Westcombe cheddar inbetween fresh lettuce and tomato in a sesame seed bun. The crispness of the outer edges of the burger doubled with the soft centre was enough to have me order the burger everytime I come back here.
Bread Meats Bread
Wow is one word I could use to describe Bread Meats Bread! Another bank holiday lunch another burger. Set in the heart of Lothian Road, a stone’s throw away from the Usher Hall, here we have a burger joint which started in Glasgow and it wasn’t long before it was wooing customers east side. My burger may look strange to you, The Luther burger – it’s listed as a must try and they don’t lie! A beef burger with spicy beef mayo, candied bacon and crispy fried onions, sandwiched between a grilled glazed ring donut. Something different it is and I’d highly recommend it! This place was packed for lunchtime. My friend, a veggie, opted for their Beetroot and Feta burger which consisted of a beetroot and peppadew pepper falafel burger with spicy hummus, feta and harissa mayo. Their caramelised sweet potato fries with maple syrup, cayenne pepper and coconut were oh so yummy! If you haven’t been here yet, what are you waiting for?
I’m a big fan of 56 North, it’s perfect for a chilled afternoon of grazing and gin drinking. Their burgers have changed slightly since I was there last. I had a big chunk of Brie on my burger and the name escapes me now, but Brie on a burger is a must for every cheese lover! Their burgers are named after places now and some of the combos have me salivating at 8:30am on a Saturday morning as I write this! Madrid – bacon, pimientos peppers and chorizo ketchup would be my burger of choice next time I swing by. The best thing is, you choose whether you have the Madrid or any of their burgers as beef, chicken or falafel.
If gin’s your thing then this is your perfect place. On the two separate occasions I’ve been here, I’ve propped myself in a nice big comfy booth, munched my burger and washed it down with some deliciously tasty gin served in big cocktail glasses and garnished beautifully. 56 North boast one of the largest gin collections in Scotland so you’re in safe hands discovering new favourites here. If gin’s not your drink, don’t be discouraged, on both times I’ve come here I’ve taken up a deal on one of the many Edinburgh deal websites and right now there is one on itison.com where you’re getting burgers, fries and either a beer or a cocktail for £16 for 2 or £29 for 4.
Frontier is a quirky wee place with very friendly staff who can’t do enough for you. It is quite small and cosy but when you’re seated in your group you have lots of space at your big American flag designed picnic bench style tables. It would be a great place to eat before a show at the King’s theatre or a film at Cameo as it’s very close-by. It’s America through and through here, their salted caramel pretzel milkshake is indulgence in a glass, it is so moreish! They’re also into their hot dogs in a big way here but I opted for the ‘classic bacon cheese burger’ – chargrilled 100% steak cooked medium-rare but you can ask them if you like it a little more on the well-done side. Their sweet potato fries were crispy and soft in all the right places and their red cabbage coleslaw was the perfect accompaniment. They have an open kitchen so you can see all the action happening and they bring the bill in this multi-coloured skull head with some sweeties inside.