The husband and I like to eat out. We like good food and decent wine, and when we first got Kimber we were worried that we might have to compromise on our dining-out experience, or train her to wait at home. Thankfully we were worrying about nothing, because more and more places are catering to people like us. There are some great places to eat in Edinburgh, and so many of them are dog friendly. Here, in no particular order are our top six.
While I say there’s no particular order, it’s fair to say that The Refinery is fast becoming my new favourite place to meet friends and family. They have a good range of food, from bar snacks, to sharing platters, burgers and mains, and a great brunch at the weekend. They also serve breakfast during the week, and a proper roast dinner on Sundays. Its St Andrew Square location makes life really easy too: it’s central enough to suit everyone, no matter where they’re travelling from. So whether it’s a glass of wine in the afternoon, lunch at the weekend, or a cheeky mid-week dinner, I’m choosing The Refinery more and more. We even took my parents and sister there for Mother’s Day, and all of us mums were presented with a free cocktail. The location, food, wine, cocktails, all make it a no-brainer for me.
Loudons is a family owned and run cafe/bistro that excels at breakfast. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, even though it doesn’t usually come with wine, and these guys take it very seriously. They update their offering a few times each year, and recently had to increase the physical size of their menu because there were too many versions of Eggs Benedict to fit on the old one! There are great options for lunch too, and their range of gluten-free and dairy-free food and cakes mean it’s easy for everyone to eat there. Kimber is so spoiled when we go to Loudons. It’s just across the road from the husband’s office, so we’re there fairly often, and everyone makes a big fuss of her. Loudons is one of my favourite places to write, so the fact that I can rock up with Kimber, have some breakfast and then settle down to a couple of hours of writing is such a bonus. There’s a small park nearby in Gardeners Crescent, and a great dog walk along the canal just a couple of minutes away.
We came across Ox a little bit by accident. We had a reservation for my entire family at a restaurant nearby, but it closed down a week before we were due to go, so we needed an alternative quick-smart. The staff at Ox accommodated us at very short notice, and really went above and beyond to feed our rabble. Since then we’ve been back a few times, and recommended it to other dog owners, who’ve been equally impressed by the quality of the food and wine. It’s a great wee bar, with tasty food and a decent wine list. We’ve had lunch and dinner there, and always have a great time. There’s a really nice atmosphere, and the service is always very friendly.
Cafe Tartine felt like a real find when we first stumbled across it. It had just opened and we were really impressed with the food, and how dog friendly it is. We’ve been back too many times to count for casual dinners, special dinners, lunch by ourselves, lunch with family, and I even had my birthday party there last year. They’ve always gone out of their way to accommodate us, and when they say that they’re family-friendly, they really mean it. We had one lunch last year which involved two children, one dog, an upturned water bowl, changed minds, last minute additions to the order, and a very fussy eater, and the waiter didn’t bat an eyelid. I was in the middle of nervous breakdown, but he had the patience of a saint! Dinner is more restaurant than cafe, I would say, and that is one change I’ve noticed over the years. But every business needs to evolve, and the food is fantastic. I love that all the wine is served by the glass, carafe, or bottle. And they love dogs, which makes our lives much easier.
PS These wonderful people are opening up another bar/restaurant a few doors down, and they’ve promised that it too will be dog friendly. 🙂
Officially called the Esplanade Bar, but known locally as The Espy, this bar sits on the corner of Portobello Promenade and Bath Street. The bit at the back is dog friendly, and it’s a mix of tables and chairs, and comfy couches. We’ve been for many a lunch here, just the three of us, and with various combinations of friends. It’s a great place to recharge your batteries after a dog walk along the beach, or just if you want a decent burger. There’s always a good choice of mains, and it’s one of those places that has something to please everyone: whether you’re looking to be healthy, or in the mood to indulge. They also make their own lemonade and ginger beer.
Akva is one of a collection of Swedish-influenced bars in Edinburgh, that includes Joseph Pearce and Hemma. I’ll be honest and say that in the past I haven’t found the evening menu to be particularly inspiring, but it is brilliant for lunch; and drinks at any time of night or day. It occupies a very light and airy building, and its back doors open up onto a lovely beer garden, which sits next to the Edinburgh end of the Union Canal. What I love most about lunch is their smorgasbord. You pay less than a tenner and can help yourself to whatever you like from their selection of delicious meats, smoked salmon, gravadlax, roasted vegetables, various kinds of salad, and bread. It’s fantastic! Whatever your dietary requirements, Akva’s smorgasbord has you covered.
I love that owning Kimber means that we don’t need to compromise on our love of eating out, because we’re not very good at leaving her at home. After all, she’s part of the family, and you don’t leave family behind! These are only six of many great places in Edinburgh, and I’d love to hear of your favourite places to eat out with your pooch. 🙂
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