Now, it’s not that pub food isn’t delicious… but England and the UK in general aren’t really known for their amazing cuisine options. Hailing from the state that has some of the most amazing restaurants in the country (including 29 of the top 101 best American restaurants), I am big lover of food. California, and America in general is a massive melting pot of cultures and ethnicities so of course our cuisine is also this way. I miss Mexican food the most over here, but I also miss good BBQ and really good bagel sandwiches. I’ve found both delicious Mexican and BBQ, but haven’t yet found really good bagels… please tell me if you do!
Over the last year I’ve ventured to Edinburgh at least half a dozen times and have been surprised by the amount of delicious restaurants that provide amazing food that is *almost* as good as being home. Here are five of my favorites.
Tel: 0131 623 0077 | 7 Victoria Street, Edinburgh EH1 2HE
Like I said earlier, I miss Mexican food the most from my life in California. Being born and raised in So Cal, very near the Mexican border, I have always had at least one delicious Mexican restaurant down the street. I love nachos, tacos, enchiladas, chips, salsa and guacamole… I just love it all. There are several “mexican” restaurants in the UK, but I’ve struggled to find something truly delicious. That all changed when another expat friend from Arizona told me about Mariachi.
Located on the famously beautiful Victoria street (the inspiration for Diagon Alley from Harry Potter), Mariachi is a small, unassuming restaurant that I’ve previously passed several times before entering.
I have been craving nachos lately so when the waiter told me that their nachos came with shredded chicken (a must for me), I eagerly ordered them. I definitely wasn’t disappointed. With freshly fried chips, delicious guac, salsa and sour cream, cheese and shredded chicken, these nachos were delicious. Along with the nachos we ordered some shredded port flautas that were deliciously spicy. I can’t wait to return to try more dishes.
Hula Juice Bar
Tel: 0131 220 1121 | 103-105 West Bow, Edinburgh EH1 2JP
In college I got hooked on Roebucks Smoothies on campus. In Corona I loved the smoothie bowls from Juice it Up! It’s rare to find good smoothies around here and even less popular to have a good smoothie bowl. It’s just not a thing. But, located at the end of beautiful Victoria street where it turns into West Bow, is Hula Juice Bar. They have several options for breakfast, brunch and lunch but their smoothie bowls are the BEST. I’ve had the Acai berry bowl and the maca nana bowl and both were delicious. Packed with fruit, nuts and other delicious toppings, these bowls are super filling and tasty. Perfect for a breakfast or brunch that will leave you feeling full yet healthy and satisfied.
Tel: 0131 478 54 72 | 209-213 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1PE
Like good Mexican food, it’s really hard to find good BBQ in the UK. Now, I don’t claim to be a BBQ expert by any means because I’m not from Texas or the south, but I do know good pulled pork, ribs, and bbq chicken and this place has all of them! Located down a steep set of stairs, you might miss the entrance to Bubba Q sandwiched between two stores on the Royal Mile. But of you locate it, you’ll be vastly rewarded.
The decor is supremely American, or at least what the Scots think Americans decorate their restaurants like. But from the American license plates to giant signs advertising Dr. Pepper and Coors Light, paper towel rolls as napkins on the metal industrial tables, it’s very reminiscent of Famous Daves BBQ in the states and thus, it’s fairly accurate. The best part? They have ranch dressing and Dr Pepper! I’ve had the pulled pork sliders, the pulled pork nachos, their buffalo chicken strips and their ribs and nothing I’ve eaten here has been a disappointment.
Tel: 0131 629 1234 | 5/7 Old Fishmarket Close, Edinburgh, EH1 1RW
Buffalo wings are another delicious treat that I find difficult to find here in the UK, especially with good bleu cheese or ranch dressing since neither of those are really a “thing” here. But thanks to the same Arizonan friends who found Mariachi, we learned about Wings.
Located down a tiny close off the Royal Mile, this place is a little hard to find but you’ll be rewarded with deliciousness when you do. Inside, the ceilings are low but the decor is great. “Nerd” decor covers all the walls including Dr. Who, Star Wars, and We Bear Bears memorabilia and even a giant”Where’s Wings” search and find to keep you entertained while you down your cold beer and hot wings.
With over 75 different flavors of wings you’re guaranteed to find something you like at this place. Tim and I tried two different flavors each and then shared with each other. I was happy to learn that you can get bone in or boneless (my preference) wings and they have both ranch and bleu cheese dressings (a must for me). If you’re feeling exceptionally tough, you can even try eating six super hot spicy wings without any dressings in the “suicide challenge.” Should you succeed, you’ll be added to the “wall of flame.”
Tel: 01312 262107 | 141-143 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4JY
This one is a little different than the others as this restaurant is a chain. But it’s delicious nonetheless. Many chain restaurants that tout being Mexican or Italian food around here are actually pretty terrible, but I was pleasantly surprised when I tried this one for my friend’s birthday.
Featuring different foods from several different countries in Latin America, the menu is vast ranging from Mexican enchiladas to Cuban sandwiches. I was pleasantly surprised at how great the nachos were and the fiesta salad I ordered was delicious. Even better, they have two for the price of one cocktails and they were VERY yummy. If I didn’t have to drive that night, I would have enjoyed several more. I look forward to finding another location of this restaurant near me soon.
And there you have it. Five restaurants that I’m already missing eating at down here in England. But I’m glad to know that there are delicious places like this. Especially for those of us who don’t get to go back to the states any time soon. Living in the UK is such an amazing experience but besides missing my family and friends, missing food is the top of my list as there are so many delicious things back home. I’m glad to have found these five to help tide me over while I’m in the UK. I hope you fellow expats find this helpful too.