Pre-theatre Edinburgh

Only the best spots in town

Claire Murray | Date posted - 26 Oct 2018
If you’re Scottish (and not from the capital), you’ll probably know Edinburgh as Scotland’s “fancy” city. It’s got the castle, it’s got the Michelin-starred restaurants, and the upmarket hotels. So, being the fancy city, it’s often where people head when they’re going to the theatre. And because a good bit of culture can work up an appetite, we’ve put together a list of the best restaurants for pre-theatre in Edinburgh. Whether you’re a big spender or don’t believe that money makes the world go round, we’ve got something for you.

Dine Edinburgh

Sitting right above the The Traverse Theatre, and near both the Usher Hall and the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Dine is a great spot to head for some pre-show food. If you’re having a big evening out, it’s the perfect place to go as the venue is beautiful with muted colours, polished woods, and impressive ceilings. Michelin-starred chef Stuart Muir has created menus tailored to the pre-theatre crowd, with a three course meal starting at just £19.50 if you dine before 18.30 mid-week. (Where else in the world would you get Michelin-standard food for that price?!) Choose from treats like sea bass, chicken supreme, or lamb shoulder before you go and get your culture on. If you’re looking for pre-theatre Edinburgh restaurants, we promise you won’t be Les Miserables here.

New Chapter

Just a quick walk from the middle of Edinburgh’s city centre, New Chapter is great if you’re going to the theatre, or if you just can’t be bothered to cook after a long day. Monday-Thursday between 17.30-18.30, you can get two courses for just £17.95, featuring a chorus line of dishes like steamed plaice with warm tartare sauce, smoked mash potatoes & samphire, or braised pig cheeks with creamed sweetcorn, young turnips, and chorizo. The best thing about this restaurant is its neighbourhood feel, with the staff and customers coming together to create a homely atmosphere. This makes it perfect for starting off a big night or shrugging off a rubbish day at work with a great-value dinner.

Tuk Tuk

Indian street food is experiencing something of a foodie revolution at the moment and Tuk Tuk is one of the best places to experience it. If you guys and dolls are looking for some great pre-theatre in Edinburgh, this is the place to head. It’s casual, relaxed, and super fun, with the food coming in at excellent prices. You can choose from Roadside Plates, street curries, and Tandoor kitchen for prices from £4.30. And, if you’re looking for a deal, hit up their set menu with prices at £18.95 for a selection of roadside plates, curries, and rice or naan. Wash it all down with their delicious mango, lychee, or coconut lassis, or try a shikanji, a fizzy lemon drink made with their own spices.


Another city centre venue, Cadiz is perfectly situated within easy distance of the Edinburgh fun, great if you’re catching a show during the festival. This gorgeous Spanish seafood restaurant serves up great catches from the sea in lovely surroundings. Two courses are just £16.95, with three coming in at a more than reasonable £20.95. Choose from dishes like sea bass, battered haddock, or salmon, and add inventive sides like bay leaf mash, or asparagus with Romesco sauce & toasted almonds. The food is so good that, if you’re looking for pre-theatre in Edinburgh, you’ll be asking for an encore here and skipping your show.


Setting the stage for amazingly tasty food, this cool, Italian restaurant has a dramatic backdrop of bright colours and impressive decor. But it’s the food we’re really here for, right? They serve a pre-theatre menu until 18.30 mid-week, dishing up three courses for just £18.95…Mama mia! And this is no reduced menu. Diners can pick from eight main courses, featuring pizza, pasta, veggie, and meat dishes like pollo ala Milanese, salmone ala giglia, and pizza verdure miste. We hear their tiramisu is the stuff of dreams too, perfect for stuffing your face with before you head off for a nap until the ice cream comes round at the interval. (We’ve all done it, we don’t judge.)


Sometimes a restaurant has a name that makes you go “huh?” I think we can all agree that Steak makes it pretty clear what it’s all about. With seven different cuts of steak, most offered on or off the bone, there’s no way that you’re going to run out of meat to eat here. Until 18.45 Sunday to Friday, they also offer two courses for £21.95 or three for £26.95, meaning you can get your steak fill for a pretty decent price. Located on swish Picard Place, this venue is really impressive, with a huge dining table down the middle, gothic dark walls, and gorgeous lighting. Pre-theatre in Edinburgh doesn’t get much more fancy than this.
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