British cuisine often gets a lot of stick for being, well, bland and uninspiring. Though there’s plenty of haute cuisine going around, eating out on a student budget like mine is often a choice between Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Italian… you get the idea.
The Dogs, however, serves stunning British food, plain and simple, with plenty of local craft ales – it’s my first port of call when a friend is visiting. The décor is a weird mix of pub, school canteen, and stately mansion, but once you climb the creaky stairs you’ll feel right at home. Throw in some dog statues and paintings (check out the huge cross-eyed dog print behind the bar), and you have my favourite wacky dining spot!
The ‘gastropub’ (but it’s a restaurant!) serves classics such as smoked trout or duck breast, but there’s a twist to each dish: their food stands out a mile from the ‘pub grub’ you get in many overpriced George Street taverns. The value for money is darn good but beware: their ‘small’ meals really are quite tiny. I’d recommend the pan fried salmon fillet, creamed leeks, baby potato, and whiskey+herb sauce.
The Dogs does lunch as well as dinner. Head over after looking around the National Portrait Gallery, or shopping on George Street. Big second-floor windows let you look out at the rainy Edinburgh streets while smugly nursing your pint.