It’s important to start by saying that I inadvertently chose to coincide my trip with the weekend that Storm Ciara hit, meaning there was not much sunshine in Leith (and a pretty grim seven-hour coach journey home). But there’s nothing quite like a storm to push you into the arms of a warm pub, and Leith has plenty.
About a mile outside of Edinburgh city centre, the 40-minute stroll from Waverley Station down Leith Walk makes for a good bar crawl, landing you slap bang in the middle of The Shore which is packed with dockside pubs and places to eat.
First stop should be Teuchters Landing – ‘teuchters’ meaning highlander or anyone from the North. Overlooking the water, this cosy spot is proper grub fare. Cullen skink, haggis stovies and mac ‘n’ cheese are all on the menu with most dishes served in steaming, over-flowing mugs you can wrap your hands around. It’s one of those places that has about 100 whiskies on the wall, so there’s plenty of choice if you fancy a tipple.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to Roseleaf for brunch. Loud wallpaper, eclectic wall hangings and mismatched teapots set the scene with several pages of the menu dedicated to specialist brews. I chose a lovely ginger and lemon infusion with eggs benedict topped with haggis for scran (also known as the ‘lovely low road’). It gets busy at the weekend so make sure to book.
If you’ve still got room, enter Café Domenico. From its website, it has the potential to feel like one of those faded Italian restaurants from the 1970s. While it is certainly a Leith institution, it is far from dated. Instead, it has all the charm of one of those hidden gems you always want to find on holiday but so rarely do.
A big friendly welcome as soon as we walk through the door is swiftly followed by bread and dipping oil for the table with a litre of red to wash it down (at £18.50, it was hard to refuse). With only 20 covers, Domenico’s is wonderfully intimate with super attentive staff who spend time chatting. It’s reasonably priced with a giant bowl of mussels in white wine sauce to start only £7. Keeping to the seafood theme, we have the Frutti di Mare for our main which was generous on the seafood and in a deliciously light silky sauce. The little extras, such as topping up our nightcap, sums up why I’d go back several times over.
If you’re looking for somewhere that’s a little more slow-paced than the likes of Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, then The Shore is the perfect spot to spend a few nights. Just remember to wear an elasticated waist.
By Lizzie Wood, Travel Editor
Images by Lizzie Wood
For more information about Leith, click here.