Edinburgh venues round-up: February 2022

From arcade-themed bars to a welcome new addition to the El Cartel family, this month's group of new Edinburgh venues this month stand out from the crowd

Feature by Izzy Gray | 09 Feb 2022
  • Shrimpwreck, Portobello


There’s something fishy going on in Portobello, and street food enthusiasts might already have clocked Shrimpwreck’s presence. Their seafood stalls have been creating quite a wave across Scotland’s foodie ports, from Edinburgh’s The Pitt to Glasgow’s TRNSMT. Having bagged themselves the People’s Choice award at the Scottish Street Food Awards, they’ve now secured a permanent home on the Porty prom. The salty setting provides the perfect backdrop for their nautical fare, which includes treasures like crab mac 'n' cheese, crispy Sichuan and ginger squid, the all-important fish finger sarnie and a chowder that wouldn’t be out of place in San Francisco bay. 47-49 Figgate Lane, EH15 1HJ 

El Cartel Roxburgh's Court

The Bon Vivant Group are no stranger to Edinburgh’s culinary scene, having already blessed our fair city with The Devil’s Advocate, Lady Libertine and of course, their eponymous French restaurant. Their Mexican street food restaurants, El Cartel, have already proved a firm favourite with Edinburgh diners, occupying spots on Thistle Street and Teviot Place. The Skinny's readers have also shared their love for the chain, where they regularly topped our annual food and drink surveys.

Now, they've added a third joint to their arsenal, primely placed on Roxburgh's Court (just off the Royal Mile). If first impressions are anything to go by, we’re pretty sure they’ve a hat trick on their hands. Their newest joint offers up delicious hand-pressed tacos and antojitos (“little cravings”) in a vibrant setting, with exposed brick walls competing for attention against colourful talavera tiles. There’s also a tequila selection that’ll put hairs in all sorts of unwanted places. 

Prices are reasonable, the food is well prepared and plentiful and the atmosphere is friendly.  We've no doubt that El Cartel's latest feeding hole will stick its head well above the crowds in Edinburgh's Old Town. 1 Roxburgh's Court, EH1 1LW


Team Tantra are on a mission to revolutionise the way we think about Indian dining. They argue that for too long, perceptions of Indian food have always come back to two things: curry and tradition. Their Castle Street venture hopes to break down those old tropes, with a small but essential addition of whimsy. Their progressive menu is stuffed to the gunnels with fun: Scottish mussels, tucked inside edible gold bags? Sizzling tantric mixed grills? Deconstructed desserts? Whatever the dish, diners are promised a multisensory experience where appearance, texture, flavour and aroma all take centre stage. The traditional Indian influences are all there, but the innovation reigns supreme. Oh, and did we mention they’ve a killer cocktail menu too? 15 Castle St, EH2 3AH


It's safe to say that NQ64 didn't exactly make a quiet entrance when it burst onto Lothian Road in August 2021. In fact, the word 'quiet' seems altogether out of place when describing this retro arcade-themed watering hole. From the moment you step inside, you’d be forgiven for wondering if you’d fallen through the inner workings of a kaleidoscope and wound up back in 1989. The neon-splattered walls. The UV lights. The chiming of the vintage consoles, ringing through the air.

Yup, NQ64 is a nostalgia-fest and gamer’s delight, all rolled into one. Even the drinks come inspired by arcadia, with legendary characters like Princess Peach, Donkey Kong and Pac-Man all making cameos on the cocktail list. Of course, you could always play it safe with one of their craft beers. Either way, the buzz is well and truly on. 25 Lothian Road, EH1 2DJ

Babyfaced Baker

While many of us struck up new and quickly-forgotten pursuits during lockdown (banana bread, anyone?) Edinburgh-based baker Rhiain Gordon wisely turned to fond memories of baking with her gran. What started as a sanity-maintaining recipe blog quickly took off across social media. Soon, her Insta-friendly cakes were being stocked in venues across the capital including stalwarts of the cafe biz Cairngorm Coffee and The Pantry. Quite rightly, she’s bagged herself her own shop on Leith Walk, nicely placed and kitted out too. With a signature list that already includes mocha buns, Biscoff millionaire’s shortbread and hand-laminated cruffins (think croissant/muffin), the only trouble we can foresee is those shelves running dry before we’ve had the chance to hot-foot it down the Walk. 341 Leith Walk, EH6 8SD