Big Deals: Scotland's Food Deals & Offers

Because in the world of food and drink, your student card can only get you so far…

Feature by Peter Simpson | 31 Aug 2017

Edinburgh and Glasgow's food scenes are in great health – brilliant cuisines from all over the world, great coffee, amazing craft beers and spirits, plus you can get pizzas so big that they barely fit in the back seat of a car. You are studying in good times, friends. The only issue is that things can get a bit pricy, as all those old-timey lightbulbs and thick bartending aprons won't pay for themselves. It's alright though, there are things you can do. Deals can be struck. In the words of German dance-rap sensations Snap!, you've got the power.

First things first, make the most of your student card. Seriously, wave it in the face of everyone you see, and just wait for them to offer you money off something. It usually works, and the worst that's going to happen is you might look like an ignorant if well-meaning consumer. Frankly, that's about as good as any of us get, so bash on.

But the thing about the conventional student discount is it can only really knock a few pence off here and there. What you need are those deals that can knock dirty great chunks off your bill in one fell swoop. Your granny probably told you to "look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves"; we're here to tell you that the pennies are dealt with, now let's get cheap tacos. CHA-CHING WOOP WOOP PARTY TIME.

We'll start with the tacos, actually. At Wahaca's outpost in the middle of Edinburgh, the Taco Tuesday deal makes your first plate of tacos just £1, and while you will need to buy a second plate to get the deal, you'll then basically have two plates of tacos for the price of one. We're into it. There's a similar deal (pay £1, get tacos) on offer at Topolabamba in Edinburgh and Glasgow, plus they'll do you a burrito, and fries, and a margarita for £10 from Sunday to Thursday.

If you're partial to a nice coffee but love the joy of getting things stamped, the good news is that many of Edinburgh and Glasgow's indy coffee shops have their own loyalty scheme. The even better news is that seven of the capital's best have started something different, dubbed The Disloyal 7. Get a coffee in each of Fortitude, Brew Lab, Cult, Filament, Lowdown, Baba Budan and Cairngorm, and you'll have enough stamps for a freebie at your favourite. You will also be up to the eyeballs in caffeine, so maybe space things out a little.

Say you want to play the hotshot for the evening – impress a date, celebrate scraping through an exam, piss off the rich twats in your Macroeconomics seminar. Chop House serve up some of the best steaks in Edinburgh, but they can hit the upper end of the budget quickly. However, their Steak & Sides deal will get you two brilliant rump steaks and a pair of sides for just £30 at their Leith branch every Wednesday. While you're at it, get yourself on their newsletter list to find out about the complimentary monthly cocktail masterclasses at their Market Street spot. That's free cocktails, people. FREE.

Simpler pleasures also abound if you know where to go. Soul Sushi in Edinburgh's Southside sell off the day's remaining rolls and maki for half-price in the half-hour before they close, so ideal if you've been stuck in the library all night. If you're bumbling between lectures in Glasgow and need genuine sustenance, Babu Bombay Street Kitchen on West Regent Street will set you right with their lunch deal. Curry, rice or bread and a side for under £6, and the brilliant opportunity to make everyone around you green with food envy. Similar deal over at Korean aces Kimchi Cult! just round the corner from the Glasgow Uni library, where £6.50 gets you either a filled bao and fries or a incredible-looking bibimbap (stone bowl filled with rice and assorted other goodies), plus a drink.

And don't worry, we haven't forgotten about the veggies and vegans. On Chewsdays (gold star to whoever came up with that one) over at The 78 opposite Kelvingrove Park, your student discount on the ace vegan scran goes up to a solid 20%, while The Hug and Pint offer the cunningly-titled Eat Everything deal that'll get you a shot at everything on the menu for £15 each. 

Saint Luke's and the Winged Ox just round the corner from the Barrowlands serve up two-for-one burgers and pizzas every Monday alongside classic film screenings, and offer 30% off food and drink every Tuesday if you get one of their loyalty cards, plus a main and a pint for just £7.50. Bloc on Bath Street, however, may well be the king of the situational food and drink offer seeing as they have a different one on the go each weekday. Monday is pasta night (mac 'n' cheese for just £3), a burger (meat or veggie) and fries is just £3 every Tuesday, and there's way-cheap fried chicken on Thursday and hotdogs on Fridays. On Wednesdays, though, you can get a steak and sides for five actual pounds. Five. Count 'em.

Another deal worth checking out, and one available at either end of the M8, is Bar Soba's eclectic pan-Asian lunch menu. Grab a small plate (your tempura aubergine, your hot and sour glazed chicken wing), and a main (crispy pork and rice, katsu chicken burger, Pad Thai etc), and still wobble out into the afternoon sun with change from a tenner. 

And because sometimes all you want is a cheap pizza to help you bash through that Tuesday afternoon slump, Dough in Edinburgh serve up half-price pies until 4pm each weekday. Ideally located about five minutes' walk from Pollock Halls, let their delicious wood-fired crusts be an eternal reminder that a hangover never truly defeated anyone. Loads of cheap great food and drink and a genuine life lesson – the next four years are like this the entire time. Honest.