Cafe Andaluz – Edinburgh, United Kingdom

patterned tileAs a local, I should know better than to venture anywhere near the city centre during the Edinburgh Festival.  But I was presented with a rare opportunity to share a girly lunch with Teenage Daughter before she swans off to university and leaves me with my two menfolk.  Her eatery of choice was Café Andaluz, a tapas restaurant in swanky George Street.

The restaurant is deceptively large and softly-lit by Moroccan-style lanterns suspended from the ceiling.  The walls and floors are decorated with brightly-coloured ceramic tiles, giving the place an authentic Spanish feel. We were greeted immediately on arrival and shown to a table on the upper floor of the restaurant.

Café Andaluz offers a lunch-time menu:  three tapas for £11.95 per person.  There is also a pre-theatre menu:  three tapas and a dessert for £14.95 per person.  And of course there is a huge a la carte menu and an interesting cocktail menu.  The lunch menu has a large selection of interesting-sounding dishes to choose from; we were hard-pushed to decide on six dishes between us.  Naturally, I had to order my tapas by pointing at the menu, while Miss Smarty Pants ordered in perfect Spanish.  The staff was very friendly, attentive and efficient, and I think they were actually Spanish.  We didn’t have to wait too long before the waiter brought our feast on a large, groaning tray.  Unfortunately, our table was much too small to accommodate all the dishes, so we had to do a fair bit of juggling.

I won’t list all the tapas we ordered (because you can look on the website for yourself), but I would recommend the Pollo Rebozado Con Miel.  That’s battered chicken with honey and mustard, to you and me.  The Tortilla Espanola and Chorizo al Vino were also excellent (do I need to translate?) but Queso de Cabra al Horno was frankly a bit weird. It was a large piece of grilled goat’s cheese with orange and chilli marmalade.  Too much cheese, even for me.  The portions were very generous, and would easily have fed a third person.  Nonetheless, we felt we could still manage a  dessert.  I had a lovely big portion of Crema Catalan, otherwise known as Crème Brulee, while daughter scoffed a big bowl of tasty ice cream presented in a basket made of biscuit.

The one negative aspect for me (apart from the goat’s cheese and marmalade) was the noise level in the restaurant.  Teenage Daughter speculated that it had something to do with all the ceramic tiling (and also the fact that I’m apparently a fuddy-duddy), but I found it just really loud.  Mind you, in my opinion a restaurant is crowded if only two or three tables are being used.  I spent a lot of time lubricating my throat with Diet Coke so that I could converse with Teenage Daughter loudly enough to be heard across the wee table.  Most people would say that Café Andaluz is ‘atmospheric’ and the noise certainly didn’t put me off my lovely lunch.

Teenage Daughter will be leaving us for the delights of Glasgow (?) soon, but hopefully she will come home occasionally to share another lunch with me at Café Andaluz.  As long as it’s not in August.

Café Andaluz, 77b George Street, Edinburgh EH2 3EE, Tel: (0131) 220 9980  Website:



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