Leith Walk is in New Town -- just a couple minutes off Princes Street and boasts a plethora of restaurants, housing, and shops. It was once populated primarily by older Edinburgh residents, but with the introduction of two university student accommodation buildings and a Starbucks smack dab in the middle of Leith Walk, the area is slowly becoming more worthy of a younger community, and is a gentle mix of old and new. Getting to this part of town is a bit of a hike for those who live closer to campus, but check out these four joints and they'll prove the walk is worth your while. 

The Sicilian Pastry Shop

There’s no better place to satisfy your sweet tooth than the Sicilian Pastry Shop. Serving everything from authentic Italian pastries, to elegant tarts, to fancy celebration cakes, this bakery services dozens of different types of pastries each made with genuine love and care. Every cake has that home-made feeling that just hits the spot. The team there doesn’t pride itself on dainty, pretentious desserts, but rather homemade goods that warm the heart, as food should. Sicilian Pastry Shop is definitely worth the walk to Leith.

La Favorita

La Favorita may be part of a restaurant-chain, but it certainly does not compromise authenticity or standards. The down to earth, classic Italian decor creates a mellow ambiance — this, coupled with the warm lighting throughout the space, the suave waiters, and the creative and diverse Italian menu makes La Favorita a comfortable yet lavish place to eat. They have an extensive wine menu, and waiters are eager to aid you in choosing your glass. The restaurant caters to vegetarians and vegans — you can ask for vegan cheese on your pasta and pizza! If you plan on heading to La Favorita on a weekend, be sure to make a reservation — this place gets very popular among Leith residents at the end of the week. 

Black Fox

Rumour has it the location of Black Fox was once an extravagant drag queen bar and show. Old school Leith Walk residents miss this flamboyant nightly show, and dismiss the humble Black Fox as a boring hipster bar. I say nay: what Black Fox lacks in divas, it makes up for ten fold in quality of service and creativity of food and drinks. Serving a variety of European and American dishes, Black Fox caters to meat lovers, vegetarians, and vegans. Their drinks go beyond the expected, with bold and unique combinations. This, coupled with the rustic and casual ambiance, makes a meal at Black Fox a pleasure every time. Be sure to make a reservation if you plan on going — it’s hard to get a seat without one. My personal recommendations: the mozzarella burger (vegetarian), and the Leith Ritz — it’s a cocktail with vodka, sparkling wine, and pomegranate. 

Serrano & Manchego 

For a little taste of Spain, head to Serrano & Manchego. Dinner here might be a strain on your wallet — delicious, authentic food; fast service; and a cosy atmosphere that makes you want to stay a while. Serrano & Manchego boasts a number Spanish wines and sangrias, and their tapas menu is extensive. Come here, for a nice evening out with friends — and top off your dinner with their warm, delicious churros! They top off the night perfectly. My personal recommendations here: patatas bravas (vegetarian) and white wine sangria! 

If these four tasty joints don't convince you to get over to Leith Walk, nothing will! Bon Appetit!