14 South Bridge, Old Town, Edinburgh, EH1 1LL
After ripping Iggs a new one in my previous review, It’s good to be able to write about a positive dining experience- even if it is just a kebab shop.
For years the people of Edinburgh have relied on Palmyra Pizza on Nicolson Street for their falafel fix, and rightly so. The cafe is in prime position for festival goers and students alike, and I’ve often found myself in there cradling a baba ganoush wrap after a night out (or when I’m simply craving some carby goodness).
But I reckon there’s a new contender for best falafel: Zenobia (although they are owned by the same folk as Palmyra: thanks for that tip, Mario!)
Located at the bottom of North Bridge near Hunter Square, Zenobia is in an iffy location. Within ten seconds you could be at a Greggs, a Subway, and a chip shop. It’s also within walking distance of Palmyra. For the lunchtime (or drunken) crowd these other more established choices might just win out. This could have led to the demise of Quizno’s Sub, the previous tenant of Zenobia’s building.
I popped in one lunchtime as I really fancied a falafel but, working on Princes Street, couldn’t justify a walk all the way to Palmyra.
The restaurant (or cafe, I’m not sure) had a very relaxed atmosphere. There were only a few tables occupied, but I think it comes alive at night. I have walked past in the evening to see crowds of Middle-Eastern folk having a munch and that’s a good enough endorsement for me.
My dining partner and I both ordered a small falafel flatbread, with hummus. The kitchen is open plan so as we waited I could watch the Middle-Eastern chef carefully and diligently put our sandwiches together.
The bread was toasted perfectly, with the right amount of crunch and bite giving way to a refreshing cabbage salad. The bread was wrapped tightly around it’s contents and there was a perfect wet to dry ratio (so I didn’t end up with chilli sauce and hummus running down my arm, but didn’t have to reach for the Coke too much either).
I find it funny too that I got better service in a kebab shop than I did in an AA rosette award winning restaurant, but maybe that’s just me.
If you’re in Edinburgh this August and find yourself fancying a falafel, give Zenobia a go. They might not be breaking any new ground here but they’re just as good (if not better) than Palmyra. If you’re a festival reveller hanging out on the Royal Mile it’s a shorter walk, and also a lot cheaper than the nearby tourist traps.