Alcohol can often be the largest expense when going out to eat, so going teetotal is a great way to save money in restaurants. However, if you’ve just hauled your way through Dry January, or like me, feel that a drink or two is a big part of the experience of dining out, then BYOB is the next best thing for a frugal foodie.
A surprising amount of restaurants offer this option. Turkish, Asian, and Indian restaurants are most likely to have BYOB, but not exclusively, and some of Edinburgh’s most loved eateries allow you to bring your own booze. Tuk Tuk’s Indian restaurants in Tollcross and Drummond Street let you bring beer and wine, with a ‘recycling fee’ of £1.50 per person, and Elm Row’s popular Turkish restaurant Pera charges £4.50 corkage for wine or £1.50 for beer.
If you’re not a fan of spice, Eden’s Kitchen on Broughton Street allows BYOB from Tuesday to Thursday, with corkage charges of £4.50 for wine and £1.50 for beer. Meanwhile, Edinburgh institution Howie’s also lets you bring your own wine or champagne to its restaurants from Sunday to Thursday, but with the highest fee of £6.00 or £7.00 respectively.
My favourite BYOB restaurant in Edinburgh has to be Café Andamiro, an informal Korean/Japanese on Buccleuch Street. While it has long been loved by those in the know, it recently secured national attention by being the only restaurant outside London to be nominated for Best Korean Restaurant at the Asian Restaurant and Takeaway Awards (ARTA) 2023.
As well as the savings from BYOB (£2 per person), the food is really good value. They offer a range of Korean and Japanese dishes, including Jjigae (Korean stew), Donburi (Japanese rice bowls), Korean staples Bulgogi and Bokkeum, along with Katsu and Ramen. Even though all these options look delicious, I often end up ordering the same things because they are exceptional: spicy, sticky Korean Field Chicken, followed by a sizzling and comforting bowl of Bibimbap.
If you haven’t brought your own drinks, they offer a range of fruit juices and a variety of teas, including Green, Sakura, Flowering, Rose, Yuzu, Brown rice, Burdock, Goji, Ginger, Corn or Gyeolmyeonja, along with Matcha Lattes.
The staff are always very friendly and welcoming, though it is a very small restaurant, so booking is advisable. (D.Spencer)
Café Andamiro, 113 Buccleuch Street, EH8 9NG - 0131 667 0048