The Shore has its own curious culinary ecosystem, enclosed by the rest of Leith but standing apart. One of the newest additions to the area is Hemingway’s, sitting at the start of Commercial Street, facing The King’s Wark gastropub across the water and just down the road from Michelin-starred The Kitchin.

The bar is named after writer and adventurer Ernest Hemingway, embracing stylistic themes of travel, literature and international drinking culture. Notice typewriters and bookcases alongside the marble table tops and ornate light fittings.

READ MORE: The hottest new places you should know about in Scotland

“I had the idea for this place a while ago,” says owner Chris Doherty. “I knew the look I wanted and the menu we would have. Then the perfect position became available and we opened in the summer of 2019. It’s beautiful down here and we are part of a really vibrant, interesting, growing community of local businesses in Leith.”


He used the time during the first lockdown to build an outdoor deck area that is set to be one of the most popular bookings in the city this summer. Reservations are now open and most are requesting an outside seat well into June and beyond when restrictions are further relaxed.

In an effort to mitigate any impact from the Scottish weather the terrace is three-quarters covered, heaters are available and blankets are offered. Just add a strawberry daiquiri for that authentic summer feel.


The food menu is built around international small plates, loosely inspired by places Hemingway visited or spent time during his career.

Order black honey halloumi with lemon, coriander and chilli; pan-seared scallops served with sweetcorn puree and chorizo, or Turkish coffee-rubbed slow-cooked pork belly with amba, yoghurt and pistachios.

The bar's cocktails are popular on date nights with favourites including vanilla espresso martini, negroni, or there's Bloody Mary to go with brunch.

Visitors to Edinburgh are increasingly being encouraged to break out from the oversaturated Royal Mile tourist trap and look in new directions.

The long-promised expansion of the tram line to Leith, a dynamic food and drink scene, alongside a vibrant cultural community, will bring The Shore closer to the top of local tourist attractions.


1 Commercial Street, Leith, EH6


In the neighbourhood: Leith

Get to know some of the best independent local businesses in the area. 

Sabzi Indian Street Food

Home-cooked North Indian dishes prepared by the Singh family are served at a weekend pop-up. Paula works with sons Stevie and Ryan to prepare a spicy menu for a takeover at their Ferry Road cafe, Coffee and Cream. Go for takeaway lamb, chicken and vegan curries, keema parontah flatbreads or a variation on a local favourite: chips and cheese with Punjabi hot sauce.

Twelve Triangles Bakery

Originally envisaged as a restaurant, lockdown changed the Twelve Triangles’ Easter Road site into a food store and bakery with sourdough loaves, cakes, cookies and pastries. It also prepares focaccia sandwiches, fresh pasta, salads, pies, dips and sauces.

Lost in Leith

A bar and taproom by Campervan Brewery, located at Commercial Quay, you’ll find a focus on Scottish produce, a locally sourced spirits menu and beer that’s barrel-aged in Cognac casks. Founder Paul Gibson turned a passion for homebrewing into a campervan equipped to make and serve beer before establishing a Leith business.

Casa Amiga

A Portuguese bakery, takeaway and cafe on Leith Walk sparked local enthusiasm for sweet pastel de nata custard tarts. It also has South African and Brazilian products in the online store.

The Pitt Market

Reopening after lockdown on April 30, The Pitt is a trailblazing street food venue in an industrial yard near the Water of Leith. Family and dog-friendly, its customised food hall and beer garden features The Buffalo Truck with Edinburgh’s most craved-for buttermilk-fried chicken burgers, seasonal Scottish street food specialists Ròst – order a crispy pheasant burger – and Free the Chilli with fiery meat, vegetarian and vegan options. Stockbridge favourites Smith & Gertrude has a spot here with wine by the glass and cheeses.

Bundits of Leith

Fluffy steamed Hirata buns are served every day on Constitution Street. A new arrival during lockdown, its menu starts with breakfast bao until midday, packed with ingredients including shiitake mushrooms, streaky bacon, hash brown and fried egg, with lashings of sriracha mayo. Afternoon favourites include Korean fried chicken, prawn katsu and braised short rib. Cultural crossover and culinary fusion comes in the form of deep-fried bao bun ice cream sandwiches with fillings including honeycomb, matcha and mango or sparkling sake.

Kilted Donut

Known for taste combinations to challenge preconceptions, a black pudding and chutney doughnut with a tomato and red pepper glaze was on the menu in January. It has six rotating flavours each week from 40 options. Jam, vanilla and cinnamon sugar versions are staples. Husband-and-wife team Mark Anderson and Lena Wollan set up shop on Great Junction Street, graduating from market stalls to a permanent home.

The Biscuit Factory

An arts venue that has provided a platform for local creatives alongside spaces like the Art Deco Leith Theatre, which recently hosted a series of pay-per-view digital gigs and awaits the return of audiences with optimism. Built in 1947 by Crawford’s Biscuits, the warehouse just off Bonnington Road has been transformed into a multi-purpose event hub, with gallery and studio space. Beautiful Planet, a zero-waste shop, moved into one of the units in the building in last month.