EMPIRES, Traditional Turkish cafe, Tea House and Bistro, Edinburgh

Claiming to be an authentic, traditional Turkish eatery, it was wonderfully refreshing to discover this unassuming little gem in Edinburgh’s Old Town, genuinely was traditionally authentic down to the relaxed, bohemian atmosphere which emanates from this tiny restaurant.

The website may not inspire, however is accurate with regard to their aspirations; the authentic Turkish food is freshly cooked to order and although the choice during the Edinburgh Festival may not be as vast as is usually available, the offerings, presentation and service is no less impressive and wonderfully relaxing.

Turkish rugs, memorabilia and trinkets with a pleasant mixed aroma of wonderful cooking and incense, the staff here are truly welcoming and informative; making for an all round enjoyable experience.

A small mezzanine level offers up private and informal dining for small parties of up to 16 people, where at weekends, small, intimate performances by talented and progressive local musicians offering a range of traditional Greek, Turkish and Spanish music, coupled with Folk and acoustic sets, adds to the atmosphere.

A “Bring your own” restaurant, corkage is provided at a reasonable charge. We made reservations which turned out to be a wise decision, as the queue when we left, following a wonderful late lunch, was well down St Mary’s Street!