Reviewing Bonsai almost feels like giving a way a secret. It’s that good.
Bonsai is a small and quirky Japanese restaurant tucked away between the Pleasance area and Newington. What would you call that area? The south side? It’s easy to walk through West Richmond Street without noticing Bonsai even though it has tables and chairs outside.
This is the closest to real Japanese food that I’ve found in Edinburgh. This means you’d typically order a small collection of items off the menu to build your meal. Take advantage of that to mix the more familiar with something new. Even better, eat with friends and order some communal dishes.
Turning up with friends and no reservation is a gamble at Bonsai. The small restaurant can quickly get full – especially during the Festival season when the usual loyalty offers are suspended.
Do keep the size of the restaurant and tables in mind. There is enough room to eat but if you turn up with large rucksacks or a cumbersome pram then you may struggle.
Okay, I’ve mentioned Bonsai petite stature a few times and it is certainly worth pointing out but it doesn’t feel like a problem. Perhaps the cosiness just adds to the atmosphere. The restaurant is decorated with plushy Pokemon hanging from the roof, with Japanese signs on the wall and the occasional show flyer. It feels fun.
The staff are a huge assist to Bonsai. They’re always friendly and helpful even when the place gets very busy. If you’re not very confident in your choice of Japanese food then they’re great people to ask for advice.
I happily recommend Bonsai as one of the best little treats in Edinburgh. It’s the ideal place to go if you fancy something different. Just don’t tell too many people.