With four Michelin star restaurants and new foodie destinations springing up all the time, Edinburgh’s food and drink scene is thriving. Sally Coffey rounds up some of the best restaurants in Edinburgh, plus a few places to visit for an after-dinner drink
Food provenance in Scotland is taken very seriously and menus across Edinburgh feature traditional Scottish dishes (such as haggis and neeps & tatties) with a modern twist, using the freshest of ingredients found in Scotland’s natural larder.
Here are some of the best restaurants in Edinburgh, from the Royal Mile to the foodie hotspots of Stockbridge and Leith.
This fine-dining restaurant on the Royal Mile serves up a modern Scottish menu – try the Wee Tour of Scotland, which includes such delicacies as loin of Highland venison and Sound of Mull king scallops – in a relaxed setting.
With little of the stuffiness found in other restaurants of this calibre, the warm welcome you’ll find from husband and wife team Paul and Lisa Wedgwood (Paul is the chef, while Lisa runs front of house), will make your evening. And there’s so little pressure to rush your meal that they’ve even factored in ‘deciding time’ for diners, when you’re encouraged to take your time over the menu as you sip Champagne and nibble on canapés.
Of course, you don’t have to come in the evening – the set lunch menus offer superb value for money.
A relative newcomer to the restaurant scene in the West End (it opened in 2016), Forage & Chatter has quickly developed a loyal following, and quite rightly too.
Dishes that are both inventive and appetising include pork jowl, burnt onion, carrot and pork skin, and monkfish with puy lentils, bacon, parsley and capers.
The onus here is on foraging, so you’ll see lots of plants about the place and the restaurant is very inviting, with low-lighting, bare brick walls and booths covered in Balmoral tweed creating an intimate setting.
If it’s seafood you’re after, you really need to head out of town to the trendy port of Leith, home to dozens of good restaurants, including two with a Michelin star – Martin Wishart, and Kitchin.
However, set in a 17th-century watchtower and overlooking the historic and bustling Shore, the place to be is Fishers, which has more than stood its ground while other restaurants popped up around it.
Try the chilled seafood platter or tuck into some traditional Arbroath smokie with cod and herb fritters.
Also in the West End is this ethical feel-good cafe, which taps into Scotland’s trend for producing delicious vegan fare (though not everything here is vegan).
Only opened in 2017, it focuses on tasty lunches for the area’s many office workers, but it’s open on Saturdays too for those who have ventured to the hidden boutiques in and around its William Street location.
With smoothies, breakfast pots, salads, soups and stews, it’s the kind of place that you leave feeling you’ve refuelled on something very good for you.
Over in fashionable Stockbridge, this restaurant is a neighbourhood favourite. Set in the basement of a period townhouse, it is informal and quirky yet manages to make you feel like you’re in for a special evening, all at the same time.
The décor, with its dark walls and fireplace filled with melted candles, has a decadent grotto feel, while the food is deliciously simple (think rump steak with wild mushrooms, sauteed potatoes and jus), with a leaning towards seafood and game.
Only the freshest of ingredients are used – the seafood menu is dictated by what is caught by the fishing boat of Neptune’s Larder at Port Seten, just 10 miles away, while meat comes from Gilmore butchers.
If you’d like a slightly less raucous after-dinner drink, then this new bar, which opened up in 2017, serves tasty and innovative cocktails. Set around the premise that you are in the home of a fictional philanthropist, the cocktail menu is supposedly inspired by Buck’s travels and includes hints of Delhi, Casablanca, Saint Tropez and Kyoto.
We love the Robert Louise Stevenson (with Aberfeldy whisky, armagnac, amaro, chocolate bitters and truffle oil), named after the famous Treasure Island writer, who hailed from Edinburgh but spent many years living on the French Riviera.
Also in Leith is Teuchters Landing, a cosy Scottish pub, and its seafood & game bistro bar, A Room in Leith, which boasts a modern Scottish menu.
The pub and restaurant are offshoots of Teuchters’ West End basement bistro, which includes intimate two-seater alcoves and serves up hearty classics such as cullen skink. Upstairs from A Room in the West End, try your luck at the Hoop of Destiny challenge in the pub (popular with rugby fans) for your chance to sample an array of the pub’s single malts.
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