Looking for Edinburgh restaurants? We have found the best places to eat in Edinburgh. From the top restaurants in Edinburgh to places for brunch, cafés and bars, we have all of the local favourites here…
Best restaurants in Edinburgh
The Little Chart Room, Leith
In a nutshell: A stripped-back, 16-seater dining room proving a welcome addition to the burgeoning restaurant scene in Leith, Edinburgh.
Who’s cooking? Former Castle Terrace chef Roberta Hall-McCarron, who previously trained at The Kitchin. Assisting her is Rose Gregory, previously head chef at The Fat Pony.
What’s the vibe? A neighbourhood bistro with bags of style. ‘Wee’ in the true Scottish sense of the word, with commissioned artworks created from old shipping charts on the walls. With an open kitchen and seats at the bar, it’s relaxed and welcoming.
What’s the food like? Simple ingredients are treated with respect and well seasoned, the finished dishes contemporary without being too clever. Lunch has smaller plate options, while dinner follows a more conventional three courses.
The stand-out dish of crab, tomato gazpacho, pepper, celery, cucumber was unbelievably good. Light and refreshing, perfect for the summer evening it was served on. Lamb ‘selection’ was equally delicious and included a perfectly pink fillet, lamb liver and crispy lamb belly croquette served with anchovy potatoes and hispi cabbage.
Desserts include a dark chocolate raspberry tart and local cheeses, but the highlight was a malt panna cotta, earl grey caramel, malted crumb, earl grey madeleines, charred orange and orange confit. Think tea and biscuits wrapped up in a beautiful dessert!
And the drinks? A great selection of local spirits including Leith gin and a well-curated wine list from Edinburgh wine merchants L’Art Du Vin. An apples-and-pears papegaai was a spot-on match for a main of hake and smoked aubergine.
olive tip: Go for lunch with a large-ish group and order one of everything – dishes such as crispy fish, caper and cornichon purée and haggis sausage roll with turnip ketchup make us want to return.
The Little Chartroom, 30/31 Albert Place, Edinburgh, EH7 5HN
Fhior – for Scottish cooking
Chef Scott Smith (ex-Peat Inn, near St Andrews) opened buzzy restaurant Norn and quickly gained a brilliant reputation for his four or seven-course tasting menus ‘fiercely focused’ on sourcing produce from sustainable, ethical and passionate suppliers. Norn has unforunately closed but keep an eye out for our review of Scott’s new restaurant Fhior. In the mean time listen to our podcast with Scott, where he shares some secrets about ancient Scottish cooking techniques.
Scran & Scallie – for traditional Scottish food
This stylish gastropub is headed up by Michelin-starred Tom Kitchin and Dominic Jack. Tuck into the likes of scotch broth, pig’s ear carpaccio with sauce gribiche, or hearty braised hogget shoulder. Order the beef and ale pie and try Tom Kitchin’s own beer Yer Ben.
BABA – for Middle Eastern food
This mezze bar and grill is awash with colour, from distressed turquoise walls to coloured tiles and decorative hanging rugs. Tables are comfortably spaced and there’s some roomy booths to slip into or, if you are feeling more sociable, a large raised communal table in the middle of the room.
The menu promises food inspired by the Levant with small and large dishes designed to share – you can see the chefs at work on the huge open charcoal grill that runs down one side of the restaurant. We chose a mix of snacks, mezze and grill dishes. Perfectly crisp little cauli fritters were served with a punchy zhoug (a spicy coriander sauce) and tempered by cool crème fraiche. A mezze plate of baba ganoush was lovely and silky with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses to cut through the creaminess and scooped up with pillowy, puffy flatbreads hot from the grill.
Larger plates from the grill are super-generous – we tried a Goosnargh chicken leg with harissa hummus, pomegranate and pickled cabbage and slow-cooked lamb shoulder with giant couscous, preserved lemon and tahini yoghurt – either would have made a meal on their own. Our only mis-step was forgetting to order a salad or veg on the side to balance some of the richer offerings. We did finish with a sweet/sour pomegranate and mint sorbet, though, which was a beautifully zingy way to end.
Edinburgh Food Studio – for supper club vibes
Part restaurant, part supper club, Edinburgh Food Studio is event dining. An exciting space created via crowd-funding to explore and experiment with Scotland’s raw, often overlooked, ingredients.
Three nights a week (Thursday to Saturday) Ben Reade, who was formerly head of research at the Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen, and his partner, Canadian chef Sashana Souza Zanella (or a handful of guest chefs and foragers depending on the week – check the calendar), create seven-course tasting menus and demos for diners crammed around two cosy, communal tables. It’s a dining adventure – and one of the hottest tickets in town.
The Wee Restaurant – for neighbourhood bistro vibes
Over the Forth Bridge, Fife-favourite The Wee Restaurant turned 10 in 2016, and spawned a little sibling in the heart of the capital. At the sibling kitchen’s helm is Edinburgh-born Michael Innes, fresh from three Michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca in Girona. In a low-key space, the menu features the likes of white onion and thyme soup, chive cream and white truffle oil; and grilled sea bass, spiced crab and spring onion risotto with baby artichokes, micro fennel and salsa verde.
Many places brag about their organic credentials, but there’s now a Soil Association award to prove them: Organic Served Here. And the first UK restaurant to bag it is Cafe St Honoré, the cosy French bistro-style restaurant tucked away down Edinburgh’s tiny, cobbled Thistle Street.
Chef Neil Forbes’ daily changing, seasonally focused, menu notched up three out of five stars for sourcing 50-75 per cent of all its ingredients from certified organic farmers, growers and processors. Classics include grilled Scrabster Gurnard with Clyde valley tomato and cucumber; Gartmorn Farm confit duck leg and lentil salad; and a wild mint crème brulee and shortbread to finish.
Haymarket’s frantic, rackety Chop Chop serves some of the best dumplings outside Hong Kong. Jiao zi, chewy little boiled numbers; guo tie, potstickers of a violently addictive nature, especially the beef and chilli; even peanut dumplings for pudding.
This legendary restaurant has been serving 100% vegan and vegetarian food since it opened in 1962. General manager Barrie Henderson has seen a huge growth in interest in vegan food, particularly over the past five years. He says: “Many people are switching to more sustainable food sources.”
In a nutshell: Serving up food inspired by the Irani cafes of 20th Century Bombay expect all day hospitality in a 1920’s era ‘Grade A listed’ three storey building formerly used as a warehouse for Forsyth’s department store.
What’s the vibe? Old family photos from Bombay adorn the walls as you walk up the stairs which giving off a warm welcoming feel.
Bentwood chairs and ceiling fans, reading lamps, booths, wooden bookcases and partitions, it’s cosy despite the number of tables and customers. The view across St Andrew’s Square from the window seats is lovely should you be lucky enough to get one.
The Permit Room is worth a visit even if you’re not in for one of the fantastic cocktails on offer. Housed in the basement it’s a space dedicated to ‘delicious tipples’ and the decor reflects the rest of the building.
What’s the food like? The Dishoom signature Black Daal simmered for 24 hours to create a rich deeply flavoured dish deserves to be mopped up with a soft Roomali Roti bread, truly delicious.
Prawn Koliwada are the tastiest morsels of crunchy crispy prawns you’ll ever have, and dipped in a tamarind and date chutney provide a great starter dish while awaiting the rest of your dishes.
Vegetable dishes such as the Pau Bhaji, a mash up of vegetables you can pile high on a bun, and Chole Bhatura, a hearty bowl of spiced chickpeas served with fried bread are confidently spiced plates of food and a side dish of Raita is encouraged should you need a spoonful of minty yoghurt to cool your mouth.
And the drinks? In the dining room order tipples, lassis and coolers, sodas or wine and beer from the menu. Dishoom’s specially crafted IPA by Mondo Brewing Company is a great accompaniment at lunch or dinner. All wines on the list are available by the glass and won’t break the bank.
olive says… Dishoom is a ‘mini’ chain but you would never know. What they’ve created in Edinburgh is pretty special.
What’s the vibe? With exposed stone walls and leather banquettes the restaurant has an upmarket feel akin to its two sister restaurants in Market Street and Leith. Interior-design lovers will love the work that’s gone into the extensive refurb, from the cast iron radiators to the stunning marble green bar top which gives the restaurant a luxurious bistro feel. The vibe is casual, unstuffy and very cool for this part of town.
What’s the food like? The menu contains plenty to lure in seafood fans, from platters (the ‘full house’ is a sumptuous two-tiered affair that includes half a lobster, pickled mussels, clams, king crab legs, oysters, scotch bonnet salmon, tuna tartare and dressed crab) to small tapas-style dishes that offer the likes of monkfish satay, chargrilled octopus, sesame tuna, crab scotch eggs, hand-dived scallops and plenty more.
Highlights were the monkfish satay which had just the right amount of bite and the chargrilled octopus, which was surprisingly tender and smoky, straight off the grill.
And the drinks? There’s plenty of choice for fizz by the glass – perfect for those dropping in for an oyster or two – and the bespoke cocktail list is equally exciting. Seaside gin mixes Edinburgh Gin with manzanilla sherry, sea salt, pickled samphire and seaweed mist. It had a salinity which went incredibly well with oysters and shellfish – a must order!
olive says… Staff are super knowledgeable about the produce and the wine list, and are happy to discuss pairings with you if you ask.
In a nutshell: Civerinos Slice opened in Edinburgh’s Old Town in May 2017. This second city centre destination for the award-winning Civerinos has 80 covers and serves 11 different pizzas by the slice in an informal, New-York-style street food dining room, where eating with your hands is strictly encouraged.
What’s the vibe? Civerinos is big, noisy, and fast paced. Food is served on paper plates, you eat with your hands, and it gets messy. But while the vibe is relaxed, staff are efficient (food comes out quickly) and are passionate about what they’re serving.
What’s the food like? Pizza, by the slice and 20-inchers. There are 11 to choose from but if one of these doesn’t appeal you can create your own. Our recommendation, order a few slices of each to try as much as possible.
Fresh ingredients are key, along with a secret Italian family recipe: a semi-sourdough base is slow proven for 72 hours. Pineapple Controversy with San Marzano tomato sugo (sauce), buffalo mozzarella, glazed smokehouse pork shoulder, charred pineapple and rocket is a Hawaiian seriously updated.
The Capo-cosa, topped with wild boar and fennel salami, artichoke, olives, peppers and a boiled egg, is another great combination.
And the drinks? Civerinos’ slushy cocktails, which include Frozey, (a frozen rosé wine drink), are a great summer accompaniment to your slice. Otherwise, you can opt for Italian wines by the glass or carafe, and a small selection of craft beers.
olive says… A little bit of NYC in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
In a nutshell: Le Roi Fou opened its doors in Edinburgh’s New Town in March 2017. Swiss-French chef Jerome Henry, previously of Mosimann’s London, has cooked in some of the best restaurants in the UK and has now set down his roots in Edinburgh where he sources the best Scottish produce available.
What’s the vibe? A beautiful space has been created; muted colours, gold velvet curtains, white linen tablecloths, walnut furniture and walls crying out for some artwork to be hung (which we are led to believe will soon follow).
What’s the food like? Simple and elegant defines the menu at Le Roi Fou. Produce is as fresh as it gets. The restaurant is less than two miles from the sea so expect to see appearances from Isle of Skye scallops, native oysters, spiced fish soup and grilled Scottish monkfish on the menu. Asparagus season was celebrated in style during our visit and was prominent on both starters and mains.Steak tartare was delicious and later, too, seared dry-aged beef fillet.
And the drinks? The wine list is pleasingly short and features mostly French wine with the odd Spanish and Austrian option. The sommelier is on hand to assist with your choices and exudes much enthusiasm in doing so.
olive says… Le Roi Fou is informal fine dining in a part of town that lacks anything similar to the classic cooking and gastronomic expertise that Jerome delivers.
Great British Menu chef Tony Singh’s Road Trip pop-up restaurant went down so well during the festival last year that he’s back. For a two-year stint, at least, at The Apex Grassmarket hotel where he’s dishing up recipes reflecting his Scottish Asian heritage.
Dishes range from haggis pakora to coriander and lime cured salmon and Filipino fishballs, poached and fried street-food style. The New Town Burger, meanwhile, is from the ‘posh end of Auld Reekie’ made for sharing with Highland Wagyu beef, truffled onions, cheese and millionaire’s dressing.
“I feel that businesses have an obligation to pay something back to their local community and this place was born with the idea of being socially responsible,” says Elaine Mason, who runs Union of Genius, a soup café that opened in Edinburgh seven years ago.
The café business grew so fast that by 2013 Elaine needed a bigger kitchen. This also enabled her to produce soup for the Care Van run by the City Mission and Bethany Christian Trust. The van goes out around Edinburgh every night of the year, distributing hot soup, hot drinks and clothes to rough sleepers.
“We donate 150 litres of soup every month to the Care Van, and any extra they may need through the month is supplied at cost,” says Elaine.
“Our café and van run a ‘suspended soup’ and ‘suspended coffee’ scheme – customers can buy a soup or a coffee for someone in need, and we hold it until it’s needed. We also top up the scheme ourselves, which means that we will feed anyone who comes in hungry.”
For Elaine and her staff, the main satisfaction is knowing that they are making a difference to the lives of people in the community, but she admits that it’s hard not to get emotionally involved.
“We serve everyone – office workers, students and homeless folk – they all like their soup, but it can be hard sometimes, especially when someone’s been dropping in each day for a few weeks and then suddenly stops coming in. Sometimes it can be good news – perhaps they’ve been housed elsewhere – but other times you find out they’ve been attacked and are in hospital.
“Our staff really care and it does make a difference to people’s lives – a quick chat, a friendly smile and a bowl of hot soup does spread a bit of cheer on a cold day. It’s so easy for people to fall through the cracks. To be able to help, even a little bit, is incredibly important to me.”
For a gourmet caffeine hit head to Brew Lab‘s new venue, a former lock up in the West End. While the company’s first speciality coffee shop is in a historic building in the university quarter, the new venue has a stripped back, contemporary look with clean lines and neon lighting.
You can take your coffee geekery to the next level with barista classes or professional training in the state-of-the-art lab here. Or just sit back and order a cold brew (the bar includes a Cold Brew Coffee tap, so they serve Nitro Cold Brew on draught).
These boys really know their coffee. Last time I stopped by I was given probably one of the best espressos I’ve ever had, from Round Hill Roastery.
Which coffee to order: Grab an espresso, grab a filter, grab a comic off the shelf – just steer clear of milk. You won’t need it.
Century General Store & Cafe
Although coffee is a huge focus for the team at “Cenny Genny”, the brunch here takes the spot light. Awesome menu, awesome coffee.
What to order: The corn fritter and an Assembly flat white.
The coffee industry on a whole has its fingers on the pulse when it comes to design, but few stores do it quite as well as Lowdown. This hidden gem on George St. sources its coffee from Koppi in Sweden.
On foodie enclave Broughton Street is Artisan Roast, a teeny temple of serenity for those who worship the reviving bean, wallpapered in old coffee sacks. Earnest, beardy boys serve their own roasts and blends; we have a staggeringly good house espresso, and chilli, vanilla and cinnamon hot chocolate to a soundtrack of swamp rock. A sign reads ‘JK Rowling never wrote here’.
This Scottish brewery makes Belgian style beers. Over 40 of their own are on tap and there’s a cellar of bottled classic Belgian beers.
Manna House – for baked goods
Popular artisan bakery and patisserie, Manna House, is hidden away on Easter Street at the back of Leith Walk. It’s not on the tourist trail but is worth a detour to stock up on picnic provisions for a schlep up Arthur’s Seat.
Making and baking everything they sell, the bakery’s range of daily breads includes rye, pain de campagne sourdough and spelt and honey, while speciality loaves are baked on rotation, from feta and mint to crispy onion and olive and coriander.
Follow a sugary trail to THE MARSHMALLOW LADY shop and café. These fluffy featherlight concoctions come in seasonal flavours; pick up some whisky ones now or wait until summer for fresh raspberry.
Deli di Rollo – for Italian produce
Deli di Rollo has been a Musselburgh institution for over a hundred years, ever since Domenico di Rollo upped sticks from his small Italian village and opened an ice cream parlour in this east coast fishing town.
Last year the family branched out by opening a deli in Edinburgh, selling paninis to go and, more importantly, its famous ice cream (flavours range from lemon sorbet to caramelito and pistachio).
Mooch around among jaunty blue and white striped awnings clustered beneath the castle. Stock up on crumbly Scottish tablet, artisan breads and cold-pressed rapeseed oil or tuck into a pot of porridge from Stoats Porridge Bar. Flavours range from cranachan (raspberries, sweet toasted oats, honey and single cream) to Balvenie doublewood whisky and hone.
Among the 60 or so cheeses crammed into champion cheesemonger I. J. MELLIS’ Grassmarket branch are Scottish favourites tangy Isle of Mull cheddar and organic semi-soft Criffel from Dumfriesshire. New to the range is Auld Reekie from Aberdeenshire, a delicately smoked, tangy cow’s cheese.
The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square opened in 2017 on the former site of the Roxburghe Hotel, in Edinburgh’s New Town. The hotel consists of seven interconnected Georgian Townhouses which gives it a kind of cosy, clubhouse feel even though there are 199 revamped rooms and suites squirreled away upstairs.
The vibe is relaxed, friendly and inclusive. Staff are generous with recommendations and directions for the local area and, although it’s quite a large hotel, it feels intimate and boutique-like.
Paul Kitching’s restaurant on this leafy Georgian terrace in Edinburgh is easy to spot; its brightly coloured numerals standing out against historic granite. The high-ceiling period dining room’s muted décor contrasts sharply with Kitching’s Michelin-garlanded, tastebud-tricking skill. Pairings startle and tantalise – seabass with celeriac and hazelnuts, chicken with fennel and pear (three courses £48; five for £68).
After dinner, retreat to one of the four bedrooms, where retro furniture and big mirrors surround a vast bed. Two of the rooms face the Forth; and two overlook the garden and monument-studded Calton Hill. Breakfast includes salmon with caviar.
The Witchery is no newcomer. The buildings housing this cluster of sumptuous suites at the top of the Royal Mile date back to the 16th century. As a restaurant with rooms it’s been around since 1979. However, it’s still the benchmark for theatrical, decadent dining with suits of armour in the rooms, ornate antique four poster beds and sumptuous drapes.
The cooking is traditional but comforting (think platters of fruits de mer, whole Dover sole, steaks and roast venison; you can even order haggis, neeps and tatties). But breakfast is the real highlight. The breakfast hamper delivered by your butler to your suite is the ultimate indulgence. thewitchery.com