WHERE TO EAT
Tom and Michaela Kitchin opened Michelin-starred The Kitchin on Leith waterfront in 2006. The kitchen serves modern British food influenced by French cooking techniques and showcases Tom’s passion for the high quality ingredients available from Scotland's fantastic natural larder. We like the sound of poached Loch Fyne oysters, squid ink tagliatelle, spelt, spring vegetables and Oscietra caviar, followed by terrine of Highland venison, venison tartare and liver parfait, celeriac, bramble and orange.
Commercial Quay Commercial Street, EH6 6LX
Modern Scottish restaurant Fhior (which translates to ‘true’ in Gaelic) was opened in the summer of 2018 by Scott and Laura Smith. The pair believe that serious food and wine should not only be accessible, but also playful and light-hearted. Current seasonal highlights include the likes of halibut, fennel, buttermilk and pepper dulse and chocolate, Jerusalem artichoke and sea buckthorn.
36 Broughton Street, EH1 3SB
The Little Chartroom
The Little Chartroom opened in lovely Leith in 2018. The project of two of the city’s well-respected industry faces – chef Roberta Hall (ex-The Kitchin) and front-of-house Shaun McCarron (ex-Castle Terrace) – this 18-seat restaurant is an intimate spot that serves just four dishes each lunch and dinner. Current offerings include the likes of stuffed lamb saddle with crispy kidney, black garlic, apricot, bitter leaves, smoked yoghurt and almonds, and cucumber gazpacho, white asparagus, apple and grape.
30 Albert Place, EH7 5HN
The Table has established itself as the first interactive, fine-dining experience in central Edinburgh. The centrepiece of the restaurant is a stone counter that comfortably sits ten people in front of an open-plan kitchen. Here, guests join chef-patron Sean Clark for an evening of fun food via a multi-course tasting menu that showcases the very best of Scottish produce. The Table focuses on European cooking with some influence from further afield – think ‘Golden Wonder Cheese and Onion' (Isle of Mull cheddar raviolo with onion broth).
3A Dundas Street, EH3 6QG
The Honours Brasserie is independently owned by multi-award-winning chef Martin Wishart, who also owns two one-Michelin-starred spots – Restaurant Martin Wishart and Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond. The Honours is all about well executed food, great cocktails and carefully selected wines. On the menu, the very best of Scottish local ingredients are used with enthusiasm, applying traditional and modern French cuisine techniques. We like the sound of roast Borders roe deer with wild mushroom ravioli, celeriac puree and goat’s cheese gnocchi.
58a North Castle Street, EH2 3LU
For the best brunches and breakfasts we always like to head to Dishoom and now there’s also one in Edinburgh. We will forever recommend the breakfast naan, filled with Ramsay of Carluke’s smoked streaky bacon. We also like the sound of this Dishoom’s signature breakfast cocktail, the ‘Dhoble’, which features fresh orange and lemon juice, Luksusowa vodka, jaggery and a dash of orange bitters, served over cubed ice. What a way to start the day.
3a St Andrew Square, EH2 2BD
Baba is a warm, rustic-chic stop offering Mediterranean plates alongside charcoal grill dishes and cocktails. Of all the dishes, we like the look of the feasting plates, which are designed to be shared between two to four people and come with house harissa, zhug, grilled veg and herbs. Either opt for one of the cosy booths or take a seat at the long bar to sample a glass of Lebanese wine.
130 George Street, EH2 4JZ
Southside Scran is Tom Kitchin’s more recent Edinburgh opening. Here the menu reflects Kitchin and head chef Dominic Jack's passion for seasonal produce and their shared love of France and its cuisine. The rotisserie grill in the room presents diners with a daily selection of meat, fish and vegetables while the bistro setting encourages guests to share dishes and salads with the entire table for a family-style approach to dining.
14-17 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4HN
This fine-dining restaurant at The Balmoral is proper ‘special occasion’ territory. The glamorous dining room is resplendent in dove grey wool banquettes, contemporary art, lacquered red walls, and Adam Ellis’ stunning Scottish oak triptych. Here the menus are fashioned using seasonal ingredients to create dishes inspired by Scotland and flavoured by the team’s international travels. We like the sound of smoked potato, egg yolk, onion broth, pickled leek and aged comté.
1 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ
The Lookout by Gardener's Cottage is an exciting partnership between Edinburgh restaurant The Gardener’s Cottage and Collective, the organisation that transformed the City Observatory site on Calton Hill into a new home for contemporary art. Work up an appetite with a bracing walk to the top of Calton Hill and then head to The Lookout. Built on a cantilever, the restaurant is partially suspended over the mount’s northwest slope, meaning its floor-to-ceiling windows offer views across Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth and beyond.
Calton Hill, EH7 5AA
Edinburgh Food Studio
Edinburgh Food Studio is a crowdfunded restaurant and food research hub opened by Ben Reade and Sashana Souza Zanella. A creative venue, the site combines eating and drinking with arts, science and fun. Here, head chef James Murray and pastry chef Richard Philips offer guests an intimate, convivial and chef-driven experience via rotating menus of elevated seven-course meals.
158 Dalkeith Road, EH16 5DX
The Witchery is located right alongside Edinburgh’s historic castle, and is probably the most atmospheric setting you can imagine for a city dining experience. Enjoy legendary Angus beef steak tartare, fresh-from-the-coast seafood platters and must-try haggis among heavy tapestries and ornate wooden beams.
Castlehill, The Royal Mile, EH1 2NF
Ondine is a seafood lover’s paradise. Here, fresh oysters are served up daily – and generously – at the Oyster Bar, together with a whole host of impressive seafood dishes: think Shetland mussels cooked in an Asian broth of ginger and coriander, and classic fish soup enhanced with North African saffron and orange.
2 George IV Bridge, EH1 1AD
The Gardener’s Cottage
Situated inside a charming, historic building in the centre of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site, The Gardener’s Cottage (which it once was) focuses on seasonal cooking and social dining, offering à la carte lunches and a six-course set dinner menu served on communal dining tables. We love the sound of inventive dishes such as Arbroath smokies linguine, sea trout with brown butter, and white chocolate tart with rosemary, raspberries and woodruff.
1 Royal Terrace Gardens, London Road, EH7 5DX
This ultra-hip, brick warehouse (once a props and costume store) serves a menu full of quality ingredients supplied by local growers, breeders, producers, suppliers and foragers – expect to see the likes of ox tartare with watercress, horseradish, duck yolk and rye, and glazed hake with coastal herbs, courgette and spring onion on the menu. Head outside to the south-facing yard on sunny days or gather around the wood-burning stove to warm yourself on chillier nights.
10 Lady Lawson Street, EH3 9DS
Café St Honoré
Don’t be deceived by the typically Parisian exterior: Café St Honoré serves up modern Scottish food using fresh, local ingredients. The concise (and award-winning) menu changes daily; you may start off with a warm salad of scallops, monkfish and pine nuts, follow it with a Scotch shepherd’s pie and round off the meal with an organic chocolate brownie.
34 North West Thistle Street lane, EH2 1EA
There’s a reason this Mexican gem is one of Edinburgh’s best kept secrets. The menu is short and sweet yet packed full of flavour, and the dizzying array of margaritas and mezcals will leave you spoilt for choice. While it caters for walk-ins only, fear not – El Cartel is run by Bon Vivant, a wine bar situated a stone’s throw from the restaurant, so if you can’t get a table right away, you’ll be suitably looked after just down the road.
62 Thistle Street, EH2 1EN
Hawksmoor opened its first Scottish outpost just in time for last year’s Edinburgh Festival. The meat mecca is located in the banking hall of the former RBS HQ on St Andrew Square, and has space for 170 guests. Expect an opulent setting, cracking steaks and locally inspired dishes, such as hogget chops and langoustine scampi.
42 West Register Street, EH2 2AA
The Ivy on the Square
The Ivy empire reached Scotland in autumn 2017. Located on prestigious St Andrew Square, The Ivy on the Square is an all-day British brasserie that has an art deco look and feel. Menus span breakfast through to late-night cocktails, with the kitchen serving modern British cuisine and international Ivy-inspired classics seven days a week. The restaurant also features a Parisian-style outdoor terrace – perfect for pre- and post-show drinks in the summer.
6 St Andrew Square, EH2 2BD
WHERE TO DRINK
Hoot The Redeemer
New from the team behind the hugely successful Panda & Sons, Hoot The Redeemer describes itself as a ‘dive bar with a wonderful twist’. The twist is that it’s 1950s themed – but panic not, this isn’t a Grease tribute bar. Instead, you’re at a funfair; expect an ice-cream parlour, a Pinch ‘n’ Sip cocktail vending machine and cocktail slushies. It really is a hoot.
7 Hanover Street, EH2 1DJ
The Last Word
The independent team behind Bramble and the Lucky Liquor Co also own The Last Word Saloon – our favourite of the trio (although all three are worth a visit). Billing itself as a ‘cocktail saloon’, The Last Word is dark and atmospheric. Anyone craving one of the team’s signature sips will be pleased to learn that they also sell their own bottled cocktails – make ours a ‘Bottle-Aged Brooklyn’.
44 St Stephen Street, EH3 5AL
Nobles Café, Bar & Restaurant
Down in the newly reinvigorated Leith, Nobles is a restored Victorian café that focuses on bringing modernity to its classical surroundings – think original stained-glass windows, dark wood-panelling and a vague nautical theme. Food focuses on traditional Scottish ingredients, while local craft ales and cocktails make this classic boozer a great late-night destination.
44a Constitution Street, EH6 6RS
Voodoo Rooms blends dining and next-level cocktails with live entertainment (including performers from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival), all housed inside an opulent, gilded venue. In other words, it has Saturday night written all over it. It’s the ideal place to head with a group – just make sure you book a spot in advance.
19a West Register Street, EH2 2AA
While the bistro-style wine list at this candlelit spot won’t disappoint – they offer 40 different wines served by the glass, carafe or bottle – it’s all about the cocktails at this romantic little haunt. There’s an ever-changing cocktail list and a vast selection of champagnes to boot, but if nothing particularly tickles your fancy, expert mixologists are on hand to make anything you want, as long as they have the ingredients. Curious minds should opt for a blind tasting session to discover smaller boutique wines you’ve never tried before.
55 Thistle Street, EH21 1DY
The Devil’s Advocate
Situated inside a historic Victorian pump house (expect plenty of bare brick, beams and wood), The Devil’s Advocate serves up hearty, Scottish-inspired dishes alongside an impressive cocktail and whisky menu. Whatever you do, be sure to try ‘Bodega No.11’ – guaranteed to convert any non-whisky drinker. If you’ve never dared to try haggis, we promise the kitchen’s haggis bon-bons will convert you.
9 Advocates Close, EH1 1ND
In the heart of the Old Town you’ll find Monteith’s ‘Kitchen and Cocktails'. The bar staff pride themselves on offering a selection of classic tipples alongside one-off creations like the ‘Maharaja’s Express’ – cardamom-infused Old Raj gin, mango, lime juice, mango chutney, turmeric syrup and egg white.
61 High Street, EH1 1SR
Panda & Sons
This whimsically-named hidden bar is a cross between a prohibition-style speakeasy and a vintage barbershop. It’s known for crafty cocktail inventions and recipe tweaks, like the ‘Super Tonic’ – Caorunn gin, almond syrup, fresh lemon juice, Martini Extra Dry, Angostura bitters and a dash of tangy tonic water.
79 Queen Street, EH2 4NF