Edinburgh is heaven for foodies, there are so many wonderful restaurants spread around the city that it can be difficult to decide where to eat. We haven’t even scratched the surface of Edinburgh’s restaurant offering, so we’ve turned to some experts when it comes to eating out to create a handy guide to Edinburgh’s best restaurants.
Whenever we visit somewhere new, we’ll try to find out what the local bloggers are eating. This has resulted in some absolutely incredible meals, making our holidays even more special. Here’s hoping this guide will help you get the most out of Edinburgh, whether you live here or are planning on visiting.
Huge thanks to all the bloggers who have helped create this guide to Edinburgh’s best restaurants, be sure to give them a follow on social media using the links below to hear more great restaurant recommendations:
Yes, it sounds cliché, but it’s true. My favourite restaurant of the moment is the vegan bar/ restaurant down in Leith: Harmonium. It opened mid-2017 with much fanfare and so much anticipation that vegans from all over Edinburgh (myself included) were poised, ready and waiting, to break the door down when it opened.
This is because the team behind Harmonium come with previous form: they are already established in Glasgow with firm favourites such as Mono, The Flying Duck and Stereo. But is the hype justified? For me, absolutely.
Any of your favourite dishes you can eat vegan here. You name it – creamy macaroni cheese, succulent burgers, greasy American-style pizzas – Harmonium shows that you don’t need animal products for a satisfying comfort food fix. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or meat-eater, you’re bound to find dining at Harmonium a complete joy.
You can read my full review of Harmonium, and discover even more mouthwatering vegan food in Edinburgh at Vegan Edinburgh
A stone’s throw from The Malt Whisky Society in Leith is Norn, a restaurant that makes amazing bread.
With an experimental approach and local, seasonal, sustainable ethos, they forage, dry, ferment, pickle and smoke Scottish ingredients to produce delicious and innovative dishes. Choose to have four or seven dishes and let the sommelier match your drinks – you’ll be pleased you did.
Dishes change with the season and what’s available so you’ll always get a different menu. Expect wild garlic and sorrel in spring, various mushrooms and game in autumn. I’ve enjoyed tomato tartar, mackerel with seasonal herbs, potato filled with crab and buttermilk foam to mention a few dishes.
The space is bright, minimalist and relaxed, the service is friendly and the food? The food shines. Dishes are creative and surprising, well-balanced and thoughtfully presented. If you want food that will make you laugh and chatter excitedly at the table, Norn is a great choice – just don’t fill up on the bread.
Norn caters for vegetarians, vegans and allergies: just let them know when you book.
You can read more about Norn and catch up on more Edinburgh Foody news over at EdinburghFoody.com
Like everyone else I want to eat and enjoy the best in cooking and dining, even though I have to eat gluten-free. This is why I set up Gluten Free Edinburgh – to help diners seek out the best restaurants who cater for gluten-free eaters. My current favourite restaurant is New Chapter on Eyre Place in the New Town.
Freshness runs through everything the restaurant does: the food, the friendliness of the staff and the light décor too – dining here is always a positive experience. New Chapter does a really good value set lunch, which is worth seeking out, with a wider a la carte in the evening.
There are always good gluten-free choices at New Chapter – I can usually have most things on the menu, and they bring gluten free bread too, which is always appreciated. Things like pheasant, fish with lentils, onion tarte tatin and other seasonal dishes are always on the menu and there are vegetarian choices too.
The a la carte makes evening dining a bit more special, but the same ethos and approach is always there. The restaurant has a loyal fan base, so despite its location, it is often buzzing.
Check out the full review of New Chapter (and discover many more gluten free restaurants in Edinburgh) over at Gluten Free Edinburgh.
Picking a favourite restaurant in Edinburgh is pretty tricky. At the moment the one I find myself recommending or introducing people to the most is Le Roi Fou on Forth Street.
After an initial visit where I was impressed but not totally convinced, I’ve been back a number of times and it has been progressively better with each visit. I really enjoy dining at the bar as it gives a good insight into the excellent drinks selection – wine list and beyond – that complements the locally driven food menu. The Swiss cheeses – sourced from chef Jerome Henry’s homeland – are routinely a highlight but the wafer-thin hand-crafted oatcakes that accompany them are every bit as spectacular.
It ticks a lot of boxes for me and a number of friends so I’ve been there a fair bit in recent months, with at least another couple of visits planned in the near future. But in terms of out-and-out favourites, it always tends to come back to Purslane, Field, The Dogs and The Apiary.
Be sure to read the full review of Le Roi Fou and over 2,000 more Edinburgh restaurant reviews at Lunchquest.
When Gary asked me to come up with just one recommendation, I have to say I found it difficult. One recommendation in each category? Sure. But how do you decide between fine dining and street food, or steak and seafood?
I have decided to go for the restaurant that most exceeded my expectations.
There are excellent restaurants in Edinburgh – Martin Wishart, Castle Terrace, Chop House, to name a few. Then there are the hidden surprises like Down The Hatch, the ones where you need to be a local to really know about them.
The restaurant which most exceeded my expectations though was The Honours. It calls itself a bistro, but it’s so much more than that. Everything from the menu, to the service, to the bar snacks is perfect. It also has the best children’s menu you will find in Edinburgh. The Honours has elevated itself as far as it can go and still be classed a bistro.
Read Erica’s full review of The Honours (and many more) over at Foodinburgh.
Locanda De Gusti has long been a favourite of mine since it’s days down in Broughton Street, I actually prefer their not-so-new-now restaurant in Dalry Road – the interior is fresh and light and full of character – reflecting the food on offer.
Chef/patron Rosario is a craftsman in the kitchen and his Neapolitan inspired food is simple yet packs a Vesuvius sized punch on the flavour scale. The pasta is made daily and his ravioli is the best I’ve ever tasted. Scamorza (smoked mozzarella) and the stunning seafood options are all favourites. Fresh ingredients of the highest quality are treated with love and respect and served with a confident flourish – you can’t help but be transported to sunnier climes when dining here.
This is one of those restaurants that makes your mouth water when you start thinking about their food – every single time! I only wish I lived closer these days.
We are so lucky to have such a vast range of different restaurants on our doorstep. Having visited many of them over the years, we are often asked which one is our favourite. It’s always so difficult to choose, but one name keeps coming up time and time again – Taisteal.
Located on Raeburn Place in Stockbridge, where the old Buffalo Grill used to be, the restaurant’s name is Gaelic for “journey”. Chef Gordon Craig takes the best of Scotland’s produce and using his culinary experiences from his worldwide travels creates an exciting menu with amazing flavour and taste combinations.
We have visited many times and found the service and food consistently excellent. They have some fantastic early evening deals, so be sure to check out the menu options. We love the scallops with satay sauce, black pudding and pomegranate for starter and the grilled venison haunch with butternut squash gnocchi, wild mushrooms, sesame seeds and cassis jus for mains.
Stockbridge with all its bars and restaurants is a great all-round area to enjoy a night out with family and friends, and Taisteal is the perfect destination for a delicious meal. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
For Boys Eat Scotland’s full review and many more, visit their website.
With a solid menu, fantastic music and the some of the best frozen Margaritas we have tried, you can’t go wrong with Edinburgh’s Mexican gem.
El Cartel’s take on antojitos (‘little cravings’) are brought to your table the minute they’re ready, and not a moment too soon.
I’d like to clarify, this restaurant doesn’t serve the standard fajita and nacho options, and thank god for that. Their guacamole is like no other, serviced with pomegranate seeds, feta and plantain chips – trust me, it’s worth the trip alone for a pot of this green goodness!
There’s an array of slow roasted meat, fish, and veggie delights and it all comes packed with flavour. The cod tacos, pork shoulder tacos and chorizo quesadillas are small parcels packed with flavour and designed to be savoured. I feel a warning is warranted here: order more than you think you’ll eat – all the tacos are sure to be devoured by your companions in a matter of minutes.
If you haven’t picked up on my enthusiasm yet, let me reiterate…the food is utterly delicious. You can taste the fresh ingredients in every bite and there is certainly nothing processed about any of the dishes here. Dessert options are limited, but their house margaritas are sure to satisfy any sugar cravings you may have.
The restaurant is tiny, so be prepared to wait across the street at big brother, Bon Vivant. The El Cartel staff will be happy to come and collect you from across the street when a table becomes free.
Find out more about El Cartel and explore more of Olivia’s blog at OH! Taste
When considering my favourite Edinburgh eatery I tend to take into account a number of factors, such as customer service and staff attitude; the presentation of the venue and the food; the price and the value for money; and of course the variety and quality of the food.
The city certainly isn’t lacking in restaurants that succeed on all of the above fronts, but if there is one that stands out for meeting the brief consistently it has to go to the Educated Flea on Broughton Street, which admittedly is already rife with a vast array of cuisines and quality from top to tail, but the Flea… the Flea is undoubtedly the lynchpin.
One need only glance through the window in passing. Rarely is there an evening where you can simply walk in off the street on the off-chance of securing an impromptu table.
It feels like years since Edinburgh has boasted a restaurant that maintains a regular waiting list for availability – back in the day the Apartment was the only one that sprung to mind, and today maybe only the Table has the same clout – but the Educated Flea surely comes close to joining those ranks and if you’ve been, it’s pretty clear as to why.
Anchored in British cuisine but very much dipping its toes in more worldly flavours, the menu is always interesting and the food in reality is artfully presented and saturated with flavour.
All pickling, preserving and smoking is done in-house by a kitchen who revel in being challenged by the customer, to the extent they hold seasonal menu change weekends whereby they invite the public in to critique and help them develop their new creations… at the same time paying half price for the pleasure. Inspiringly interactive.
On the business side, the experience is akin to going round to your perpetually affable friend’s house for dinner, every member of staff in a constant state of upbeat-feel-good and happy to banter at any level yet retaining an element of professionalism throughout.
And with offers like a 2-course lunch for £12 or a Pre-Theatre 3-courser for £15, the value speaks for itself.
Go. Go now. And thank me later.
Be sure to check out Joey Fantana’s blog, with a focus on Edinburgh’s eateries and movies (lots of movies!)