The Edinburgh food and drink scene offers an incredible mix of dining options. Cuisine from around the world and the best of Scottish local produce is available in the city’s bars, coffee houses, tea rooms, gastro inns and restaurants.
All budgets and foodie themes are taken care of here. Highlights include Edinburgh’s cafe culture which feels ultra European. There’s no shortage of famous chefs and Michelin Stars. Fine dining mingles with quirky patisserie cafes and every possible world cuisine restaurant you can imagine.
The city also has some great little pocket dining quarters like the Leith waterfront where you’ll find some fantastic seafood restaurants. Afternoon Teas taken in restored historic buildings are a recent trend and discover some delectable gelato ice cream and contemporary chocolaterie venues.
Where to Eat
You’re spoilt for choice on the best places to eat in Edinburgh. All tastes and budgets are catered for in the culinary delights of this foodie favourite city.
Michelin Star and fine dining experiences in Edinburgh are showcases of Scotland’s outstanding flavours and local produce. Famous venues include Michelin Star restaurant The Kitchin on the Leith waterfront owned by acclaimed chef Tom Kitchin.
The Witchery by the castle is a long-standing fine dining favourite in the city. Nothing beats the baroque style interior of this famous Scottish restaurant voted the Ultimate Romantic Bolthole by The Guardian.
Venues are as decadent as menus. Colonnades at the Signet Library not only serves exceptional 5-course dinner. During the day sit amongst elegant Colonnades and enjoy a champagne afternoon tea and lunch options.
For fine dining with spectacular views of the Edinburgh cityscape choose The Tower Restaurant and Terrace close to the Royal Mile’s many attractions. Fine dining legends in the city include The Dome on George Street in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town. Enjoy afternoon tea, lunch, and dinner here surrounded by The Dome’s famous Graeco-Roman facade and Corinthian Portico.
World Cuisine/ Casual Dining
Tempting flavours from across the world have long had a presence in Edinburgh. Khushi’s on Antigua Street is the city’s oldest Indian restaurant. The secret to their success is fresh in-house preparation of the finest ingredients.
Origano on the Leith Walk is one of the city’s best pizzerias with wood-burning oven. It’s housed within a former Victoria India Rubber Mill and retains many of its industrial features! For great traditional Japanese food including sushi dishes head to the ultra minimalist Kanpai Sushi on Grindlay Street.
The list of culinary delights across the Edinburgh Food and Drink scene is endless. A huge number of authentic Italian restaurants are across the city. Quirky street-style favourites include Bodega Taqueria, a popular party venue, with not a hint of tepid flavours here.
A cluster of great restaurants and gastro pubs serving food line the shores of the Leith waterfront just north of Edinburgh city centre. Quirky buildings here have a rich history. The King’s Wark pub was a former plague hospital and smuggler’s haunt! Dine in award-winning French restaurant Bistro Provence or how about dining out on a floating ship at the Cruz Bar and Restaurant.
Exciting recent newcomers to the Leith waterfront include Norn with a reputation for serving the finest Scottish cuisine with a modern twist.
Vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Edinburgh are numerous. Hendersons of Edinburgh, with its bistro, bakery, gallery, deli and “reputation for cutting edge vegetarian cuisine” is a brilliant place or try David Bann, just off the Royal Mile.
Where to Drink
Coffee Houses & Tearooms
Edinburgh’s cafe culture is a coffee connoisseur’s paradise! Coffee shops, patisserie cafes and character tearooms in the city centre and along the Leith waterfront are housed in beautifully converted historic buildings.
Tuck in to hand crafted chocolates, hot chocolate, fine coffee or Italian Gelato in the unique setting of The Chocolate Tree in the Bruntsfield area of the city.
Award-winning coffee houses include The Artisan Roast who source their fair trade beans from around the world. Each coffee house has its own unique theme like ‘Babies and Bumps, a baby and child friendly cafe on Church Hill Place.
The Caffeine Drip is a cafe and bakery with South African roots. Enjoy exotic coffee blends here in a rustic basement setting. There are numerous chic cafe venues, many with WiFi, dotted around Hanover and George Streets like the super cool Wellington Coffee House. The wafts of their Espresso are hard to walk by!
Teas lovers and those seeking that perfect Afternoon Tea experience will find much to please in Edinburgh. Try eteaket Tea Boutique and Cafe on Frederick Street serving a range of ethically sourced loose-leaf teas. Clarinda’s Tea Room on the Royal Mile is a chintzy tea room favourite.
Where to Drink
Pubs & Bars
Edinburgh is rightly proud of its pubs and bars. Grassmarket is cram-packed with pubs like the Black Bull (a traditional pub with good beer), and the Last Drop. There are also many pubs on other city centre streets like Rose Street, George Street and the Royal Mile, with good ale and whisky (many in unusual locations like the basement or way upstairs). Cosy, atmospheric, smart cosmopolitan… whatever you fancy, you’ll find it here in Edinburgh.
Michelle is an experienced travel writer with iknow and has travelled extensively across the UK, Spain, Portugal and the USA. When she’s not busy writing for iknow she enjoys spending time touring museums and art galleries and seeking out the best independent shops in Manchester and Leeds.
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With so many beautiful and wonderful places to visit in the UK, how do you go about choosing the right one for you? We've got the lowdown on all the best places to visit, experience and enjoy and expert knowledge to make sure you're getting the best out of your UK holiday.