Edinburgh is one of the United Kingdom’s most exciting culinary destinations. From sophisticated Scottish “Scran” at fine dining restaurants to British-Indian fusion food at trendy eateries, you’ll leave Edinburgh full, but your taste buds will soon be craving a return!
Among the historic streets of the Old Town, family-run restaurants serving home-cooked tasting menus are hidden away beneath centuries-old bridges. Traditional Scottish pubs, serving cask ales and whiskeys in semi-darkness surprise you with their gastro takes on old classics like haggis and neeps, while eccentric chefs forage along the Firth of Forth, returning with the freshest possible produce for their hungry customers.
With so many fantastic restaurants, you might not know where to book a table. That’s why we compiled our list of the best places to eat in Edinburgh for you. Stick to these delectable Edinburgh restaurants, and there’s no doubt you’ll have an amazing culinary experience in the Scottish capital!
If this is your first time in Scotland, check out our articles on the best Scottish foods and the top whisky distilleries in Scotland!
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The 15 Top Restaurants in Edinburgh
1. Enjoy Cask Ales and Pub Classics at The World’s End
You’ll find The World’s End in a prime position along Edinburgh’s iconic Royal Mile, where for centuries, this historic pub has served cask ales and pub classics to locals and visitors alike.
You’ll love how this classic tavern is literally built into the heritage of Edinburgh, as The World’s End is located in a 16th-century listed building that was originally part of the Flodden Walls. Constructed to protect medieval Edinburgh from attack, the pub was originally right on the outskirts of the city. Or, as the locals would have felt, the pub was at the world’s end.
The World’s End is very much the essence of a traditional British pub. The famous dark blue facade advertises Scottish ales, while inside, antique-looking furnishings and dim lighting take you back to another era. You’ll find Scotch cooking firmly at the top of the menu, too, including must-try dishes like Haggis Fritters, Beer Battered Fish and Chips, and Steak and Ale Pie.
But there’s more to the menu than this, and you can also indulge in modern bistro bar favorites like Loaded Nachos and Beyond Meat Burgers and international wines like Australian Rieslings and South African Shiraz.
2. Visit Dishoom for Mumbai Fusion Dishes
Edinburgh is no stranger to the delights of British Indian cuisine, but still, few of the best restaurants in Edinburgh can compete with the relatively new Dishoom for taste. Dishoom offers a unique insight into the niche world of Mumbai’s Persian, or Irani, street food stalls and cafes. Inspired by the history of Mumbai and the city’s eclectic palates, spices, cultures, and cooking, the first Dishoom opened in 2010 in London and has since spread across the country.
Dishoom Edinburgh has quickly become one of the highest-rated restaurants in Edinburgh, and if you’re a fan of home-cooked Indian cuisine, you’ll love it too. For breakfast, you can opt for the Big Bombay, a huge take on the full Scottish breakfast which includes akuri (spiced scrambled eggs), masala beans, smoky bacon, and pork sausages, or you can go for the lighter Parsi Omelette, served with fresh chilies and coriander.
Breakfast is just the warm-up, and you can indulge in spicy Mumbai street food staples like Vadu Pau (spicy masala potatoes served in homemade buns) or Roomali Roti Roll, served with paneer or chicken tikka. There are all the classic curries and sides you’d expect, including biryanis, chili chicken, matar paneers, and many more house specialties, including the famous black daal, which is always slow-cooked for at least 48 hours.
3. Have a Supreme Brunch at The Pantry
There’s a lot of competition when it comes to the best brunch in Edinburgh, but one serious contender for the title is The Pantry.
Founded in 2012 by husband and wife team Charlotte and Chris Thompson, The Pantry is renowned for its hearty breakfast and brunch offerings, with rave reviews for the eggs benedict in particular.
The breakfast menu is served until 11 am and features a home-cooked Scottish breakfast that’s loaded with sausages, bacon, haggis, and black pudding. There are breakfast rolls with your choice of one, two, or three fillings, while the “eggs benny” leads the all-day brunch menu, closely followed by smashed avocado and a selection of waffle dishes.
Co-founder Charlotte Thompson is vegetarian, so there are great veggie and vegan alternatives for almost every item on the menu. They’ve even concocted a delicious meat-free alternative to haggis, which takes pride of place on the breakfast plate alongside halloumi and tattie scones.
4. Stop Off at Southern Cross Cafe for Cakes and Coffee
Southern Cross Cafe is one of Edinburgh’s more petite offerings, which means that the queue for their yummy cakes and artisanal coffee often stretches out the door, and all the way along Cockburn Street.
The central location right in the midst of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town helps, of course, but it’s the breakfasts that really sell this charming little cafe. On the menu, you’ll find an ever-changing array of breakfast and brunch specials, including things like smashed avo and feta on sourdough and pancakes drizzled with honey. The list of home-baked cakes is extensive, and if you’re in a rush, then a latte and a slice of carrot cake is an easy combo to take away with you.
But while Southern Cross Cafe specializes in coffee and cake, with a few larger brunch offerings on the side, they also serve up local craft beers, including IPAs from Cold Town Beer. Order up a coffee or a cold beer, then take a seat in the alfresco dining area on the cobbled street outside the café, where you can watch the world pass by.
5. Sample Tasty Pies and Sausage Rolls at The Piemaker
The Scots do baked goods and pastries like nowhere else in the United Kingdom. If you’re a big fan of sausage rolls and pies, then you have to make sure you pop into The Piemaker, a legendary bakery on South Bridge, just down from the Royal Mile.
The staple pies here are the Scotch Pies, a Scottish classic that consists of minced beef (with all the juice and fatty bits left in) covered in spices and baked in a pastry casing. For just £2 a pie, you’ll have a tasty takeaway snack that’ll fuel you for hours around Edinburgh.
But the Scotch Pie is just the classic, and The Piemaker is best known for its eclectic selection of pie fillings that transcend local pie-making traditions. There’s the Haggis Pie, the Chicken & Tikka Bake, and the excellent Macaroni & Cheese Pie. The Cottage Pie is covered in a layer of mashed potatoes, there’s a Pizza Bake pie, and vegetarian and vegan versions of the scotch pie and haggis pie.
Then there is the Sausage Roll, the Haggis Roll, the Tattie Dog, and the Double Potato Roll, which all guarantee you won’t be leaving The Piemaker hungry. Best of all, this family-run business manages to keep prices exceptionally low for a city-center business, which we love as much as the delectable pie filling! If you’re looking for budget-friendly restaurants in Edinburgh, you won’t regret visiting The Piemaker.
6. Dig into Fish and Chips at The Fishmarket Newhaven
Make the journey north to the shores of the Firth of Forth (around 30 minutes from the Edinburgh city center), and you’ll find the freshest fish and chips at The Fishmarket Newhaven.
This upscale chippie serves classic fish and chips (or “Proper Fish and Chips,” as they call it) alongside a fantastic range of seafood dishes that often come with a posh twist. For starters, you can dig into a plate of oysters, grilled langoustines, or crispy squid in a Vietnamese dressing. You can even swap your chips for roasted potatoes or opt for the salad option.
This is a fine dining take on the traditional greasy chip shop, but you’ll still find all the chip shop must-haves on the menu, like curry sauce and tartare sauce. There are also plenty of non-fish options, including battered haggis, Angus beef burgers, and chicken goujons.
The Fishmarket is located in Newhaven, and you’ll love how the fish is literally brought straight from the boats into the kitchen. You couldn’t ask for fresher cod, and the restaurant only works with local fishermen who run operations in the North Sea as sustainably as they can.
7. Tuck into Scottish ‘Scran’ at The Scran and Scallie
If you’re on the hunt for some quality “Scran” (that’s Scots for “food”), then one of the top restaurants in Edinburgh is The Scran and Scallie.
This gastropub is located among the Victorian terraces of Stockbridge, right next to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. It was founded by a group of award-winning, Michelin-starred chefs with the desire to give traditional Scottish cuisine a modern flair, and we’d say they certainly achieved their goal.
The chefs at The Scran and Scallie cook up an ever-changing seasonal menu of Scottish “Scran” prepared using locally sourced ingredients. The traditional pub decor and design contribute to the timelessness of the restaurant, as does the menu, which is written in the Scots dialect, with prices in both pounds and pennies.
Haggis, neeps, and tatties make for a hearty starter, or you could indulge in a game terrine, Orkney scallops, and Islay oysters. The Scran and Scallie Fish Pie is always a favorite, the simple ham, egg, and chips can do very little wrong, while the Wagyu beef burger and chips is one for the meat eaters.
8. Dine at The Kitchin for Michelin-Starred Cuisine
Tom Kitchin is a culinary hero in Edinburgh. He’s Scotland’s youngest Michelin-star winner, and his place, The Kitchin, is easily one of the best restaurants in Edinburgh. Kitchin is part of the team that founded The Scran and Scallie, but you’ll find The Kitchin is a little bit more gourmet than his gastropub.
You’ll need to head out to Leith to visit The Kitchin, but it’s well worth it to enjoy the culinary delights of one of Scotland’s most impressive restaurants. Kitchin worked under Michelin-starred chefs before opening his own restaurant, and the menu blends his knowledge of renowned cooking techniques with locally sourced ingredients.
The produce arrives fresh into the kitchen every day, as the restaurant keeps religiously to its “From Nature to Plate” concept. North Sea fish is fileted on-site, and venison is butchered in the kitchen. You’ll have a choice of a la carte dishes (including lobster, monkfish, mutton, and hare), or you can sample the Surprise Tasting Menu, complete with wine pairings.
9. Try a Home-Cooked Tasting Menu at Timberyard
Timberyard is first and foremost a family-run affair. This is one of the best restaurants in Edinburgh, but the fine dining cuisine is still somehow the sort of food the chefs would cook at home, while the wine is unashamedly picked for pairings because the owners enjoy a bottle of it themselves.
Timeberyard’s list of accolades is long, and the restaurant is regularly included in the Michelin guide. The tasting menu at Timberyard changes with the seasons, as the chefs pick new dishes to try when the produce allows them to. You might find scallops and turbot, or you could be enjoying pheasant and deviled mussels.
Timberyard’s setting is marvelous too. You’ll enjoy a home-cooked tasting menu with wine from the cellar (or a whisky) as you sit back in the surroundings of a repurposed 19th-century Victorian warehouse. Rather uniquely, the warehouse was used to store props and costumes for theater companies in a former life. You’ll find Timberyard on Lady Lawson Street, where the restaurant sits right in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.
10. Enjoy Sophisticated Scottish Dining at The Cellar Door
You’ll find The Cellar Door beneath George IV Bridge in Edinburgh’s Old Town, where the chefs serve up a sophisticated menu of modern Scottish cuisine prepared using local ingredients.
The Cellar Door is all about seasonal produce, and you’ll love how they endeavor to “deliver the best of Scotland on a plate.” A quick glance at the a la carte menu shows a plethora of Scottish classics, including haggis, seatrout, and salmon, but a closer inspection reveals the underlying cosmopolitan nature of the kitchen.
The haggis is served with potato puree and pickled neeps (there’s a vegetarian haggis, too), while the smoked salmon is served with a dill tattie scone, pickled grapes, and radish. There are wine pairings from as far afield as Australia and Chile, while affogato, Scottish cheese, and a hot toddy panna cotta are on the dessert menu.
To really enjoy the range of flavors, old and new, book a six-course “Taste of Scotland” tasting menu. This is The Cellar Door’s signature tasting menu, and it includes a little bit of almost everything on the a la carte menu (and a few surprises). Perfect, if you can’t decide which dishes to choose!
11. Visit Kanpai Sushi for a Taste of Japan
Don’t forget that Edinburgh is an international destination, and some of the best restaurants showcase the multicultural talents of the city’s many diverse chefs and their communities. One of the best restaurants in Edinburgh is Kanpai Sushi, where you can enjoy a wonderful array of Japanese specialties just a short stroll away from the Royal Mile.
“Kanpai” means “cheers” in Japanese (more accurately, it means “bottoms up”), so you can expect there to be plenty of sake and Japanese beers on the drinks menu. You can even try cocktails mixed with sake and Japanese gin, including the Bloody Amy (a sake version of the Bloody Mary) and the Ki No Bi Tonic (a Kyoto Dry Gin and Tonic). Beer drinkers will love the choice of Asahi, Sapporo, and Kirin, while wine lovers can indulge in a bottle of French white or Romanian red.
The sushi is hand rolled in the open kitchen, and you can indulge in everything from nigiri and maki to Dragon Rolls and sashimi. Scallops, squid, king prawns, and bean curds are all on the tempura menu, and the Wagyu steak is seared to perfection on the teppanyaki grill. There’s a range of house classics and house specialties for you to try, too, including miso soup, nori bites, poke salad, and much more.
12. Enjoy Locally Foraged Produce at Forage & Chatter
Forage & Chatter is one of the best places to eat in Edinburgh, and you’ll love that many of the ingredients are hand foraged in the local area! You’ll find this quirky dining experience in Edinburgh’s West End, where the chefs’ love for local produce is being taken to new heights every season.
The kitchen prides itself on serving the best Scottish cuisine, and where possible, the ingredients are sourced within a 25-mile radius of the restaurant itself. This means that the fish is straight from the North Sea (with some of the seafood and crustaceans foraged along the coast), and the meat and veggies are from farms in the nearby countryside.
This does mean that you’ll never quite know what’s going to be on the menu, as it quite literally changes on a daily basis depending on what’s at the market or which herbs the chefs forage on their way to work. You can expect the food to be of the utmost high quality, though. Sample menus include pumpkin tagliatelle with chestnuts, halibut with samphire, and pork loin in a mushroom jus.
13. Dine on Homegrown Produce at The Gardener’s Cottage
Edinburgh has no shortage of restaurants serving up locally sourced ingredients, but The Gardener’s Cottage has cranked up the competition by growing their own produce in the restaurant’s on-site garden.
You’ll find The Gardener’s Cottage located in tranquil surroundings within the London Road Gardens. You’ll be dining inside an old stone cottage dating back to 1836, which was indeed once home to the gardener and their family.
The chefs at The Gardener’s Cottage take inspiration from their unique history and botanical surroundings, and what they don’t grow themselves, they purchase fresh from local growers and suppliers. The ever-changing tasting menu features such delights as ravioli al uovo, rabbit terrine, and beef shin served with black pudding.
14. Brunch Yourself Out at the Edinburgh Larder
If you’re looking for the best brunch in Edinburgh to get you started for a day of sightseeing, then let us recommend the Edinburgh Larder.
The Edinburgh Larder is snuggled away on Blackfriars Street, right in the heart of the Old Town. There are actually two cafes next to each other, with the Edinburgh Larder offering table reservations and a more formal brunch atmosphere and the Little Larder being walk-ins and takeaway only.
Both cook the same food in the same kitchen, so you can always have a bite to go if the queue for a table is too long (which oftentimes, it is!). That’s the sign of a good café, though, and you’ll love the fresh, home-cooked dishes that are served for breakfast, brunch, and lunch.
If you’re hungry, then go for the Full Breakfast (available with veggie and vegan options). Lighter options exist in the form of eggs benedict or porridge (a classic Scottish breakfast), and the buttery baps are perfect for takeaway. Breakfast can be accompanied by all your favorite hot drinks, and if you stay for lunch, the cocktails start to flow long into the afternoon!
15. Savor the Unusual Flavors and Hot Coal Cooking of Aizle
One of the most interesting places to eat in Edinburgh is Aizle, where the six-course tasting menu changes with the seasonal harvest.
Aizle is located inside The Kimpton Charlotte Square, one of Edinburgh’s flashiest luxury hotels, so you can expect your experience here to be a fine dining one. But Aizle doesn’t do anything in what you’d call a normal manner, as they prepare their own live starter for the sourdough, age their aquavit before mixing it with cocktails, and serve hand-churned butter and foraged herbs.
Start with a bespoke cocktail, which could feature earl gray tea, the aquavit we already mentioned, and sea buckthorn or Scottish pine for flavoring. As you’d imagine, the tasting menu is always a little different, but the name of the restaurant itself should give you some idea of what to expect. In Scots, “Aizle” means embers or burning coal, so you can expect many of the dishes to be cooked over open fires.
The last autumnal harvest menu featured delightful produce like North Sea crab, Exmoor caviar, figs, cherries, malt, and seagreens. We’re always excited to see what the seasonal harvest holds at Aizle.
There you have it! The 15 best restaurants in Edinburgh. What’s your favorite restaurant in Edinburgh?
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