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The best restaurants in Edinburgh

From Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants to cheap and cheerful curry houses, Edinburgh has a menu to suit all tastes. Here's our pick of the best restaurants Edinburgh has to offer.

In spite of Scotland's reputation for questionable foodstuffs (haggis is genuinely delicious once you overlook how it's made), Edinburgh is a culinary wonderland, with Michelin-starred restaurants living cheek-by-ethically-sourced-jowl with student-friendly Indian restaurants and perfect pizzerias. And whether you want to try one of Edinburgh's best cheap eats or one of its fine dining restaurants, there's certainly a lot of choice. Check out our list below to see which restaurants best fit your taste.

Edinburgh restaurants

The Gardener's Cottage

Critics' choice

Since The Gardener’s Cottage opened its doors in 2012, chef and co-owner duo Ed Murray and Dale Mailley have earned themselves some serious culinary kudos. Their ethos is simple: create a great sense of place, with seasonal food, that connects the diner, the producer and the landscape.

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City centre

Castle Terrace

Critics' choice

That it took Castle Terrace just 15 months to bag a Michelin star hints at the shiny gold standard you can expect from it. Sure, if you’re after a weekend table you’ll have to book a few months in advance, but your efforts will be rewarded by a top-notch culinary experience.

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West End

The Scran & Scallie

Critics' choice

The creation of not one, but two of Edinburgh’s Michelin-starred chefs, gastro pub The Scran & Scallie was never likely to disappoint. Couple its top-notch cuisine with its Stockbridge location – one of Edinburgh’s most affluent stomping grounds – and you have a sure-fire winner.

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Stockbridge

The Witchery

Critics' choice

Not for nothing is a trip to The Witchery still considered destination dining in a capital bursting with younger, hipper models. It remains unashamedly old school, attracting moneyed Edinburghers and tourists who are more than happy to pay a few extra quid to eat in such charming historic surrounds.

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Royal Mile

Ting Thai Caravan

Critics' choice

Few things are more pleasing than seeing a great little pop-up get the recognition it deserves, and so it is with Ting Thai Caravan. Once serving just four great Thai dishes, it now boasts a hearty street food menu of thoughtful innovations and taste combinations.

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Old Town

L'Escargot Bleu

Critics' choice

Since opening in the home of a former clockmaker in 2008, L’Escargot Bleu has fitted in nicely among trendy coffee shops, independent booksellers and award-winning butchers. Floor-to-ceiling windows and cosy tables at the front of the restaurant create ample occasion for a cosy tête-à-tête, while the bustle of the open kitchen to the rear adds further to the bohemian Frenchness.

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Bindi

The minute you walk through the door of this newcomer, and enter the wonderful world of chef and owner Bindiya Kanani, you know you’re in for a treat. As the heart and soul behind Edinburgh’s first fully licensed Indian and East African fusion restaurant, Kanani has managed to do that rarest of things: make a vegetarian restaurant that’s truly interesting to a card-carrying carnivore.

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Field

Critics' choice

Right in the heart of studentsville, on the Southside of the city, Field stands apart from the so-so eateries that surround it. In the kitchen, chef Gordon Craig’s plan is a simple one: take the model of what makes a great Michelin-starred restaurant and strip it right back to its basics.

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Mithas

Critics' choice

If you’re looking for a comforting slather of the usual tikka, vindaloo or korma sauce, ladled over a choice of prawn, lamb or chicken, you’re about to be very disappointed. The likes of crab kebab and monkfish tikka pop out from the menu, as does the partridge with a cinnamon, yoghurt, lemon and honey marinade. Run of the mill this is not. But Mithas does the clever thing of presenting unusual, imaginative Indian combinations, without spilling over into gimmicky fusion dishes.

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Leith

La Favorita

Critics' choice

Ask the locals where you can get the best pizza in Edinburgh and, even if the verdict isn’t unanimous, the winner will most likely be La Favorita. At this pizzeria, homemade dough is rolled four days in advance and topped with the likes of spicy Calabrian sausage, chopped haddock, creamy mozzarella or sautéed carrots, before being cooked in log-fired ovens. It’s La Favorita’s attention to detail that makes people go back – that, or the early stages of arancini addiction.

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Leith

Earthy

Critics' choice

As you will in the store joined onto this Canonmills restaurant, at Earthy you’ll find local, organic, seasonal, Fair Trade, free-range and ethical ingredients that surprise and delight.

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Café St Honoré

Critics' choice

Café St Honoré has been around for donkeys, but still, quite rightly, comes up in conversation as one of the nicest spots for a smart bistro meal in the centre of Edinburgh. The French angle got sidelined long ago in favour of locally sourced Scottish produce, cooked expertly, slavishly following the principles of Slow Food.

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New Town

Timberyard

Timberyard is a very special spot on the Edinburgh restaurant scene – mostly because it nails so many of the things required for an excellent meal out. It’s a family-run business, and owner-operators the Radfords – along with their extended team of local growers, breeders, producers, suppliers and foragers – have you in very safe hands.

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West End

The Mosque Kitchen

Critics' choice

A full belly, and change from a fiver. That’s the main draw of The Mosque Kitchen – a no-frills, queue-up-with-a-tray, canteen-style set-up, with plastic cutlery and plastic plates. The owners aren’t angling for anything more ambitious than filling up their customers with cheap and tasty Indian food – and the curry is good so, as mission statements go, they deliver.

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The Honours

Critics' choice

This is a smart option that’s mercifully free of the stiff airs and graces you’d normally expect. It’s brasserie food with the stops pulled out, and is especially famous for its steaks. Desserts are also a highlight.

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New Town

Wedgwood

Critics' choice

There’s a lovely relaxed feel here, from the contemporary décor to the modern Scottish menu. The dinner menu is rich in choice, with signature dishes like lobster thermidor crème brûlée among the popular choices. For dessert, it has to be the sticky toffee pudding with Caol Ila whisky butterscotch.

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Royal Mile

Dusit

Critics' choice

Despite competition from other Thistle Street eateries, and the growing number of Thai restaurants in Edinburgh, this compact, stone-walled spot remains popular (it opened in 2002) because of the quality of the cooking. Beautifully balanced Thai, Japanese, Chinese, French and Vietnamese flavours are neatly dolloped over Scottish produce.

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New Town

The King's Wark

Critics' choice

Set in a fifteenth-century building overlooking the Water of Leith (the river that runs through the city), The King’s Wark has carved out a solid reputation for solid cooking using ingredients sourced from Scotland’s local larder.

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Leith

Mother India's Cafe

Mother India began as a café in Glasgow in the ’90s, and this Edinburgh outpost popped up in 2008, serving Indian food in tapas portions. There are some 50 dishes on offer, some giving a fresh twist to Indian restaurant staples – the chicken tikka comes in two variations, with nuts or peppers and tomatoes.

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Old Town

Comments

3 comments
jack j
jack j

Your shared post is very informative and impressive. Recently my father came back from his Edinburgh tour after his pittsburgh bus tours by http://www.getbustours.com/chicago-east-coast-8day-tour-from-chicago.html ;there he stayed at The Scran & scale that is renowned hotel of this region. I’m glad to tell you that your post proves helpful for him while selecting staying options.

k w
k w

where the heck is the Ship on the Shore (yes I know it's in Leith). It is my favourite