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The 21 best restaurants in Edinburgh

Whether you’re pinching pennies or gunning for a blowout, these are the best restaurants in Edinburgh for all budgets

A dish at Fhior in Edinburgh
Photograph: Fhior
By Dayna McAlpine |
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From the Old Town’s humble cheap eats to the hard-to-bag-a-seat spots around Leith Harbour, Edinburgh does dining both accessible and highfalutin. And more often than not, the results are exceptional.

But best of all? You’ll never be stuck for choice. Talked-about openings are popping up at a remarkable rate these days, with chefs local and international flocking en masse to show off their finest ideas in the Scottish capital. Many of the very best restaurants in Edinburgh are cooking up truly outlandish things, while still paying homage to traditional Scottish dishes and flavours. And that holds whether it’s brunch or a Michelin star blowout. We’re not kidding when we say you should come here just for the food – so here’s your itinerary. 

Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList.

Best restaurants in Edinburgh

1
Photograph: Stephen Robinson
Restaurants

Aizle

Chef Stuart Ralston and front of house supremo Krystal Goff opened here in 2014 pursuing the concept of ‘bistronomy’: fresh local food and informal surroundings, but with the kind of tasting menu you’d expect in a much swankier environment. This place has a fresh, bright bistro look with a board detailing the latest ingredients Ralston will use to rustle up your five-course blowout.

Price: High-end 

2
A dish at Edinburgh restaurant Fhior
Photograph: Fhior

Fhior

Scott Smith’s latest Edinburgh venture Fhior – that’s Gaelic for ‘true’ or ‘honest’ – certainly lives up to its name. Their ambitious use of foraged ingredients and local produce is one that pays off across every dish on their seven-course menu. You won’t know what you’re getting until you’re served, but trust us, everything here is exquisite. And there’s even something to take home: yes, a menu, handed to you in a mysterious envelope at the end.

Price: Mid-range/high-end

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3
Timberyard, restaurant
Photograph: Timberyard
Restaurants

Timberyard

Timberyard nails so many of the requirements for an excellent meal out: expect unusual ingredients and exciting combinations that run from drinks to dessert, plus a hipster vibe. It’s a family-run business, and owner-operators the Radfords – along with their extended team of local growers, breeders, producers and foragers – have you in very safe hands.

Price: Mid-range 

4
A main course of salmon at the Little Chartroom
Photograph: Isabel McCabe

The Little Chartroom

Tucked down the tiny Leith Walk, this is a rare addition to one of Edinburgh’s most famous streets. Named for the owners’ passion for sailing, The Little Chartroom is that rare thing – a much talked-about new opening that actually lives up to the hype. Dishes are modern but pay homage to traditional Scottish flavours and cooking. With only 18 covers, booking is essential.

Price: Mid-range/high-end 

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5
The Scran & Scallie, Edinbrugh
Photograph: Marc Millar Photography
Bars and pubs

The Scran & Scallie

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

Price: Mid-range 

6
Hake and prawn escobado at 83 Hanover Street in Edinburgh
Photograph: SJS Photography

83 Hanover Street

The first dining project from Gleneagles heavyweight Juan Castillo Castro sees him blend Scottish produce with flavours from his native Chile. With many dishes based on his own mother’s recipes, the menu revolves around small bites and bigger helpings designed for sharing. Settle in for a long evening with friends in the cosy basement restaurant or fly by solo for a few quick lunch plates at the bar.

Price: Bargain 

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7
Photograph: 21212
Restaurants

21212

Paul Kitching’s 21212 – opened 2009, Michelin star by 2010 – is tucked away on Royal Terrace, a distinguished, cobbled boulevard of 19th-century townhouses on the side of Calton Hill. The cooking is among Scotland’s best. Dinner is structured around a choice of three starters, soup, a choice of three mains, a cheese course and three dessert options.

Price: High-end 

Time Out says
8
Camera
Restaurants

The Table

Launched in 2015, this restaurant has one table – a breakfast bar affair immediately adjacent to the open-plan kitchen – and caters to a maximum of 10 diners in a single evening sitting. The environment is swish and you interact with the chefs as they cook – it’s hard to know where the fine dining ends and the performance art begins.

Price: High-end 

Time Out says
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9
The Gardener's Cottage, Edinburgh
Photograph: Gardener’s Cottage
Restaurants

The Gardener’s Cottage

Since The Gardener’s Cottage opened 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 diner, producer and landscape.

Price: Mid-range 

10
L'escargot Bleu, Restaurants, Edinburgh
Photograph: Albie Clark
Restaurants

L’Escargot Bleu

Since opening in a former clockmaker’s in 2008, L’Escargot Bleu has slotted 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 an intimate tête-à-tête, while the bustle of the open kitchen to the rear adds further to the bohemian Frenchness.

Price: Mid-range/high-end

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11
Café St Honore, Edinburgh
Photograph: Café St Honoré
Restaurants, French

Café St Honoré

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, and dogged adherence to Slow Food principles.

Price: Mid-range/high-end

12
Locana Di Gusti
Photograph: Locanda De Gusti
Restaurants, Italian

Locanda De Gusti

Locanda De Gusti launched on the other side of Edinburgh some years ago, moved to up-and-coming Dalry Road in 2014 – less than five minutes’ walk from Haymarket Station – and now enjoys an enviable reputation for its food and service. Chef Rosario Sartore is from Naples, so the cooking has a pronounced southern Italian style, with lots of excellent seafood, while the décor puts diners in mind of a bright, polite farmhouse kitchen.

Price: Mid-range 

Time Out says
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13
Castle Terrace, Restaurants, Edinburgh
Photograph: Marc Millar Photography
Restaurants

Castle Terrace

A city-centre restaurant with links to the Michelin-starred Kitchin in Leith, Castle Terrace has been pleasing Edinburghers’ palates since 2010. 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.

Price: Mid-range 

14
Ting Thai Caravan
Photograph: Stephen Robinson
Restaurants

Ting Thai Caravan

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 packed with inventive flavour combinations.

Price: Bargain 

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15
Wedgwood, restaurant, food
Photograph: Wedgwood
Restaurants

Wedgwood

There’s a warm, relaxed atmosphere 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 standouts. For dessert, it has to be the sticky toffee pudding with Caol Ila whisky butterscotch.

Price: Mid-range/high-end

16
The Witchery, Edinburgh
Photograph: The Witchery
Restaurants

The Witchery

Not for nothing is a trip to The Witchery still considered destination dining in a capital bursting with younger, rougher-edged openings. 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 a charming setting.

Price: High-end/blowout

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17
Mother India Cafe
Photograph: Stephen Robinson
Restaurants, Cafés

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-size portions. There are 50 dishes on offer, some putting a fresh twist on Indian restaurant staples – the chicken tikka, for instance, comes in two variations, with nuts or with peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Price: Mid-range

18
The Honours, Edinburgh
Photograph: The Honours
Restaurants

The Honours

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

Price: High-end

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19
Field, Edinburgh
Photograph: Field
Restaurants

Field

Right in the heart of studentsville, in Southside, Field stands apart from the so-so addresses that surround it. Its ethos is simple: take the model of what makes a great Michelin-starred restaurant and strip it right back to its basics, using ethically, locally and seasonally sourced produce.

Price: Bargain 

20
Dusit, Edinburgh
Photograph: Dusit
Restaurants

Dusit

Despite competition from other Thistle Street restaurants, and a growing number of Thai spots in Edinburgh, this compact, stone-walled address remains popular thanks to its quality cooking. Beautifully balanced Thai, Japanese, Chinese, French and Vietnamese flavours are neatly combined with Scottish produce.

Price: Bargain 

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21
dishoom
Photograph: Dishoom
Restaurants, Indian

Dishoom

Dishoom has been a contemporary London success story since the original launched in 2010 near Covent Garden. As with that flagship venture, the Edinburgh outpost draws heavily on south Asia’s Irani cafés and recalls those opened by Iranian immigrants in Mumbai way back when.

Price: Bargain/mid-range 

Time Out says

And if you fancy getting boozy? Ahem...

Bars and pubs

The 11 best bars in Edinburgh

Smiley Edinburgh must be about as friendly and welcoming as cities get. And we’d surmise that’s in no small part thanks to the city’s wealth of pubs and bars. Whether you’re into comfy chairs, soft music and chatter, or stylish hangouts that get packed at the weekend, there’s something boozy for all sensibilities in this historic city.

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