There's a lot of crossover between our selections for the best Scottish restaurants in Edinburgh and the best restaurants in Edinburgh, period. Which is only natural, when you think about it - where else is Scottish cuisine going to thrive if not in the nation's capital? Below, you'll find some restaurants that excel in providing seafood, others who focus more on meaty delights and still others who fly just below the Michelin radar (as well as a select few above) - but every one of them is involved in a celebration of Scottish food.
Edinburgh's best Scottish restaurants
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. The menu puts local farmers, producers and foragers to the fore, with meat sourced from some of the country’s most prestigious farms, and the fish sustainable and straight from Scotland’s waters.
Anyone familiar with Tom Kitchin’s ‘from nature to plate’ philosophy knows he’s a man who takes his food pretty darn seriously, and it’s a tenet tastily reflected in his excellent Michelin-starred restaurant in Leith. The à la carte menu is a veritable love letter to Scotland’s larder and waters: from the hand-dived Orkney scallops and mackerel from nearby Newhaven to the Scrabster monkfish tails and rabbit from the Scottish borders. The tasting menus, though, are the absolute stars.
Chef James Freeman’s menu is exciting and his dishes beautifully presented, from tartare of mackerel and roast quail to beef cheek and wild sea trout. There’s plenty to choose from, with the indulgent, five-course tasting menu the obvious choice if money is no object. If you opt for à la carte, the accompanying whisky flight package helps create a real sense of place and occasion.
Field 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. This is about affordable, unpretentious dining in pared down, though nonetheless stylish, surrounds – all while celebrating the best of Scotland’s larder.
There’s a lovely relaxed feel in Paul Wedgwood's restaurant, from the contemporary décor to the modern Scottish menu. If asked, clued up staff take time to chat about the provenance of what’s arriving on the plate. Some of the more unusual ingredients are foraged locally by Paul himself. The dinner menu is rich in choice, with signature dishes like lobster thermidor crème brûlée among the popular choices.
Inspired by some of the team behind Michelin star-player and sister restaurant The Kitchin, Castle Terrace has found a safe pair of hands in chef patron Dominic Jack, who presents modern British food with French flair. The à la carte menu is split into starters and seasonal mains – From the Sea and From the Land – with the likes of crab coming from the nearby Newhaven harbour and venison from the Winton Estate, just outside Edinburgh.
Perched on the roof of the Museum of Scotland, the Tower Restaurant boasts striking views of Edinburgh’s famous castle and city skyline. The sleek, contemporary interior features Scottish leather, oak tables, violet suede and a mosaic bar – ideal if you’re looking to impress friends or family. The menu features the best available seasonal produce, with local seafood, game and Angus beef prepared in the Tower’s signature unfussy style.