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Dining in Edinburgh: Our Top Restaurant Picks

City Guide October 9, 2023

 

 

Embarking on the journey of dining in Edinburgh is an adventure that tantalizes the taste buds, presenting a delightful quandary over what to eat in Edinburgh with a blend of traditional and modern flavors. In our top restaurant picks, you’ll find options for every palate, from award-winning establishments serving Scottish classics to hidden gems that provide an authentic experience of food in the capital city.

These selections showcase a spectrum where the old meets new in culinary expression, offering dishes that are deeply rooted in Scotland’s rich gastronomic tradition while embracing contemporary influences and techniques. Whether you are seeking to indulge in timeless Scottish classics or venture into innovative dishes that capture the essence of modern Scotland, this city’s vibrant food scene promises an unforgettable gastronomic adventure for every diner.

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A Taste of Tradition

Edinburgh's culinary scene is a delightful blend of traditional and modern, offering something for every palate. With an array of options, the city presents classic Scottish fare alongside innovative dishes that tantalize and surprise the taste buds. For those seeking an exquisite dining experience, Edinburgh boasts several Michelin-starred restaurants, serving courses that are not only a feast for the eyes but also an explosion of flavors, reflecting the rich history and diverse influences found in Scottish cuisine.

These esteemed establishments offer meticulously crafted dishes, where each course is a taste journey in itself, seamlessly blending tradition with contemporary flair. Whether you are indulging in a hearty traditional meal or savoring a course at a Michelin-starred restaurant, Edinburgh’s culinary offerings are sure to leave a lasting impression.

 

Makars Gourmet Mash Bar

For enthusiasts of mashed potatoes and traditional Scottish fare, Makars Gourmet Mash Bar is a delightful haven. This quaint and cozy eatery is celebrated for its innovative take on the beloved Scottish dish, haggis neeps and tatties. The restaurant serves this and other hearty meals with a side of their famously creamy and flavorful mashed potatoes, which are prepared using locally sourced ingredients. With its warm, inviting ambiance and friendly staff, Makars provides an authentic and comfortable dining experience that makes guests feel right at home.

Address: 9 North Bank Street, Edinburgh EH1 2LP, United Kingdom

Price Range: £10 - £20

This cozy spot offers haggis neeps and tatties, a traditional dish accompanied by their renowned mash.

 

The Witchery by the Castle

Located in the historic and vibrant Royal Mile, close to the iconic Edinburgh Castle, The Witchery by the Castle offers a dining experience steeped in charm and enchantment. The restaurant's interior is reminiscent of an ancient, magical dining hall, with rich tapestries, dark wood, and candlelit tables creating a mysterious and romantic atmosphere. Its menu is a celebration of Scottish cuisine, featuring exquisite dishes like finely smoked salmon and the renowned Stornoway black pudding, all prepared with the finest local ingredients.

Address: Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2NF, United Kingdom

Price Range: £30 - £60

Nestled near the famous Edinburgh Castle, offering a magical dining room atmosphere with a menu featuring smoked salmon and Stornoway black pudding.

 

Award-Winning Dining

Number One at The Balmoral

A culinary gem in Edinburgh, Number One at The Balmoral not only boasts Michelin stars but also provides a dining experience that is nothing short of spectacular. The restaurant’s dishes are works of art, with each plate meticulously crafted to enchant both the eyes and the palate. Using the freshest locally sourced ingredients, the chefs at Number One create gastronomic masterpieces that pay homage to Scotland’s rich culinary heritage while incorporating contemporary techniques and flavors.

As you take a seat in the sumptuous surroundings of Number One, the attentive and knowledgeable staff are there to guide you through an unforgettable dining journey. With a wine list that has been thoughtfully curated to complement the exquisite flavors on the plate and a service style that is as seamless as it is friendly, Number One at The Balmoral provides an award-winning dining experience that engages all the senses, leaving guests with memories to savor long after the meal has concluded.

Whether it's a special occasion or simply the desire for an extraordinary meal, Number One is a testament to Edinburgh’s vibrant and sophisticated culinary scene.

Address: 1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, United Kingdom

Price Range: £70 - £130

With its Michelin stars, this place offers a menu where each course is as visually captivating as it is delicious, celebrating locally sourced ingredients in every dish.

 

 

Sweet and Unique Treats

Mary’s Milk Bar

A visit to Mary’s Milk Bar is a nostalgic trip down memory lane, where classic, rich, and creamy ice cream is served with a smile. The establishment exudes a retro charm, with its pastel-colored interior and vintage decor creating an inviting space for ice cream enthusiasts of all ages. Each batch of ice cream is freshly made daily, offering patrons a delightful selection of unique and tantalizing flavors to choose from.

Address: 19 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HS, United Kingdom

Price Range: £2 - £6

Known for its rich and creamy ice cream, this is a spot beloved by locals and tourists alike.

 

Deep Fried Mars Bar

Although not a sophisticated delicacy, the Deep Fried Mars Bar is a quintessential part of Edinburgh’s playful and indulgent side. This snack is exactly as it sounds: a Mars chocolate bar coated in a crispy and light batter, deep-fried to golden perfection. It’s a whimsical treat that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and provide a fun, memorable culinary adventure.

(Note: This is a famous Scottish snack, not specific to one location, but can be found in various chip shops throughout Edinburgh)

Price Range: £1 - £3

While not a high-brow delicacy, this treat is a fun part of Edinburgh’s culinary landscape.

 

Casual and Cozy

Holyrood 9A

Holyrood 9A is the embodiment of casual, laid-back dining without compromising on taste and quality. The restaurant has a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere, making it the perfect spot for gatherings with friends and family. With an extensive menu of gourmet burgers, each crafted with premium ingredients and a touch of culinary creativity, paired with a diverse selection of craft beers, Holyrood 9A offers a satisfying and enjoyable dining experience for all.

Address: 9A Holyrood Rd, Edinburgh EH8 8AE, United Kingdom

Price Range: £10 - £25

This locale offers a vast selection of craft beer paired with gourmet burgers.

 

 

Afternoon Delights

Eteaket

Eteaket is not merely a café; it’s a delightful sanctuary for tea lovers and connoisseurs. With its elegant and soothing ambiance, it provides a peaceful retreat in the midst of Edinburgh’s bustling streets. Guests can choose from a vast selection of fine teas, each brewed to perfection, and paired with an assortment of delectable pastries and sandwiches, meticulously prepared to complement the tea selection. Whether you’re a tea enthusiast or simply looking for a relaxing afternoon respite, Eteaket promises a delightful and refined experience.

Address: 41 Frederick St, Edinburgh EH2 1EP, United Kingdom

Price Range: £15 - £30

Ideal for those seeking a classic afternoon tea experience, with a variety of teas and delightful pastries and sandwiches.

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