Edinburgh has a large choice of eateries to suit every taste and budget. In general if you are coming from Europe or the US you are likely to find prices higher than at home. The best deals are to be had around lunchtime where many places offer lunchtime specials. Generally between Monday and Thursday you will not require a reservation but Edinburgh restaurants can be busy at weekends, so book ahead on a Friday or Saturday night.
Hadrian's Brasserie, Edinburgh Hadrian’s Brasserie in Edinburgh is a stylish, informal brasserie within an opulent city landmark, The Balmoral Hotel, a five-star temple of luxury. Hadrian’s has a smart, contemporary Art Deco influenced design with limeade walls with splashes of violet, walnut floors and white table linens, colours inspired by Edinburgh’s own natural landscape. Enter via the hotel or via the entrance in Northbridge Street, as the hordes of enthusiastic locals do. Michelin-starred chef Jeff Bland is Executive Chef here, offering a cosmopolitan menu of seasonal Scottish dishes with international inflections. The wine list complements it all perfectly in style and pocket, and the friendly service is right on the money.
Sygn Bar & Restaurant, Edinburgh A spectacular designer bar and restaurant, Sygn is a real local gem on the Edinburgh nightlife scene. Popular with the more fashionable city diner, Sygn is appropriately sleek and modern in its splashes of gold, warm orangey lighting and deep, dark wood furnishings. Yet while Sygn might indeed be style conscious, it remains one of the friendliest, most unpretentious bars in this glorious city. Serving food throughout the day, Sygn moves from indulgent cooked breakfasts in the morning to clever light bites in the afternoon before breaking out the inventive dinner menu, which combines local knowledge and produce with international flair. When it’s just too difficult to choose one dish, try one of the restaurant’s great sharing platters.
Rhubarb, Edinburgh Minimalists and speed-eaters, avert your eyes. Rhubarb has arrived in all its opulent, theatrical, lingering glory. Set in twenty acres of gorgeous parkland yet a short drive from the Royal Mile, Rhubarb and its hotel home, Prestonfield, are the creation of James Thomson. Black-kilted porters escort you to Rhubarb's two oval Regency dining rooms decorated in baroque splendour, with giant chandeliers, silk wall coverings, and ancestral portraits. The menu, created by chef John McMahon, uses classic techniques and modern inspiration to transform ingredients into sublime grub. Popular dishes include the Gewurztraminer poached foie gras, the breast of Loue chicken on tarragon risotto, and the assiette of rhubarb desserts. There are more than five hundred wines to choose from, and more than one hundred malts
The Tower, 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. Run by Scottish restaurateur James Thomson, the Tower has become a must-see venue for celebrities and visitors from across the UK, as well as a firm favourite with the locals. The menu features the best available seasonal produce, with local seafood, game and Angus beef prepared in the Tower’s signature unfussy style. Favourites include navarin of lamb with confit of celeriac and baby onions; calves liver with Ayrshire bacon; and brioche doughnuts with espresso ganache.
Ghillie Dhu, Edinburgh Traditionally Scottish in every way, Ghillie Dhu is a live entertainment venue and good, old fashioned Edinburgh pub. With local ales on draught and a menu bursting with Caledonian flavour, Ghillie Dhu is a fantastic alternative to the usual faces on the city scene, with local, national and even international acts performing live every night of the week – not just the Friday night Ceilidh but rock bands, folk acts and dance too. With a comfortable, spacious room, an upbeat atmosphere and a warm, Scottish welcome, Ghillie Dhu is an all night venue where food is just the start of the story. From cock-a-leekie soup to local rainbow trout and cranachan, the menu is seriously Scotch with local ingredients used throughout to provide a hearty yet sophisticated approach to an often overlooked cuisine.
Zucca Restaurant & Café, Edinburgh A firm favourite with the theatre going crowds, Edinburgh’s Zucca Restaurant and Café offers friendly service and excellent food at surprisingly good prices. Situated moments from the famous castle Zucca is a modern Italian restaurant with plenty of modern style both in its clean-lined interior and in its fuss-free food. Zucca’s chef has found the perfect balance between creativity and simplicity, offering Italian classics given a modern twist using high quality ingredients, some locally sourced with innovative combinations of flavours maintaining a Mediterranean theme throughout the menu. A selection of Italian wines completes the picture here at Zucca, the list reflecting the very best grapes each region has to offer.
Cucina, Edinburgh Perfect for the design junkie or fashionista in your life, Hotel Missoni is a luxe boutique hotel on Edinburgh's exclusive George IV Bridge and tucked away inside you'll discover the sexy Cucina restaurant, which has the look and feel of a chic and impossibly glossy modern Italian family dining room. All the china, cutlery and artworks are bespoke Missoni designs, and, as expected, the overall effect is bright, bold and glamorous. The menu at Cucina is light and elegant, and all the delicious Italian dishes are simply and authentically prepared. Star dishes include the ricotta and spinach ravioli with butter and sage; the veal escalope with Marsala sauce; and the warm Scamorza with tomato and rocket.
Bisque Bar and Brasserie, Edinburgh Like all good brasseries, Bisque on Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield Place opens all day, every day for quality drinks, snacks and meals. The airy, very trendy space is filled with unlaid wood-topped tables that the mix of young professionals and students can drink and eat at, or just the former, without fuss. The Bisque day starts at 7am with an all-day menu of traditional dishes made with local and fair-trade as much as possible… Ayrshire bacon, Loch Fyne mussels, Scottish smoked salmon, lamb, cheeses and, of course, prime Aberdeen Angus steaks. Come summer, snack-like antipasti and tapas dishes fly out of the kitchen, and the relaxed crowd spills outside with its beers and after-work cocktails to the courtyard garden.
Amicus Apple, Edinburgh This super-stylish restaurant has lit up Edinburgh's restaurant scene with its sleek design and classic British menu. The dining room at Amicus Apple is chic and colourful with hardwood floors, cream leather banquettes and bright red walls, and the backlit bar is ideal for pre-dinner cocktails. The service is excellent, and the food reasonably priced. Favourite dishes at Amicus Apple include the warm smoked mackerel and potato salad on crisp little gem to start with; the braised shin of beef, tarragon potato dumplings, carrot and onion puree for main course; and the exquisite raspberry and toffee baked Alaska to share for pudding.
Café St Honoré, Edinburgh Tucked away on a picturesque cobbled lane, Café St Honoré has brought a touch of Parisian charm to Edinburgh's New Town. The team are passionate about local, organic produce so the menu changes daily to offer a range of French and Scottish classics. Locals can pop in at lunchtime for home-made soups and light options, or take advantage of the reasonably priced ‘Apres Cinq’ menu before 5pm. In the evening, a seasonal menu du jour is available alongside the full a la carte, which features dishes like roast pheasant with red cabbage and pancetta; Shetland salmon with leek and herb risotto; and vanilla crème brulee. The wine list features some excellent French wines – a real treat for novices and conoisseurs alike.