Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Food & Drink

Discover Edinburgh’s culinary delights - those discrete restaurants and bars which sit under the radar but are always a hive of bustling activity. Here we reveal the best restaurants and places to eat along with our favourite bars

Pomegranate

Get a taste of great Middle Eastern cuisine at Pomegranate. With a great location just across the road from The Playhouse, it's a fantastic option for a pre-theatre meal. If the menu is new to you, we recommend trying the mezze deal, which allows you to sample lots of different dishes in a tapas dining style. Dishes we love include the vegetable kubba, the battata harra and the soujuk, a lovely comforting Lebanese sausage stew with tomatoes, peppers and garlic.

Mum's Great Comfort Food

If it's sausage and mash you're craving, then Mums on Forrest Road is an absolute must. This little gem is a hit with everyone who visits, and for good reason. They have a belly-busting variety of sausages, catering to both meat lovers and vegetarians, served up with a mashed potato from their long and imaginative menu and their famous thick gravy. They strive to get as much as they can from local producers and use the best quality ingredients they can get their hands on. If you have room, try and squeeze in one of their delicious milkshakes for dessert! 

Steak

Right beside Picardy Place roundabout you'll find meat-lovers heaven, Steak. Their expert chefs are dedicated to providing the best steak in town, with a selection of cuts cooked just the way you like it. If you feel a little out of your depth, the knowledgeable staff will be able to talk you through the cuts on offer and recommend the best way to order it cooked. If you have room afterwards, be sure to take a look at their delicious dessert menu - the dark chocolate delice is a fabulous decadent treat. 

Café St Honore

Venture down a cobbled New Town lane to find this romantic slice of France. Chef Neil Forbes' quintessentially Parisian-style café champions sustainable local produce. The menus have evolved to showcase the best of seasonal Scottish produce both farmed and foraged, such as razor clams from the east coast and delicate organic chicken livers from Perthshire. They also change daily ensuring you will always find something new and seasonal to try. Desserts are also distinctly French and could feature a dark chocolate pithivier, or rhubarb parfait, and there’s always the classic crème brûlée. Delicious tastes to enjoy eating out in Edinburgh.

Top tip: Fresh baked bread every day, Slow Food events and top-rating awards from the Sustainable Restaurant Association underline the ethical credentials of this popular restaurant

Aizle

Opened in April 2014 in Edinburgh’s South Side, Aizle will have no traditional menu – something completely unique to Scotland and to most of the UK. Instead, diners are presented with a list of potential ingredients and asked to cross off any they don’t like, chef Stuart Ralston then creates your dinner! With no restrictions, they will have the freedom to utilise the best produce from farms and suppliers and the adventurous customer benefits by knowing everything on their plate is at the height of its freshness and seasonality.

Tip tip – try mixologist Krystal’s fabulous cocktails and prepare for a food adventure!

Gardener's Cottage 

The restaurant is housed in an historic building located in Royal Terrace Gardens at the foot of Calton Hill in the heart of Edinburgh World Heritage Site. Co-owned by chefs Dale Mailley and Edward Murray, The Gardener’s Cottage is committed to creating and serving excellent food using the best seasonal, local produce while nurturing sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships with the local community and local producers. The Gardner’s Cottage stands out from the crowd for two reasons; the kitchen garden nestled beside one of Edinburgh’s busiest thoroughfares growing a variety of herbs, legumes, leaves and edible flowers. Secondly the dining room layout is a little different, no individual tables but long trestles where you sit shoulder to shoulder with other patrons. 

Pig in a Poke

Pig In A Poke 600

When you’re in need of something tasty and filling, we recommend stopping off at Pig in a Poke on Rose Street. Their delicious artisan rolls are stuffed with mouth-watering 18 hour slow roasted pulled pork. The ultimate comfort food, the rolls are also filled with tasty trimmings of stuffing and crackling. You can then choose to top it with a choice of homemade apple sauce and braised red cabbage or smokey BBQ sauce and homemade coleslaw.  

Bodega 

Started by two Edinburgh locals saddened by the lack of US style tacos in the UK! Bodega is Edinburgh's first dedicated taqueria nestled between Leith Walk and the city centre hidden away at 62 Elm Row. Serving Mexican inspired food chopped-up with worldwide flavours from Korea to the Caribbean  - If you have ever been L.A. or San Fran you'll know what it’s all about. Everything is made fresh to order and it’s also one of the only places you can get Jarritos in Edinburgh.

Top tip: the cod ceviche is a must!  

Wings

On Fishmarket Close – a dining experience like no other. A joint venture from two chaps (one Scottish, one Canadian) with a dream to bring top quality chicken wings to Edinburgh. Quickly becoming a institution with Edinburgh’s student  population, with over 40 rubs and sauces to try at budget friendly prices it’s easy to see why booking is recommended!

Top tip: feeling brave? Try the Suicide Wings Challenge. If you survive, you get your picture on The Wall of Flame!

Ting Thai Caravan 

Another foodie gem with its origins in festival popup. Recently taking up permanent residence on Teviot Place, the most recent offering from Malcolm Innes (The Outsider, The Apartment) has achieved numerous glowing reviews already. Providing top class thai street food from soups to bar snacks packed with flavour, built for sharing and all on a student friendly budget.

Top tip – can’t decide on what to order? Go for a selection from the ‘Small Boxes’ and hedge your bets! Or just come back time and time again!

Mary’s Milk Bar

A cosy space for you to enjoy the best quality gelato and chocolate. The key to all Mary’s products is freshness. There aren’t truffles with a shelf life of 6 months – everything uses fresh ingredients with no preservatives. This means everything is just that little bit more delicious!

Mary’s truffles pride themselves on their soft centres and unusual tasty flavours. The gelato is soft and creamy – every week there’s new flavours and new ways to enjoy them, from Sweet Potato and Maple Syrup Roasted Pecan Nut to Salted Caramel!

Top tip: For an evening out with a difference or a great birthday gift, try one of the monthly Gelato Evenings - increase your gelato knowledge and have a wee glass of wine or hot chocolate!  

The Whiski Rooms

Situated within a short distance of Edinburgh Castle, the Whiski Rooms boast stunning views over the mound and Princes Street.

With a bar, bistro, restaurant and shop, the Whiski Rooms neatly capture a superb food and drink experience under one convenient roof.  Their food menu seamlessly blends classic and modern dishes using only the finest and freshest, locally sourced produce. Their extensive drinks menu offers in excess of 300 malts and blended whiskies, not to mention cocktails, Scottish craft beers and an excellent wine list. It’s no surprise therefore that they were announced as winners of the Whisky Bar of the Year for 2013.

Catering to groups of all sizes, the Whiski Rooms can be booked for weddings, corporate events and special occasions. An absolute must is a visit to their specialist whisky shop where you can choose from over 500 whiskies – the perfect gift for you or someone special.

Top Tip: Why not book an introductory whisky tasting with cheese or chocolate!

The Piemaker

This pastry institution has been serving up delicious pies and other treats in Edinburgh for 20 years, and it just keeps growing in popularity. You can find the flagship store in the heart of the Old Town on South Bridge, where people flock daily for their freshly baked, wholesome pies available in around 30 varieties. 

Since 2013, Leith can also get their pie fix with their very own Piemaker branch on Great Junction Street, so no matter where you are in the city, you're never too far away from your delicious pastry fix.

Bars

52 Canoes Tiki Den

52 Canoes Cocktail

A fun and friendly, Hawaiian inspired basement bar (formally Scruffy Murphy’s) located in Edinburgh’s West End on Melville Place – spot the surf boards and you’re in the right place. If you like rum, cocktails in treasure chests and don’t take yourself to seriously then this little Hawaiian delight is worth a visit. It’s not all about the formidable back bar however, offering regular live music nights and a tantalizing menu of firm favourites from excellent nachos to epic burgers, making it a suitable choice for a quick lunch or a big night out.

Top tip: approach the Zombie cocktail with caution – as Billy Connelly said “it gets you drunk from the bottom up”.

Beer and Skittles

‘Travel the world one beer at a time’ is the motto of this brand new bar just opened on Picardy Place below Steak Restaurant. This sleek basement bar caters for both the beer enthusiast and the avid sports fan with over 60 different beers to try, fabulous beery cocktails and at least 9 draft beers every day as well as showcasing a regular sports calendar. An extensive back bar and cocktail list, comfy booths and a free pool table make this a great place for the non-sports enthusiast too. Beer and Skittles would make a great hangout for any size of group whether you fancied a few games of pool or darts, wanted to watch some sports or just to simply enjoy some tasty beers from around the world. The bar plans to run a continuous Oktoberfest of events and celebrations too. No doubt the bar is going to be popular, we look forward to returning soon! 

Top tip: fancy a beer from closer to home? Make sure you sample the bar’s own craft lager ‘Beer and Skittles, which is specially brewed at Belhaven Brewery.

The Blackbird

The newest project from the team who brought us Treacle on Broughton Street and Hamilton’s in Stockbridge, the Blackbird offers style and substance in equal measure.  The design and décor are comfortably cool and effortlessly stylish so much so the bar was recently awarded ‘Most Stylish Bar’ at this year’s Scottish Style Awards. But don’t be distracted by the terribly trendy interior (although that’s easily done) as the gastro influenced menu is a triumph and well worth your full attention, if you’re fortunate enough to visit whislt the steak pie is on offer – get involved, it won’t disappoint.

Top tip: venture out the back to discover the delightfully charming beer garden.

The Devil’s Advocate

The Devil’s Advocate opened in November at 9 Advocate’s Close, and is the newest project from Stu McCluskey, the entrepreneur behind Edinburgh’s acclaimed Bon Vivant bars. With a focus on seasonal produce, the cozy but stylish new bar and restaurant focuses on local and seasonal produce, with more than a splash of whisky on the menu (over 100 in fact).

But it’s not all about enjoying a tipple, the restaurant will have its own coffee station open from 8am.

The Lucky Liquor Co

If you're looking for cocktails in Edinburgh The Lucky Liquor Co points the way, literally - there's has a bright neon sign pointing to the entrance of this Queen Street bar. Lucky Liquor isn't afraid to push the boat out with its flavour combinations and presentation so if you're looking for cocktails with added "va-va-voom" this is the place for you. The menu changes regularly as well so new suprises often await. 

Paradise Palms

This Lothian Street bar is bursting with cool. The walls are adorned with a curious collection of wares, from boar heads to bird cages. Behind the bar you'll find a bold cocktail menu with a fantastical variety of original concoctions. It's also home to the Ninja Bun, Taiwanese Gua Bao - packed full of flavour and served with the tastiest varieties of coleslaw around. It's the ideal place to get your weekend going or liven up a week night.

Top Tip: This spot is complete with its own cabaret stage so check out their website to see which weird and wonderful acts are coming up soon.

Cafés/Delicatessens

Mademoiselle Macaron

Mademoiselle Macaron 500

[Image Credit: Mademiselle Macaron, Photographer Sandie Knudson]

Bringing a little taste of Paris to the streets of Edinburgh, Mademoiselle Macaron is a Parisian inspired cafe which specialises in the art of the macaron. Situated on Grindlay Street, the cafe is made instantly recognisable by its creative, ever changing window displays. Once inside you'll be treated to a fantastic variety of macaron flavours to choose from, including classics like raspberry and vanilla to more unusual flavours like Innis & Gunn and Hendrick's Gin. Even more wonderfully most of Mademoiselle Macaron's creations are Vegetarian and Gluten Free!

Top Tip: Mademoiselle Macaron also runs classes if you fancy learning the secrets to making the perfect macaron. 

Casa Amiga Coffee

[Image Credit: Casa Amiga]

When the sky is grey wander down Leith Walk for a taste of Portugal at Casa Amiga – although once you’ve been you won’t want to just save this place for a rainy day! Casa Amiga is a café and Portuguese bakery which creates fresh, sweet and savoury pastries every day. You may have heard tale of their Pastel de Natas (that’s custard tarts to you and me) and they are just as good as everyone says! Order a Portuguese Delta blend coffee to compliment your tart then sit back and watch the world go by from this warm and welcoming café.

Top Tip: If you’re more of a savoury person try their toasted cheese and ham croissants – you can thank us later.
 

Bon Papillon

Bon Papillon Cookies Cr Twitter

[Image credit: Bon Papillon Twitter]

This little gem in Stockbridge (15 Howe Street) has many strings to its bow - it's a cafe, an art gallery AND a framers, and it does all three incredibly well. Their generously sized scones are a perfect mid-morning treat, and their beautiful moist cakes are adored by everyone who tries them. While you're savouring your freshly baked goodies, you can take a moment to admire the works on display by contemporary Scottish artists.

Wellington Coffee
Wellington Coffee 600
Top up your caffeine at Wellington Coffee on George Street. This cosy basement coffee shop is passionate about serving fantastically full-flavoured coffee. In one of their grinders they blend award winning Square Mile beans and in the other they have regularly changing “guest beans”. To accompany your coffee they also serve a fantastic range of freshly baked sweet treats - we highly recommend trying their infamous scones! Non-coffee lovers can choose from sweet hot chocolates or a variety of teas.

Cairngorm Coffee Co.

Cairngorm Coffee Interior


If you’re looking for the best cheese toastie in town then the search is over. Cairngorm Coffee Co. on Frederick Street specialises in mouth-watering toasties made with fresh sour dough bread, tangy chilli jam and loaded with a special blend of three cheeses. Other tasty belly fillers are available, including their sizzling toasted bacon sandwhich and fresh club focaccia, as well as an array of sweet treats. Of course going by the name Cairngorm Coffee you’d expect their cuppas to be good too and they are. Their special Cairngorm Blend was created alongside Stockbridge’s coffee expert Mr Eion and together they are developed a wonderful, rich flavoured coffee using Indian Tiger Stripe, Costa Rican and Sumatran Mandeeling coffee beans. Now, if your tastebuds are suitable whetted, we recommend you go and visit as soon as you possibly can! 

A classical yet contemporary chocolaterie on Bruntsfield Place, in the boutique shopping district and much loved residential area of Edinburgh. Their aim is to provide a unique and comfortable atmosphere for you to explore the delights of fine flavour chocolate – which we would very much recommend you do! Sample hand crafted chocolates, bean to bar chocolate, organic couverture chocolate bars, hot chocolate, French macarons or Italian gelato in uniquely enchanting surrounds. Did you know? The Chocolate Tree is one of the first UK chocolatiers to not only produce fine chocolate work, but also make chocolate from bean.

Manna House

What’s that they say about good things and small packages? The Manna House on Easter Road is a perfect example of this old adage. With only a few tables and chairs, finding a spot to linger over a coffee and expertly crafted cake is worth the wait as the team bakes through the night, using honoured traditional techniques to produce the freshest bread, pastries, cakes, patisserie and savouries every day of the week.

Top tip: don’t fancy a cake? Ease your conscience and your waistline and sample one of the many delicious soups or salads, all made in-house, on the day of course. 

Twelve Triangles

The cake masters behind Grassmarket institution Lovecrumbs have expanded their horizons and recently opened new bakery Twelve Triangles, located in Brunswick Street. Pop by here for some showstopping donuts, breads, buns and other delicious baked goodies. Be sure to try their lemon and ricotta donut - which is an absolute delight! 

What's your favourite Edinburgh eating out hidden gem? Tell us your favourite Edinburgh restaurant at #thisisedinburgh and we will add it to our restaurant list!

This is edinburgh: Discover the best restaurants in Edinburgh as recommended by the locals.