Where To Eat In Edinburgh

Want to eat well in Scotland’s scenic capital city? These are the best restaurants in Edinburgh. Get a booking in ASAP.
Dishes Eleanore Murry Orr
Eleanore is an excellent addition to the Edinburgh dining scene. Photograph: Murry Orr.

Edinburgh is a historic city that’s famous for many things. Cobbled streets. Whisky. Literature. A castle. One of the things that it’s not, however, all that world-renowned for is its food. Which is a little disappointing considering how strong the Edinburgh food scene is. Arthur’s seat is great and all but getting a seat at a quality bistro is far higher up my agenda.

Both the Old Town and New Town are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and both are home to some extraordinary restaurants, bakeries, and cafes. If you’re after a good meal in the city, the biggest problem you’ll have won’t be finding somewhere good to eat, it’ll be deciding which excellent restaurant you want to eat at first. From simple, seasonal plates at The Little Chartroom to perfect pizzas from 1926, Edinburgh is a fine place to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

These aren’t the only restaurants worth visiting in Edinburgh but they are some of the very best around. If you wanted a hit-list for the city that’ll make you very full and very satisfied, this is it. These are the best restaurants in Edinburgh. Probably. If we’ve forgotten your face, just get in touch. I’ll either send you an apology and add it to this list ASAP or deliver you the unfortunate news that you’ve got terrible taste in restaurants.

The Palmerston

It’s all well and good to say that a restaurant prides upon seasonal produce but it’s knowing what to do with that produce, and knowing how to bring out the best of each and every ingredient that finds its way into the kitchen, that shows the real talent of a brigade. The Palmerston is somewhere where the chefs really understand the assignment. The menu changes daily though you can expect the food to be typically European-inflected and an excellent showcase of what local farmers are growing. The bakery attached to the restaurant means that anything bready is a must-order.

1 Palmerston Place, EH12 5AF

SEN

Contemporary Vietnamese cooking isn’t easy to come by in Edinburgh. Good contemporary Vietnamese cooking is even harder to find. If you want to find the best summer rolls and phở in the city, SEN is where you need to make a booking. Not only does this independent restaurant deal in the crossover hits of Vietnamese cuisine but it also offers a range of more traditional dishes like shaking beef and chạo tôm. The latter is a must-order dish: a crisp shrimp drumstick that’s excellent dredged in homemade nuoc cham.

41 West Nicolson Street, Newington, EH8 9DB

The Little Chartroom

Soft Opening ameliaclaudia 37
The Little Chartroom should be at the top of your hit-list. Photograph: @ameliaclaudia.

The Little Chartroom is Roberta Hall-McCarron’s paean to proper, honest cooking. This bijou bistro might be a fine-dining enterprise (with fine-dining prices) but it’s all exceptionally done and delivered with a refreshing forthrightness. The seasonal menu never fails to impress, making the most of local produce with dishes that span from traditional Scottish fare to plates that have more global influences. A terrific restaurant that’s well worth the trip.

14 Bonnington Road, EH6 5JD

Taco Libre

The suadero tacos from Taco Libre might be one of the best-value plates of food in Edinburgh. £7 gets you two of those tacos, the rich slow-cooked beef sitting happily on a pliable tortilla under a splash of spicy salsa. This tidy taqueria means business and is out to prove that real-deal Mexican cuisine – and not the coriander-heavy facsimiles of it produced by countless chains – deserves to have its place at the table. You won’t find a better taco in Edinburgh.

3 Shandwick Place, EH2 4RR

Down The Hatch

Canadian comfort is one of the last things you might have expected to eat in Edinburgh but providing locals with just that was what Down The Hatch’s owner Neal Davies set out to do just that when he opened his Antigua Street restaurant in 2014. A genuine canuck who hails from the Great White North, Davies made sure his joint had a menu packed with poutine and beef dip sandwiches. The dishes here aren’t for the faint of heart, but they’re perfect for eating alongside a frigid pint of lager.

13 Antigua Street, EH1 3NH

Fhior

Fhior

Tasting menus don’t get much more hygge than the one they do at Fhior on Broughton Street. Both the eight-course (£80) and the ten-course (£105) dining experiences at this Scandi-inspired restaurant present an ever-changing series of dishes that underline what it means to eat in Scotland. Seasonal produce is used throughout and it’s what of the best ways to get a taste of what fine dining in Edinburgh is all about. Fhior means 'true' in Gaelic, and there’s a truthfulness to every plate that comes out of the pass here that’s simply entrancing. Expensive, yes, but not pretentious in the slightest.

​​36 Broughton Street, EH1 3SB

Yamato

Yamato and its sister restaurant, Kanpai, are two of the best Japanese restaurants in Edinburgh. Immaculate maki and nigiri are all present and correct while house specials chawanmushi and a selection of well-fried tempura round off the menu. Just about everything is worth ordering, and Yamato is definitely a restaurant that you’ll be craving to return to time and time again. The Yamato special sushi roll (a combination of Emmental cheese, avocado and king prawn tempura) is as weird as it sounds. Maybe give that dish a miss.

11 Lochrin Terrace, EH3 9QJ

Pizzeria 1926

I’m pretty certain that every city in the UK has at least one brilliant pizzeria knocking about somewhere. Pizzeria 1926 is Edinburgh’s. Located on Dalry Road, this Italian eatery fires up picture-perfect pizzas cooked the Neapolitan way. Expect the classics, served in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere. Just don’t go bad-mouthing the Napoli football team. You might just find yourself escorted from the premises. Which would be a shame considering that 1926 does the best pizza in Edinburgh.

85 Dalry Road, EH11 2AA

Kim’s

Kim’s is a family-run restaurant that serves hearty home-style Korean food. You’ll likely have to queue to get in – this place is the definition of “cosy” – but it’s worth whatever wait you might have to endure. Dishes of kimchi jjigae and samgyetang are as comforting and warming as they are well-priced. While the portions aren’t huge, you should think of a meal at Kim’s a bit like you’re eating in someone’s home. Which you sort of are. A charming spot to eat.

5 Buccleuch Street, Newington, EH8 9JN

Rustom

Specialising in Pakistani and Indian cuisine, Rustom is one of Edinburgh’s most well-known restaurant and should definitely be a name you scrawl on your Notes app to remember for later. The menu is large and borderline overwhelming but Rustom’s staff know it better than anyone and will be able to direct you towards the restaurant’s standout dishes. My best piece of advice is to come with as many people possible, so you can share as many dishes as possible, and wash down your meal with a cooling lassi.

2 Grosvenor Street, EH12 5EG

Chez Jules

A restaurant doesn’t just become a classic overnight, it has to earn that right over years of impeccable service and extraordinary food. Chez Jules on Hanover Street has been in business since 1994 and has more than earned its right to be called both a “classic” and one of Edinburgh’s best restaurants. The bistro-style fare is all chalkboards and charm with the set-lunch menu being one of the best value for money in the whole city. Come here to get your fill of moules frites.

109 Hanover Street, EH2 1DJ

Eleanore

Eleanore ameliaclaudia 30
A very worthy restaurant. Photograph: @ameliaclaudia.

A restaurant and wine bar from the team behind The Little Chartroom, Eleanore occupies the space that TLC used to take up on Albert Place. And it’s doing so gorgeously. Come for the carefully curated wine selection and thoughtful menu. The tiramu-choux dessert (the result of an amorous night between a choux bun and a tiramisu) is fast on its way to becoming an Edinburgh icon. Order that after going to town on the rest of the seasonal small plates and you’ll be very happy with yourself.

30-31 Albert Place, EH7 5HN

Alby’s

Albys Sandwich Coley

Big, thick sandwiches are what Alby’s does best and it’s big, thick sandwiches that you should make sure to get your hands on if you visit this great little spot in Leith. The sandwiches on offer change fairly regularly, so you’ve always got an excuse for a re-up, but if you want an example of what to expect, here’s what goes into Alby’s tom yum steak sarnie: medium-rare bavette steak, tom yum mayo, pak choi, Thai dressing, ginger, coriander, pickled chilli, crispy onions, and rocket. Hungry now? Yeah, thought so.

8 Portland Terrace, EH6 6JZ

Hawksmoor

A good steak, cooked well, can be deceptively difficult to find in Edinburgh. There are a lot of pubs serving subpar cuts of gristly meat alongside dubious-looking salads but when it comes to blushing rumps that make you, er, blush, the city is lacking. Thankfully, the Hawkwsmoor exists to remedy that steak drought. Drawing on Scottish produce – including seafood from all around the Scottish coast and beef from grass-fed native breed cattle – it’s one of the classiest restaurants around town and a guarantee of a good meal. However you want your steak cooked, they’ll do it justice. Just be prepared to get some errant looks if you’re a “well done” sort of person.

23 West Register Street, EH2 2AA

Noodles and Dumplings

The clue is in the name: Noodles and Dumplings specialises in noodles and dumplings. If either of those two dishes are what you’re after, then a trip down to South Clerk Street is a non-negotiable. This popular lunchtime spot is nearly always doing good trade and it’s that quick turnover that makes it so good. Most dishes are cooked fresh; the broths are sustaining and you can expect plenty of wok hei on the fried plates.

23 South Clerk Street, Newington, EH8 9JD

Aizle

Self-seriousness isn’t something that I tend to look for in a meal but, when it’s earned, there’s nothing wrong with a restaurant that is serious and sincere about what it sets out to achieve. Aizle is one such restaurant. Located on Charlotte Square, Aizle offers a 6-course tasting menu that changes constantly, dictated by what is local and in season. It is extremely delicious, and an excellent example of how fine dining has embraced the ferment in all its various incarnations.

38 Charlotte Square, EH2 4HQ

Bertie's Proper Fish & Chips

Spread out over two floors of battered fish goodness, Bertie’s is a bi-level, upmarket chippy where you can introduce yourself to some of Edinburgh’s finest fish and chips. The fish is all sustainably caught and even the potatoes used for the beef dripping-fried chips are sourced from the Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire areas. They’re all about the details here.

9 Victoria Street, EH1 2HE

Nanyang Malaysian Restaurant

Flaky roti canai, slurpable char kway teow, and expertly constructed nasi lemak are just a few of the classic Malaysian eats you can find on the menu at Nanyang Malaysian. This restaurant is without a doubt Edinburgh’s best Malay dinner or lunch option with just about everything dish – from the curry puffs to the laksa – being made with the same focus as you’d find it done in Kuala Lumpur. A proper taste of Malaysian smackbang in the Quartermile, and a prime example of what makes Edinburgh such a great food city.

Quartermile, 6 - 7 Lister Square, EH3 9GL

Timberyard

Timberyard

“Oh, you like foraging? That’s… neat.” Even if you, like me, aren’t the kind of person who can get enthused about all the wild garlic your keenest, greenest fingered friends found on the street last week, I’m sure you’ll find lots to be impressed with at Timberyard. This family-run restaurant is housed in an austere warehouse and while, yes, there is a focus on pickling and foraging, none of that Womble-ing gets in the way of the food being outright delicious. The four-course tasting menu will set you back £66 but it’ll set your tastebuds lightyears forward in terms of flavour. The things that the Timberyard team are doing with simple ingredients is seriously impressive. Expect to eat some of the cleverest food this side of the border.

10 Lady Lawson Street, EH3 9DS

Taxidi

The vounou (which means “mountain” in Greek) at Taxidi might just be the most famous mixed grill in the city. Potentially the country. Packed with pork souvlaki, pork belly, chicken fillets, chips, pitta bread and salad, it’s a heaving a platter that’s perfect for tackling with your mates when you’re alla biy half-cut. As well as that big plate of meat, Taxidi also offers traditional dishes like moussaka and kokkinisto. Filling and flavoursome food, that’s what this restaurant is all about.

6 Brougham Street, EH3 9JH

Kampong Ah Lee

A very good restaurant by just about every metric, Kampong Ah Lee is another of Edinburgh’s best options for getting down and dirty with Malaysian cuisine. The big noodle soups rule the roost here and for around the £10 mark, they’re astonishing value for money. A meal here will undoubtedly end with you sitting at Kampong Ah Lee with your lips tingling, your stomach full, and surrounded by a graveyard of used paper napkins.

28 Clerk Street, Newington, EH8 9HX

Bodega

A trendy taqueria on Albert Place, Bodega is where you’ll find most of the city’s erstwhile food influencers hanging around. And I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing. The street-style tacos here are undeniably tasty and every plate of food looks like it’s been assembled with Instagram in mind. Order a pitcher of marg, plenty of food, and you’ll be hard pushed to find much fault with what Bodega are doing. Good fun.

14-15 Albert Place, EH7 5HN

Dishoom

Dishoom has its restaurant formula downpat. Not content with its multiple locations in London, the group has branched out into other UK cities like Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh. Each outfit has its own individual identity, too, with the Edinburgh operation being based on the Irani cafés that once populated Bombay. The food here is as effortlessly enjoyable as the space it inhabits.. The Edinburgh special of the salli botti is an especially satisfying Parsi dish of tender lamb braised in a rich, thick gravy and finished with crunchy salli crisp-chips.

3a St Andrew Square, EH2 2BD

Napolè

Craving a slice of the good life? Napolè Pizzeria on Meadow Place Road will sort you right out. It’s a no-frills, family-run restaurant where Italian ingredients and Scottish produce are able to live amicably. Especially when they’re chucked together onto a just-charred disc of dough. No pizza sums that up better than Napolè’s LA Scozzesina – a tomato-base pizza with fior de latte cheese, sweet chilli haggis and red onions. It’s the best of both worlds.

1 Meadow Place Road, Corstorphine, EH12 7TZ

Imperial Palace

Cantonese cuisine might be one of the most popular regional styles of Chinese cuisine in the UK but that doesn’t mean it’s always done right. Imperial Palace is a restaurant that knows what it’s doing. The dim sim menu is extensive, excellent, and all the dumplings are generally made fresh yet it’s the roast meats (duck, pork, chicken) which I find the most alluring. The roast duck, all crisp and lacquered skin, is the perfect example of how to bring out the best of that bird. Let your server order for you here. They’ll make sure you get a good taste of everything.

36 Inglis Green Road, Longstone, EH14 2ER

Noto

Noto is the latest project from chef Stuart Ralston. Ralston, who is also the man behind Aizle, has taken inspiration from his time working in New York and the small plates restaurant that proliferated the city to create this Thistle Street favourite. The wine list is sourced from small domaine producers and the menu reads like someone who’s adept at multiple languages at Duolingo. Don’t be surprised to see a plate of sesame prawn toast with katsuobushi nestled alongside a beetroot with smoked yoghur and lanark blue cheese.

47a Thistle Street, EH2 1DY

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