Deciding where to eat in Edinburgh can be daunting. Scotland’s capital has an incredible amount of choice when it comes to food options which can be overwhelming, especially if you have a limited amount of time in the city. We lived in Edinburgh for 5 years, working in the restaurant industry and eating out A LOT. So, how do you sniff out the best places to eat in Edinburgh – and not get stuck in a tourist trap? Well, to help you along the way, we’ve included all our top picks for all occasions and budgets.
Best Places for Breakfast or Brunch in Edinburgh
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And it’s all the more essential when you have a full day planned of exploring the city… Or recovering from possibly over-indulging in whisky the night before! We’ve picked our favourite places to set you up for the day.
3a St. Andrew Square, Edinburgh
An Indian/Iranian bistro may seem a bizarre choice for breakfast but honestly, this is hands-down one of the best places to eat in Edinburgh for a top-notch breakfast. You will find Dishoom on St. Andrew Square, right by Princes Street, so it’s right in the heart of the action.
I first went to a Dishoom in Covent Garden, London and was probably the most excited person in the world when I discovered they were coming to Edinburgh. They have a casual atmosphere with a menu that covers everything from fruit and porridge to full fry ups, all with a South Asian spin. There really is something for everyone.
On a weekend you’ll need to book in advance or be prepared to wait quite a while (they only book two-thirds of their tables). Weekdays should be easier except during the festival (August) or Christmas periods. If you plan to visit for lunch or dinner, it’s first-come, first-served as breakfast is the only time you can book for.
Must-try dishes: Bacon and egg Naan, masala beans and unlimited Chai
At home: Once you’ve visited and fallen in love with the food as much as us, you can buy their cookbook. Then you can have a breakfast naan without even taking off your PJs! Click here for all the cookbook details.
The Plate Unknown
Hey there! We are Katie & Matt, the duo who love food - and learning about it even more!
We have worked in the food industry for 30 years combined and are set to travel the world to continue learning about the food of the world.
1 North West Circus Place, Edinburgh
Set in the heart of uber-trendy Stockbridge, The Pantry covers almost all the bases when it comes to breakfast in Scotland. You will find fry-ups, filled rolls, smoked salmon, waffles, poached eggs, smashed avocados; they’re all there. And coffee. Simply delicious coffee! Great care has been taken in selecting all the ingredients so even if it isn’t the most traditional fry-up in Scotland, it’s really, really good. Plus the fact that they serve brunch until 3.30 pm is a bonus too.
Must-try dishes: Waffles with bacon or Sunshine on Stockbridge
15 West Register Street, Edinburgh
If you’re looking for a hearty, no-frills, no-nonsense breakfast or brunch then the King of the best places to eat in Edinburgh is Snax. From full fry-ups to filled rolls and baguettes, you can fill your boots with a Scottish breakfast in all its greasy glory. The West Register Street location has very limited seating so if you overindulged last night and need a slow morning, battling through each bite, then the Snax on Buccleuch street is the place to be. Want to grab a roll and square sausage to go? West Register street has you covered. Line-up with the locals from nearby construction sites to get properly set up for the day!
Must-try dishes: If you’ve not tried it before, roll and square sausage is a must – with tattie scone, of course!
232 Morrison Street, Edinburgh
With 4 locations across Edinburgh, Milk sits at the “ultra-trendy” end of the breakfast spectrum. They have superb options for vegetarians and vegans and take a more cosmopolitan approach to breakfast and brunch. The menu is quite different at each of the locations, with one being just a coffee shack. So make sure to check what’s on the menu at the one closest to you before you go to make sure it’s what you’re after. The West End location is our favourite. If you’re looking for something away from the traditional heavy breakfast and brunch items, then Milk is the place for you. It won’t satisfy a hungover craving for greasy food, but it will get your day off to a great start.
Must-try dishes: The Brunch boxes are superb especially the vegan one – the jalapeño ferment makes it!
53-55 Broughton Street, Edinburgh
As a BBQ focused restaurant you can imagine what the breakfast offering looks like at Smoke Stack. Here you will find steak and eggs, full fry-ups and filled rolls a-plenty. However, they also do amazing stacks of waffles with everything from fruit to fried chicken. Their location on Broughton street makes it very centrally located, handy for all your day’s plans – and they also serve breakfast until 4pm. So, no matter when the need takes you, you can get your breakfast food fix.
Must-try dishes: Waffles with fried chicken, bacon bits and maple syrup
Best Places for Casual Dining in Edinburgh
When looking for the best places to eat in Edinburgh, you are spoilt for choice in the casual dining category. There are lots of great eateries for all budgets, whether you are grabbing a quick bite in between other events, catching up with friends, or kicking back for the afternoon with a great drink in hand too.
85 Dalry Road, Edinburgh
Pizzeria 1926, named after the founding date of Napoli football club, was set up Neopolitan natives Rosario and Maria Sartore to serve their home’s most famous food. Here, you will find superb Neopolitan pizza at great prices – you really can’t ask for any more.
They also serve our personal favourite Neopolitan thing – Pizza Fritta. On our first visit to Naples, we fell in love. So when we found it here, we knew we had found our spiritual deep-fried home. Pizza Fritta is an enclosed pizza (similar to a calzone) which is deep-fried rather than oven-baked for a truly wonderful experience. This became common after WW2 as a way for people to make money selling food on the streets. It’s a lot cheaper to deep fry something than build an oven after all.
Reservations are a must as it’s a very small restaurant and it’s constantly busy. Everything they serve is made fresh to order in their small kitchen with a huge pizza oven. The desserts they serve vary from day-to-day, but if their homemade doughnuts are on the menu when you visit, the smell alone is perfection.
Must-try dishes: Pizza Fritta, Arancini Siciliana, basically any pizza. And the doughnuts. Did we mention we love everything they serve?
8-9 Teviot Place, Edinburgh
Starting as a small pop-up serving just 4 dishes, Ting Thai Caravan has become an icon of the Edinburgh food scene. Run by Ting and Ae Tapparat, who used to cook for the Thai royal family, they now run multiple “street food” style restaurants. They have been a sensation in Edinburgh since they first fired up their woks at the Fringe festival in 2012. Ting Thai Caravan is a relaxed affair with no reservations possible and seating at communal tables – so expect a queue when visiting. Despite always being busy, the staff somehow find the time to explain anything on the menu you are unsure of. But it’s best to go with your instincts and enjoy what is probably the best Thai food in Edinburgh.
There is also Ting Sabotuer on Teviot place, which Ting and Ae also run, but is Vietnamese focused. The Ting Thai Caravan on Lothian Road has the same menu as the one on Teviot Place if that is more conveniently located to wherever you are.
Must-try dishes: Khao mun gai tod (battered chicken in something called 2 brothers sauce), Gaeng pha talay (shellfish in Jungle curry), Seabass Maeklong. All washed down with beer, of course.
23a Pier Place, Newhaven
The Fishmarket isn’t right in the heart of the city, instead, it is down at the waterfront at Newhaven. It is well worth taking the time to visit though. Newhaven has been a home for fishing for over 500 years, and this history comes across in bucket loads in their skill, flavour and quality of ingredients. As Scots, and lovers of fried food, we have had a lot of fish and chips in our time. But, hands down, the best fish and chips we have ever had was from The Fishmarket. You can choose to sit in – and visit their oyster bar – or take your treasures to go, enjoying your salty goodness at the harbour which is our favourite way to enjoy their food (when the weather holds!)
Must-try dishes: Proper battered fish and chips
39-41 Broughton Street
Treacle sits handily located on Broughton Street, close to the Playhouse Theatre, Vue Cinema and Princes Street shopping. It is a relaxed, quirky bar offering Asian inspired pub food. So, it’s a bit different from your average Scottish pub fare. The menu also has a really good range for Vegetarians and Vegans. Their drinks list has a great selection of cocktails (including a Bathtub Gin which comes with a rubber rub swimming in it) and a fun atmosphere, making this a great little bar to hang out in. The service can be a bit slow out of the kitchen, but I’m always inclined to overlook such things when the food is this good – and gives you time to sample more of their great drinks offerings!
Must-try dishes: Crispy coconut chicken burger; Garden rice bowl with Halloumi; Crispy beef, mango and chilli salad
42 Dalmeny Street, Edinburgh
It doesn’t look like much from the outside. In fact, it doesn’t look like much on the inside either. But it’s the food that matters and Stack serves the best Dim Sum in Edinburgh. Though Dim Sum is traditionally a late morning meal in China, having a multitude of baskets of delicious steamed parcels of joy is an ideal lunch or dinner choice. It can get very busy as they only have a few tables, so make sure to book in advance. If you’ve never had siu lun bao before, soupy dumplings as we call them, bite the side and pour the liquid onto your spoon to drink and then eat the dumpling. We burned our mouths many times before being told this is how you eat them!
Must-try dishes: Crab meat siu lun bao, Chef’s special king prawn dumplings, Char sui bun
1c Dock Place, Leith
“Teuchter” (pronounced choocter) is a Scottish slang word for a person from the countryside, and not a particularly nice one. Teuchters Landing sits on the water of Leith and has a lovely beer garden for that one day of Summer that Scotland gets. Their food is classic pub style, non-fussy and flavour focused. There is a bit of something for everyone with burgers, fresh seafood and even dumplings. It’s a great place to relax after a hard day of walking between places to eat.
Must-try dishes: Fish deli board, Teuchters chilli dog, battered scallop roll
60 Broughton Street, Edinburgh
Pickles is a lovely little family-run wine bar towards the bottom of Broughton Street. This is the ideal setting for those who view a meat and cheese platter as a sensible dinner decision, which we most definitely do. It’s very cosy and filled with regulars popping in for a glass or two of wine after work. The wine list isn’t extensive but covers all the crowd-pleasers and is sensibly priced – ideal when you’ve suddenly ordered the 4th bottle of the evening.
Must-try dishes: Has to be meat AND cheese to share, would be a shame to only have one.
Best Places for Pre-Theatre Dining in Edinburgh
Whether you’re going to see a show or just fancy an early, great value dinner, Edinburgh has superb value options for pre-theatre menus to suit all tastes. You are spoilt for choice of theatre venues when visiting Edinburgh, so it makes sense that the pre-theatre options are just as good. During the Fringe festival, you may find all restaurants removing their cheaper menus instead asking about showtimes and how far you need to go. This is so they can ensure you have enough time to enjoy your meal and make your show. If you’re getting some food before a show it’s always best to tell the staff just to make sure you have time – all the best places to eat in Edinburgh are really understanding and helpful.
56 Broughton Street, Edinburgh
5 minutes walk from The Playhouse Theatre, l’escargot bleu is ideally situated for Pre-Theatre dining. This French bistro has everything we love about the food of France: hearty rustic food with a focus on quality ingredients. With a menu that changes frequently and daily specials common-place, there is always something exciting on the menu for you to try. True to the French bistro-style you will also see many ingredients which are less commonly used in the UK like offal and horse meat. It’s a great place to eat regardless of the time of day, but the pre-theatre menu offers superb value.
Must-try dishes: The menu changes very regularly but the specials are always the most exciting dishes.
11 Antigua Street, Edinburgh
Previously called “Kushi’s”, Kahani looks like a tourist trap as it is opposite the theatre and has big flashy signage. But as your mamma always taught you “never judge a book by its cover” and, in this case, a restaurant by its neon lighting. If you dismissed Kahani’s based on site alone, you would be missing out on what is probably the best Indian restaurant in Edinburgh.
It started life as a dingey restaurant on Potterow with only one cook. Now, the menu includes something for everyone including the very “non-traditional” dishes you’ll find in most British Indian restaurants. But the lesser-known options are definitely the best. Kahani is also a BYOB restaurant – beer and wine only – charging only a very small corkage charge per bottle, which is excellent.
Must-try dishes: Goan Monkfish curry, Chicken Karahi, Kodambakkam Curry
49a Thistle Street, Edinburgh
Very different from Ting Thai Caravan, Dusit is a more formal Thai restaurant. They serve dishes with beautifully crafted vegetable flowers and have a more fine dining style of service. The food is absolutely fantastic, with a very diverse menu of delights. The only trouble is choosing what to eat. They don’t do a specific pre-theatre menu. However, they open at 5.30pm and are very adept at ensuring you have a fantastic dinner with plenty of time to saunter down the road to your show. If you have more time, the Banquet menu offers superb value and is an experience not to be missed.
Must-try dishes: Singaporean Chilli-Crab, Prad Kraprao Look-Kae (slow-cooked lamb shank stir-fry), Hor Mok (steamed Thai curry fish)
10 Gillespie Place, Edinburgh
Japanese cuisine is not commonplace across Scotland. So, whilst we wouldn’t recommend sushi in Scotland to anyone from Japan or even the US with extensive knowledge of the cuisine, Harajuku Kitchen has many superb Japanese “comfort food” dishes meaning it has to be on our list to best places to eat in Edinburgh. Located near the King’s Theatre, Harajuku Kitchen’s pre-theatre menu is an absolute bargain. Everything you eat is so good that you’ll probably find yourself drawn back to try some of the other incredible dishes.
Must-try dishes: Agedashi Tofu, Pork gyoza, Kara age curry
Le Roi Fou adds its name to the list of an increasing number of Edinburgh restaurants who pride themselves on getting the best out of local produce. They take a more cosmopolitan view when it comes to style. So, you’ll see everything from classic steak tartare to miso and kombu braised beef. With big flavours being the focus, there really isn’t a dish that disappoints. Plus, the unfussy service and reasonably priced wine list top it off nicely. As an added bonus, the kitchen puts the environment at the forefront of their business practices. Therefore, they don’t use sous vide machines which need plastic bags, all clingfilm has been removed from the kitchen, and they compost all food waste (which is minimal).
Must-try dishes: The menu is frequently changing but the steak tartare is always superb
Best Places for Fine Dining in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a paradise for those looking to dine out at the finest high-end restaurants in Scotland. The city boasts many Michelin Star and AA rosette awarded top chefs so there really is no better place in Scotland to have your tastebuds pampered. Don your gladrags and be prepared for a great night out as we have saved the best of the best places to eat in Edinburgh to last.
3a Dundas Street, Edinburgh
2 Chefs, 10 seats, one sitting. It all sounds incredibly simple. But The Table offers so much more than that. Eating here is a fantastic interactive fine dining experience like no other in Edinburgh.
The Table is run by 2 brothers, their process being 1 sitting each night, bringing you a fantastic, Italian inspired tasting menu. The casual environment and open friendliness of the chefs really make this experience special. We have dined there 3 times and the food has never been less than exceptional. They now have a short wine list which is a shame as they used to run BYOB with no charge and we took real advantage of that policy.
You need to book well in advance as they are fully booked for months (rightly so). They run their booking system like theatre ticketing – at the time of booking, you pay upfront for your “ticket”. Then, if you need to cancel, you will get your money back as long as they can resell the seat. You should also be aware that they don’t accommodate dietary requirements as they prepare and serve all the same food at once.
Must-try dishes: You don’t get a choice so this is a bit redundant but the cheese courses we’ve had have been incredibly innovative
36 Broughton Street, Edinburgh
The Head Chef of Fhior, Scott Smith, was a sous chef for many years at the Michelin starred Peat Inn in Fife. Here, he has brought everything he learned about incredible attention to detail and combined it with a desire to use lesser-known Scottish ingredients. For example, the bread is made from a rare variety of wheat only grown on Orkney. Plus, there are foraged herbs and vegetables, and obscure aromatics weaving their way through the exciting and constantly changing menu. The service is quite casual but always excellent. This is a more affordable exploration of Scottish ingredients than many other fine dining restaurants with a similar theme.
Must-try dishes: Tasting menu only but the bread with home churned butter is an absolute highlight
54 Shore, Leith
Restaurant Martin Wishart’s has held it’s Michelin Star since 2001. Here, they serve classical French Haute cuisine. Though some find the service a bit stuffy, every member of the team works hard to ensure everything is refined to slick perfection so we can’t say that we agree. We’ve only ever had lunch and a midweek dinner special and found everything to be of excellent value – and mouthwateringly tasty. It’s not Scottish by any stretch of the imagination but it’s really, really good. The wine list is also pleasantly well-priced and the cheese trolley is a joy, if a bit pricey.
Must-try dishes: Their changing menus make this a tough one, but if they have a special on offer order it!
3 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh
So we are maybe a little biased here as we both worked at 21212. I was the Sommelier for 3 years and Katie was Operations Manager for many more. That aside, there really isn’t another fine dining restaurant quite like 21212 in Britain.
Head Chef, Paul Kitching, was previously compared to Heston Blumenthal back in the early 2000s as being at the forefront of British Avant-Garde cuisine. The menu is less bonkers these days than back then, but the flavour combinations and use of textures are still unique. They cook all the proteins in a very low oven for around an hour giving a wonderful buttery texture and you’ll see all kinds of things you’d never think to put together. The service is much more casual and friendly than you’d expect at a fine-dining restaurant, making it very inviting.
They have a limited menu which is described by their name: 2 choices for starter, 1 soup course, 2 choices for main, 1 cheese course and 2 choices of dessert. And, for exceptional value, look no further than the lunch offering. And the wine list is pretty good too, although it was better when I was in charge of it though, obviously.
There are 4 stunning bedrooms and if you stay off-peak on a day that the restaurant is closed (Sunday-Tuesday) you get amazing value on the room prices. Our recommendation would be a Tuesday night stay with lunch on Wednesday before you leave for a great experience and exceptional value.
Must-try dishes: Cheese lovers rejoice at the huge selection of small pieces of cheese presented to you at the cheese course. Personally, I love the texture of the slow-cooked fish too.
38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh
Aizle has long been hanging around the top of the “best places to eat in Edinburgh” lists – and with good reason. The concept is fairly common these days: whatever is in season is synthesized into a delicious series of dishes for you. Recently they have moved to the Kimpton on Charlotte Square but it is the same excellent team as always. On their website, you’ll find the current “harvest” which lists all the ingredients currently being used on their menu. Those familiar with the original menus at 11 Madison Park will recognise this concept. The food is always imaginative and their commitment to sustainability goes all the way through to their drinks offering as well.
Must-try dishes: Personally, I think Autumn is the time to visit a restaurant like this as its game season which I love
1 Princes Street, Edinburgh
Being attached to a premier hotel is a blessing and a curse for many restaurants. However, Number One has managed to stay fairly separate from the rest of the Balmoral Hotel. Head Chef, Mark Donald, has an impressive list of top restaurants on his CV including Noma and Hibiscus and has brought a more modern slant to the celebration of Scottish food. They have recently moved to a 7 course constantly changing menu, do you see a theme here across the fine-dining restaurants? Scottish produce is the star of the show on their menus. So expect the very finest ingredients with Orkney Scallops and Highland Wagyu beef as of the menu.
Must-try dishes: One thing that hasn’t changed is the petit fours trolley. Believe us, it’s worth having a late-night coffee just for this.
Scotland is abundant in beautiful landscapes, perfect for creating a diverse and exciting food scene.
Click here to read about all the Scottish foods and drinks to try on your next trip.
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The Plate Unknown is an educational food blog. Here we share information about world food culture, the origin of dishes from around the world, and tips for taking a food-focused trip.