Edinburgh is one of those cities where you feel a sense of love at first sight. From the gorgeous skyline to the picturesque alleyways, Edinburgh has a lot to offer. Including delicious cuisine! If you're a foodie with a passion for travel, you've landed in the right place. Edinburgh is a city that knows its way around a good plate of food in addition to offering a rich history, diverse culture, and an abundance of delectable dining options. 

In the heart of Scotland's enchanting capital city Edinburgh, you can find a delightful assortment of culinary outposts, award-winning restaurants, and cozy speakeasy bars. Whether you're in the mood for a hearty lunch, an elegant high tea, a sumptuous dinner, or just craving a sweet treat and a nightcap, I've got you covered. 

In this gastronomic food and restaurant guide, I'll highlight the best spots on Edinburgh's food scene to ensure you experience the most delicious things the city has to offer. Let's explore where to eat in Edinburgh, one delightful dish at a time, and make your visit to this magical city an unforgettable gastronomic adventure.

Where to Find the Best Restaurants & Bars in Edinburgh

Lunch

Bahn Mi Brothers

For a simple and quick lunch that can help you stay on budget without compromising on flavor, pop into the recently opened Bahn Mi Brothers. This fast casual shop has limited seating, but you can order their delicious Vietnamese-inspired sandwiches to go. The staff is quite friendly and the menu features a few different types of Bahn Mi sandwiches. Ranging from meat to vegan friendly options, don’t expect anything authentic necessarily but it's really yummy. 

Dishoom 

Perhaps the most famous name in British Indian food these days is Naved Nasir. He is the executive chef at Dishoom, a Bombay-inspired restaurant which burst onto the London restaurant scene about a decade ago. Since then, Dishoom has become an empire with multiple locations across the UK, including Edinburgh! This isn’t one of those hyped places that can’t deliver – it’s actually really good.

I find all of the dishes at Dishoom have great seasoning, especially using lots of cardamom. The Black Dahl is my favorite dish. Stewed for 24 hours, the lentils are perfectly soft with a wonderful mix of spices without being too spicy. Another favorite is the paneer. The paneer cheese is delightfully firm and squeaky yet still soft and rich. 

Outsider

After almost 20 years in business, the Outsider is still a juggernaut on Edinburgh’s food scene. It is great at all times of day, but their set lunch menu is a really good deal. I would say it the tastiest deal in town. Outsider has a lovely view of Edinburgh Castle, so make sure to ask for a table by the windows to really soak in the vibes. Designed to be a modern bistro, classic European dishes are prepared with a contemporary twist. Think a goat cheese tartlet with rhubarb and basil gel or a beetroot risotto with walnuts & burrata. 

High Tea

Colonnades

The best classic High Tea in Edinburgh, by far, is at the Colonnades inside Signet Library. You’ll need a reservation several days in advance, and the price tag is steep. But trust me, it is worth it. Just take a look at my behind-the-scenes Instagram Reel to get an idea. Housed in the most beautiful and luxurious space, ask to sit in one of the library alcoves for extra privacy. 

Service is slow, but in this sumptuous, leisurely way. Expect to have a 2 hours there. The food is exceptional. Each little snack is better than the last, giving you lots of surprises and delights. I got the vegetarian high tea, and loved practically every single thing. An artichoke taco was a highlight with bright flavors and beautiful texture. Of the sweets, the homemade magnum bar was pure delight. 

Dinner 

Cellar Door

For an affordable tasting menu in Edinburgh, your options can be limited. That’s where the Cellar Door comes in! Featuring traditional flavors, seasonal ingredients and classic dishes from Scotland, you can opt for a modern tasting menu or a 'best of Scotland' tasting menu. Plus you get to choose the number of courses, so it can really work for different budgets. The food is good although not exceptional, but I think Cellar Door offers a really good introduction to Scottish cuisine if you aren't familiar. 

Scran & Scallie

Enjoy a modern take on Scottish food from Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin. Plus, Scran & Scallie is located in the cool Stockbridge neighborhood, assuredly off the normal tourist circuit. The casual restaurant makes you feel as though you’re dining in a family member’s home, but the food is anything other than your aunt’s casserole. I loved the decadent fish pie. It was stocked full of fresh seafood and baby shrimp in a creamy and delicious sauce with a perfect potato topping. The staff is SO friendly and there is a cozy warmth to the restaurant. It's worth the trek away from the Royal Mile. 

Baba

One of the best recent openings on Edinburgh’s culinary scene is Baba. The small plates of Lebanese and Mediterranean food coming out of this kitchen are absolutely delicious. This is a great place to come with a sizable group for two reasons. One: the colorful booths are cozy and offer lots of privacy for loud family gatherings or raucous dinners with friends. And two: you can try so many more things! 

The menu was so full of delicious sounding dishes that it was hard for me to choose. Thankfully with a group of 6 people, we were able to order most of the dishes on the menu. I was especially impressed with the assortment of dips, like the babaganoush and muhammara.  When the hummus is the least popular of the four dips, you know you've done something right. Ask the staff for recommendations -- that's how we chose some of our favorite dishes!

Devil’s Advocate

Offering one of the most buzzy atmospheres in town, it's practically always busy at Devil’s Advocate. Tucked into the picturesque Advocate's Close off the Royal Mile, you will need a reservation for dinner here. Candlelit tables and exposed sandstone walls create this old-world ambiance that I am just obsessed with. It feels like you're eating in a historic place. 

The menu is small and features primarily meat dishes, but the flavors are very balanced with lots of great texture. I found the food to be rich and sometimes heavy, but in a comforting way that is immensely satisfying. Perhaps my favorite dish was the lamb, which was cooked well and seasoned perfectly. The Israeli couscous it came with had a ton of flavorful from the sun dried tomatoes. 

Noto

Another stylish small plate restaurant to try in Edinburgh is Noto. Noto is honored with a Michelin Bib Gourmand, which is awarded for restaurants that are up-and-coming for Michelin stars. After eating here, it’s easy for me to understand why. The simple yet beautiful Asian-inspired cuisine is full of creativity and unique techniques. North sea crab was my favorite dish, by far. Beautifully plated inside the shell, tender shredded crab was swimming in a thick herb-butter sauce. It was rich and decadent with a beautiful sea-inspired brightness. 

The smoked Arbroath croquettes were another highlight. This is not something I would normally order, but the server recommended it, and I trusted her recommendations. Pillowy croquettes were stuffed with richly smoked haddock and lightly fried. Somehow the outside was perfectly crispy without being too oily. Flaked katsobishi on the top was a perfect touch.

Dessert

Mary’s Milk Bar

In my opinion, this is a must-visit place in Edinburgh because let me tell you – Mary's Milk Bar has perfect ice cream. No notes. It is true perfection. There is typically a line and opening hours are limited, so you should plan accordingly. Thankfully, the estimated waiting times are painted on the sidewalk so you’ll have an idea of how long the wait is. The shop’s adorable pastel colors and feminine aesthetic is charming, but the star of the show is definitely the ice cream. I tried a number of flavors, but my favorite two by far were the fried banana in brown butter and pistachio cardamom. 

Bars & Speakeasies

Hoot the Redeemer

Located in the heart of the New City, Hoot the Redeemer is a Tarot themed speakeasy. It is easier to find than your average speakeasy with a narrow labeled door heading down into a basement. The menu is quirky with a mixture of different spirits featured. Not every drink is a winner, but the vibes are fun and easy going. For a little adventure, you can pick a flavor profile (watermelon, sour, raspberry, etc) using a classic carnival claw machine. Then give your winning flavor to the bartenders and they will make something custom for you. 

Panda & Sons

For a posh vibe with cutting edge mixology, Panda & Sons is the spot. Reservations are strongly encouraged, but they do allow some walk-ins if you want to be spontaneous. You’ll enter the subterranean speakeasy through a barbershop above. When I went, the menu was divided into 4 chapters, each featuring a specific type of ice making. The drinks have cryptic names, but drink beautifully. The flavors are complex and unique, perfectly paired with the type of ice used in the drink. I enjoyed my experience, but it is a bit pretentious. 

Have thoughts or questions about where to eat & drink in Edinburgh? Tell me in the comments!

Share this story

Comments Expand -
Add your thoughts today

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *