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Top 10 Edinburgh Restaurants

by Dinah Hatch

Top 10 Edinburgh Restaurants

It’s festival time! No, not the ones where you watch Coldplay from two miles away in the drizzle wearing your wellies and eating a £9.50 bag of chips. We mean the Edinburgh Festival, where artists, singers, comedians, actors and every other talent you can imagine converge purely to entertain you. But, take it from an annual festival goer, it’s exhausting dashing from one show to the next all day and you need a booking at a wonderful restaurant at the end of the day to keep you going. Here are our top ten spots to treat your tastebuds (in no particular order)...

Showing below are all 9 records in "Top 10 Edinburgh Restaurants"

21212 Restaurant with Rooms (Restaurant)

3 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh

21212 Restaurant with Rooms, 3 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh

Housed in one of the city’s handsomest streets in Royal Terrace, Paul Kitching’s 21212 is named after the number of courses available (two first courses; one second course; two main courses; cheese; two puddings). There is no obligation to them all, of course (although it is seriously tempting), and its rather nice not to be bedazzled by an array of choice sometimes and put your faith in chef. Each course is an explosion of ingredients carefully matched to make you plead for the next. Kitching is known for his crazy concoctions (which always work) and 21212 is no exception.

The Gardener's Cottage (Restaurant)

1 Royal Terrace Gardens, London Road, Edinburgh

The Gardener's Cottage, 1 Royal Terrace Gardens, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh

This unpretentious foodie hotspot is housed in a Willian Playfair-designed cottage at the foot of Calton Hill and presents a wonderfully communal dining experience, its two cosy rooms filled with long tables that diners sit at (offering marvellous opportunities to eye up what others have ordered). Co-owners Ed Murray and Dale Mailley are very serious indeed about sourcing their ingredients from Scotland’s foremost farmers, producers and foragers and the result is a menu that harmonises the earth’s produce with the chefs’ skills beautifully. The Cottage has a very loyal following, in thrall to a seasonal seven-course menu that changes daily, so book ahead. But even if you can’t get an evening table, pop in at lunchtime for the likes of potted kipper or venison salami.

Restaurant Martin Wishart (Restaurant)

54 The Shore, Edinburgh

Restaurant Martin Wishart, 54 The Shore, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh

Fans of elegant French cooking can call off the search. This superchef’s imaginative, seasonal dishes have been wooing diners in the city ever since 2001 when a Michelin star was awarded for the first time in Edinburgh. Wishart devotees flock to 54 Shore in Leith to savour detailed, exquisite dishes delivering delicate flavours. Wine buffs also make a beeline here, with a list that starts at an OK £26 and soars to premium £1k plus vintages. Try the six course tasting menu for £85 if you are feeling flush (Peterhead mackeral, Loch Fyne Crab Rose Marie, Shetland monkfish, roast breast of Goosenargh duck, raspberry pistachio lychee sorbet Sichuan pepper curd, Valrhona Guanaja chocolate mousse) or nip in for a three-course £32 lunch.

The Dogs (Restaurant)

110 Hanover Street, Edinburgh

The Dogs, 110 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh

A stucco white bar, white-washed floors, elegant tasselled French lamps and a giant picture of a rather cross looking dog set the tone as you enter The Dogs on Hanover Street. And there are many more dog pictures (belonging to owner David Ramsden (formerly of (Fitz)Henry and Rogue) of course. With a menu that champions Scottish and British ingredients, think broths, stews and pies here – the sort of food you know your grandparents would approve of and call hearty – but with a little 2017 pizzazz (so ox liver with smoked bacon and caramelised onion mash is typical fare). Pleasingly, all the mains are around the £13 mark and the starts about a fiver.

The Kitchin (Restaurant)

78 Commercial Quay, Leith

The Kitchin, 78 Commercial Quay, Leith, City of Edinburgh

Opened by Tom and Michaela Kitchin on the Leith waterfront in 2006, this much-loved eaterie was awarded a Michelin star just one year later. That’s impressive. Tom and Michaela’s maxim is ‘from nature to plate’ and they never deviate from this on their eclectic, innovative menu which offers Scotland’s tastiest, top quality produce cooked to reflect Tom’s training under some of the world’s best chefs. But don’t go thinking people come here all reverential about what they are about to consume. The atmosphere is lively and noisy, just as a restaurant should be. Do not leave without sampling the venison from the Borders with blackberry and orange. Life is too short to worry about the price, I’m afraid (three courses £75).

Restaurant Mark Greenaway (Restaurant)

69 North Castle Street, Edinburgh

Restaurant Mark Greenaway, 69 North Castle Street, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh

Tucked into the city’s Georgian New Town on North Castle Street, Restaurant Mark Greenaway is the place to go if you feel like being challenged and excited by your choice of dish. Visually stunning, playfully presented dishes use the best of Scotland’s indigenous larder and have earned the chef numerous accolades – this dining spot has been voted inside the top 100 places to eat in the UK. Expect to be surprised and delighted at every turn by what appears on your table – the conjecture and anticipation before tucking in is half the fun here. As if all that weren’t tempting enough, the market menu prices are seriously good value for such fine dining – three courses for £29.50 is very reasonable indeed.

Timberyard (Restaurant)

10 Lady Lawson Street, Edinburgh

Timberyard, 10 Lady Lawson Street, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh

Brick warehouse, scuffed wooden floors and pendant-hung bulbs mean your great Aunt Maude mightn’t like the setting but this bold, brassy (relative) newcomer to the Edinburgh dining scene has had tongues wagging (and salivating) since day one. The brainchild of local dining dynasty The Radfords (mum and dad Lisa and Andrew ran top city restaurants Atrium and Blue and now offspring chef Ben, bar manager Jo and media manager Abi have taken centre stage), the food is ultra-responsibly and locally sourced with even the wine poured being from small European artisan producers. Make the trip to Lady Lawson Street (not far from buzzing Grassmarket), you won’t regret it.

The Scran & Scallie (Restaurant)

1 Comely Bank Road, Stockbridge, Edinburgh

The Scran & Scallie, 1 Comely Bank Road, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh

From the team behind the perennially popular Kitchin and The Castle Terrace comes the Scran and Scallie on Comely Bank Road in Stockbridge, a boozer with dining that knocks the socks off most gastro pubs. Trad ales and artisan beers set the relaxed scene but don’t be fooled, the chefs backstage here are deadly serious about delivering top notch ‘scran’, as the Scots say. A typical experience might be the roe deer terrine and rhubarb starter (£9) and the Scran and Scallie Pie for £16.50 washed down with a pint of Broken Dial from the Harviestoun Brewery (£5.50). Or go Scottish and opt for the forgotten classic Sheep’s Heid Scotch Broth - we dare you!

The Witchery by the Castle (Restaurant)

Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

The Witchery by the Castle, Castlehill, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh

An Edinburgh stalwart since 1979, The Witchery sits atop The Royal Mile in the shadow of the castle and has been visited by all manner of celebrity in town but it does not rest on its rather famous laurels and is still a contender on this list despite wonderful newcomers like Timberyard. Choose from the dark, oak-panelled and Hogwartian traditional restaurant, a former merchant’s home, where all daylight cares fade as you ensconce yourself for the next few hours or opt for the rather more modern and airy Secret Garden, entered via a pulpit reception. In either one, the secluded, clandestine Auld Reekie settings are breath-taking. The food, needless to add, matches the sense of occasion. A total treat.

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