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Planning trip to Edinburgh in late spring-help

Mrbuffer and I are planning to head to Scotland in late spring (May or June). If I get the timeshare trade I'm planning we'll be staying at the Edinburgh Residence. We plan to fly into London the day before, stay somewhere near the Euston Station then take the train from London to Edinburgh.

We'll be getting a rail pass to see Glasgow, to do a whiskey tour and see the countryside.

Any thoughts or suggestions? We're interested in pubs, small restaurants, and good but overlooked places.

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  1. You must go to Rhubarb - the restaurant at the Prestonfield Hotel in Edinburgh, the most lavishly decorated place with great food (ask to have your coffee/ whiskeys infront of the fire in the Leather room after dinner!)

    1. The Kitchin in Leith (area of Edinburgh) has become a very popular spot due to its innovative chef... not surprisingly named Kitchin.

      I have a cousin now living there and will ask her for some names of their favorite spots. Not that it means anything, but they used to live in NYC and are familiar with good food.

      1. It's been several years since I've been in Edinburgh, but I do remember thoroughly enjoying the Doric Tavern, on Market St. right near the Waverley Station. Very good Scottish pub fare - haggis w/ tatties and neeps, Cullen skink, etc. - at a reasonable price. We had lunch there a few times on our visit.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dan G

          Was in Edinburgh last week and The Doric Tavern does not impress at all. I would avoid it. There are much better places to hang out and drink: the Tollbooth Tavern (Royal Mile), Last Drop (Grass Market), or Thomsons Tavern (Morrison St) to name a few.

        2. In my opinion there isn’t really any good but overlooked places in Edinburgh – this could be my definition of good or maybe because our city is too small for anything to be overlooked – here’s some places I enjoy if it helps

          I would second the kitchin for your posh food option

          lunch at the National Modern Art Gallery – the café is downstairs – lovely simple homecooked food served with funky salads, interesting cakes, if the weather is good you can eat outside in the gardens, popular local lunch spot

          For bistro type food – the dogs – its in the city centre, modern stylish interior, always full so great atmosphere but the menu is the best value menu in Edinburgh.

          Café – the best coffee (I’ve lived in Vancouver so I’m well versed in coffee) is Wellington Café – corner or Hanover and George Street, wee place downstairs – nice cakes and soups as well.

          Breakfast – if you feel like a wee walk Toast in Marchmont do great breakfasts or a bit closer to town Peter’s Yard for a cardamom bun or cardamom hot chocolate – one of the best hot chocolates in edinburgh – Swedish style modern café light and airy in the surroundings of the Meadows (this could be combined with a trip to the Museum of Scotland)

          Pubs – Stockbridge is a lovely area (there is a lovely walk from the National Modern Art Gallery through this area to the Botanic Garden called the Water of Leith) – the bailie Bar is a popular cosy pub, for real ale and cosy atmosphere in old fashioned style pub - Kay’s Bar - halfway between Stockbridge and the city centre, in the centre Bow’s Bar, in Leith – the Malt Shovel and couple of doors away is the pub called King’s Wark which is more foody – I’ve never been but the menu always looked nice and it’s always recommended for food

          Farmer’s Market on Saturdays in the town centre – if you’re lucky they might be smoking Arbroath smokies and join the queues for Falko’s Konditorei –– great pretzels

          For views – the Gallery Bar and Restaurant under the National Gallery – haven’t eaten but I can testify to the views

          Steak Sandwich – Well hung and Tender make them with Scottish beef – have small shop in Castle Street in city centre

          Most and maybe all the above have websites for further info – where in the countryside are you visiting?

          1. Thanks for this thread, I'll be checking back, because we'll be in Edinburgh also, in July.

            1. We spent a few days in Edinburgh just before new year, here are my thoughts:

              Valvona & Crolla's "Vincaffe" (upstairs) on Multrees Walk, is pretty good, it serves modern Italian food at a reasonable price. I thought the wine list was pretty good value. We wanted pizza but they had run out of dough, but the other dishes on the menu were fine.

              The Grain Store near Grassmarket, serves modern food in an old world loft. We couldn't get in for dinner but popped in for their £13 set lunch. I had a really good black pudding starter followed by excellent pheasant. I wish we had made it to dinner there.

              Dubh Prais, is a little restaurant on the royal mile, we had NYE here and the food was very good. An excellent modern take on serving haggis and some well cooked main courses. Even though it is on the Royal Mile I believe it is still overlooked by the tourist hordes. I would love to head back for a normal dinner.

              Martin Wishart, in Leith, is really at the top end of Edinburgh dining and is really superb. Try to get into it for lunch which IMO is a bargain @ £22.5 for three courses (although watch the wine list). He has one Michelin star and many argue he should have two.

              For pubs we went to "Sandy Bells" which is great if you like live traditional folk music. We also had a quick drink in the "Dome" which is an old bank - it is very glamourous (or at least was at Christmas) but normal pub prices

              1. Dragonfly cocktail bar just off the Grassmarket has a quiet, tasteful atmosphere and bar staff who really know how to make a drink. There's even one with TEA in it! Only downside is the drinks are so tasty it is very easy to get carried away. Or carried OUT in my case.

                1. Fantastic vegetarian - Hendersons in Hanover Street, Mexican - Mariachi in Victoria Street and Middle Eastern - Hanam in Johnston Terrace. The last two situated near the castle. Walk around the New Town, visit the Parliament, climb Arthur's Seat....the list is endless! In Glasgow check out Merchant City - loads of places to eat. Try Byers Road and great Western Road for character. Oran Mor - a converted church near the Botanic Grdens. Visit the People's Palace near Glasgow Green and the Burrell Collection. Have a great visit!

                  1. I second the Kings Wark, it's a little pub in Leith.We discovered it a few years ago & always eat there at least once when we're in Edinburgh. For more elaborate and expensive fare also in Leith is The Vintners rooms it's not on a par with Kichin or Wishart but still very good.
                    If you're going to do some shopping in Princes St. have lunch at Ricks we had the best Crème brulée i've ever tasted.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: CCScozia

                      Definitely like King's Wark for their food and cosy atmosphere.

                    2. Sitting here with someone who just returned after living in Scotland for four years. He affirms there are some really solid recommendations already mentioned including Kitchin, Hendersons and wants to add a shout out to Bonsai on West Richmond. Great hole in the wall Japanese, funky open kitchen, great food. He also recommends The Stand Comedy Club for a fun evening of comedy and drinks. Jekyll and Hyde is a good pub with great food (the loo is hidden behind the bookcase ;), and the Jazz Bar is a great pub to have a drink and listen to some good jazz.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: DagnyTaggart

                        I was in Edinburgh not so long ago and had two very enjoyable meals at

                        The Dogs - Simple ingredients not faffed around with

                        Chop Chop - An interesting place run by a Scottish man and his wife from northern China. Superb dumplings and easily as good as any available in London.

                        Both worth a try


                        And at Chop Chop

                        1. re: Simon Majumdar

                          Thanks for these, Simon. I'm passing them on to my cousin who lives in Edinburgh.
                          I hope your trip back wasn't too tough. Maybe I'll travel up.... am anxious to eat at Kitchin's place.