Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > U.K./Ireland >
Oct 11, 2010 10:39 AM

Edinburgh Dining Suggestions

My husband and I will be in Edinburgh at the end of this month and are looking for some great dining and pub recommendations. Some requirements -

- We will be staying at the Hotel Missoni and would prefer suggestions that are in walking distance or at the very least a short cab ride from there.
- Speaking of the Hotel Missoni - has anyone eaten at their Cucina? Is it good for a meal or two or should we definitely go elsewhere?
- We'd like recommendations for all times of the day - great breakfasts, lunches and dinner.
- We love fine dining and are relatively adventurous; however, we won't be traveling with formal attire, so no recommendations that would require a jacket and tie for my husband or a dress for me please.
- Would love recommendations for places with local sourcing/flavors/atmosphere. It doesn't have to be traditional Scottish food, but definitely not French (we're going to France too and I suspect we'll get our fill of French food there).
- A great recommendation for fish and chips would be wonderful, although we'll also be in London on this trip and plan on going to Master's Superfish based on Chowhound recommendations here. If you think that's the preeminent fish and chips place, we'll call that good. :)
- Would also love recommendations to some traditional Scottish pubs with good whisky and beer.

Thanks very much!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Pubs - with real ale and whisky, you should do some reading on Scottish real ale, the quality and variety is great - some companies to start of with, Fynn Ales; Harviestoun; Brew Dog, Williams Brothers, Stewart Brewing is the local company, I won't recommend any beer to try as that will depend on what type you like, Bow Bar is really close to you, halfway house, not to far away.

    I presume you'll be working your way round the standard list of fine dining places in Edinburgh as you like fine dining however for local sourcing, put the Kitchin at the top of your list for some game

    Breakfast at the Urban Angel - not the cheapest, but the bacon and sausages are free range, you'll have the opportunity to try haggis and black pudding

    Ondine is next to your hotel to try the local seafood, the seafood platter gives you the opportunity to eat spoots.

    If you need a cafe near by, Peter's Yard is a nice space for cake and coffee. If you're wandering in town, then the nearest decent coffee shop is Wellington Cafe on George Street. The scones are nice, and you might get some local flavour jam, bramble jelly or rhubarb was the choice in its sister cafe last week.

    The grain store is round the corner from you, local sourcing, plenty of people like it, I wasn't too keen, but I seem to be the only one.

    1. If you are interested in Italian food, be sure to visit Valona & Crolla, one of the finest Italian delis in Britain. A very good lunch is served in the back room there (the Caffe Bar). V&C also operates VinCaffe in the central shopping district of Edinburgh.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DavidT

        seige - most of the michelin rests in edinburgh focus on traditional scottish produce, underpinned by classic technique. my faves are martin wishart and the kitchin (both in leith, about £7-8 cab from the missoni). they both have a star, but fair to say they punch above their weight and well worth experiencing whilst you are there.

        both are also relaxed in terms of dress code and don't enforce one, though smart casual would be advised. shirt, jeans and a casual jacket is more than ok. wishart is perhaps the dressier of the two.

        unfotunately i haven't been to 21212 yet, the city's latest fine-dining edition, though word of mouth is very positive. however, it doesn't seem quite as focused on local produce and undoubtedly has foundations in a more molecular approach, so based on your brief may not be what you're looking for.

      2. You’ve left quite an open ended brief there Seige so I’ll try to pick up on a few points and then if you need more detail I’ll comment back later, otherwise this will go on for ages!

        Firstly, as Marcus says there isn’t a restaurant in Edinburgh where you need to go jacket and tie. I usually wear a shirt and smart jeans at even the top end places and this isn’t out of place. Best restaurant in town is definitely Martin W and it compares with the best in the country in my mind. Well worth checking out the lunch menu’s on all the top end places.

        I’ve been to 21212 several times and I wouldn’t class it as molecular approach, it’s just that Paul throws a lot of ingredients together so the taste combinations are very complex. It is not to everyone’s tastes (and I’ll be honest that I have had some dishes where I felt they missed) but if you say that you’re adventurous then I would recommend it as there is no-where in the UK where I’ve eaten this style of food.

        Orchidalbion has pointed out some great beers and I thoroughly recommend both the bow bar (beer and whisky) and half way house (beer and quaintness factor as it’s tiny). You’re just around the corner from the whisky museum and you can just go into their bar which has a huge choice of whisky.

        For fish and chips everyone has their own favourite but I’ll recommend The Tailend on Leith walks as they have a seated area, cook everything fresh and the guy who owns it won awards at the universally recognised Anstruther Bar.

        I like The Grain Store that is mentioned above, it sits just below fine dining and I like the old town space that it sits in. Worth knowing about if you can’t be bothered trekking too far one night. Another place that is close by and at the other end of the food radar is Monster Mash. It’s a diner type place focussing on top quality sausages and mash and some other British classics. Last tip for places close by is Dubh Prais, which although it’s on the Royal mile actually does decent Scottish food!

        1. These are all fantastic suggestions - thanks so much! Makes me wish we were spending more days in Edinburgh than we are. I realize the request was a bit broad, but ultimately everyone has their favorite places, regardless of the specific cuisine, and that's what I've been hoping to hear from people. We want to go to the best of the best while we're there. Best of the best to us doesn't mean it has to be a 3-star Michelin restaurant though. We're just as comfortable at a hole-in-the-wall kind of place. Only real requirement is that the food be good and hopefully a little something we can't get back in the States.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Seige

            If you're looking for slightly different it may be worth taking a wonder to Victoria St round the corner from your hotel. In the space of 20 metres you have Oink (a shop where they slow roast a pig and serve it on the meat rolls to take out), Demi John (a shop where you can sample and buy olive oils and infused spirits like elderflower gin, grapefruit vodka etc) and knowing how bad the cheese is in the US, there's Mellis cheese shop which has some fantastic choice! There is also Hanedan which is an Iranian/Kurdish place just up by the castle which probably differs from the kind of stuff that you get at home but is very good.

            1. re: AWaiting

              "and knowing how bad the cheese is in the US"

              Easy there, mate. I'm not sure how you can know this unless you made a tour of the entire US and tried every piece in every region, but even then, I'd question that claim. There are some outstanding cheeses and there are some outstanding cheese shops even more committed to ensuring a collection of cheeses from around the world.

              That said, I second I.J. Mellis. They are my go to place for my stiltons and St Felicien.

          2. I think I have found my foodie twin in Orchidalbion as I'd wholeheartedly back up all the places mentioned. Ondine is a fabulous restaurant for lunch or dinner; all their fish is fantastic, from top to bottom - even their classic fish and chips is superb, and it is bang next door to your hotel. The Kitchin would also be my choice for top meal in Ediinburgh (even though it's a taxi ride away) - the food is fabulous and locally sourced, service is top-notch and the atmosphere is unstuffy. And Urban Angel, Peter's Yard and Wellington Coffee are all great picks too.

            I'd through in a couple of suggestions too - I live over in the New Town (the Georgian part of town), so if you wanted to try something over this end of town, there is Redwood, a tiny, tiny restuarant with wonderful locally sourced food, cooked by a Californian. We also are regulars at Iris in Thistle Street - the menu uses good local meat and fish and we're never diappointed. It's quite casual and usually buzzing. Agree with others that Andrew Wishart's food is lovely, ranking alongside The Kitchin (and also in Leith), but with a sightly more formal atmosphere.

            Finally, I'd suggest you try the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Queen Street for at least a drink and perhaps food in their upstairs bar. In theory, you need to be a member to drink in the bar, but just say you are interested in membership (they have a lot of overseas members) and go upstairs to the bar. They have a range of whiskies straight from the cask (and very very strong!) and their food is good, and their bar food is very good value too. It's a very nice spot. They also have a branch in Leith which might be somewhere to head before or after a meal at The Kitchin or Martin Wishart.

            The final thing to bear in mind is that many of Edinburgh's museums, galleries and attractions have good cafes. The cafes at the Botanical Gardens, Holyrood Palace, Dean Gallery and the Museum of Contempory Art in particular are good, and make a good place for a light bite after an explore!

            In summary, my 3 top "nice" restaurants would be The Kitchin, Martin Wishart and Ondine. Do try at least 2 of them, and perhaps try Iris or Redwood too. Enjoy!

            1 Reply
            1. re: GillH

              I'd second the Gallery of Modern Art for a bite to eat, its nice homey food with decent side salads (as opposed to a sad bunch of supermarket green leaves) with a selection of home baking, though beware, due to its popularity things could be a bit bare a couple of hours after opening for lunch so you'll be better of in the Dean Gallery if you're there in the afternoon. The surroundings of both are lovely. Even if Modern Art isn't your thing, its worth going there for a walk along the Water of Leith, the stretch from the Gallery of Modern Art to Stockbridge (which is also close to the botanics) is particularly lovely. In Stockbridge is Redwood and a branch of IJ Mellis as mentioned above. Also if you're up in Leith, I haven't been for a while but I seem to remember the Malt & Hops as good for beer and a cosy place for a drink, its just a few doors down from Martin Wishart, I think they were even serving Stovies last time! It's next to the more famous and (busy) King's Wark, and supposed to do good food and good breakfasts though I've never been.