Edinburgh is blessed with a multitude of great places to eat and drink as well as local Scottish produce of the highest quality. We were recently invited to discover the region’s culinary delights on a foodie exploration of Edinburgh, Fife and St. Andrew’s by Visit Scotland. We’ll be sharing more about our adventures along the picturesque coastline soon, but for now let’s head to Scotland’s capital for our guide of where to eat in Edinburgh.
Coffee and doughnuts at Baba Budan
If you’re a fan of doughnuts then don’t miss the delicious ones on offer at Baba Budan, Located in the new Waverley Arches development, they also have plans to bring their artisan coffee and doughnuts to markets across the city. The doughnut fillings change regularly – we were tempted by the chocolate one, after a tasty mushroom and poached eggs on toast. Coffee is equally flavourful, with Square Mile and Coffee Collective being their preferred suppliers.
Contemporary Indian dining at Dishoom
For Indian dining with a contemporary twist, you can’t beat Dishoom, one of our favourite places to eat in Edinburgh. Located in a handsome stone building on St Andrew Square, the restaurant is an homage to Sir Patrick Geddes, a Scottish botanist and town planner born in 1854. After improving living conditions in the Old Town in Edinburgh, he travelled to Bombay where he became a confidant of Gandhi and helped to plan many Indian cities.
Whilst Dishoom is new to Edinburgh, they’re very well established in London thanks to their succulent vegetable, fish and meat dishes. The atmosphere in their Edinburgh restaurant is vibrant with knowledgeable staff who will talk you through the many specialties on offer.
Try a lassi to go with your meal – these yoghurt based drinks are truly refreshing. Finish with kulfi on a stick, this Indian ice cream makes a perfect dessert.
Deli delights at Valvona and Crolla
Valvona & Crolla is well known as the oldest deli and Italian wine merchant in Scotland. From their foodhall situated on Elm Row to their new café on luxurious Multrees Walk and their outposts in Jenners department store and online delivery, they’ve been serving the UK since 1934. A family run business, they’re a great source for freshly baked bread, cheese, wine and much more. There’s even a book store that becomes a theatre during the Fringe Festival. We had the chance to sample their delicious produce, thanks to an innovative agreement with The Old Town Chambers. Our home from home in Edinburgh was a great base from which to explore the city and we’ll be writing about it in detail soon. Take a tour of the apartments as well as many attractions in Edinburgh like the Castle, Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill.
Guests staying at these luxury serviced apartments can choose to receive a fantastic breakfast box with a lovely selection of food. The gold box decorated with green ribbon is a work of art in itself.
Inside you’ll find an array of cold meats, specialty cheeses, fresh fruit, bread, pastries and organic fruit juice. A great way to start your day in style!
Foraged food at Forage and Chatter
Forage & Chatter is a dining experience like no other, tucked away in Edinburgh’s West End. They focus on locally sourced Scottish cuisine, with much of the menu having been sourced by an expert licensed forager. Owner and manager Cameron McNeil called on his family to assist with the restaurant, and his mother has overseen the interior design. There are cosy booths decorated with Balmoral tweed and an airy conservatory to the rear with tables designed by Cameron’s brother, Nicholas.
They’re currently ranked number 2 on TripAdvisor, and aiming to be number 1. We can certainly see why they’re so popular – this is the first time that we’ve been asked if the temperature suited us in a restaurant, and that’s just one example of their attentiveness. As for the food, it comes from within a 25 mile radius with some ingredients having been foraged, such as the mushrooms in this mouthwatering carpaccio of goats cheese and herbs.
A starter of BBQ pork shoulder with crispy squid, radish and cauliflower was equally good, as was a main course of West Coast hake with onion, dill, courgettes and wild leeks. We enjoyed it with a tasty side of garlic and ginger broccoli. The wine list is made up of interesting wines that tell a story. They’re great value, like the set lunches at 2 courses for £14.95 and 3 courses for £17.95. For dessert, we recommend the Vahlrona Chocolate with malt and peanuts or the local Scottish cheese platter.
Italian small plates at Contini
You can’t help but be impressed by the beautiful exterior of Contini George Street. Formerly a bank, it’s now a cool restaurant that successfully combines Italian flare with the very best Scottish ingredients. Victor and Carina Contini run several popular eateries, including Cannonball near Edinburgh Castle and The Scottish Café and Restaurant within The Scottish National Gallery.
The interior is equally impressive, with an elegant bar where you can enjoy an aperitivo. They have a an excellent aperitivo menu with any 3 dishes of your choice served with a glass of Prosecco for £15 from Monday to Friday between 3 and 7 pm.
We were here though to sample the a la carte menu, with a lovely selection of dishes. Highlights included crispy risotto balls with mozzarella di bufala, stracchino cow’s milk cheese and wild garlic pesto, as well as the raw fennel salad with Tarocco orange, green olives and acacia honey. The pasta here is cooked al dente to retain flavour and our dish of fresh recchiette with Italian piccante sausage, cremini and dried porcini mushrooms with rocket, fresh cream and Parmigiano Reggiano was a real treat.
Quirky cafe at Roseleaf
Roseleaf Café is located in Leith near the port and Royal Yacht Britannia, so handy if you’re planning a visit there. Established in 2007, they’re family run and a cross between a gastro pub, cafe and bistro. Decorated with vintage furniture, hats from around the world and other quirky finds, they’re open from 10 am to 10 pm every day. Everything is cooked from scratch, using the best sustainable and seasonal produce.
Try a burger with Scottish mature cheddar and tomato relish, served in a homemade toasted sesame seed bun. The hand cut double dipped chips are pretty tasty too! Wash it down with a real ale or a Pot-Tail aka a cocktail in a teapot!
For dessert, the triple chocolate cake with Scottish raspberries and ice cream is a good pick, and their cakes are available to take home too. By the way, if you happen to be visiting Royal Yacht Britannia, make sure to try some of their delicious fudge which is made onboard.
Secret bar at Panda and Sons
Hidden in plain sight on Queen Street, you’ll find Panda & Sons speakeasy.
It’s disguised as a barber shop, but if you head down the stairs you’ll find a bookcase that’s a secret entrance to the bar behind. There are many eccentric touches inside, like hairdressing chairs, a vintage phone booth and cocktails served up in unusual containers. They also do a good line in craft beers and wine too.
Tea and chocolate tasting at Eteaket
Eteaket is making a name for itself as one of Scotland’s most successful food producers. Their high quality teas are in demand with restaurants and hotels worldwide. Members of the public can sample them in their Tea Room on Frederick Street and Concept Store on Rose Street. In the award winning Tea Room you’ll find a charming cafe open seven days a week as well as a range of eteaket teas to take away. Depending on the time of day, you might prefer a lunch dish like this succulent burger served on vintage crockery, or their renowned afternoon tea. The friendly staff bring you a timer with your cuppa, so that your tea is infused for just the right duration. If you fancy something different, there are tea cocktails, iced teas and tea lattes.
Over on Rose Street, eteaket’s Concept Store has a fantastic array of tea ware and gifts. We recommend the Tea Flight, a pairing of 5 different teas and tea-infused chocolate – it’s a real eye opener. Founder Erica Moore or one of her friendly colleagues will take you on a journey through the world of tea, starting with the tea plant itself. They adapt the tea tasting to your preferences and there are some interesting creations to try such as their Isle of Harris Gin Tea. Rest assured that it’s non-alcoholic and caffeine free!
Watch as the tea is brewed before your eyes in a Syphon machine and enjoy the innovative flavours of eteaket’s loose leaf teas and chocolate.
Other Places to Eat in Edinburgh
We didn’t get time to visit these culinary hotspots also recommended to us:
• The Kitchin – Tom Kitchin’s canalside restaurant in Leith
• Le Roi Fou – Jerome Henry’s French restaurant on Forth Street
• Martin Wishart – Michelin starred dining in Leith
• The Wee Restaurant – Scottish cuisine on Frederick Street
• Timberyard – locally sourced food in a warehouse space
However, we’d love to hear your recommendations of where to eat in Edinburgh, as we’ll definitely be back!