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Best restaurants in Edinburgh

Lorna Cowan / 25 January 2019 ( 29 July 2021 )

Whatever your reason for visiting Edinburgh, there’s a restaurant to suit your taste and budget.

The Elephant House in Edinburgh
The Elephant House in Edinburgh, where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter

Best for traditional Scottish fare


Cullen skink, smoked salmon, haggis with neeps and tatties (there’s also a vegetarian version) — all your Scottish favourites are served up at this tasteful tartan-tastic restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh. For dessert, choose cranachan or enjoy a square of sugar-laden yet moreish tablet which accompanies your after-dinner hot drinks. Fancy something stronger? Then sample a wee dram of whisky or an award-winning ale from Edinburgh Beer Factory.

Address: 20 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AF
For menus and reservations:

Best for a candlelit lunch

The Witchery

Dining at The Witchery, in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, is an opulent, magical and memorable experience. A merchant’s house back in the 16th century, today you’ll find a dark Gothic restaurant, lit up by elaborate antique candlesticks which ensure a dramatic and romantic setting. The three-course set lunch, available until 4.30pm on weekdays, is more wallet-friendly than the evening à la carte menu. However, if you often dither over a wine list, take note — here it’s a tome featuring 500 bottles.

Address: 352 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NF
For menus and reservations:

Best for waterfront dining

Loch Fyne Seafood and Grill

Looking out onto the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh’s Loch Fyne Seafood and Grill is located in a former fish market in Newhaven harbour and regularly offers great deals, such as the Dine with Wine evening menu. The restaurant focuses on serving customers fresh and sustainably sourced seafood, and Loch Fyne’s smoked salmon is now world-renowned. Also famous across the globe is the Royal Yacht Britannia, docked just a mile away.

Address: 25-26 Pier Place, Edinburgh EH6 4LP
For menus and reservations:


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Best for theatre-goers


It’s only a short four-minute walk to the Royal Lyceum Theatre and Usher Hall from Timberyard, so this rustic restaurant is the ideal choice for culture vultures keen to sample dishes that use ingredients from local artisan growers, suppliers and foragers. The creation of the Radford family, four-course taster menus are both original and imaginative. If you’re feeling particularly peckish, and not rushing to a show, opt for the eight-course dinner.

Address: 10 Lady Lawson Street, Edinburgh EH3 9DS
For menus and reservations:

Best for castle views


Edinburgh Castle, sitting majestically above the city, is a sight to behold, and one you can soak in while enjoying delicious Thai cuisine. At Chaophraya, diners with a table in the ‘glass box’ get the best views, but these are in high demand so always book well in advance. Aromatic soup, spicy noodles, curry and stir-fry dishes are on the mouth-watering menu, and if you leave feeling inspired, cooking classes to master Thai recipes are available.

Address: 4th Floor, 33 Castle Street, Edinburgh EH2 3DN
For menus and reservations:

Best for a family outing

Bella Italia

The Italian classics served at Edinburgh’s Bella Italia on North Bridge are sure to satisfy all members of the family, regardless of their age or appetite. The three-course piccolo menu for under £6 (which includes a drink) will keep little tummies happy, and there’s good-value options for adults too. What’s more, the Scottish Storytelling Centre and free Museum of Childhood is just a two-minute walk away on the Royal Mile.

Address: 54-56 North Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1SB
For menus and reservations:

Best for city sightseers

Makars Gourmet Mash Bar

Sightseeing in Scotland’s historic capital can be tiring, but it’s easy to refuel at one of the city’s excellent eateries, such as this comfort food restaurant on the Mound. Near Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh Castle and the free Scottish National Gallery, it’s the perfect place to tuck into wholesome and hearty fare. As the name suggests, there’s plenty of mash on the menu, including wholegrain mustard, creamed horseradish and a smoked bean medley.

Address: 9 North Bank Street, Edinburgh EH1 2LP
For menus and reservations:

Best for vegetarians

David Bann

Vegetarians often get the raw deal when it comes to eating out, but that’s not the case at Edinburgh’s David Bann restaurant. Here, creative meat-free dishes will tempt even the most ravenous of carnivores. Gluten-free diets are catered for too. It’s definitely a venue to consider if visiting the capital in August — the Pleasance where much of the Festival Fringe takes place is only a four-minute walk away.

Address: 56-58 St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh EH1 1SX
For menus and reservations:

Best for Harry Potter fans

The Elephant House

Any budding wizard or inquisitive muggle will want to whizz to Edinburgh’s Elephant House — not the zoo, but a tea room and restaurant where author JK Rowling first penned her magical tales about Harry Potter. It’s a very popular tourist spot so time your visit well, and perhaps you’ll conjure up some enchanting stories too. Another charming Edinburgh tale involves a devoted Skye Terrier — the Greyfriars Bobby statue is nearby.

Address: 21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN
For menus:

Best for a shopping break

The Dome

Those who love to indulge in a spot of retail therapy won’t be disappointed in Edinburgh. Princes Street is full of familiar high-street shops, as is George Street, which runs parallel. If in need of a rest, pop into the breath-taking Dome. For a snack or sandwich, visit the Grill Room. Afternoon tea is served in the Georgian Tea Room. Or alternatively, the Art Deco-inspired Club Room has both à la carte and table d’hôte menus.

Address: 14 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2PF
For menus and reservations:


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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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