The best places to find food in Scotland's capital.
The Scottish larder is rich and bountiful. Scotland’s temperate climate is responsible for its wealth of indigenous fruit and vegetables: grass grows green and lush in the damp, warm summers providing ample fine grazing for livestock and game. Cold, remote and relatively unpolluted waters are excellent for fish and shellfish. Add to this many thousands of skilled farmers and producers and the yield is that which chefs in Scotland are extraordinarily fortunate to draw upon.
Over the last 20 years, Edinburgh has developed a culinary scene to confidently rival that of London. In a city where Michelin-starred restaurants share a neighbourhood with greasy spoon cafes, cosy pubs rub shoulders with fashionable eateries and pretty much every nationality and style of cuisine is covered, you’re spoiled for choice. **Carine Seitz** has narrowed down a selection to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
The Shore of Leith boasts a total of three Michelin-starred establishments, each a stone’s throw away from the others.
- Martin Wishart produces dishes of exceptional quality and has been rated one of the top 14 restaurants in the UK by The Good Food Guide 2010.
- A proponent of the use of seasonal produce, Tom Kitchin is famed for his motto Nature to Plate. The boned and rolled pig’s head with crispy ear salad is the stuff of legend at his restaurant The Kitchin.
- At The Plumed Horse, Tony Borthwick creates inventive, thought-provoking food. In town, chef Jeff Bland is at the helm at Number One, another single starred establishment.
- The Dining Room at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is open to non-members. Expect faultless cooking and excellent service from waiters who will recommend whiskies to match food.
- The renowned Witchery is located on a cobbled street just down from Edinburgh Castle and is the last word in romance and opulence.
- Also owned by James Thomson is Prestonfield House Hotel which houses restaurant Rhubarb. Both serve the very best in Scottish fare. If you’re looking for drama, seek these out.
- Harvey Nichols’ Forth Floor Restaurant provides stunning views over the city.
- The Stockbridge Restaurant is a cosy grotto studded with twinkling fairy lights set in a bohemian pocket of the New Town.
- New kid on the block is 21212, where Paul Kitching’s bold experimental cooking has earned him a Michelin star.
Some of the best restaurants in the city aren’t necessarily those brandishing stars. If you’re after a more laid back affair, there are plenty of places to choose from.
Urban Angel takes an ethical approach to eating and their cakes are simply to-die-for. L’escargot Bleu serves up the very best in French bistro fare, while Cafe Saint Honoré could be in the middle of Paris. The Dogs and Amore Dogs offer exceptionally priced food, La Garrigue is brilliant for lunch and The Outsider offers magical views of the castle if you ask for a table at the back. Centotre is bustling and bright and serves up contemporary Italian food, and The Shore in Leith is particularly good for eating in the bar area.
There is a plethora of good seafood restaurants in Edinburgh, in particular at The Shore of Leith. Fishers has been in business for over twenty years and continues to thrive. Look out for queenie scallops on the starter menu – delicious! A pint of prawns eaten outside The Ship on the Shore restaurant in the sunshine is an experience not to be missed. Sweet Melinda’s never fails to please, not least because it is located next door to one of the city’s most reknowned fish suppliers, Eddie’s Seafood Market. Ondine has Marine Stewarship Council (MSC) accreditation, certifying commitment to sustainability. The seafood platters are exceptional.
Afternoon tea, bakers, cafes**
For a spot of afternoon tea, The Balmoral Hotel’s Palm Court provides a suitably glamorous setting (add a glass of Bollinger for a treat), while Eteaket and Loopy Lorna’s have impressive selections of teas and cakes. Without a shadow of a doubt, the best baking in the city is to be found at Falko Konditorei. Gaze upon the vast array of artisan breads, pretzels, cakes and cinnamon-scented German pastries. The Manna House makes good bread and Circle Café sells excellent croissants and other French pastries. Peter’s Yard uses a stone wood-fired oven to produce a range of breads including Swedish rye and Kavring.
Deli’s and Cheese **
Valvona & Crolla, founded in 1934, is Scotland's oldest Delicatessen and Italian Wine Merchant. *Not* to be missed. Lupe Pintos specialises in and imports authentic Mexican and American produce and Clarks in Bruntsfield has a particularly fine selection of olives. Deli Polonia is a Polish food specialist which sells a 100% organic krolewska, a cured and wood smoked sausage with an intense flavour that has to be tried. IJ Mellis is the best cheesemonger in the city, make this your port of call if you’re in the mood for fromage.
Fish and Chips**
No visit to Edinburgh would be complete without sampling a fish supper, seasoned with salt and the infamous chippie sauce (you won’t find this sauce anywhere outside of Edinburgh). At Tailend on Leith Walk you can sit and enjoy your supper with a cup of tea as is correct, while L’Alba D’Oro and http://www.laquilabianca.co.uk/ are two of the best chippies in town. Just don’t mention deep fried Mars bars.
Other places to look out for in Edinburgh:
**Bars serving good food:**
**Written by:** Carine Seitz