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Sample EdinburghÂ's Best Eateries: From Fine Dining to Budget Banquets



As the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh has a cosmopolitan atmosphere and a vibrant restaurant scene offering all sorts of culinary delights. The discerning locals like quality seafood and locally sourced produce. There is also a great deal of demand for international flavors, especially Indian, Asian and Italian cuisine.

Edinburgh has a number of fine dining establishments and several Michelins starred restaurants if you are looking to push the boat out and really treat yourself. The Kitchin has a menu inspired by classic French cuisine but using fresh Scottish produce. Stylish, contemporary and refined this Michelin starred restaurant has been wowing critics since it opened in 2006.

Edinburgh is perfectly placed to enjoy the culinary treasures of the sea, and there are a number of excellent seafood restaurants within the capital. Fishers in the City is one of the best places to sample the ocean’s bounty in a stylish and relaxed dining room.

The stereotypical view of Scottish cuisine as a series of deep fried dishes and haggis is far from the reality. However, you should consider sampling some top quality fish and chips at the Tailend considered by many to be Edinburgh’s best chippie!

 


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This excellent Italian restaurant serves up the best authentic Italian pizza in town. You'll also find a selection of gourmet pasta dishes and plenty of vegetarian options. You can even get gluten-free pasta and pizza here. It is a family friendly restaurant with a big menu and a nice welcoming atmosphere. The service is attentive and friendly and the atmosphere is lively. You'll also find the prices are very reasonable and it's a great destination for lunch or dinner. This is a very popular restaurant with locals and so it is best to book in advance although they will always try to accommodate you. It is also a great choice for large groups.

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You'll find a blend of tried and tested Indian dishes along with innovative twists and new ideas at Mithas. The best of local ingredients are combined with a range of tempting spices to create some truly gorgeous food. Located down on Dock Place in Leith, close to Ocean Terminal, Mithas specialises in seafood and offers stunning presentation and taste. This isn't the same old menu you've seen before and the stylish decor adds to the overall fine dining experience. The fact you can bring your own bottle and there is no corkage charge helps to keep the price of dining here reasonable. This is a little out of the way for most visitors to Edinburgh but it is well worth making a trip for, just make sure you book in advance.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For truly outstanding Indian cuisine head to Mithas and indulge your senses

Simon's expert tip: The tasting menu is unmissable; just make sure you have a real appetite before you take it on.

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Henderson's
Photo courtesy of Hendersons


This was Edinburgh's first vegetarian restaurant, and many still consider it the best. Long, shared tables run the length of the basement room, where candlelight, a nice wine list and live piano or guitar add gracious touches. Meals are self-service, and typically there are eight hot dishes (vegetarian haggis, anyone?) and at least ten salads, in addition to a selection of baked goods and fresh organic produce. The prices are quite reasonable for such a feast. The Henderson's name has expanded over the years to include a bistro, a bakery, a deli, and even a gallery. They are all worth visiting.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Henderson's has been serving delicious vegetarian dishes for over five decades, and remains one of Edinburgh's most popular restaurants.

Simon's expert tip: Henderson's is open until 10pm from Monday to Saturday and you'll find musicians giving performances in the evening.

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The Stockbridge Restaurant has been delighting locals and visitors alike for over a decade. It is a romantic and atmospheric subterranean delight, featuring wonderful, local produce cooked to perfection. The interior is quite beautiful. Grey slate walls form the backdrop for stunning prints featuring the works of the Scottish Colourists, Cadell and Peploe, and ornately framed mirrors. Gold brocade chairs complement the crisp white linen and silver cutlery. In the evening tiny fairy lights twinkle and candles flicker. The menu features a tempting array of tasty dishes and the portions are more generous than is usual in a fine dining establishment. The wine list is good and they also have a good range of decadent desserts.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The Stockbridge Restaurant has a wonderful ambience and great food which is very reasonably priced.

Simon's expert tip: The set menu (available Tuesday to Friday) offers a great selection of seasonal dishes and is great value for money.

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Fishers in the City


Fishers in the City is an upscale offshoot of the highly popular Fishers Bistro located in Leith. Set in a converted warehouse in Thistle Street, it aims to bring the same wonderfully fresh seafood dishes to a city center audience. The interior features beautiful dark wood and polished brass with an eye catching bar whose pleasing curved form is reminiscent of the prow of a boat. The atmosphere is warm and relaxed, stylish yet comfortable. The food is the real star here. Whether you are dining on a budget or pushing the boat out you will find a tempting array of fish and shellfish to delight every palate.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For great Scottish seafood look no further than the stylish and chic Fishers in the city.

Simon's expert tip: The menu changes regularly, but the shellfish platter always offers a great selection of fruit de la mer

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Dusit provides a modern take on traditional Thai cuisine using local produce combined with exotic spices imported from Thailand. Many dishes have been given whimsical nicknames, such as "run-away fish" for the Thai staple Tod Mun Pla (fishcake) and "lovely lady" for teriyaki prawns, but there is no doubt that the chefs take their jobs very seriously, as they consistently serve food of the highest quality. The decor is minimalist with crisp white linen complimenting black wooden tables and some beautifully understated Thai art, including a wonderfully serene Buddha. However, the dining area is small and places are in high demand so booking in advance is advisable.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Dusit serves delicious Thai cuisine and has a wonderfully serene ambiance

Simon's expert tip: Check out the Floating Market Menu with the chef's specialties including wonderful platters of starters to share.

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La Petit Mort is a delightful restaurant nestling in the shadow of the Kings Theatre in Tollcross. Its dining room retains some of the original features of the building, such as the bare stonework which contrasts beautifully with the brightly painted wood panels. The traditional wooden bar sparkles with glass and multi colored spirits and the ambiance is welcoming and relaxed. What has really got tongues wagging is the quality of the food. Locally and sustainably sourced ingredients are treated with flair and panache and the result is a vibrant menu which delights the palate but is pleasingly light on the wallet. This restaurant is deservedly growing in popularity and confidence.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: La Petit Mort serves delicious locally sourced produce and has a wonderful atmosphere

Simon's expert tip: The quality of the food is matched only by the invention of their cocktails - definitely worth trying

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Mark Greenaway is a well-known Scottish chef and media personality with a passion for fresh Scottish produce and a flair for creating indulgent and delightful dishes. His eponymous restaurant in North Castle Street may not yet have earned him a Michelin star, but with rave reviews and awards a plenty it is only a matter of time. The interior of his restaurant is refined, but relaxed. Muted tones and soft furnishings allow his food to do all the talking, and his menu is certainly a delight for the senses. The emphasis is on locally sourced produce but presentation also betrays a delightful sense of humor and a lightness of touch which has won him many admirers.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Flair and passion infuse every dish in this wonderful Scottish restaurant

Simon's expert tip: Mark Greenaway has a particular flair with desserts - you simply must indulge yourself

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Seasonal local produce is the name of the game at The Kitchin. Chef Patron Tom Kitchin is a well-known celebrity chef and he won a Michelin star just six months after opening The Kitchin in 2006. The restaurant has gone from strength to strength since then with a string of prestigious awards. This is the best of British cuisine influenced by French techniques and showcasing the finest Scottish ingredients. The service is nothing short of excellent and you'll find a top notch selection of wine to accompany your food. As you might expect, this is an expensive night out but lunches give you a taste of what it is all about on a lower budget.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The Kitchin offers the absolute cream of Scottish produce in a fine dining style that highlights the impressive skills of the eponymous chef.

Simon's expert tip: Make sure to book in advance and ask the knowledgeable staff if there's anything you're uncertain about. If you're lucky you may even get to meet the chef.

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The Gardener's Cottage is a wonderfully convivial restaurant located within a charming Georgian cottage in Royal Terrace Gardens. Designed by William Playfair as the home of the gardener in charge of the beautiful grounds, the cottage has been tastefully renovated by owners Dale Mailley and Ed Murray. Diners sit on communal benches at large wooden tables wrapped in the aromas of the trees, plants and the vegetable garden, making for a decidedly rural atmosphere despite the city center location. The restaurant is dedicated to communal eating and seasonal produce. Dishes are simple and delicious, elegant yet unpretentious. As they grow many of their own herbs, fruits and vegetables the food is wonderfully fresh and bursting with flavor. How can you resist?

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Delicious fresh produce served with style make this restaurant worth seeking out

Simon's expert tip: The weekend brunch is a thing of beauty and the perfect pick-me-up after a long and tiring week.

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Meet Simon Hill

Simon has lived in various corners of Edinburgh over the last 18 years. He fell in love with the city as a small child after visiting the castle and returned to study Scottish History.

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