This is a welcoming, family-run restaurant in the center of the city. Rose Street is a popular destination for pub crawls, but if you need something to eat after a drinking session, or you've been shopping on nearby Princes Street, then you'll find great steak and seafood here. The best Aberdeen Angus steak, Scottish lamb, West coast mussels, fresh fish, and delicious local cheeses can all be found on the menu. This is irresistible Scottish food and it's reasonably priced for lunch or dinner. It's a comfortable restaurant with a traditional Scottish feel thanks to exposed stonework and open fires. You'll also find a great selection of whisky.
Recommended for Scottish because: Whether you love seafood or steak you'll be happy at Wildfire and you can wash your meal down with a tasty selection of single malts.
Simon's expert tip: Go here if you're in need of a mouth watering steak as they serve top quality prime Aberdeen Angus hung for 21 days.
Established in 1990, Stac Polly has been serving traditional Scottish fare to tourists and locals alike for almost a quarter of a century. The décor is similarly authentic and inviting with rough stone walls, tweed upholstery, fine linen and flickering candles punctuated by brass framed mirrors and oil paintings. The food is a mix of traditional and contemporary Scottish, and each dish is prepared using the best local produce. Some of the best dishes have been on the menu since the restaurant opened (such as the delicious haggis in filo parcels and the sweet and crunchy cranachan), so this restaurant certainly lays claim to the title of Edinburgh's most traditional restaurant. There is also an impressive array of whisky, craft beers and botanical gins to finish off your meal in style.
Recommended for Scottish because: With some of the best examples of traditional Scottish dishes and delightful contemporary offerings Stac Polly is a great place to enjoy Scottish cuisine.
Simon's expert tip: The private dining room is a great place to enjoy a traditional meal with friends.
Howies is a casual, cafe-style restaurant serving Scottish food. They specialize in dishes made with fresh local produce. You'll find a second branch of Howies at the east end of Princes Street, and the expansion is testament to the success and popularity of the original. If you like good quality, hearty, unfussy food then Howies is the place for you. You can get fixed price lunch menus and early dining deals. Options include real Scottish classics as starters, like Cullen Skink (smoked fish and potato soup), haggis, neeps and tatties, and smoked salmon. The Victoria Street restaurant is just a few minutes' walk from the castle.
Recommended for Scottish because: Howies in Victoria Street is a great combination of historic setting, quality Scottish food, and modern comfort and service.
Simon's expert tip: Don't leave without finishing your meal with the Banoffee pie, it's one of the best you'll find anywhere.
You'll find plenty of nooks and crannies in this atmospheric Old Town Edinburgh restaurant and bar. The building itself dates back to the sixteenth century and the name derives from an interesting carving in the Thistle Chapel of the St Giles Cathedral. It's a great place to drop in for a coffee or a drink, but you're doing yourself a disservice if you miss out on the fabulous menu. You'll find classic Scottish notes in the menu and the finest ingredients. The seasonal menu is full of delicious options and playful dishes like the Angels with Bagpipes Tunnocks Cake. The presentation is also stunning.
Recommended for Scottish because: There aren't many good restaurants near Haymarket station and so if you're staying in the West of the city you'll want to eat at First Coast.
Simon's expert tip: Request the Halo room when you book for a snug and intimate romantic meal.
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 Scottish because: The Kitchin is named after Tom Kitchin, one of the finest chefs working in Scotland today, and his food never disappoints.
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.
Aizle (named after the old Scots word meaning "spark") is a delightfully unconventional restaurant located in the South side of Edinburgh. Rather than a menu patrons are presented with a list of around twenty ingredients, some familiar, many obscure and intriguing. From this list you discard anything that is not to your taste and you place yourself in the capable hands of the chef and wait with baited breath. A four course meal costs around ?35 (but by the time you add in all of the little extras such as the delicious artisan bread it feels more like a eight course feast) which proves to be very good value for money. The décor is cool, clean and minimalist and the food is immaculately presented and delicious. It is definitely worth stepping outside of your comfort zone to try this experimental approach to Scottish cuisine.
Recommended for Scottish because: Using foraged and locally sourced ingredients, Aizle serves unconventional and delicious Scottish cuisine.
Simon's expert tip: You will not recognize all of the items on the list of ingredients, but staff are knowledgeable and helpful and it pays to take a chance!
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 Scottish because: The Gardiner's Cottage is a wonderful spot to sample great Scottish cuisine.
Simon's expert tip: The weekend brunch is a thing of beauty and the perfect pick-me-up after a long and tiring week.
The Table is a popular city center restaurant known for its laid back charm and top notch service. Chef Sean Clark delivers modern European and Scottish cuisine using fresh locally sourced produce and a flair and attention to detail that is sure to impress. However, despite the impeccable quality of the food, the Table manages to retain a comfortable and relaxed ambiance which is often lacking from fine dining establishments. The restaurant has only one table, a beautiful stone counter seating eight people. Diners can watch as their dishes are prepared in the open plan kitchen and chat to the chefs as they work.
Recommended for Scottish because: Diners at the Table are guaranteed a really special evening and some wonderful Scottish cuisine
Simon's expert tip: Check the website or call ahead for details of the eight course set menu available on the night you wish to dine
Field is a cosy but chic restaurant situated on West Nicholson Street, in the Southside of Edinburgh. Head Chef Georgia Cass takes the concepts of Michelin star dining and applies them to Scottish cuisine, but strips back the pretension and the over inflated prices. The result is a small but perfectly formed menu offering delicious locally sourced produce at a remarkably reasonable price. Gone are the fussy, idiosyncratic touches which can deter all but the most determined foodies. Instead the dishes are inventive but approachable, and very, very tasty. The wine list is also a joy to behold, and very good value. Field could easily become your new favourite restaurant!
Recommended for Scottish because: The food is simply wonderful, but the bill very reasonable.
Simon's expert tip: The menu is small but changes frequently, have a peek at their website to find out what is on offer.
This fresh, comfortable, contemporary restaurant sits at the foot of the castle. It opened as the sister restaurant to The Kitchin in the summer of 2010. Under the talented Chef Patron, Dominic Jack, it has already secured a Michelin star. His French training in some of the top kitchens in the world is brought to bear on the best seasonal Scottish produce around. The restaurant has won various plaudits and awards for its innovation and quality. The service is excellent and the pricing is very reasonable particularly on the lunch menu. This is an ideal choice for a special occasion and should not be missed.
Recommended for Scottish because: There are lots of surprises in store for you at Castle Terrace and you'll be talking about the inventive food for days afterwards.
Simon's expert tip: Make sure you book in advance and try the seven course tasting menu for a real treat.