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Edinburgh's Best Seafood: Fresh Fish and Shellfish from the Scottish Sea



The fishing industry has always been important in Scotland. The country is almost completely surrounded by sea and there are countless lochs and rivers with all manner of delicious fresh fish and shellfish lurking within. As the capital, Edinburgh is host to a number of fantastic seafood restaurants with fresh and delicious treats to tempt anyone.

Smoked salmon is a popular export, but you’ll also find outstanding trout, langoustines, lobster, scallops, crab, prawns, kippers, mussels, mackerel, sea bass, and a whole lot more. There are many traditional Scottish dishes that incorporate fish and shellfish, particularly smoked fish.

For the best in fine dining head to Ondine in the Old Town, or for a more laid back experience try the delightful waterfront pub the Ship on the Shore in Leith. There are also bistros, inns, cafes, and even an upscale fish and chip bar. What do they all have in common? They serve up the finest fishy dishes you are ever likely to taste.

If you’re a real seafood fan then Edinburgh can cater for your every whim. You can dine out on the freshest seafood you’ve ever encountered every night of your stay without eating the same thing twice. Without further ado here are the top ten seafood restaurants in Edinburgh.


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Loch Fyne Edinburgh


This building was once the Newhaven harbor fish market and it dates back to the 1890s. It has been completely gutted and now features a stunning interior of welcoming wooden floors and furniture with maritime images and views of Loch Fyne adorning the walls. Overlooking the harbor, the obvious focus of this restaurant is the finest and freshest seafood Scotland has to offer. From traditional Scottish dishes like Cullen Skink to crayfish, plaice, and mackerel, to the finest Loch Fyne oysters, there are seafood delights to tempt everyone. Scallops, lobster and twice cooked French fries, the menu goes on and on. Most of these delights have come from the West of Scotland where you'll find Loch Fyne.




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 whiskey.


Cadiz


Cadiz is a Spanish inspired seafood restaurant located in the heart of the New Town, on George Street. The décor is upscale but relaxed. The a la carte menu is not huge, but there is plenty to choose from. Dishes are split into tapas style starters and larger main meals, but the star of the show is the sharing "selection de mariscos" featuring a range of seafood and meat dishes along with skinny fries. There is also a very good lunch and the pre-theatre menu with either two or three courses. The menu doesn't really stray far from classic dishes, but the food is well prepared and looks beautiful. There is a decent wine and whiskey list and a few more adventurous cocktails to tempt you.


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The Mussel and Steak Bar


If you can't agree on whether to go for a seafood meal or get a nice juicy steak then this is the perfect compromise. You'll find a tempting menu for lunch and dinner that includes all manner of seafood, including pots of irresistible mussels, and matured Scotch beef steaks. It's conveniently located in the popular Grassmarket area, which is always bustling and vibrant. The atmosphere is very relaxed and welcoming and this is a family-friendly establishment capable of catering for large families and groups. The menu is updated frequently with daily specials and you can wash them down with a cocktail.




This popular bar and restaurant can be found at the east end of Princes Street and it has loads to offer. The first Cafe Royal opened in 1826, but in 1863 it moved across the street to its current location. The building itself is a stylish Parisian mixture of Victorian and Baroque. The stunning interior will take your breath away and there are a large bar and restaurant. You'll find a huge selection of Scottish cask ales and malt whiskeys, not to mention wine and champagne. The food is a mixture of traditional Scottish dishes and the finest seafood; in particular, the oysters are excellent.


Kilted Lobster


The Kilted Lobster is a Scottish Seafood Restaurant situated in the leafy suburb of Stockbridge, not far from the New Town. The menu wears its Scottish heart on its sleeve. Focusing on the freshest seasonal and local produce, it is small but perfectly formed. Their salmon, smoked on the premises, is simply delightful. Although they clearly favor seafood, there are good options for carnivores and vegetarians. There is also another dimension to this popular restaurant. One day a week they close and instead provide food for local people in food poverty, and have received numerous awards for their ethical stance.


Mussel Inn


The focus here is on tasty, freshly prepared seafood at very affordable prices. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming for the whole family. All of the seafood on offer is carefully sourced and the shellfish is cultivated in an environmentally-friendly way in the sea lochs of the West Coast and near the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland Isles. You'll find some terrific value offers for lunch and pre-theatre dining. The Mussel Inn is also conveniently located on the popular, pedestrianized Rose Street, just behind Princes Street in the city center. If it's sunny outside you can dine al fresco and watch the crowds wandering by.


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.




Smart, understated decor sets the scene for the thoughtfully prepared and well-presented seafood dishes on the menu here. You'll find a wide range of fresh seafood and an extensive list of wine and champagne. The reasonable prices and generous portions served from the lunch menu are popular among diners. Vegetarian dishes are available for those who prefer not to indulge in the seafood fare and there are always traditional alternative options like haggis and steak on the menu for carnivores who dislike seafood. Make no mistake, though, the Ship on the Shore aims to prove that Scotland has the best seafood in the world.




This luxury seafood restaurant can be found just off the Royal Mile in the heart of the Old Town. It opened in 2009 with a mission to bring fresh, sustainable, delicious seafood to the Edinburgh restaurant scene and there's no doubt it has accomplished that aim. The Scottish Restaurant of the Year award from the Good Food Guide should give you some idea of how good the food here is. You'll find amazing Scottish produce on offer and there are a restaurant and an oyster bar, so whether you want a full meal or just some champagne and oysters, you won't be sorry you came to Ondine to get it.


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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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