I’m always being asked for recommendations about restaurants in Edinburgh, as after 20 years of living here, I know a little bit about this place! I love eating out in Edinburgh, so from where to grab a great plate of pasta on a Saturday lunch time, to the best hangover cure brunch and a fine dining experience you won’t forget, these are my favourite Edinburgh restaurants.
Warm and friendly Greek home cooking
Meaning ‘The little house’ in Greek, Spitaki is a friendly family run taverna which will transport you straight to the Greek islands. Spitaki serves meze, so order everything to share. I love the smokey aubergine dip with chili, their baked feta, amazingly juicy lamb chops, crispy calamari and a selection of souvlaki. Their Greek house wine is excellent (no retsina here) and they serve Mythos and Fix beers.
Best for: groups – sharing is caring!
Spitaki is at 133-135 East Claremont Street, Edinburgh.
For Tequila! Tacos!
Located on Thistle Street and owned by the guys behind The Bon Vivant, El Cartel is one of my favourite places to start a night out. Taco’s are served in pairs (£6.50) so going with a pal ups your chances of finding a favourite. Mine is the excellent duck carnitas with sweet and spicy chipotle peach salsa. El Cartel also does a great selection of antojitos (Mexican street food) and they have 11 kinds of mezcal on the menu and 20 varieties of tequila. Salud! El Cartel doesn’t take bookings but if you ask nicely you can wait for a table in the Bon Vivant across the road.
Best for: late night scran
El Cartel is at 64 Thistle Street
Visit El Cartel Mexican
Stack Dim Sum
For excellent dim sum in Edinburgh
Stack Dim Sum on Dalmeny Street is as traditional as you get for Dim Sum and Yum Cha in Edinburgh. Family run, the service is sharp and quirky and the dim sum, tasty and traditional. Try the crispy spring rolls with lettuce, char sui buns, and chili ribs, alongside pork and crab gyoza. For those with a bigger appetite Stack also soup noodles and traditional fried dishes. Don’t expect to stand on ceremony, just go, order up a storm and dig in, you won’t regret it.
Best for: getting stuck in to proper Dim Sum
Stack Dim Sum is at 42 Dalmeny Street, Edinburgh.
For great home cooking in a retro environment
Over on Nicholson Street in Edinburgh’s southside is Spoon cafe – don’t miss the ground floor level doorway. Climb the stairs to discover a 50s & 60s decorated space with a lovely warm welcome. Spoon’s philosophy is that good food and a fine dining experience can be fun, casual and relaxed too – and their ever changing menu features dishes such from cheese, pate and meat anti-pasti plates to king prawn kebabs with courgette, cherry tomato, lemon & basmati rice. Spoon also have great vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. Open until 11pm.
Great for: a relaxed casual lunch (kids welcome)
Spoon is at 6A Nicolson Street, Edinburgh.
Milk at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop
For Possibly Edinburgh’s best brunch in a sunny courtyard
The Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop is hidden away in Hawthornevale in Newhaven, but this the cafe is best accessed off the north Edinburgh path network which makes it the perfect stop on a long bike ride. Food is served all day until 5pm and on a sunny day the courtyard is packed (and dog friendly too!) Try the veggie breakfast with rosemary and garlic mushrooms & sun-dried tomatoes or one of Milk’s delicious cheese and mustard scones.
Best for: relaxing in the sunshine after exploring the north Edinburgh paths
Milk is at 21 Hawthornvale, Edinburgh.
Visit Cafe Milk
For a perfect plate of pasta
Halfway down Leith Walk is Gaia, a family run Sicilian deli and cafe. Grab a panini, a plate of antipasti or their pasta of the day. You have to try their special ‘crema di funghi and truffle aroma’ (mushroom & truffle) pasta! If you aren’t that hungry (you will be when you seen the food) grab a coffee and the window seat and watch Leith go by. Gaia is open all day from 9am to 6pm, and for dinner until 8.30pm on Tuesday to Friday.
Best for: speedy lunches
Gaia is at 32 Crighton Place, Edinburgh.
For a fun and sustainable brunch
Down at the Shore in Leith the Roseleaf is a bar and a restaurant produces one of the city’s most fun brunches. Grab a cocktail in a teapot and get stuck into their seasonal, local & sustainable brunch menu. The Roseleaf is a great place for an all day brunch – I usually go for the Roseleafer veggie breakfast – haggis, beanz, slow roasted tomatoes, homemade tattie scone, flat cap mushroom, wilted spinach with a egg cracked in the skillet.
Best for: that hangover cure!
The Roseleaf is at 23-24 Sandport Place, Edinburgh.
A cool and quirky Asian hang out
Hidden in the Edinburgh new town is a very cool Asian hideaway. Wee Buddha serves Asian fusion tapas-style food and a huge selection of craft beers and cocktails. Eat and drink as much or little as you like – but i suggest and settling in with friends over Korean wings, Thai style skewered skirt-steak beef and Cantonese pork belly ‘wee Buddha’ style. The restaurant is stylishly decorated and the owner will happily come and join you to chat over the menu.
Best for: starting your evening off the right way
Wee Buddha is at 2b Jamaica Street, Edinburgh.
Visit Wee Buddha
Fine dining without the stuffiness
Each night at The Table Edinburgh, two chefs serve a seven-course fine dining tasting menu for just 10 lucky diners. The Table is no fussy fine dining restaurant; everything about it from the food, to the setting, to the chefs themselves encourage you to just get stuck in and enjoy yourself. Grab a seat at the bar, watch Chef Sean prepare your food – and then get booking for a second visit, you will won’t regret it! Read my full post on The Table.
Best for – the best food in Edinburgh
The Table is at 3A Dundas St, Edinburgh
Visit The Table
Love, from Scotland x
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