Inspiration

Best restaurants in Edinburgh

Christopher Wilson-Elmes Profile Image

Christopher Wilson-Elmes

Sawday's Expert

5 min read

Food makes a city break and there are so many great places to eat in Edinburgh, that you could easily ignore our mini guide and spend your time here doing nothing but sampling the cuisine. You’ll find everything from pub classics and innovative fine dining to superb street food with influences from all over the globe and even pizza on the beach that’s well worth seeking out. Here is a, by-no-means comprehensive, list of our favourite restaurants in Edinburgh, drawn from the suggestions of the owners of our places and our very own Edinburgh resident on the team.

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Toast, Leith

Any place that calls itself a “wine café” is almost certainly going to be alright by us and former art gallery Toast more than lives up to the promise of the label. It’s one of a welcome wave of places to eat in Edinburgh that combines great food with a laid-back aesthetic and makes you feel as comfortable dropping in for a sandwich as it would turning up dressed for a Friday night out. Food is served all day and could be anything from huevos rancheros to cakes or Mediterranean tapas, but the selection of biodynamic, organic and natural wines is the real star.   

Dine, Central

Stuart Muir’s Dine is a longstanding jewel of the Edinburgh food scene, with Stuart still holding the distinction of being the youngest Scottish chef to be awarded a Michelin Star. He and Head Chef Martin Orr draw on a network of Scotland’s finest suppliers from the borders to the highlands to create their delicious menus. The champagne bar and cocktails are worth a visit alone, but if you’re on more of a budget, then the acclaimed two-course lunch menu is an extremely reasonable way to get a taste of some of Edinburgh’s finest cooking. 

Sheep’s Heid Inn

Recommended by Rebecca McFarland, owner of Holyrood Cottage 

The Sheep’s Heid is a little out of town, but you can make it your reward for climbing Arthur’s Seat if you drop down into Duddingston village afterwards. Famously Edinburgh’s oldest pub, established in1360, there is still something timeless and charming about the small dark bar you enter into from a narrow, cobbled street and the long run of the skittle alley, which you can book for some loud, rumbling fun. Thankfully, while much of the history remains intact, the menus have been updated since the 14th century, and the garden has been transformed into a canopied space that’s lovely for a Sunday roast on a summer afternoon.  

The Raeburn

Recommended by Laura Finlayson, owner of St Stephen Street Apartment 

Even if you can’t get to The Raeburn for a meal, it’s worth dropping in for a drink, especially around sunset, when the west-facing terrace gives you spectacular views of the city. The food is well-done pub classics and given that cocktail masterclasses are run in the bar from time to time, you can happily challenge the staff to come up with something special from the spirit shelf. What you’re really here for though, is the view and a great sundowner moment, even if you’re only drinking tea. 

Civerinos

Recommended by Christopher Wilson-Elmes, Sawday’s copy writer and Edinburgh resident 

Portobello, in the east of the Edinburgh, is probably the part of the city growing fastest in popularity. Property prices have risen far beyond the means of humble copy writers, who nonetheless rent what spaces they can find, simply because the area is so much fun to live in. The promenade by the beach is a bustling place, full of dog walkers, families and visitors all enjoying the sea views and marvelling at those hardy enough to stroll in for a swim. It’s also home to local institution Civerinos, which serves wonderful pizza by the slice or in giant wheels and will even give you a free firebox if you spend over a certain amount. Then you hop over the wall onto the sand, light the firebox and enjoy pizza in the cosy glow of your instant beach campfire. It might not be fine dining, but it’s easily one of the best meals out in Edinburgh. 

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Christopher Wilson-Elmes

Sawday's Expert

Chris is our in-house copywriter, with a flair for turning rough notes and travel tales into enticing articles. Raised in a tiny Wiltshire village, he was desperate to travel and has backpacked all over the world. Closer to home, he finds himself happiest in the most remote and rural places he can find, preferably with a host of animals to speak to, some waves to be smashed about in and the promise of a good pint somewhere in his future.
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