French Restaurants in Edinburgh
1. Rhubarb, Prestonfield Hotel Scottish restaurant in Edinburgh Priestfield Rd - EH16
“You are greeted by peacocks and a Highland cow” at this former private estate, where you “dine in a historic room” that’s been done up to the nines. “Staff are very relaxed for such a sublime interior” and the food’s pretty good too. The owner is James Thomson, who owns Edinburgh’s Witchery, and his lavish-verging-on-kitsch design DNA is evident in both venues.
2. La Garrigue French restaurant in Edinburgh 31 Jeffrey St - EH1
“Excellent cooking and a beautiful spot” in Edinburgh’s Old Town make Jean-Michel Gauffre’s stalwart, which celebrates its 21st anniversary this year, “well worth a visit for the rich food and wines of the Languedoc”. (The proprietor – and his kitchen – put in a particularly impressive lockdown performance, with “superb” home deliveries and a “truly interesting and readable newsletter”: so “now we’re allowed back into restaurants with a glass of wine, I’ll be back at La Garrigue with a considerable new respect”.)
3. Café Marlayne French restaurant in Edinburgh 1 Thistle Street - EH2
“A part of France” with “excellent food and presentation” – and some pretty astonishing prices: where else could you find a two-course lunch of moules marinières followed by haunch of venison in red wine for £14.90? It’s “handy for pre-theatre”, too.
4. L’Escargot Bleu French restaurant in Edinburgh 56 Broughton St - EH1
“A joy of a French bistro” in the West End – Gallic chef-owner Fred Berkmiller also owns the nearby L’Escargot Blanc – where the “classic” cuisine has “named provenance, and is often locally sourced” or brought over from Berkmiller's homeland.
5. 21212 British, Modern restaurant in Edinburgh 3 Royal Ter - EH7
“Intriguing, inventive flavour combinations and presentation” has long been the hallmark of Paul Kitching’s cuisine and continues to win high ratings for this Georgian townhouse, which he runs with partner, Katie O’Brien. “Delightful warm service” and “wonderful decor” make for a very good “overall experience” that ranks amongst the city’s best.
6. Café St-Honoré French restaurant in Edinburgh 34 NW Thistle Street Ln - EH2
“Hidden away in the lanes of the New Town but well worth seeking out” – Neil Forbes's “romantic” fixture is a “French delight in the middle of Edinburgh” (“like stepping into somewhere in Paris”). Reporters, taking their place alongside the “large cohort of regulars”, invariably laud its “authentic” cooking – “French with Scottish touches” (and nowadays with “sustainability and organic local produce at its heart”).
7. New Chapter Scottish restaurant in Edinburgh 18 Eyre Pl. - EH3
This “lovely neighbourhood joint, with good fish and seasonal ingredients” and “friendly staff”, is “just the kind of place you want around the corner from your house”. Chef Maciej Szymik gives good-quality Scottish ingredients a modern European treatment, and now offers a similar standard at Otro, a spinoff brasserie in the West End. Top tip: “there’s a marginally dingy basement, so avoid that when you book”.
8. The Walnut British, Modern restaurant in Edinburgh 9 Croall Place - EH7
2021 Review: This “real gem” on the road to Leith – “family-run with flair and passion” – “uses unusual cuts of locally sourced meats and seasonal produce to keep the cost of lunch to £10”. It’s “intimate and cosy, but on a hot summer’s day, sitting outside sipping wine and eating the amazing fresh food the kitchen sends out is a real treat”.
9. The Rabbit Hole British, Modern restaurant in Edinburgh 11 Roseneath Street - EH9
“Good all round” – this popular and well-priced Marchmont venue keeps a local crowd happy with the French-accented dishes sent out by its owner-chefs, a Sicilian/Canadian couple who live nearby. A proper two-course lunch costs under £20, which adds to the appeal.
10. Restaurant Martin Wishart French restaurant in Edinburgh 54 The Shore - EH6
Martin Wishart's Scottish establishment, down by the water in Leith, offers “a true fine-dining experience” that’s one of the best in Scotland, founded on “classic” cuisine and “excellent, formal but friendly service”. Paradoxically, in some reporters’ eyes, “despite having a Michelin star for 20 years it is something of a hidden gem, albeit one deserving even higher accolades”. It’s also been markedly consistent over the years (“first went in 2007 and it’s still as good as ever”).
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