Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Edinburgh
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Edinburgh restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 80 restaurants in Edinburgh and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Edinburgh restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Edinburgh Restaurants
1. The Stockbridge British, Modern restaurant in Edinburgh 54 St Stephen's St - EH3
Jane Walker & chef Jason Gallagher run this traditional venue in Stockbridge, which is praised as an “intimate and special” place with “well-prepared food, plus efficient and professional service”. The only gripe this year? “some dishes seemed a bit too experimental”.
2. Rhubarb, Prestonfield Hotel Scottish restaurant in Edinburgh Priestfield Rd - EH16
In the same stable as Edinburgh’s famous Witchery, James Thomson’s lavishly decorated hotel sits in 20 acres near Arthur’s Seat and its rococo interior “never fails to please for a romantic occasion”. The food is not centre stage, but is consistently well-rated too, with menu options including an à la carte menu, three-course ‘fine dining’ option and afternoon tea.
3. Aizle Scottish restaurant in Edinburgh The Garden Room in The Kimpton Hotel, 38 Charlotte Square - EH2
“A lovely setting in the atrium that’s not too formal and with a pleasant buzz” sets the scene at Stuart Ralston’s bright, glass-roofed hotel dining room (he and his team moved on from a previous venture of the same name in Newington a couple of years ago). All reports acclaim “outstandingly good and inventive cooking” from the six-course menu (going up to £105 per person in 2023 from £85) and “friendly service”.
4. Number One, Balmoral Hotel British, Modern restaurant in Edinburgh 1 Princes Street - EH2
Chef Matthew Sherry has now had a year at the flagship dining room of this Edinburgh landmark, which manages to be “incredibly grand and imposing” for somewhere in a windowless basement (“the tables are all so far away from each other!)”. Long known as one of Scotland’s foremost restaurants, ratings here haven’t skipped a beat despite Michelin having removed its star on the retirement of Jeff Bland. Service still “runs like clockwork”; and on the basis of the high-quality reports we receive (one such: “we have been for dinner twice in the last six months and had the seven-course set menu with matched wines both times… expensive but worth it”) the Tyre Man owes them their star back some time soon.
5. Gardener’s Cottage British, Modern restaurant in Edinburgh 1 Royal Terrace Gardens, London Road - EH7
2021 Review: “The menu is fixed and you sit at one of three large tables with others” at this quirky venture, which occupies a stone cottage in Royal Terrace Gardens. You get what you’re given from a mystery tasting menu on which sustainability is to the fore, with many of the ingredients grown by Charlie the gardener. On practically all reports the food is well-rated, and they must be doing something right having last year now opened The Lookout (see also).
6. Wedgwood Scottish restaurant in Edinburgh 267 Canongate - EH8
Celebrating its fifteenth year, Paul & Lisa Wedgwood’s basement restaurant is on (and partly under) the Royal Mile. Tastefully decorated, it wins strong all-round praise, especially for its competitively priced cuisine (there is a tasting menu, but also a seasonally changing à la carte option with a fair amount of choice).
7. The Café Royal Bar Fish & seafood restaurant in Edinburgh 19 West Register Street - EH2
“The finest selection of oysters and mussels”, “exquisite seafood platters”, “Scottish game”, “champagne and whisky”, “a cracking wine selection with some big hitters” – all of it served in the “beautiful setting” of an ornate Victorian bar. No wonder that “it’s a busy place”, so you “need to book ahead”.
8. Hawksmoor Steaks & grills restaurant in Edinburgh 23 West Register Street - EH2
“Mouth-watering steaks” from both sides of the border and seafood from the Scottish coasts are the draws to the northern capital’s outpost of this powerhouse carnivorous chain, and the grand hall of the former Bank of Scotland HQ makes a “magnificent setting for top-notch food”. While the feedback is positive, there is less of it than we might have anticipated this year.
9. Bonnie & Wild’s Scottish Marketplace Scottish restaurant in Edinburgh St James Quarter, 415-417 St James Crescent - EH1
2022 Review: Launched in July 2021, Scotland’s largest food hall (and Edinburgh’s first) features a range of chef-led food stalls and restaurants. These include The Gannet East, Creel Caught, Erpingham House, El Perro Negro, east PIZZAS, Broken Clock, Joelato, Salt & Chilli Oriental and CHIX. Also houses Inverarity Morton’s boutique bottleshop.
10. Dishoom Edinburgh Indian restaurant in Edinburgh 3a St Andrew Square - EH2
“Top-quality food a country mile from your average curry house”, inspired by the Parsi cafes of Mumbai, keeps the sole Scottish link in this nine-branch chain extremely busy. “I usually go for independent restaurants but Dishoom has been consistently excellent and maintained lovely service over various dinners this year”. The only real problem is a veto on evening bookings, which makes it “difficult to get into – in four attempted visits I have only been able to get in once! The queues are half-way down the street. Worth it, though!”
11. Wahaca Mexican restaurant in Edinburgh 16 South St Andrew Street - EH2
“A fun, cheerful Mexican atmosphere” and “enjoyable, fresh tasting” street food dishes can still make “an excellent standby” of this stalwart chain, which has 10 sites in London nowadays. “Even if nothing on the menu is going to wow, its consistent quality and value are reassuring”, with ratings and popularity starting to regain their historic high standing since a majority stake was sold to Nando’s owner, Dick Enthoven, a couple of years ago.
12. The Ivy on the Square British, Traditional restaurant in Edinburgh 6 St Andrew Square - EH2
With its attractive and convenient setting overlooking St Andrew’s Square, this iteration of the Ivy generates a reasonable number of reports but somewhat limited enthusiasm – “fairly average food which tends to be expensive for what is now a chain restaurant”.
13. Sushisamba Fusion restaurant in Edinburgh W Hotel Edinburgh, St James's Quarter - EH1
As of October 2022, the UK’s third branch of this luxurious and expensive wagyu-to-sushi brand is still ‘Coming Soon’ on the website of the vast St James Quarter development, whose rooftop it is to inhabit… as it has been for ages now.
14. The Spence at Gleneagles Townhouse Scottish restaurant in Edinburgh 39 St Andrew Square - EH2
With 33 bedrooms, the first-ever spin-off from the world famous sporting estate finally opened in June 2022 (it was originally scheduled for 2021) in the former HQ of the Bank of Scotland, complete with an all-day restaurant under the cupola of the former banking hall that’s relatively casual for this grand address. In July 2022, Gaby Soutar of the Scotsman paid it a visit, declaring the food offering as “casual, but with luxurious tweaks. Birthday food”. All seemed generally very satisfactory, although the review stops short of being an out-and-out rave.
15. Creel Caught Scottish restaurant in Edinburgh Bonnie & Wild Marketplace, St James Quarter, 415-417 St James Crescent - EH1
2022 Review: MasterChef: The Professionals winner Gary Maclean opened his first restaurant in summer 2021 on the fourth floor of the Bonnie & Wild Marketplace: Edinburgh's first food hall in St James Quarter. The menu champions sustainable Scottish seafood, with the ‘award-winning Arbroath Smokies’ a signature dish.
16. Howies Scottish restaurant in Edinburgh 29 Waterloo Place - EH1
2021 Review: David Howie Scott’s flagship venue at the foot of Calton Hill celebrates its 30th anniversary last year as a purveyor of inexpensive Scottish classics. The odd reporter feels that it’s “nice enough, but not the stand-out it could be”, but that’s within the context of pretty solid ratings overall. There are two spinoffs in Edinburgh and one in Aberdeen.
17. La Garrigue French restaurant in Edinburgh 31 Jeffrey St - EH1
Since 2001, Jean-Michel Gauffre’s bistro has been a “friendly and welcoming” feature of the Old Town, serving a “delightful southern French/Mediterranean menu, and in particular the authentic cuisine of Languedoc” with “regional wines” to match.
18. Angels With Bagpipes British, Traditional restaurant in Edinburgh 343 High St, Royal Mile - EH1
2021 Review: Owned by the Crolla family (who started Valvona & Crolla, Scotland’s oldest deli and Italian wine merchant – see also), this sixteenth century fine dining spot is a beacon on the otherwise touristy Royal Mile owing to its “well-cooked and well-seasoned” Scottish fare and “good value Sunday lunch”; for a truly intimate dining experience, try ‘Halo’, upstairs, which seats just four.
19. The Lookout by Gardener's Cottage British, Modern restaurant in Edinburgh Calton Hill - EH7
“Is this the most amazing restaurant space in Edinburgh, if not Scotland?” – “perched high up on Calton Hill and looking down on the city” from a striking cantilevered structure – “who could resist the irresistible view of the Rose of the North?”. The bistro-style food is “thoroughly excellent” in some accounts – in others it’s “great... but not as good as you want it to be, when you really want it to match the amazing setting”.
20. White Horse Oyster & Seafood Bar Fish & seafood restaurant in Edinburgh 266 Canongate - EH8
2021 Review: The oldest trad boozer on the Royal Mile (est 1742) has now been reincarnated as an oyster and seafood bar – the name switching connotation from the equine to the maritime. It has won immediate high ratings for its “outstanding” crustacea.
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