Catering to almost any culinary whim, Edinburgh is Scotland’s foodie capital. With not one but four Michelin-starred restaurants and pretty much every global cuisine represented, the city is home to some of the UK’s finest restaurants. But there’s no reason to feel hard done by on your Edinburgh city break if you’re keeping an eye on the pennies; there’s plenty of street food, cool cafes and farmers’ markets on offer, too. We’ve rounded up some of the city’s finest culinary offerings and put them all in our guide. And if one of them tickles your fancy, rest assured there’ll be an Edinburgh Premier Inn hotel nearby, with comfortable king-size beds that are perfect for that post-lunch nap.
Places to eat in Edinburgh
Whether you go by Michelin stars or just excitable word-of-mouth, you’re okay in Edinburgh when it comes to posh nosh. However, even if you’ve not got a king-sized budget, it’s good to know that you can still eat like a king in this city. Step out of your Edinburgh hotel and into a culinary melting pot where you can take your pick from Indian, Italian, Thai, Sudanese… the list goes on.
For fine dining, try the Number One at The Balmoral, where the opulent surroundings are matched by the stunning, Michelin-starred food. The Witchery By The Castle really has the wow-factor, along with decadent dishes like hand-dived Isle of Mull scallop. At the foot of Edinburgh Castle you’ll find relative newcomer, and fast-catching-up award-winner, Castle Terrace. Acclaimed for its innovative Scottish-French creations, this relaxed restaurant is sister to The Kitchin, where Tom Kitchin’s team still serves up a storm on Commercial Street.
Love Italian food? Edinburgh has plenty of chains to scratch that pasta itch. La Favorita on Leith Walk makes its own pizza dough four days in advance, tops it with the likes of chopped haddock and spicy sausage, and then cooks it in log-fired ovens. Or make like those in the know and head to Nonna’s Kitchen in Morningside for laidback Italian dining, with daily blackboard specials and variants to please.
Fancy a curry all the way from, um, Glasgow? Weegie favourite Mother India’s Café has a branch near Edinburgh University, where sharing small dishes is the name of the game. Also in studentville, and next door to a mosque, is the bustling Nile Valley Café, which does Sudanese and Middle Eastern cuisine with free corkage on BYOB. Or try Ting Thai Caravan - it started life as a festival pop-up stall and now serves hearty Thai street food, canteen-style.
Fine Dining Resturants
Michelin Star Plaque
Traditional Scottish Menu
Whether you’re looking to nurse a steaming latte for hours, or just want a quick hit of espresso to start the day, Edinburgh’s bean scene is legendary.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, there’s really only one place to have a coffee in Edinburgh - The Elephant House cafe in the beautiful Old Town. JK Rowling famously wrote her teen wizard tales here and now you’ll find it a relaxed place, full of writers hoping to pen the next best-seller. If you’re on a budget, grab a takeaway coffee or a bagel, but make sure you stop to take a peek at what’s probably the best literary graffiti in the world. The female toilets are covered with so many Hogwarts-based quotes and one-liners that it would take ages to read them all. And you can give your Harry Potter weekend an extra bit of magic, by staying at our hotel near the Elephant House.
The Bluebird Cafe on Canonmills is perfect if you fancied a caffeine fix after having a mooch around the Royal Botanic Gardens. With traditional Scottish breakfasts that include black pudding and haggis, it’s also great if you have food intolerances - the gluten free pancakes with banoffee filling win rave reviews.
The best brunch in Edinburgh can be found in Leith at the Ostara cafe. With a TripAdvisor award for excellence under its belt, the menu here is ever-changing and contains dishes you almost certainly won’t find anywhere else. Try the ricotta scotch pancakes with raspberries and poached rhubarb, or the Tobermory omelette served with lightly smoked trout.
Chairs and tables are so old-fashioned. Why not grab some delicious food to go at one of the city’s food markets?
Go hungry to the Grassmarket Weekly Market. Close to our Edinburgh Central (Lauriston Place) hotel, it’s open every Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Stroll among stalls laden with fruit and veg, artisan breads, plus crafts and clothes. But it’s the street food that’s the biggest draw, particularly for vegans. There’s Missy’s Vegan Cupcakes, while the Grumpy Kitchen serves up tasty meat-free savouries.
For street food set against the spectacular backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, head to Edinburgh Farmers’ Market on Castle Terrace every Saturday morning. Over 40 specialist producers turn up each month, with most of them either growing or rearing what they sell. With vendors selling everything from tempting tacos to squirrel (no, really), it’s also a great place to sample the best haggis money can buy.
Situated on Saunders Street, Stockbridge Market started life in 2011 and has fast become a foodie favourite. Open every Sunday, people come here to check out its resident noodle and gyoza stall Harajuku Kitchen which won the Restaurant Awards’ best street food award in 2018.