8 of the best food and drink experiences to try in Edinburgh this summer

If you're heading to the capital this summer, or are a resident looking for something new, then check out these top food and drink experiences

Published 15th Jun 2018
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

From vegan delights to a new restaurant in an old gem of a building, there's something for all tastes in Edinburgh this summer.

Here's our pick of the best.

Tuck into a vegan afternoon tea

(Radisson Collection Hotel, 1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1AD)

Picture: the Radisson Collection's vegan afternoon tea, supplied

This five star city centre hotel has partnered with Edinburgh’s leading health food café, Pumpkin Brown, to create an organic, vegan afternoon tea.

To cater to guests’ every dietary requirement, Pumpkin Brown and Andy McQueen, Head Chef at Cucina, have designed the tea to be gluten, dairy and refined sugar free, creating a delicious and ethical menu.

Priced at £25 and served daily, from 2.30pm-5pm, in the Cucina restaurant, the vegan afternoon tea features an array of delicious treats, including freshly baked scones and rich chocolate tarts as well as revitalising juice shots, decadent rocky road tray bakes and savoury quiches.

Try a limited edition gin cocktail

(The Ivy on the Square, 6 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2BD)

Picture: the Melville and the Multrees cocktail, supplied

The Ivy on the Square is keeping the World Gin Day celebrations going by serving two limited edition gin cocktails throughout June.

The Melville and The Multrees, both £7.25 each, have been created in collaboration new Scottish gin distillery, Oro Gin.

The Melville pays homage to the fluted column of the Melville Monument, commemorating Henry Dundas, the first Viscount Melville in St Andrew Square, while The Multrees is a nod to the designer shopping destination, Multrees Walk, which is just a stone’s throw from the restaurant.

The summer gin cocktails have been designed by the restaurant’s bar manager, Jon Niemi and head distiller of Oro Gin, Ray Clynick.

The Melville consists of Oro Gin, RinQuinQuin peach aperitif, Lillet blanc aperitif, soda water, and lavender syrup, whilst The Multrees has Oro Gin, cocchi vermouth di torino, maraschino liqueur and orange bitters.

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Treat yourself to a picnic afternoon tea

(One Square, 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh EH3 9SR)

Picture: One Square's picnic afternoon tea, supplied

Edinburgh foodies can enjoy a seasonal picnic this summer thanks to the latest addition to the One Square seasonal afternoon tea menu.

The summertime menu has been developed in partnership with drinks brand Rocco Venezia Prosecco Superiore, produced in Italy and supplied from the company’s base in Edinburgh.

Presented in a picnic basket, the carefully crafted selection of seasonal treats can be enjoyed on the outdoor terrace at One Square.

The picnic menu features savoury and sweet options, with highlights including smoked salmon and cucumber finger sandwiches, Ayrshire pork and Braeburn apple sausage rolls, lime and blueberry cheesecake and watermelon lollipops created with Thai basil and lemongrass syrup.

The picnic afternoon tea costs £32 per person with a glass of Rocco Rose or Brut included.

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Challenge friends to prosecco pong

(Assembly George Square Gardens, George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ)

Picture: prosecco pong is coming to the capital this summer, Chris Watt

The organisers of Assembly’s Edinburgh Food Festival have announced plans to stage the capital’s first prosecco pong contest as part of the annual foodie event, which takes place at Assembly George Square Gardens from 25-29 July.

Festival organisers have teamed up with Edinburgh-based Poco Prosecco to kick-start this year’s event with a fresh take on the traditional ping pong ball drinking game played across the world.

Fans of the popular fizz are being challenged to go head to head as part of the fun, summer party game in Assembly George Square Gardens from 6.30pm on Wednesday 25th July.

For people looking for a softer option, the VW cocktail and mocktail bar, Beetle Juice, will be also be running a fruit juice pong contest, including a chance to win a range of refreshing mocktails.

Dine in the former Scotsman advertising hall

(The Scotsman Hotel, 20 North Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1TR)

Picture: The Scotsman Hotel Facebook

The Scotsman Hotel will welcome a new, independent dining and drinks venue this summer - The Grand Café.

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Headed up by Scottish chef and Masterchef: The Professionals knockout week finalist Chris Niven, the restaurant will be located on North Bridge in the Scotsman's former advertising hall.

Chris is currently building his team and developing a delicious, accessible all-day menu, which will showcase his love of vibrant dishes with bold flavours, made with the best seasonal Scottish produce.

The Grand Café at The Scotsman will open its doors to guests after an extensive restoration, which will bring the beauty and traditional features of this historic Old Town building – opened in 1905 as the home of Scotsman newspapers - into the modern age.

Details of the interior design and menus are still under wraps, however the new venue promises to mix the historic past of its setting with the buzz of a vibrant contemporary café and bar.

Chris's fifteen-strong kitchen team will help him to craft unpretentious dishes, which will take diners from early morning breakfasts and coffees through lunches, afternoon teas, dinners and all the way to late night cocktails and drams.  

Chill out at a pop-up Sipsmith bar

(The Glasshouse, 2 Greenside Place, Edinburgh EH1 3AA)

Picture: the Glasshouse roof garden, supplied

If you'd like a refreshing G&T with a view, then head to the Glasshouse hotel, situated in the heart of the city.

Held in the Rooftop Garden, this pop-up event is being held in partnership with Sipsmith Gin and will include live music from Ginny and the Tonic, unlimited BBQ food and a picnic selection along with afternoon tea treats.

Refreshments, including an arrival drink, will be from the brand new Sipsmith's Gin Bar and include G&T's, prosecco, beer and Bloody Marys' from a dedicated station.

Tickets are £40 and can be booked by calling or emailing the Glasshouse.

Have dinner in one of Edinburgh's newest restaurants

(The Little Chartroom, Albert Street)

Picture: desserts at the Little Chatroom include this chocolate tart, supplied

Former Castle Terrace couple Roberta Hall-McCarron and Shaun McCarron have opened their first restaurant this summer, on Albert Place, at the top of Edinburgh’s Leith Walk.

The Little Chartroom will be a neighbourhood-style bistro with chef Roberta in the kitchen and Shaun managing front of house.

Serving French British style cuisine, The Little Chartroom’s food is simple and seasonal and includes lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Sunday, and brunch at the weekend.

Named The Little Chartroom after Roberta’s love of sailing, the restaurant interior designers - up and coming duo Studio Niro - commissioned pieces by Roberta’s mum who creates bespoke artworks from old shipping charts.

Relax over a weekend brunch

(The Stockbridge Restaurant, 54 St Stephen St, Edinburgh EH3 5AL)

Picture: the Stockbridge Restaurant is now open for brunch/lunch, supplied

Enjoy a laid-back weekend lunch or brunch from a newly launched menu at one of Edinburgh's popular eateries.

The Stockbridge Restaurant recently unveiled a new weekend lunch/brunch menu, which will be served between 12.30-2pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Two AA rosette Chef Jason Gallagher has put together a relaxed, affordable menu, which includes a selection of the restaurant’s most popular dishes from its evening a la carte, such as  Duck confit with cassoulet bean stew, and Seared Shetland salmon.

As well as this, there will be some brunch time favourites, including; Garlic field mushrooms on toasted brioche, and Crab cakes with cherry tomato salsa.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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