Ten best Edinburgh restaurants to dine in on a summer evening

With stunning views and refreshing cocktails, we discover the best Edinburgh restaurants to dine in this summer

Published 20th Jun 2018
Updated 20 th Sep 2023

The Gardener's Cottage

(Royal Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5DZ)


With a magical setting in the cottage that was once a gardener's cottage, the team here conjure spectacular meals from local ingredients. Inside this cosy historic building designed by William Playfair at the foot of Calton Hill there are large shared tables for sociable dining.

Outside there are vegetable patches, a statement of their commitment to seasonal Scottish produce for their constantly updated menu. This was one of A A Gill's favourite places to eat in Edinburgh.

Dinner costs £50 per person.


(107-109 St Leonard's Street, Edinburgh EH8 9QY)


With the name meaning glowing hot ember in Scots, this place shines bright in summer. At this modern bistro on the Southside there is no traditional menu, just a blackboard of 20 monthly changing seasonal ingredients which make up that evening's meal. This season there's rabbit, apricots, burrata, elderflowers, nasturtiums from their own garden.

This summer's seasonal drinks include the lacto-fermented strawberry with rose wine and their own strawberry liqueur. They make their own Grand & Noble pine infused gin and tonics.

Five courses for £55.

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Restaurant Martin Wishart

(54 Shore, Edinburgh EH6 6RA)


This is one of the famous Michelin-starred restaurants on the Shore in Leith. With extremely fresh seafood, it's a great summer choice.

“The langoustines, scallops, crabs and lobsters always come live into my restaurant. I am very passionate about Scottish produce and use it as much as I can,” says Martin Wishart.

Blue Parrot Cantina

(49 St Stephen St, Edinburgh EH3 5AH)

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This rustic basement restaurant in Stockbridge is only open on Fridays and Saturdays and is thought of as the city's best Mexican. They serve a range of seafood with a Mexican twist. Don't miss their fantastic lime green margaritas.

Mains from £9.50.

The Ivy on the Square

(6 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2BD)


This glitzy new place on St Andrews Square is a riot of summery colour with burnt orange and yellow leather banquettes. The restaurant features a Parisian-style outdoor terrace and bar. Ask for a table upstairs for views over St Andrews Square.

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They do a great selection of coolers and juices, with Rosemary Lemonade and Strawberries and Cream Soda.

Mains from £12.50

The Pompadour by Galvin

(Princes Street, Edinburgh EH1 2AB)


Michelin-starred brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin run this luxurious restaurant with views of Edinburgh Castle. Part of a palatial Victorian railway hotel, the restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh has magnificent meals to match the views.

One of their signature dishes is lasagne of North Berwick crab.

Chef's seasonal menu of three courses for £35.

The Wee Restaurant

(61 Frederick St, Edinburgh EH2 1LH)


There are two Wee Restaurants, one in the city centre and the other in North Queensferry. Simple good food is the name of the game at this unpretentious restaurant focussed on seasonal ingredients.

Recommendations include the Shetland mussels with bacon and Edinburgh gin-smoked salmon.

£20 for three courses.

Petit Paris

(38-40 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JU)

Petit Paris is a genuine French bistro with outdoor seating in the historic Grassmarket.

They make French favourites with Scottish produce, la casserole de moules d'Ecosse marinieres and you can enjoy these French treats outside, in true Parisian style. The French waiters are extremely friendly.

The Tower Restaurant

(National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JF)

This decadent restaurant above the National Museum has fantastic views. It is a glamorous restaurant with an inventive menu of fine Scottish cuisine.

They make exquisite cocktails, with a floral selection and a smoky selection of the Islay Mojito and the Northern Star as well as tasty long gins.

Two course lunch for £19.95

Salt Horse

(57-61 Blackfriars St, Edinburgh EH1 1NB)


Hidden away off the Royal Mile, the Salt Horse is a pilgrimage for craft beer lovers.

They have 12 keg lines of beers and 400 canned and bottled beers from around the world. Residencies run the kitchen, at the moment it's Meat: Stack, purveyors of purportedly incredible burgers. They also do paneer burgers.

The beer garden is small but beautifully formed.

Claire Daly is a freelance journalist based in Edinburgh. She writes for The Scotsman, Scottish Woman and Made magazine. She comes from a family of chefs and especially enjoys puddings, unusual drinks and locally sourced produce.
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