The best places for outdoor dining in Edinburgh

It's summer! So here are the best places to enjoy a spot of outdoor dining in Edinburgh with all this nice weather.

Published 25th May 2017
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

With the weather in the mid twenties and due to rise as the summer goes on, busy pubs and restaurants are going to get somewhat stuffy.

Here are some top quality eateries to enjoy some al fresco dining while the weather is good.


(129 Fountainbridge, West End, EH3 9QG)

Picture: Akva Facebook

Akva is a Swedish, bar, café and restaurant with a large outdoor seating area near the Canal. It is very popular spot with a menu that balances Swedish and Scottish cuisine.

It doubles as a venue for hire that can host up to 300 people if you're planning a big event.

The décor is sleek and modern, although warm and inviting, both interior and exterior brightly painted with vibrant aquamarine colours and pine-wood furniture.

Despite it's proud Swedish roots, Akva emits a Mediterranean vibe with it's waterside dining, although no complaints here.

The Esplanade Bar & Restaurant

(62-64 Bath St, Portebello, EH15 1HF)

Picture: The Espy Facebook

It's next to the beach, outdoor dining doesn't get better than munching into your meal while the smell of the sea invades your sinuses. The “Espy” as it is locally known is a wonderful, warm, quaint spot for a pint and a bite.

If you're out walking your dog, jogging surfing or whatever it is you use the beach for and you fancy a quick stop in a nearby watering hole, The Espy is as good a place as any.

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The immensely popular pub serves fantastic grub and exudes such a welcoming energy it will be difficult to get up and leave once you've finished your drinks or food.

It is perfect for light snack while strolling along the Portebello promenade, the interior is homely and quirky as any local bar should be and the seating area outside is small, but it faces Portebello Beach so the view makes up for the lack of room. And if you bring a dog and it gets chilly outside, they welcome pets indoors too.

Teuchters Landing

(1c Dock Pl, Leith, EH6 6LU)

Picture: Teuchter's Landing Facebook

Upon seeing Teuchters Landing it's immediate appeal, especially during weather such as this, lies in it's open air, waterside outdoor dining area. The pub itself is a former waiting house for the Leith to Aberdeen steamboat ferry.

It fills up very quickly during the summer months and is most well known for it's myriad of quality whiskeys, of which there are 90 single malts and roughly 20 international brands. The menu is extensive and the food is wonderful, there are a selection of platters available which are ideal for when you want to soak up the sunshine with friends and share a meal.

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The pub may sound familiar as it does have a sister in Edinburgh's West End which is a prominent stopping point for rugby fans migrating to and from Murrayfield.

Both are worthy of your time, but if you want to avail of this magnificent weather while it graces us, the Landing is preferable.

The Tower Restaurant

(National Museum of Scotland, Chambers St, EH1 1JF)

Picture: The Tower

This decadent restaurant caters for those with opulent taste, it is expensive but worth it for the experience. The food is thoroughly delicious and entirely Scottish.

The view of the Castle is beautiful and the staff are extremely pleasant. It might sound as though it is upmarket to the point of being uncomfortable, though it is not.

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It will not make you feel out of place, it is packed with tourists and locals alike during the summer months and the ambience is always incredibly relaxing.

Petit Paris

(38-40 Grassmarket, EH1 2JU)

Picture: Petit Paris Facebook

The Grassmarket is awash with outdoor seating, from Biddy Mulligan's down to the Black Bull, all of which are worthy of a mention but Petit Paris is unique. Genuine French cuisine with a genuine French aesthetic along with the waiters whom are also French.

A good immediate impression for a restaurant with France's capital in it's name. The food is exquisite, the service is excellent and the staff are more than amiable.

The interior makes one think that perhaps a bistro somewhere in Paris is missing it's furnishings, though outside in the warmth is where the true experience lies.

In Paris one would likely embrace the midday sun in much the same way, therefore eating les escargots grillés in the baking heat feels truly natural. In addition to this the Grassmarket itself is a beautiful area of the old town to gaze at while enjoying a meal.

Journalism intern at The Scotsman. 21. Student at Dublin City University. Born in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland. Currently living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Lover of arts, culture, lifestyle and news. All views expressed are my own.
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