Best quirky Edinburgh restaurants - our top five

From dinner by the light of the full moon to lunch in a library, here are some of the more interesting places to eat in Edinburgh. 

Published 1st Mar 2017
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

The Witchery by the Castle

(352 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2NF)

The Witchery Restaurant,Edinburgh. Picture: Neil Hanna
The Witchery Restaurant,Edinburgh.
Picture: Neil Hanna

It'll come as no surprise to find one of the city's favourite dining destinations on this list as the Witchery is truly one of the most fascinating restaurants in the city.

Situated near to the gates of Edinburgh Castle, stepping in to the decadent dining room really does feel like being transported to the past, or at the very least the setting for a Gothic Romance novel.

Housed in a building that dates back to 1595, the restaurant has been massively popular with celebrities over the years with previous guests including Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas and Ewan McGregor all having enjoyed a meal or two.

Named for the hundreds of women burned at the stake just outside on Castlehill, the Witchery is one of the most theatrical settings for any meal.

Thankfully, with a focus on seasonal Scottish produce, the menu matches the opulence of its interior.

Edinburgh Food Studio

(158 Dalkeith Rd, Edinburgh EH16 5DX)

Picture: Trip Advisor Traveller
Picture: Trip Advisor Traveller

As culinary concepts go, the Edinburgh Food Studio is perhaps one of the most exciting projects we've seen, not just in the capital, but across the UK too.

Combining the science and artistry behind food and mixing in some robust experimentation, co-founders Ben Reade and Sashana Souza Zanella are pushing the boundaries of how Scots interact with our national cuisine.

Reade is particularly fascinated by dishes from Scotland's rich culinary past and the studio's mission is to use master classes, tastings and mini conferences to change perceptions on everything from the simple art of home cooking to fermentation and butchery.

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Those looking for something a little less interactive can enjoy a trip to the Studio's restaurant, which is open on the weekend (Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights) and offers a seven course tasting menu which is determined purely by the whims of the food gods (or more precisely - seasonal availability and the recent experiments from the studio itself).

Regularly hosting guest chefs and creating unique dishes, a night at the Studio is one you won't soon forget.

Full Moon Dinners at the Secret Herb Garden

(32A Old Pentland Road, Lothianburn, Edinburgh EH10 7EA)


Though they've yet to release the programme of dates for this year's full moon dinners, over the past few years, the Secret Herb Garden's dining events have been hugely popular with locals who learned of this secret gem on their back doorstep.

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Ever wanted to dine in a fanciful setting under the soft light of the stars and the full moon? Then this fun culinary experience might just be for you.

Sample herbs and produce foraged locally, or even from the herb garden itself, as they are lovingly used to create new dishes reflecting the season in which they are made, all lovingly prepared by the herb garden’s in-house chef.

Each meal is then expertly matched by a particular wine chosen from the carefully curated wine list created by wine industry expert and the Herb Garden Founder Hamish Martin.

And of course, all of this takes place at night under the waxing light of the full moon.

The Colonnades at the Signet Library

(The Signet Library, Parliament Square, EH1 1RF)

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Picture: Trip Advisor Traveller
Picture: Trip Advisor Traveller

A book lover's (and foodie's) dream, lunch at the Colonnades is the perfect way to while away an afternoon.

Housed within the historic Signet Library, the secluded restaurant is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Princes Street.

Running from Monday to Friday, 11am to 1.30pm, this glorious little restaurant does a roaring trade in luscious lunches at prices that won't break the bank.

Enjoy a high tea, light lunch or simply just a glass of champagne as you soak in the ambience of one of the city's most beautiful restaurant settings.

The Table

(3a Dundas Street, EH3 6Q6, 0131 281 1689)

Picture: Trip Advisor Traveller

With the tagline "Ten seats, one chef, one table" you'd be forgiven for thinking this a far more simple affair that it actually is.

A uniquely interactive dining experience in a very intimate setting, the Table offer only one sitting per evening meaning your meal, with the attention that will be lavished upon it, will be one of the best you'll experience in the capital.

The eponymous 'Table' overlooks a gleaming open plan kitchen, allowing the ten lucky diners to watch as the chef prepares the food and ask any questions about ingredients, provenance or cooking methods as the chef cooks.

The seven course tasting menu costs £70, featuring the very best in Scottish produce used to create highly original flavour combinations.

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