Ten famous Edinburgh restaurants everyone should try at least once

Edinburgh is blessed with a great number of superb chefs, whose restaurants are famous throughout the country.

Published 27th Feb 2017
Updated 18 th Sep 2023


Number One

(Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes St, EH2 2EQ, 0131 557 6727)


This is the number one spot to sample modern Scottish cuisine at its finest. The restaurant has been open since 1997, but was fully refurbished in 2015, making it even more stylish than before.

You can take a seat on one of the dove-grey wool banquettes, and enjoy the fabulous art on the walls, including a triptych of a Scottish oak tree by Adam Ellis.

However it is the food that is the main event. Dishes include such delights as Balmoral smoked salmon with quail's egg, and Inverurie hogget with mint yoghurt.

The executive chef at Number One is Jeff Bland, who has held a Michelin star for fourteen years.

The seven-course tasting menu costs £85.

Paul Kitching 21212

(3 Royal Terrace, EH7 5AB, 0131 523 1030)


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This restaurant has received a number of accolades over the years, including the “Best New Restaurant in the UK” award, a Michelin star, and four AA rosettes.

Paul Kitching, co-owner and head chef, has also won a Prince Philip medal for services to the catering industry. When you taste his food, you'll see why.

21212's menu is full of contemporary French dishes which are as beautiful to look at as they are delicious. There is a new menu each week, to keep things fresh, but past dishes include “fish and chops”, and beef fillet “nut museli”.

The Georgian townhouse restaurant is light and airy, with period features and contemporary fittings – a perfect place to sample innovative dishes combining old and new techniques.

Three courses cost from £65.

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The Honours

(58A N Castle St, EH2 3LU, 0131 220 2513)


The Honours was opened in 2011, and its Glaswegian sister restaurant followed in 2014. The menu offers a blend of traditional and modern French cuisine, with inspirations taken from countries across the world.

The name derives from the moment when Walter Scott rediscovered the Scottish Crown Jewels, known as the Honours of Scotland.

You can try out a fantastic poached fillet of halibut, with fennel, pepper and black olive, or you can sample a blanquette of veal with pilaf rice.

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For dessert, why not order an apple tart tatin to share, which is served with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce?

Main courses cost between £21 and £24.

Stac Polly

(29-33 Dublin St, EH3 6NL, 0131 556 2231)


Established in the last decade of the twentieth century, Stac Polly looks to the past and the future with its cuisine. Dishes include a fillet of Scottish salmon, served with salmon, prawn and lime mousse stuffing, as well as a magnificent Borders pheasant breast with sage and lemon stuffing.

There is an extensive wine list, and Scottish beers from the Orkney Brewery for ale fans.

The restaurant itself is housed in a series of rough-stone-walled cellars, furnished with Bute tweed upholstery.

Main dishes cost between £17.95 and £27.95.

Restaurant Mark Greenaway

(69 N Castle St, EH2 3LJ, 0131 226 1155)


The motto of Restaurant Mark Greenaway is: “Passion and Pride for Scotland's Natural Larder”.

This is fully reflected in the restaurant's dishes, which take the best Scottish produce and give it a creative twist.

You may wish to taste the 40-day dry-aged fillet of beef, with white mushroom purée and red wine jus. Or perhaps you may prefer the sous vide sea trout with cucumber carpaccio?

Mark Greenaway, chef extraordinaire, respresented Scotland in 2012 on BBC2's Great British Menu. He is also the only chef in Scotland to be newly awarded three AA rosettes for culinary excellence in 2012.

The eight course tasting menu costs £69.50.

The Tower

(National Museum Of Scotland, Chambers St, EH1 1JF, 0131 225 3003)


Joanna Lumley gave the Tower a ringing endorsement - “Tower you are fab!” - and we think that her enthusiasm is completely justified. The Tower is Scotland's first ever rooftop restaurant, masterminded by James Thomson.

Guests can take in stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile as they enjoy the finest of dining. Ingredients are fresh and locally sourced, then cooked with skill using the most innovative techniques.

The winter menu this year contains such wonders as ragtone goats cheese pannacotta with beet chutney, as well as Perthshire pheasant with spiced red cabbage.

You will also be spoilt for choice when it comes to beverages, as the drinks list has over 200 wines, and a distinguished cocktail selection.

The Kitchin

(78 Commercial Quay, EH6 6LX, 0131 555 1755)


Having earned a Michelin star in 2007 and won Best Restaurant Experience in 2015, Tom Kitchin's restaurant is a must for fans of fine dining.
Kitchin's philosophy, “From Nature to Plate”, calls for seasonal produce to be brought in every day. The menu boasts top-notch British cuisine brought to life by Scottish ingredients and French techniques. To make sure that the meat and fish is as fresh as possible, butchering and filleting takes place in-house.
The décor is heavily influenced by the building's heritage as a whisky warehouse, featuring Scottish wool, wood, stone and glass.
The Kitchin's tasting menu costs £85, while the three-course set lunch costs £33.

Restaurant Martin Wishart

(54 Shore, EH6 6RA, 0131 553 3557)


In the heart of Leith, Martin Wishart's award-winning restaurant has maintained its Michelin star since 2001 – becoming an Edinburgh institution in the process.

The menu is based on traditional and modern French cuisine, made with the finest Scottish ingredients. The interior is calm and elegant, with a muted tan palate.

A six-course tasting menu costs £85, and will dazzle you with its ingenious twists on classic dishes.

The Table

(3A Dundas St, EH3 6QG, 0131 281 1689)


This intimate restaurant offers a uniquely interactive dining experience.

With only one sitting per evening, for just ten people, you are assured of the highest possible quality.

'The Table' itself is a stone counter which overlooks a gleaming open plan kitchen, which allows the diners to see their meal being prepared and ask the chefs any questions.

The seven course tasting menu costs £70, featuring the best Scottish produce and highly original flavour combinations.

Scottish interior designer Fiona Denholm is responsible for the restaurant's elegant modern look.

Castle Terrace Restaurant

(33-35 Castle Terrace, EH1 2EL, 0131 229 1222)


Dominic Jack is the head chef of this Michelin star establishment. Jack was trained in some of France's finest restaurants, including l'Arpège in Paris.

The restaurant was opened in 2010 and underwent a major refurbishment in 2016. The décor is characterised by calming, neutral tones, with splashes of rich blues and golds. There is an impressive mural of Edinburgh Castle on the wall, blending the ancient with the modern.

The Castle Terrace is the sister restaurant of The Kitchen, and they both have the same commendable motto: “From Nature to Plate”.
Locally sourced ingredients are cooked to perfection using classic French techniques. You can sample such delights as monkfish, Ayrshire pork, or Inverurie lamb.

The surprise tasting menu costs £80.

Maddy lives in Edinburgh and has written for the Sunday Herald and the Ed Fringe Review. She is passionate about authentic, sustainably sourced food, and is always keen to discover exciting new flavours.
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