Tuck in and enjoy a drink with friends at these special restaurants, cafes and bars most loved by Edinburgh locals.
23 W Register St, Edinburgh EH2 2AA (website)
Located just off St Andrew Square in the stunning Art Deco former RBS banking hall and just a minute’s walk from Waverley Station, Hawksmoor is the perfect place to enjoy warm hospitality in beautiful surroundings.
Locally sourced produce is featured throughout the menu: hand-dived scallops from the Isle of Mull, 35-day aged grass-fed British beef, and rare, locally-sourced whisky.
With intimate booths for the evening, sunny tables for two under the huge sky-lights, or seats near the kitchen pass next to all the action, Hawksmoor is the ideal spot to dine with colleagues and loved ones alike.
[Image Credit: Pomegranate]
1 Antigua Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3NH, website
Get a taste of great Middle Eastern cuisine at Pomegranate. With a ideal location just across the road from the Edinburgh Playhouse, it's a fantastic option for a pre-theatre meal. If the menu is new to you, we recommend trying the mezze deal, which allows you to sample lots of different dishes in a tapas dining style. Dishes we love include the vegetable kubba, the battata harra and the soujuk, a lovely comforting Lebanese sausage stew with tomatoes, peppers and garlic.
Mum's Great Comfort Food
[Image Credit: Mum's Facebook]
4a Forrest Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2QN, website
If it's sausage and mash you're craving, then Mums on Forrest Road is an absolute must. This little gem is a hit with everyone who visits, and for good reason. They have a belly-busting variety of sausages, catering to both meat lovers and vegetarians, served up with a mashed potato from their long and imaginative menu and their famous thick gravy. They strive to get as much as they can from local producers and use the best quality ingredients they can get their hands on. If you have room, try and squeeze in one of their delicious milkshakes for dessert!
[Image Credit: Steak]
14 Picardy Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3JT, website
Right beside Picardy Place roundabout you'll find meat-lovers heaven, Steak. Their expert chefs are dedicated to providing the best steak in town, with a selection of cuts cooked just the way you like it. If you feel a little out of your depth, the knowledgeable staff will be able to talk you through the cuts on offer and recommend the best way to order it cooked. If you have room afterwards, be sure to take a look at their delicious dessert menu - the dark chocolate delice is a fabulous decadent treat.
Cafe St Honore
[Image Credit: Cafe St Honore]
34 North West Thistle Street Lane, Edinburgh, EH2 1EA, website
Venture down a cobbled New Town lane to find this romantic slice of France. Chef Neil Forbes' quintessentially Parisian-style café champions sustainable local produce. The menus have evolved to showcase the best of seasonal Scottish produce both farmed and foraged, such as razor clams from the east coast and delicate organic chicken livers from Perthshire. They also change daily ensuring you will always find something new and seasonal to try. Desserts are also distinctly French and could feature a dark chocolate pithivier, or rhubarb parfait, and there’s always the classic crème brûlée. Delicious way to experience a taste of Paris while enjoying some of Scotland's best produce.
Top Tip: Fresh baked bread every day, Slow Food events and top-rating awards from the Sustainable Restaurant Association underline the ethical credentials of this popular restaurant.
107-109 St. Leonard’s Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9QY, website
Be prepared to be daring when you visit this South Side spot. Aizle has no traditional menu instead diners are presented with a list of potential ingredients and asked to cross off any they don’t like. From this alone chef Stuart Ralston then creates your dinner! With no restrictions, the Aizle team has the freedom to utilise the best produce from local farms and suppliers and the adventurous customer benefits by knowing everything on their plate is at the height of its freshness and seasonality.
Top Tip – Try resident mixologist Krystal’s fantastic bespoke cocktails which are also made using fresh seasonal fruit and herbs.
The Gardener's Cottage
[Image Credit: Gardener's Cottage Facebook]
1 Royal Terrace Gardens, London Road, Edinburgh, EH7 5DX, website
This quirky restaurant is housed in an historic building located in Royal Terrace Gardens at the foot of Calton Hill in the heart of Edinburgh's World Heritage Site. Co-owned by chefs Dale Mailley and Edward Murray, The Gardener’s Cottage is committed to creating and serving excellent food using the best seasonal, local produce while nurturing sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships with the local community and local producers. The Gardner’s Cottage stands out from the crowd for two reasons; the kitchen garden nestled beside one of Edinburgh’s busiest thoroughfares growing a variety of herbs, legumes, leaves and edible flowers. Secondly the dining room layout is a little different, no individual tables but long trestles where you sit shoulder to shoulder with other patrons.
[Image Credit: Bodega Facebook]
62 Elm Row, Edinburgh, EH7 4AQ, website
Started by two Edinburgh locals saddened by the lack of US style tacos in the UK! Bodega is Edinburgh's first dedicated taqueria nestled between Leith Walk and the city centre hidden away at 62 Elm Row. Serving Mexican inspired food chopped-up with worldwide flavours from Korea to the Caribbean - if you have ever been L.A. or San Fran you'll know what it’s all about. Everything is made fresh to order and it’s also one of the only places you can get Jarritos in Edinburgh.
5/7 Old Fishmarket Close, Edinburgh, EH1 1RW, website
On Fishmarket Close – a dining experience like no other. A joint venture from two chaps (one Scottish, one Canadian) with a dream to bring top quality chicken wings to Edinburgh. Quickly becoming a institution with Edinburgh’s student population, with over 40 rubs and sauces to try at budget friendly prices it’s easy to see why booking is recommended!
Top Tip: Feeling brave? Try the Suicide Wings Challenge. If you survive, you get your picture on The Wall of Flame!
Ting Thai Caravan
Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH1 2RA, Tel: 0131 225 9801
A foodie gem with origins as a festival pop-up. Now with permanent residence on Teviot Place, from Malcolm Innes the man behind The Outsider and The Apartment, Ting Thai Caravan has become a firm local favourite, expecially with the area's student populace. Providing top class Thai street food from soups to bar snacks packed with flavour, built for sharing and all on a student friendly budget.
Top Tip – Can’t decide on what to order? Go for a selection from the ‘Small Boxes’ and hedge your bets!
Beer and Skittles
[Image Credit: Beer and Skittles Facebook]
Basement, 14 Picardy Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3JT, website
‘Travel the world one beer at a time’ is the motto this spot on Picardy Place below Steak Restaurant. The sleek basement bar caters for both the beer enthusiast and the avid sports fan with over 60 different beers to try, great beer cocktails and at least 9 draft beers every day as well as showing the lastest fixtures on the sports calendar. The extensive back bar and cocktail list, comfy booths and a free pool table and dart board make this a great place for the non-sports enthusiast too. Make sure you check out their indulgent food menu too, featuring bugers and hot dogs heaped with a delicious range of toppings.
Top Tip: When the sun is out head out into their courtyard to soak up the sunshine and enjoy a chilled beer.
[Image Credit: The Blackbird Facebook]
37-39 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LH, website
Brought to us by the team behind Treacle on Broughton Street and Hamilton’s in Stockbridge, The Blackbird offers style and substance in equal measure. The design and décor are comfortably cool and effortlessly stylish so much so the bar has been a winner of the coveted ‘Most Stylish Bar’ at the Scottish Style Awards. But don’t be distracted by the terribly trendy interior (although that’s easily done) as the gastro influenced menu is a triumph and their award winning cocktails, expertly mixed by their team of top mixologists, is well worth your attention.
Top Tip: Venture out the back to discover the delightfully charming beer garden.
Contini Cannonball Bar
356 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NE, website
Located in the heart of the historic Old Town, a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle, Cannonball House is a characterful three-storey eating and drinking experience which takes its name from the cannonball shot lodged in the wall facing the castle.
The newly-opened Cannonball Bar is the perfect place to soak up the electric atmosphere of Edinburgh, with the great views of The Royal Mile. The bar offers a selection of over 120 of the finest malt whiskies, including the full Glengoyne and Tamdhu collections, and a contemporary menu of lunch meals and light bites.
The Devil’s Advocate
[Image Credit: The Devil's Advocate]
9 Advocates Close, Edinburgh, EH1 1ND, website
The Devil’s Advocate, from Stu McCluskey the entrepreneur behind Edinburgh’s acclaimed Bon Vivant, is a go to spot for weary wanderers in the Old Town. Tucked down Advoactes Close in an old Victorian pump house, this stylish bar and restaurant focuses on local and seasonal produce, with more than a splash of whisky on the menu (over 200 in fact).
Top Tip: Not a Whisky fan? Never fear, there's also an extensive seasonal cocktail menu and wide selection of craft beers on offer.
[Image Credit: Lucky Liquor Co Facebook]
39A Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 3NH, website
If you're looking for cocktails in Edinburgh, The Lucky Liquor Co points the way, literally - there's has a bright neon sign pointing to the entrance of this Queen Street bar. Lucky Liquor isn't afraid to push the boat out with its flavour combinations and presentation so if you're looking for cocktails with added "va-va-voom" this is the place for you. The menu changes regularly as well so new suprises often await.
[Image Credit: Paradise Palms Facebook]
41 Lothian St, Edinburgh EH1 1HB, website
This Lothian Street bar is bursting with cool. The walls are adorned with a curious collection of wares, from boar heads to bird cages. Behind the bar you'll find a bold cocktail menu with a fantastical variety of original concoctions.
Top Tip: This spot is complete with its own cabaret stage so check out their website to see which weird and wonderful acts are coming up soon.
The Potting Shed
32-34 Potterow, Edinburgh EH8 9BT, website
The Potting Shed brings a touch of rustic eccentricity to Edinburgh, in addition to a perennially warm atmosphere. Angus’ allotment is at the heart of The Potting Shed, but a whole host of his talented foodie friends contribute to this bar and restaurant’s success, including farmers and fishermen who ensure that the kitchen has the best possible ingredients to work with.
Visit on Thursday, Friday or Saturday for top-notch live music, best enjoyed with one of Morag’s cocktails – the Rosie & Gin, featuring rosemary-infused gin, lavender syrup and fresh lime, is particularly tempting. If a pint is more your style, you’ll find 18 craft beers to choose from, and they change regularly so there’s always something new to try.
Cafés, Delicatessens and Others
[Image Credit: Mademiselle Macaron, Photographer Sandie Knudsen of Forest Light Studios]
22 Grindlay St, Edinburgh EH3 9AP, website
Bringing a little taste of Paris to the streets of Edinburgh, Mademoiselle Macaron is a Parisian inspired cafe which specialises in the art of the macaron. Situated on Grindlay Street, the cafe is made instantly recognisable by its creative, ever changing window displays. Once inside you'll be treated to a fantastic variety of macaron flavours to choose from, including classics like raspberry and vanilla to more unusual flavours like Innis & Gunn and Hendrick's Gin. Even more wonderfully most of Mademoiselle Macaron's creations are Vegetarian and Gluten Free!
Top Tip: Mademoiselle Macaron also runs classes if you fancy learning the secrets to making the perfect macaron.
When the sky is grey wander down Leith Walk for a taste of Portugal at Casa Amiga – although once you’ve been you won’t want to just save this place for a rainy day! Casa Amiga is a café and Portuguese bakery which creates fresh, sweet and savoury pastries every day. You may have heard tale of their Pastel de Natas (that’s custard tarts to you and me) and they are just as good as everyone says! Order a Portuguese Delta blend coffee to compliment your tart then sit back and watch the world go by from this warm and welcoming café.
Top Tip: If you’re more of a savoury person try their toasted cheese and ham croissants – you can thank us later.
[Image Credit: Bon Papillon Twitter]
15 Howe Street, Edinburgh EH3 6TE, website
This little gem in Stockbridge has many strings to its bow - it's a cafe, an art gallery AND a framers, and it does all three incredibly well. Their generously sized scones are a perfect mid-morning treat, and their beautiful moist cakes are adored by everyone who tries them. While you're savouring your freshly baked goodies, you can take a moment to admire the works on display by contemporary Scottish artists.
Top up your caffeine at Wellington Coffee on George Street. This cosy basement coffee shop is passionate about serving fantastically full-flavoured coffee. In one of their grinders they blend award winning Square Mile beans and in the other they have regularly changing “guest beans”. To accompany your coffee they also serve a fantastic range of freshly baked sweet treats - we highly recommend trying their infamous scones! Non-coffee lovers can choose from sweet hot chocolates or a variety of teas.
Cairngorm Coffee Co.
[Image Credit: Cairngorm Coffee Co. Facebook]
41a Frederick St, Edinburgh, EH2 1EP, website
If you’re looking for the best cheese toastie in town then the search is over. Cairngorm Coffee Co. on Frederick Street specialises in mouth-watering toasties made with fresh sour dough bread, tangy chilli jam and loaded with a special blend of three cheeses. Other tasty belly fillers are available, including their sizzling toasted bacon sandwhich and fresh club focaccia, as well as an array of sweet treats. Of course going by the name Cairngorm Coffee you’d expect their cuppas to be good too and they are. Their special Cairngorm Blend was created alongside Stockbridge’s coffee expert Mr Eion and together they have developed a wonderful, rich flavoured coffee using Indian Tiger Stripe, Costa Rican and Sumatran Mandeeling coffee beans. Now, if your tastebuds are suitable whetted, we recommend you go and visit as soon as you possibly can!
The Chocolate Tree
[Image Credit: The Chocolate Tree Facebook]
123 Bruntsfield Pl, Edinburgh EH10 4EQ, website
A classical yet contemporary chocolaterie on Bruntsfield Place, in the boutique shopping district and much loved residential area of Bruntsfield. Their aim is to provide a unique and comfortable atmosphere for you to explore the delights of fine flavour chocolate. Sample hand crafted chocolates, organic bars, hot chocolate, French macarons or Italian gelato in the uniquely enchanting surrounds of their cafe.
Did you know? The Chocolate Tree is one of the first UK chocolatiers to not only produce fine chocolate work, but also make chocolate from bean.
The Manna House Bakery & Patisserie
[Image Credit: The Manna House Bakery & Patisserie Facebook]
22-24 Easter Rd, Edinburgh EH7 5RG, website
What’s that they say about good things and small packages? The Manna House on Easter Road is a perfect example of this old adage. With only a few tables and chairs, finding a spot to linger over a coffee and expertly crafted cake is worth the wait as the team bakes through the night, using honoured traditional techniques to produce the freshest bread, pastries, cakes, patisserie and savouries every day of the week.
Top tip: Don’t fancy a cake? Ease your conscience and your waistline and sample one of the many delicious soups or salads, all made in-house, on the day of course.
[Image Credit: Twelve Triangles]
90 Brunswick St, Edinburgh, website
The cake masters behind Grassmarket institution Lovecrumbs have expanded their horizons and recently opened new bakery Twelve Triangles, located in Brunswick Street. Pop by here for some showstopping donuts, breads, buns and other delicious baked goodies. Be sure to try their lemon and ricotta donut - which is an absolute delight!
Mary’s Milk Bar
[Image Credit: Mary's Milk Bar Facebook]
19 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HS, website
This cute, cosy space is home to some of the best quality gelato and chocolate Edinburgh has to offer. The key to all Mary’s products is freshness. For both her soft, moreish truffles and creamy gelato she uses fresh ingredients with no preservatives - this means everything is just that little bit more delicious! Mary is alway experimenting with new flavours which change daily so there's always another reason to pop back - look out for unusual combinations like Sweet Potato and Maple Syrup alongside house classics like Salted Caramel.
Top Tip: When it's feeling a little too chilly for ice cream go for Mary's decadent hot chocolate.
[Image Credit: The Piemaker Facebook]
38 South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1LL, website
This pastry institution has been serving up delicious pies and other treats in Edinburgh for 20 years, and it just keeps growing in popularity. You can find the flagship store in the heart of the Old Town on South Bridge, where people flock daily for their freshly baked, wholesome pies available in around 30 varieties.
Since 2013, Leith can also get their pie fix with their very own Piemaker branch on Great Junction Street, so no matter where you are in the city, you're never too far away from your delicious pastry fix.