The Old Town is the historic centre of Edinburgh, the foundation of the original city stretching out from the defensive promontory of the Castle. It has a reputation as a tourist trap, due to the number of attractions here. However, away from the main drag, one can still find some of the best dining establishments in the capital. We profile 10 of the finest.
Off the main drag of the Royal Mile and on the trendy cocktail bar-populated George IV Bridge is the luxury seafood restaurant, Ondine. Fine diners can either pull up a stool at the bar for champagne and light bites, or sit down and feast on the legendary shellfish platter, featuring lobster, crab, razor clams, surf clams, mussels, scallops and oysters. Couples in a rush can get the juices flowing with a sampling at the Oyster Bar, or enjoy a drink from the bar’s extensive wine and whisky selection.
2 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh,Scotland, UK, +44 131 226 1888
Here to soothe the strain on your bank balance from too many luxurious dinners out is newcomer Field. Their three course dinner menu is quite frankly one of the most economical meals in the city. The small scale of the dining room, too, means that Field patrons can enjoy a vibe akin to a home dinner party with your trendy friends. In spite of a certain spendthrift displayed elsewhere, Field’s technique and passion for fresh local ingredients cooked to perfection is priceless.
41 W Nicolson St, Edinburgh Scotland, UK, +44 131 667 7010
Indian cuisine is plated up for all to share in easily-manageable tapas sizes in Mother India Cafe, a perfect hangout for after-work outings and Edinburgh vegetarians alike. The menu incorporates around fifty dishes with the staff recommending four dishes shared between four so that the reduced quantities will still ensure the widest sampling of flavours but crucially helps to avoid any sort of post-feast bloat.
After teasing Edinburghers over the course of several Festival seasons with his temporary pop-up Thai street food stall, chef Ting has permanently opened up shop in Bristo Place with his Ting Thai Caravan. The restaurant has come a long way from the meagre four dishes originally served in that pop-up; it now boasts a gargantuan mixture of thoughtful innovations and taste combinations. Crucially, all of the food is meant for sharing, the food comes in brown cardboard cartons, and the menu itself is separated into rice and noodle boxes, curries, soups and small bowls.
On the upper floor of No. 30 Victoria Street, removed from the tourist bustles on George IV Bridge is Grain Store, tucked beneath the stone vaulting and archways of the original store rooms used by the historical shops below. The chefs here believe emphatically in using all of Scotland’s finest produce and ingredients, whether it be local farm meat and fish, or fresh fruit and vegetables. Even the restaurant’s bread, pasta and bakery items are freshly made on-site everyday.