Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, is one of the most beautiful cities in the region. Eating out in the Scottish capital is a chance to sample delicious local – and international – cuisines. These are 10 of the best cultural restaurants in Edinburgh.
Chef Paul Kitching and manager Katie O’Brien came up to Edinburgh with a big success under the belt in the form of Manchester’s Juniper restaurant, and they soon set to work on another award-winning formula. 21212’s name reflects its unusual dining structure. It gives customers a choice of two starters, followed by an interim course, then two main course choices, another interim choice then a pick of two desserts. The elegantly presented food has been a hit with customers, from their white asparagus with caviar starter to a signature dish of low cooked trout fillet, accompanied by jumbo scallops, tomato butter sauce and wild rice. 21212’s charms also include a hearty wine list and stylish, open-plan decor.
Just awarded a Michelin star, Castle Terrace is well on its way to becoming a match to its sister restaurant The Kitchin. Tucked away beneath Edinburgh Castle, the restaurant’s menus reflect chef Dominic Jack’s French education, combined with the best of Scottish ingredients. The cuisine is perhaps best experienced through the taster menu and a bottle of wine. A highlight is the pistachio soufflé. The food can be enjoyed in simple and cosy interiors, the decor created by top French designers Elitis.
This pizzeria is a modern outfit, with a fleet of delivery vehicles and functional interiors to testify to that. But it’s never lost its original heart, and La Favorita is probably still the best place to enjoy an Edinburgh pizza. Their high-quality and fresh ingredients top off classically thin, crispy bases, and a log-fired oven fuses these elements to create something worth eating out for. A strong pasta menu, including a commended saltimbocca, accompany their main output and offer a bit of variety for someone who looks for something else in their Italian.
La Favorita, 325-331 Leith Walk, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, +44 131 554 2430
With the wide variety of cuisines available in Edinburgh’s food scene it’s good to know that some places still offer traditional Scottish grub. One of them is The Grain Store; its no-nonsense menu and gorgeous meat selection give a home-grown alternative to other restaurant fare. Its location in Edinburgh’s chaotic Old Town gives an appropriate setting to its unpretentious remit. Stripped back walls, candlelit rooms and old furniture offer the perfect accompaniment to the individually cooked meals. The attentive staff are well-equipped to steer customers around the menu.
Lined with marble, huge mirrors, wood veneers and grand lampshades, bathed in a golden hue, The Honours epitomises the bourgeois side of Edinburgh eating. Opened in 2011 by Martin Wishart, who has some claim to kicking off the trend for upscale dining in the city, the restaurant is usually found heaving with customers in good spirits. The Honours has a bit of a reputation for the quality of its steak, glazed to perfection with sweet condiments. But it also offers more left-field choices such as the crab cappuccino. Generally, the depth and variety of the menu grab customers.
A Thai restaurant that’s a cut above the rest, Dusit can be found on offbeat Thistle Street. There’s a wealth of great dishes to choose from here, but anything with monkfish, scallops or king prawns comes especially recommended. This slightly hidden gem is a small space with tables to match, so it is often pretty busy. However, the atmosphere is always friendly and it’s worth a little elbow-banging. In the winter months, it can’t be beaten for a bit of warming Thai spice.