Lots of sight-seeing around Edinburgh is bound to get you hungry, and while you’re in Edinburgh, you’re in luck. The city is full of pubs, cafes, and restaurants. Whether you want to fill up on traditional Scottish fare or enjoy some international cuisine, you’ll have plenty of options. In fact, there are so many great places to eat in Edinburgh that it was hard to narrow the selection down to the short list below. Consider the following list a starting point, and feel free to explore Edinburgh’s culinary options on your own.
Arcade: Haggis and Whisky House
While you’re in Scotland, you have to try haggis. You may hesitate based on the ingredients, but haggis is surprisingly tasty, especially when paired with the traditional “neeps n tatties” (mashed turnips and potatoes). One of the best places to try haggis is Arcade, which provides a quintessential Scottish experience.
The restaurant offers classic haggis plus “Princess Diana Style Haggis” served with a creamy tomato and onion sauce. They even have haggis nachos. For whiskey fans, there’s an extensive whiskey menu complete with whiskey tours. This cozy restaurant is located on Cockburn Street between the Royal Mile and Waverly Station, and with main course prices all around £10, it won’t set you back too much.
Hadrian's Brasserie at the Balmoral
If you’re looking to eat a classy meal without going overboard on price, Hadrian’s Brasserie at the Balmoral Hotel is an excellent choice. The impressive 5-star hotel is located right on Princes Street, so it’s conveniently located if you’re sight-seeing or shopping. The executive chef has a Michelin Star, which is some guarantee that the food will be top-notch. The menu includes entrees such as confit pork belly for £16.50, haggis for £15, and a goat cheese and mushroom wellington for £16.00.
Wedgwood offers a modern twist on Scottish cuisine. You’ll always find a few surprises on the menu, such as langoustine from the Isle of Skye served with crispy pigs’ tails or gnocchi made with sweet potato and sea rocket. Wedgwood makes it a priority to use seasonal, local, and foraged ingredients, meaning that the menu regularly changes and is always fresh. It’s also reasonably priced. Dinner mains range from £16.50 to £29.95, and if you stop in for lunch you can get 2 courses from a set menu for £12.95. It’s also located right on the Royal Mile, so it’s very convenient if you’re looking for a place to eat in the Edinburgh city center.
Edinburgh is full of Thai restaurants, and Dusit has been one of the most popular for years. Their long-lasting popularity comes from offering creative dishes with consistently excellent cooking. Dusit’s menu abounds with traditional Thai flavors, a touch of French and Chinese influences, and high-quality Scottish meat and seafood. You can get classic UK Thai favorites such as pad thai and tom yum, or branch out to try Thai barbecue or seafood. You’ll find delicious prawn, monkfish, and scallop options.
If you’re more of a meat lover, you can also order dishes with chicken, roast duck, sirloin steak, or lamb shank. Of course, there are plenty of vegetarian options as well. Dusit is reasonably prices; most entrees cost between £10 and £20, and the price will vary depending on the meat you choose. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait for a table; this place is very popular and consistently busy.
If you’re looking for the absolute best restaurant in Edinburgh, you might be tempted by Restaurant Martin Wishart in Leith. With dinner prices around £80, however, it simply isn’t in everyone’s budget. Luckily, Martin Wishart also created a more affordable brasserie on Edinburgh’s North Castle Street, The Honours. This contemporary brasserie offers an atmosphere that’s a good balance between classy and friendly.
The restaurant is well-known for its selection of steaks, and its grill section offers plenty of delicious choices (a few, however, will cost you upwards of £60). There are also some modern takes on classic Scottish and French cuisine, such as ox cheeks á la bordelaise; a clam, chorizo & coconut broth, and gigha halibut. Main plates range from £19 to £24, while a beef or lamb dish (some of which are designed to share) will cost between £19.50 and £70. There’s also an excellent dessert menu, complete with a selection of sweet wines and ports, for those who want to finish the evening with something sweet.