Insider’s Guide on Where to Eat in Edinburgh

Edinburgh may be known as a capital city of culture, flaunting the world’s largest art festival every August, but its culinary scene also packs a punch. Between those trots up to the Royal Mile or meanders along Grassmarket, a good meal is due. Luckily, the restaurants in Edinburgh make this a breeze. Whether you want a casual lunch, a specialty coffee spot, or a nice dinner for two, here is where to eat in Edinburgh.

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For Scottish cuisine

Atmospheric, with the lingering aroma of whisky in the air, Amber Restaurant in Old Town is one of the best places for traditional Scottish food in Edinburgh. Specializing in delicious dishes with an innovative flair, these chefs have been harboring awards and shining reviews for 20 years.

Aside from its yellow-lit, castle-like aesthetic, what’s nice about Amber Restaurant is its range of more than 450 whiskies, from well-known favorites to hidden gems. Combine that with its lunch, dinner, or Taste of Scotland menu. Dishes range from traditional or vegetarian haggis, Roast saddle of Highland venison, and Roast filet of salmon. Of course, make it a three-course meal by enjoying a classic Sticky Toffee Pudding or a selection of Scottish cheeses.

When it comes to where to eat in Edinburgh for Scottish food, Amber Restaurant is a tasty and cozy choice. It is certainly bucket-list worthy!

For a casual lunch

Boasting stellar views of Edinburgh Castle, The Outsider is an excellent place for lunch in Edinburgh. Its casual and laid-back vibe meets fresh, seasonal produce in an inviting split-level space. Plus, the castle views and layers of Scottish stone buildings in front are reason enough to visit.

The lunch menu is particularly delicious, offering a mix of dishes to cater to meat eaters, pescatarians, and vegans alike. You’ll find tofu chorizo, a selection of burgers, pasta, seafood, and even a ribeye steak on the menu.

If you are looking for a lunch spot with fantastic views of Edinburgh, The Outsider takes the cake (speaking of cakes, their desserts are pretty extraordinary too).

For pastries & a coffee break

Edinburgh boasts many cozy coffee shops, excellent for escaping the drizzly rain or tucking yourself away with tasty treats and a book. One of the best coffee shops in Edinburgh is The Milkman, specifically the location at the bottom of Cockburn Street.

You’ll have lovely views of the iconic Warriston’s Close Stairs, exceptional coffee, and an assortment of freshly baked pastries like thick, buttery croissants and sweet cinnamon rolls.

The interior is small, but there is a nice window seat with cushions – a particular favorite. Otherwise, pop outside and join one of the two large-sized tables for some fresh air.

After you’re done, because it’s close to Edinburgh Waverley Station, Princes Street Gardens, and the Royal Mile, it’s the perfect spot to kick off a morning in Edinburgh before exploring the city.

For a Michelin-star dinner

Set in a former warehouse space, Timberyard combines an industrial-chic aesthetic with a creative menu of artisan, locally-sourced produce. There are wood-burning stoves, lit candles, and rustic wood flooring that complement the white-washed brick walls of this space.

Now for the food. You can expect an ever-changing, 4-course modern British dinner menu with options available for vegetarians/vegans, a tasting menu, upscale classic cocktails, and an extensive wine list from their cellar.

For Indian cuisine

Indian food is the UK’s cuisine of choice, so it’s hard to pass up on a visit to Scotland’s capital. When it comes to where to eat Indian food in Edinburgh, Mother India’s Cafe is hard to beat.

This Edinburgh Indian restaurant offers Indian-style tapas, warm curries, fantastic naan bread, and more tasty dishes in a relaxed, two-story setting. Located in the heart of Aside from its yellow-lit, castle-like aesthetic, what’s nice about Amber Restaurant is its range of more than 450 whiskies, from well-known favorites to hidden gems, Mother India’s Cafe has a great location.

For vegan cafe food

Your taste buds will be saying “holy cow, this is good” after trying the food at Holy Cow. It is a snug vegan eatery proudly serving organic, cafe dishes, burgers, sandwiches, and smoothies in a vibrant setting. Oh, they also have a mouth-watering selection of cakes and offer an exceptional Afternoon Tea. And one of the city’s first fully-vegan restaurants, it’s a classic choice and one of the best places to eat in Edinburgh!

For laid-back dinner & drinks

If you’re looking for soul food in a place that invites you to stay a little longer, chatting over delicious cocktails, Paradise Palms is your pick. The food is plant-based and will have you drooling over its how-is-this-even-vegan food. So, it’s a great spot to take open-minded friends who want to gather in a cool atmosphere with awesome outdoor seating and laid-back vibes.

Imagine buffalo wings, BBQ brisket, southern-fried seitan, and vegetable sides – all made vegetarian and vegan-friendly! It’s filling and delicious. And, you can pair your food with one (or two, or…) of their delicious cocktails and craft beers.

If you need to know where to eat in Edinburgh to cater to various dietary restrictions, this eclectic restaurant is your pick. The menu is vegetarian/vegan while catering to those who are gluten or nut-free. 

For health food

If you’re looking for something healthy, Hula Juice Bar & Café may be just the right place. It’s cute and colorful – much like its food – with leafy-green plants on its white-washed walls. Their menu offers all the healthiest options, including tropical açaí or a vibrant poké bowl. Their drinks menu is equally health-conscious, with fresh fruit juices, smoothies, and turmeric lattes.

So, slip away to a tropical paradise. Enjoy some fresh food just off of the bustling Grassmarket and around the corner from Victoria Street, Edinburgh’s famously colorful street. It’s one of the best places to eat in Edinburgh when it comes to health-forward, fruity dishes.