Scottish cuisine makes people think of the much maligned Haggis, tins of shortbread and lumpy porage. This is a very unfair and inaccurate portrayal as Scotland boasts a long list of delicacies to entice the tastebuds. Think rather of Arbroath smokies, Stornoway black pudding and the famous Loch Fyne oysters. Our countryside and waterways are the source of some of the best produce in the world. This veritable cornucopia of fish, fowl and foodstuffs are transformed in many restaurants and cafes across the country.
Edinburgh leads the charge and with 5 Michelin starred restaurants is the perfect place for a gourmet ( perhaps gourmand) visit. With culinary luminaries like Tom Kitchen and Martin Wishart serving up 5 star food visitors are spoiled for choice with the vast array of restaurants available. From Michelin stars to chip shops there is an eatery to suit every taste and budget.
The following are simply suggestions please feel free to comment or suggest your preferred diner in Auld Reekie.
The Witchery on the Royal Mile is a near magical fine dining experience. Built in 1595 this beautifully restored ‘land’ has 9 suites, a secret garden and of course the Witchery’s restaurant. Established in 1979 The Witchery has been serving the finest of Scottish fare ever since. The restaurant is open from midday until final service 11.30. If you are on a tighter budget the Witchery has light lunch and pre theatre menus available too.
If you prefer a more relaxed informal dining experience then maybe Tom Kitchin’s Scran and Scallie in Comely Bank is for you. A menu of comforting pub food made by Kitchin’s staff is a winning combination. Another classic Gastropub is the Cafe Royal, just off the east end of Princes Street. With intricate and ornate Victorian/Baroque decoration the Cafe serves exquisite seafood in the bar and restaurant. Pop in for a drink and a pint glass of prawns. The selection of cask ales is fantastic.
At opposite end of the city centre Chop Chop has been collecting plaudits since 2006 when the Morrison Street restaurant opened it’s doors. Specialising in dim sum and jiao zie ( boiled and fried dumplings) Chop Chop is one of the most popular Chinese restaurants in the country. It’s reputation for authentic Chinese cuisine was further enhanced when it featured on Gordon Ramsay’s F Word. Diners can chose dishes from the menu or opt for set buffet options. We would strongly recommend the fried beef and the green beans with ginger and chilli. The restaurant now has branches in Haymarket and Leith.
If pizza is your passion then a wander along Leith walk is on the cards. La Favorita can realistically claim to have the best pizzas in town. Owned by the Crolla family who have been serving up satisfied customers since 1970, many Italian favourites feature on their menu. Although they will deliver their pizzas we suggest indulging in la dolce vita at ‘La Fav’.
Further down Leith Walk in Old Dock Place the intrepid foodie will find A Room in Leith. The Room offers Scottish Fusion food using all the best ingredients Scotland can offer. With exceptional langoustines, oysters and steak among the offerings we heartily recommend a visit.
The Leith docks have become a hotbed of culinary talent with Martin Wishart and Tom Kitchen both operating restaurants here. A 10 minute bus ride will get you from Princes Street.
Many visitors to the city will wander through the doors of the recently refurbished National Portrait Gallery. As well as being a must see for any culture vulture the NPG has an excellent cafe. With a splendid selection of salads, salmon, frittata, great coffee, fabulous cakes and scones it is popular with ladies who lunch and you will have to be quick to find a seat at lunchtime. Portraits of the great and good will watch over you as you tuck into your tea and scones.
This is a very small and unrepresentative list of eateries in Edinburgh. We would heartily recommend a visit to the city to sample what is on offer.