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A Foodie’s Guide to Edinburgh

Posted on August 03, 2015 by David

In terms of Michelin stars, Edinburgh is the most decorated city in the UK, outside of London, with five to its name. Below we take a closer look at a wide range of different foodie experiences across the city, including the finest restaurants, cosy cafes and a couple of alternative tourist experiences too.

Restaurants

1.The Gardener’s Cottage

Photo: The Gardener's Cottage. Photo supplied by The Gardener's Cottage

The Gardener’s Cottage opened up in 2012 and offers a beautiful and picturesque location from which to enjoy some fantastic food. It’s an eclectically decorated dining establishment which has a real focus on creating a sense of place and it is owned and run by Ed Murray and Dale Mailley, highly regarded in the culinary world. The building is a disused William Playfair-designed cottage which dates back to the early 19th century and it offers some simple yet tasty seasonable Scottish food including weekend brunches, a la carte lunches and six-course dinners.

2.The Scran and Scallie

Photo: The Scran and Scallie. Photo supplied by Kara Gaughan

With two Michelin-starred chefs behind it, The Scran and Scallie is not to be missed. Tom Kitchin and Dominic Jack have come together to create this stylish eatery in the heart of Edinburgh’s affluent Stockbridge. The décor of the restaurant is a combination of Scottish-classic, with tweed and tartan a plenty and modern, cool wallpapers from stylish Scottish designers Timorous Beasties. The food is a combination of the latest flavour combination with a Scottish twist, expect decadence and real flair.

3. Castle Terrace

Photo: Castle Terrace. Photo supplied by Castle Terrace

One of Edinburgh’s esteemed Michelin star holders and with the record of bagging it in just 15 months, Castle Terrace has always had exceptional standards and when you book in you’ll soon see why. Offering the highest standard culinary experience, Castle Terrace offers a tempting Surprise Tasting Menu, seasonal starters and mains and the acumen of Edinburgh-born Dominic Jack, the mastermind behind it all. Seasonal produce rates highly at Castle Terrace and there are a wide choice of menus. Make sure to book far in advance to avoid disappointment.

4.The Witchery

Photo: The Witchery, supplied by The Witchery

Edinburgh locals and tourists flock to The Witchery for its old world charm and decadence, without the stuffiness that usually comes alongside it. There’s the sense of Victorian Gin Palace at The Witchery and it offers the height of Edinburgh destination dining. It is based in a 16 th century building and has offered stylish, modern dining since 1979 when it opened. Beautiful Scottish produce is use wherever possible and the signature dish touted often by many a diner is the sumptuous steak tartare.

5.La Favorita

Photo: La Favorita. Photo supplied by La Favorita

For more relaxed dining and lovers of Italian food, La Favorita is famed and regularly reviewed as having the best pizza in the city. Using homemade dough which is hand rolled and tops with all kinds of original and wonderful toppings, La Favorita specialises in offering something you simply couldn’t get elsewhere. In addition to the pizza there are other Italian delicacies including arancini and light pasta dishes. It is part of the Vittoria group which has several restaurants on the city, from their upmarket wine bar (Divina Enoteca) to their relaxed diner-style restaurant (Taste of Italy).

Cafes

For more relaxed dining cakes and bakes, here are some of Edinburgh’s highly acclaimed independent cafes, offering wonderful baked goods, superb hot drinks and the perfect pit stop point during a busy day out.

1. lovecrumbs

Photo: lovecrumbs. Photo supplied by lovecrumbs Facebook Page

Boldly declaring that they don’t do soups or sandwiches, lovecrumbs is a destination for cake lovers and those in need of a fresh, hot brew. It offers a warm, trendy yet unpretentious atmosphere that is exactly what you want from a modern café and the range of cakes is near unbelievable. You’ll find impossible but scrumptious combinations such as pumpkin coffee cake and there is a great range of wheat free cakes everyday of the week, and vegan cakes on a Saturday to satisfy different diets. Stylish décor further ensures you’ll want to stick around for a slice or two.

2. Loudons Café and Bakery

Photo: Loudons Cafe. Photo supplied by Loudons Cafe

For relaxation and that much needed break during a tourist stop of the city, Loudons Café is the ideal place. Just off the Lothian Road, you’ve got much more chance of resting your legs in peace and quiet than if you opted for the heart of the high street. Beautifully prepared and freshly made cakes are produced at the on-site bakery and the cosy atmosphere ensures you’re comfortable throughout your stay.

3. The Pantry

Photo: The Pantry, supplied by The Pantry

For stunning breakfast and brunches that come without the price tag of a flashy restaurant, give The Pantry a go. Not far from Stockbridge market you can enjoy stunning and playfully named brunch creations which cater to both meat lovers and vegetarians. Their menus are eclectic with a real sense of fun and flair and the prices make it even more enjoyable. They make eating local produce the norm in the centre of a bustling city, which is a great concept and ensures only the finest quality ingredients make it onto your plate.

Other foodie experiences

There are other ways food lovers can enjoy an exciting culinary experience in Edinburgh, especially if they want to bring more food-inspired experiences into their stay. Here is a closer look at a couple of ways you can round off your culinary tour of Scotland’s capital city.

1.Eat Walk Edinburgh

Photo: Eat Walk Edinburgh. Photo supplied by Eat Walk Edinburgh's Facebook Page

Foodie walking tours are great in a city like Edinburgh which is compact enough to ensure you get to try a lot of different foods without walking miles between venues. Eat Walk Edinburgh offer guided walking tours that features at least five food and drink tasting stops along the way and yes, each stop is more tasting plate than full course but after several stops you’ll begin to feel full for sure.

Eat Walk Edinburgh allows you to get a feel for the culinary scene in Edinburgh and the organisers pick and choose their restaurants, bars and shop with care to ensure you get the best chance to try a vibrant range of what the city has to offer. There are two walking routes and tours run both in the morning and in the afternoon to early evening.

2.Scotch Whisky Experience

Photo: Scotch Whisky Experience. Photo supplied by Flickr

Visiting Edinburgh and not visiting the Scotch Whisky Experience would be a bit of a shame, even if you’re not a huge fan of the national drink itself. It’s a fantastic way of delving deep into the history of Scotland’s most famous export and enjoying a tasting or two along the way.

Expert tour guides and whisky advisor's take you along your journey of the history of Scotch whisky and give you the chance to get to grips with all the different elements of the whisky making process. You will even have the opportunity to discover which aromas, flavours and styles of whisky appeal to your palate so even those who weren't big fans before may find themselves converted when they discover their perfect Single Malt.

Few cities live up to the acclaim of Edinburgh when it comes to fantastic food and this guide is just scratching the surface of a truly gastronomical metropolis.

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