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Those who like to make fun of British food will be disappointed to learn that Edinburgh has become a hot spot for inventive, world-class fare. There are no fewer than five Michelin-starred restaurants in Scotland’s historic capital city, where the trend toward local, seasonal ingredients is inspiring chefs to stay creative and produce exceptional cuisine.

Top Restaurants in Edinburgh


This simply decorated yet always bustling Turkish restaurant on the edge of Old Town is popular with both locals and tourists for its flavorful, authentically prepared cuisine at reasonable prices. An array of hot and cold meze, such as grilled haloumi cheese, roasted eggplant in tomato sauce and creamy hummus, are tasty starters. Daily fish specials, grilled meats and vegetarian specialties are available as main courses. There’s also a decent wine list and extensive whisky collection.

41 West Preston St., 011-44-131-667-4242, www.hanedan.co.uk
Tags: moderate | local favorite | turkish | takeout


Jean Michel Gauffre, the man behind one of Edinburgh’s most renowned French restaurants, La Garrigue, has delved into high-end vegetarian cuisine at L’Artichaut. Even carnivores will gush over the delicious sustenance at this New Town eatery, where the emphasis is on local, organic, seasonal ingredients served in a warm, welcoming environment. There’s no old-school vegetarian fare here, just expertly balanced flavors—such as pan-fried polenta terrine with chestnut mushrooms and sauce Soubise—that are fresh and enjoyable on the palate.

14 Eyre Place, 011-44-131-558-1608, www.lartichaut.co.uk
Tags: moderate | notable chef | vegetarian

Mother India's Café

Bestowed with the title of Best Indian Restaurant by the 2010 Scottish Restaurant Awards, Mother India’s Cafe offers an aromatic array of tapas-style items that are heady in both flavor and authenticity. Petite, reasonably priced dishes are meant to be shared and include a wide range of savory stuffed dosas (Indian pancakes), meats, daily specials, and vegetarian options. Good value and a central location make this restaurant worth a visit.

3-5 Infirmary St., 011-44-131-524-9801, www.motherindiascafeedinburgh.co.uk
Tags: moderate | great value | indian | small plates | takeout

Restaurant Martin Wishart

Earning Edinburgh its first Michelin star in 2001, Restaurant Martin Wishart could be considered the jewel in the city’s edible crown. The cuisine, a marriage of modern and traditional French fare, can be ordered à la carte (three courses) or via a six-course tasting menu with an emphasis on local produce, seafood and meats (vegetarian menu available). A ratio of one staff member to every two guests assures highly attentive service; waiters provide informative commentary about each meticulously prepared dish as it arrives at your table. While such quality does not come cheap, a meal here is not only enjoyable but an investment in your culinary education.

54 The Shore, 011-44-131-553-3557, www.martin-wishart.co.uk
Tags: expensive | notable chef | waterfront | notable wine list | french | vegetarian

The King's Wark

Grabbing Best Pub Grub kudos at the 2010 Scottish Restaurant Awards, The King’s Wark has the recipe for greatness: smartly-prepared seafood, reasonable prices and a cozy, unpretentious atmosphere. Diners choose from a menu that includes daily specials scrawled on a blackboard, such as chunky Scottish seafood chowder, crisp pork belly and smoked mackerel risotto. All are easily washed down with a selection of superbly hoppy ales. Also open for Sunday brunch.

36 The Shore, 011-44-131-554-9260, www.thekingswark.co.uk
Tags: moderate | seafood | local favorite | brunch | gastropub

The Kitchin

If you choose one restaurant to splurge on during your stay in Edinburgh, let it be The Kitchin. At the helm is Chef Tom Kitchin, whose French-influenced, modern British cuisine earned him one Michelin star just six months after opening. “From Nature to Plate” is the motto here and local, seasonal ingredients can be found at every turn: hand-dived Orkney scallops, North Sea monkfish wrapped in pancetta, and braised veal shank from Peter Flockhart. Your best bet, however, may be the Tom’s Land and Sea Surprise Tasting Menu, a six-course tasting of Chef Kitchin’s daily creations.

78 Commercial Quay, 011-44-131-555-1755, www.thekitchin.com
Tags: seafood | expensive | notable chef | smart splurge

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