There’s more to eat in Edinburgh than haggis. Whilst we love the nation’s signature dish (and highly recommend at least one tasting during your visit), there’s also plenty of nice restaurants, pubs and cafés to try.
From vegan pasta to Angus steak pie, here’s the best restaurants in Edinburgh to pop into during your stay with us at Eden Locke. As chosen by yours truly.
Forget the haggis and go vegan.
If sheep offals not your thing, don’t worry. Here’s where to go for meat-free meals at Edinburgh’s top vegan restaurants.
Seeds For The Soul Ltd, Bruntsfield Place.
Best for: surprisingly fun plant-based food that feeds the whole family.
Seeds for the Soul is so down-to-earth, it only uses produce that grows from the ground. The vegan eatery is on a mission to show off just how creative plant-based living can be. So, what do you fancy?
There’s cheese burgers, steamed gyozas and mac n’ cheese. You can even get haggis, neeps and tatties from a seasonal menu for when you want the taste of Scotland but without the meat. An epic menu of smaller dishes mean the kids can join in too, making it one of Edinburgh’s best family restaurants.
Holy Cow, Elder Street.
Best for: vegan burgers so good you’ll be back again tomorrow.
Despite what the name suggests, you won’t be getting beef at this vegan restaurant. Less actual cows, more holy - wow this food is amazing - cow.
The homemade burgers are in fact so good, they’ve earnt Holy Cow a cult of loyal regulars. Accompanied by hand-cut chunky fries, you can take a bite of Vietnamese tofu, nori ‘fish’ and an oyster mushroom steak. Or if a sandwich and soup is more your style, there’s plenty of veggie-packed options there too. The restaurant has also branched out into all-day breakfast and afternoon tea - so there really is no excuse not to come.
Sora Lella, Brougham Street.
Best for: Italian food that the meat, dairy and gluten-free gang can tuck into.
Thought Italian couldn’t be vegan? Think again. Meet the first 100% Roman vegan restaurant (in Edinburgh at least), Sora Lella. Run by a small Italian family, you can count on epic flavours and authentic dishes - without the meat or dairy.
There’s your classic pizza and pastas: Penne all’Arrabbiata, Margarita and Meat Feast. Then there’s the ones that you’ll think surely can’t be vegan: Carbonara, Pizza Bianca and Penne Quattro Formaggi. Seriously… four cheese pasta but without the cheese. We don’t know how they do it, but hey, when in Rome.
Bring your furry friend along with you.
For when you can’t get a dogsitter, or your fur baby’s on the invite list. Here’s the best dog friendly restaurants in Edinburgh.
Red Squirrel, Lothian Road.
Best for: pints with your pals (and pup) in a busy, West End pub.
If you find yourself wanting a pint and pub grub in Edinburgh’s West End, then Red Squirrel is one to remember. There’s a cosy vibe, with rustic decor and a well-stocked bar. With plenty of tables to cater for the pre-theatre crowd.
No matter what you’re craving, there’s something on the menu to suit. A long list of brioche bun burgers is met by a random mix of mains from chicken tacos to truffle mac ‘n’ cheese. Our personal favourite for those fancying a local touch is the haggis house fries, loaded with crispy onions and whisky peppercorn sauce.
Badger & Co, Castle Street.
Best for: a hearty Scottish meal that’ll take you right back to your childhood.
Badger, Ratty, Toad and Mole welcome you to the former home of Kenneth Grahame at this storytime inspired restaurant, based on the classic tale of Wind in the Willows. Whilst the decor is subtle, the food is not. Badger & Co’s feasting menus are the perfect blend of themed pies and picnics, and creative Scottish cooking. And the drinks are equally enticing. Sip a pint of the restaurant’s very own brew, or take your pick from a long list of book dedicated cocktails.
There’s plenty of quirky space to hang too. Head outdoors to The Sunken Garden, stick to the lounge for dog-friendly dining or take to the front for an impressive view of Edinburgh Castle. Come as a group? Take over Toad Hall in Badger & Co’s fun private dining space.
Little White Pig, Dublin Street.
Best for: dinner party style food and drinks that you don’t have to clean up after.
You know when you turn up at your mates and they throw a bit of grub together that’s unexpectedly good? That’s the vibe at Little White Pig. There’s not much on the menu, but whatever you end up eating is delicious.
There’s plenty of drinks though, from signature cocktails to a generous list of whiskies from Scotland’s different regions. And the setting is seriously homey. An array of cushions, artwork and wooden chairs are haphazardly displayed in a way that looks effortlessly inviting.
The very best of Edinburgh’s pub grub.
Here’s where to get the best pub food in Edinburgh, featuring our favourite local haunts.
The Scran & Scallie, Bank Road.
Best for: feeling seriously Scottish as you sip the malt of the month.
Could this pub be any more Scottish? Translating to food and scallywag, The Scran & Scallie guarantees a good time. A tongue in cheek menu separates ‘Yer Starters’ from ‘Oor Puddins’ with touches of Scottish dialect. Thankfully the food part’s pretty straightforward.
You’re gonna wanna ‘sit ye doon’ and get ordering - you’re in for a serious feast. There’s home-cured salmon and Islay Oysters. Beef shin, steak pie and Highland Wagyu beef burgers. Plus a list of sweet stuff that definitely won’t disappoint. And when there’s room for no more, you can pull up a chair for a wee dram.
The Queens Arms, Frederick Street.
Best for: cosying up in a dark corner with a cask ale and your current read.
When you wanna be seriously snug, head to The Queens Arms, a hidden gem that’s loved by all. Comfy leather seats and candlelit tables sit in every nook and cranny surrounded by book lined walls. Pick a novel, bring your own or stop by the bar to catch up with locals.
Sundays are a great day for a visit. Lunchtime is for roasts with all the trimmings before the evening pub quiz. There’s also live sports throughout the week, plus a generous mix of handpicked ales and seasonal food from Scotland’s independent brewers and suppliers.
The Devil's Advocate, Advocate's Close.
Best for: trying one, two, maybe three different whiskies from around the world.
If you love whisky (and even if you don’t), you’ll want to put The Devil’s Advocate on your must-visit list. Located in an old Victorian pump house, this pub and restaurant boasts a seriously long whisky shelf with over 300 bottles. Naturally Scotland’s whisky regions take centre stage but there’s also blends from Belgium, Japan, Ireland and well, everywhere really.
Pair a dram with a dish from their seasonally changing menu. There’s sharing platters of fish and charcuterie, specially selected steaks and a mix of mains from red lentil ragu to pan fried hake.
Our favourite places to eat in Edinburgh.
As long-term residents, we’ve eaten around the city a few times. Here’s where we consider the best places to eat in Edinburgh.
The Outsider Restaurant, George IV Bridge.
Best for: Castle views and fancy bites you’ll want to recreate at home.
Best for: Castle views and fancy bites you’ll want to recreate at home.
Every day The Outsider shares a new menu. Some of it’s typed. Some of it’s hand scribbled. All of it’s great. It’s definitely a place for those who love to get creative in the kitchen.
Whilst the interiors are fuss free (picture whitewashed walls and simple Scandi seating), we can’t say the same for the food. Each dish is packed with flavour that comes in many forms. Fennel marmalade, cider jus, and strawberry and black pepper dressing are just a few things that you’ll find on your plate. Make sure to book, and definitely make sure to get an early table before the daily specials sell out.
Howies Restaurant, Victoria Street.
Best for: simple, good cooking served with a smile.
There’s three Howies to choose from in Edinburgh. This one’s where you’ll find us on a Thursday night. Located on one of the city’s most photogenic streets in a 600 year old building, Howies Victoria has a historical feel that’s matched by its intimate, friendly interiors.
When it comes to the food, you’re in for a treat. There’s nothing too fancy, but the produce is fresh, the flavours are authentic and the service always delivers. For lunch timers and early diners, take advantage of two course meals from just £17.95.
The Ivy On The Square, St Andrew Square.
Best for: classic, comforting dishes that you can count on.
Chain restaurants don’t normally make our top spots. But the simple yet sophisticated style of The Ivy on The Square is more than worthy of a mention. Serving everything from British classics to Asian-inspired dishes, no one leaves The Ivy on an empty stomach.
Whilst the food’s great, the location is unmatched. Request a spot on the mezzanine terrace for views of the historic St Andrew Square or pop in to refuel after a spree on Princes Street. It’s just as good a place to come for eggs benedict brunch as it is for low-key fish and chips or a prime beef fillet.
End your evening with a stay at Eden Locke.
Once you’re done eating, head back to Eden Locke. Your play to stay in Edinburgh’s New Town.