Whether you want to sample fresh local produce at the markets, taste traditional Scottish dishes, dine at a Michelin Star Restaurant, or sip a cocktail whilst watching over the city, Edinburgh has it all.
Edinburgh is a city that is famous for many things: the Castle, world-renowned New Year celebrations and its numerous festivals that draw millions of people to the city. Over the years it has also built itself quite a reputation when it comes to food and local produce. Here are our tips for how to make the most out of your culinary experience in Edinburgh.
Charming Local Markets
Speak to the charismatic locals, feel the passion for what those running the stalls do and how proud they are of their livelihood. Here you will taste the best of Scottish produce in one place: at the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market. Set under the magnificent backdrop of Castle Rock, on Castle Terrace, on the first Saturday of every month you will find over 55 specialist producers setting up their stalls. Food does not come fresher than this, with stall holders producing and growing the majority of what they sell themselves. Baked and prepared farmed goods include beer, breads, chocolates and chutneys. These are accompanied with organic meat, fish and dairy.
St. Mary’s Market, soon to be rebranded as the Tram Stop Market, is a popular street market situated on York Place. A popular thoroughfare for locals and visitors shopping or sightseeing in the area, this market is a great place to drop by when you are feeling peckish. With a wide range of hot food and fresh produce, the rotating schedule of stall holders mean that you will find different produce on different days, from fresh fruit, bread, and fish, to BBQs and delicious sweet treats.
There are no shortage of restaurants, cafes and pubs in Edinburgh, but take your time to discover the culinary delights the city has to offer. If it is traditional Scottish food you want then look no further than Amber Restaurant, located in the Scotch Whisky Experience. This award-winning restaurant offers regional dishes which can be carefully matched with Scotland’s other great love, Whisky. There are many other restaurants offering a traditional Scottish dining experience including Howies Restaurant and Stac Polly Restaurant.
Edinburgh Larder state “bring you the best of the Scottish landscape on a plate”, bistro-style. To take this one step further, they allow their diners to experience a taste of the countryside with unique foraging courses. During which, you will hunt for wild herbs and leaves, berries or mushrooms, depending on the season. Run during the spring and autumn, these courses provide a back to the roots look into food and where it comes from.
Michelin Star Dining
For the ultimate dining experience for those who are not shy to invest a little more, then there are an impressive five Michelin Star Restaurants dotted across the city which have coveted this status. The first to receive this honour was Restaurant Martin Wishart in 2010, located in the regenerated area of Leith, famous for his seafood delights. These restaurants have put Edinburgh on the culinary map.
New Town cocktail revolution
Food is not the only thing to take off in Edinburgh. There has been somewhat of a revolution when it comes to cocktail bars throughout the city and especially in the New Town. George Street has always been famous for its upscale bars and is teeming with partygoers and those looking for a classy drink.
Nowhere is this more evident that at Panda and Sons. This hidden gem is located on the corner of George and Queen Street. With its old-fashioned façade representing a barber shop, you would be forgiven for missing it. However, make sure you don’t, as this new offering has a wide range of creative cocktails, craft beers and a long wine list. The somewhat vintage feel and decor adds to the atmosphere, as does the panda-themed art found on the walls. At Panda and Sons you are paying for the full package but it is an experience that will leave you wanting to come back for more.
Trendy cocktails in the Old Town
For an Old Town alternative, nestled on the Royal Mile, amongst the many tourist attractions and souvenir shops is Itchycoo Bar. With its extensive menu of trendy cocktails, as well as beers, wines and whiskies, this is the ideal spot to pause from a busy day sightseeing, or to meet friends and colleagues for a refreshing drink. In the summer months Itchycoo Bar offers an outdoor terrace overlooking all the action on the Royal Mile, and one of the best places for people-watching in the city.
Whether you want to pick up locally baked bread, or a succulent beef burger at one of the local markets, or sample delicious traditional dishes such as haggis, Aberdeen Angus steaks, or fresh Scottish seafood, Edinburgh has a wealth of options. These are just some recommendations, but why not try it out for yourself and discover the real taste of Scotland.
What would you most like to taste when in Edinburgh?