Unique Restaurants in Edinburgh: 12 Coolest Places to Eat

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Edinburgh
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Are you searching for the most unique restaurants in Edinburgh? From the historic Old Town to the vibrant streets of Newington, here are 12 of Edinburgh’s best places to eat.

Get ready to explore Edinburgh, a city that’s a treasure trove for food enthusiasts! Forget the usual tourist spots. The dining scene here is what’s truly captivating, just like discovering a hidden gem in Scotland. From hidden gems tucked in narrow lanes to vibrant eateries with stunning views, Edinburgh offers a feast for the senses.

We’re on a mission to uncover the most unique restaurants in Edinburgh. This isn’t your average food tour. It’s an eclectic mix of the best, from luxurious fine dining to cozy, budget-friendly spots. Edinburgh’s dining landscape is as varied as its beautiful architecture, offering a taste of both local and international flavors.

So, let’s set off on this delicious journey. Whether you’re after the best food in Edinburgh or just looking to satisfy your hunger in style, you’re in the right place. Prepare to be amazed by the creativity and diversity of Edinburgh’s dining scene. As someone who’s dined at these fantastic spots, I can assure you, they’re experiences that will stay with you. It’s time to eat, drink, and discover why this city is a must-visit for food lovers!

The top restaurants to visit in Edinburgh right now

Unique Restaurants in Edinburgh: 12 Incredible Places to Eat in Edinburgh, Scotland

Ready to explore the best restaurants in Edinburgh? A world of unique dining experiences awaits you, from cozy traditional eateries to innovative fusion spots. Join us as we reveal the coolest places to eat in Edinburgh.

Fancy a restaurant where Scottish tradition meets modern culinary innovation? Or perhaps a place where global flavors blend seamlessly with local Scottish ingredients? Edinburgh’s dining scene has it all. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic haggis dish with a twist or a vegan feast that delights the senses, Edinburgh is ready to surprise and satisfy your palate. Here’s your essential guide to the most unique restaurants in Edinburgh.

1. Makars Mash Bar

Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s vibrant cityscape, Makars Mash Bar is a gem that celebrates the essence of Scottish comfort food. This cozy spot is where tradition meets innovation, offering a menu that’s both familiar and exciting. Without a doubt, Makars is one of the best places to eat in Edinburgh for lovers of Scottish cuisine.

What sets Makars apart is their dedication to locally sourced ingredients. Each dish tells a tale of Scotland’s rich culinary heritage. The star of the show? Their haggis, neeps, and tatties – a classic done right. It’s a dish that warms the soul, especially on Edinburgh’s chillier days. And let’s talk about their mash! With options like cheddar and chive or mustard and honey, it’s a side that often steals the spotlight.

The ambiance at Makars is warm and welcoming, perfect for a relaxed meal after a day of exploring the city. Prices are reasonable, too. It’s a great pick for anyone looking for cheap eats in Edinburgh who don’t want to compromise on quality.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Makars Mash Bar is a must-visit for anyone seeking a taste of Scotland’s culinary heart. Just a tip: it can get busy, so booking ahead might save you some waiting time!

Makars Mash Bar is one of the unique restaurants in Edinburgh.
Makars Mash Bar is where Scottish comfort food meets innovation in Edinburgh’s heart.

2. Mother India’s Cafe

Mother India’s Café redefines the Indian dining experience in Edinburgh. This unique spot stands out for its innovative approach to classic Indian dishes, creating a vibrant celebration of taste and tradition. As someone always eager to explore unique places in Edinburgh to eat, I was thrilled by their inventive menu.

The café is famous for its ‘tapas-style’ dining, allowing guests to sample a variety of dishes in one visit. It’s like a mini-tour of India’s diverse flavors, from the bustling streets of Mumbai to the tranquil coasts of Kerala. The spiced haddock from Amritsar is a must-try, offering a perfect balance of tang and spice. For those who love a bit of heat, the lamb chettinad is a fiery treat, rich in flavors and aromas.

Mother India’s Café is more than a place to eat. It’s a lively and welcoming space where meals turn into memorable experiences. The atmosphere is the perfect blend of casual and vibrant. As such, it’s an ideal spot for an enjoyable evening. With its mid-range pricing, it represents great value, especially given the variety and quality of the dishes.

This café is a standout in Edinburgh’s diverse dining scene, perfect for those looking to venture beyond traditional Scottish fare. I recommend trying their lunch menu for a slightly different selection of dishes, offering a fresh perspective on their innovative Indian cuisine.

Mother India’s Café in Edinburgh reinvents classic Indian dishes for a vibrant, thrilling dining experience.
Mother India’s Café in Edinburgh reinvents classic Indian dishes for a vibrant, thrilling dining experience.

3. The Table

Next up on our list of Edinburgh’s coolest restaurants is The Table. This unique spot offers an intimate and exclusive dining experience that stands out in Edinburgh’s vibrant food scene. For those who love a chef’s table experience, The Table is a must-visit destination.

The Table provides a very personal dining experience. With only ten seats, guests enjoy an interactive show, watching chefs skillfully prepare each dish. The menu features modern European dishes, all made with the freshest ingredients from local sources. Every plate is a delight, both in taste and in how it’s presented.

The standout feature of The Table is its immersive dining approach. Here, you’re part of the action, close to where culinary magic happens. The chefs love to share stories about their creations, which adds an educational twist to your meal.

This exclusive spot is perfect for special occasions or for those who seek a dining experience unlike any other. Due to its limited seating and popularity, it’s wise to book well ahead. For an added touch of elegance, ask about their wine pairings, carefully selected to match each course. This is undoubtedly one of the best fine dining restaurants in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Table in Edinburgh offers an exclusive, intimate dining experience, standing out in the city's vibrant food scene.
The Table in Edinburgh offers an exclusive, intimate dining experience, standing out in the city’s vibrant food scene.

4. Six by Nico Edinburgh

If you’re looking for fun restaurants in Edinburgh, Six by Nico Edinburgh should be on your list. This innovative restaurant stands out in Edinburgh’s dining scene with a dynamic and delightful dining concept. Every six weeks, Six by Nico reinvents its menu with a new theme, offering diners an exciting gastronomic adventure.

At Six by Nico, each theme is a deep dive into creative cooking. Themes range from ‘The Chippie’, celebrating Britain’s beloved fish and chips, to ‘Sicilian Street Food’, bringing a taste of Italy to Scotland. The anticipation of what’s next makes every visit a fresh and thrilling dining experience.

The restaurant’s atmosphere is as vibrant as its ever-changing menu. Located in the heart of Edinburgh, it reflects the city’s dynamic vibe. The chefs here are true artists, their passion evident in every beautifully crafted and flavor-packed dish.

Six by Nico is an adventure in dining. While the setting is chic and trendy, the dress code remains comfortably casual. Due to its unique concept and central location, booking in advance is recommended to secure a spot in this exciting dining experience.

Six by Nico Edinburgh offers a dynamic experience with a new menu theme every six weeks.
Six by Nico Edinburgh offers a dynamic experience with a new menu theme every six weeks.

5. Educated Flea

Educated Flea is a gem that really spices up the unique restaurants in Edinburgh scene. Tucked away in Edinburgh’s lively streets, this bistro is a hotspot for anyone craving a playful twist on global cuisine in a super relaxed environment.

What makes Educated Flea a hit is its wildly inventive menu. Imagine a dish where Scottish produce meets Korean flavors – that’s the kind of innovative fusion happening here. The Korean BBQ pork is a dish I recommend. Trust me, it’s a perfect meld of local ingredients with international zest. For those exploring plant-based options, the vegan dishes here are a revelation.

The uniqueness of Educated Flea extends to its ambiance. It’s quirky yet cozy, a place that instantly feels welcoming and lively. The decor, with its eclectic mix of styles, reflects the diverse and playful spirit of the menu.

Educated Flea is perfect for anything from a laid-back lunch to a chill dinner date. The staff are super friendly, adding to the bistro’s welcoming atmosphere. A little insider tip: their weekend brunch is a must-try – think classic brunch with a zesty twist. Remember, it’s a popular spot, so booking ahead is wise to get a taste of this unique culinary adventure.

Educated Flea spices up Edinburgh's dining scene with playful global cuisine in a relaxed bistro.
Educated Flea spices up Edinburgh’s dining scene with playful global cuisine in a relaxed bistro.

6. Verdo

Nestled in the vibrant Newington neighborhood, Verdo is a standout destination for those exploring unique places in Edinburgh to eat. Here, traditional Turkish recipes meet Scottish produce, creating an exciting blend of flavors.

Verdo’s menu is where East meets West. The Scottish lamb, infused with Turkish spices, and the mezze platter with a local twist are a celebration of two rich food cultures. Each offering at Verdo is a testament to the fusion of Turkish and Scottish tastes.

The chefs at Verdo are masters at combining traditional Turkish cooking methods with a flair for innovation. Every offering is crafted with care, providing a dining experience that goes beyond the ordinary. It’s an opportunity to savor a unique blend of two distinct culinary worlds.

Perfectly located in Newington, Verdo is an ideal spot for both Edinburgh residents and visitors. This restaurant adds a unique flavor to the city’s dining scene. A dish I recommend to diners here is the signature kebabs. They’re famous for their juicy flavors and perfect blend of spices.

Verdo, nestled in Newington, combines Turkish recipes with Scottish produce for a unique culinary fusion.
Verdo, nestled in Newington, combines Turkish recipes with Scottish produce for a unique culinary fusion.

7. The Devil’s Advocate

In the historic heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, The Devil’s Advocate offers a dining experience that’s as unique as its name. This restaurant is a highlight for those seeking hidden gem restaurants in Edinburgh, combining a rich history with a modern culinary approach.

Set in a beautifully renovated Victorian pump house, The Devil’s Advocate boasts an atmosphere that’s both rustic and contemporary. The menu here is a celebration of Scottish cuisine with a modern twist. Dishes like the locally sourced venison and the fresh, daily seafood specials showcase the best of Scotland’s natural larder.

What sets The Devil’s Advocate apart is its impressive whisky bar, featuring an extensive selection of over 400 whiskies. This makes it not only a place for a fantastic meal but also a destination for whisky enthusiasts. The knowledgeable staff are always ready to recommend the perfect dram to complement your meal.

Located just off the Royal Mile, The Devil’s Advocate is perfectly situated for those exploring the historic city. It’s a place where the charm of old Edinburgh meets the vibrancy of its contemporary dining scene. For a truly Scottish experience, this restaurant is a must-try. It offers both locals and visitors a taste of Scotland’s culinary innovation and tradition.

The Devil’s Advocate merges history with modern cuisine—a standout among hidden gem restaurants.
The Devil’s Advocate merges history with modern cuisine—a standout among hidden gem restaurants.

8. The Haggis Box

Get ready to be charmed by The Haggis Box, a key player among Edinburgh’s best restaurants for traditional Scottish fare. Situated in the vibrant heart of Edinburgh, this unique eatery celebrates Scotland’s iconic dish, haggis, with a delightful and modern twist.

The Haggis Box is a haven for haggis lovers and the curious alike. They offer traditional Scottish haggis with an array of contemporary sides. Whether you’re in the mood for the classic haggis, neeps, and tatties or something more adventurous like haggis with a sweet chili glaze, this place delivers. It’s a straightforward, delightful spot where the spotlight is firmly on the food.

Standing out for its use of locally sourced, top-quality ingredients, The Haggis Box ensures every bite is not just delicious but also supports local producers. The setting is simple and cozy. It’s ideal for a quick, satisfying meal amidst city explorations.

Located in a bustling part of Edinburgh, The Haggis Box is a perfect pit stop for those eager to experience Scotland’s culinary traditions. It’s a place where the charm of Scottish cuisine meets modern tastes, offering a unique and authentically Scottish dining experience.

The Haggis Box offers a modern twist on traditional Scottish cuisine, focusing on the iconic dish, haggis.
The Haggis Box offers a modern twist on traditional Scottish cuisine, focusing on the iconic dish, haggis.

9. Tempting Tattie

Tempting Tattie is where comfort food gets a Scottish twist. Hands down, it’s one of the coolest places to eat in Edinburgh. Tucked away in the city, this cozy spot is all about celebrating the humble potato in the most creative and delicious ways.

At Tempting Tattie, it’s all about the jacket potato, but not as you know it. These are super-sized, fluffy, and filled with an array of imaginative toppings. From classic cheese and beans to more gourmet options like haggis with whisky sauce, there’s something for every palate. It’s a simple concept, executed brilliantly, turning the everyday potato into a star dish.

What’s delightful about Tempting Tattie is its commitment to quality and simplicity. The ingredients are fresh, the flavors are bold, and the vibe is unpretentious. It’s the kind of place where you can pop in for a quick, hearty meal that feels like a warm hug.

Tempting Tattie is a must-visit for those who appreciate good, honest food. It’s a small, welcoming spot that’s big on flavor and comfort, which makes it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch or a comforting dinner, this is the place to indulge in some of Edinburgh’s best comfort food.

Tempting Tattie in Edinburgh creatively celebrates Scottish comfort food with a focus on the humble potato.
Tempting Tattie in Edinburgh creatively celebrates Scottish comfort food with a focus on the humble potato.

10. Junk

Junk is a vibrant and playful gem in Edinburgh, redefining fun places to eat in Edinburgh with its bold approach to street food. This restaurant is where classic comfort dishes are transformed into extraordinary culinary creations.

At Junk, street food gets a gourmet makeover. The menu is a fusion of global flavors with a Scottish twist, featuring dishes like Korean fried chicken and Scottish beef sliders. Each item is a delightful surprise, offering a unique taste experience that’s both familiar and innovative.

Junk’s charm lies in its creative culinary approach. It’s a place where traditional street food is reimagined, creating dishes that are as enjoyable as they are unexpected. The setting is casual and vibrant, ideal for an enjoyable meal with friends or family.

Junk is known for its quick service and friendly atmosphere. As such, it’s a great choice for a fast yet satisfying meal. It’s also a popular spot for takeout, offering a convenient option for those on the go. With its commitment to quality and creativity, Junk is a standout in Edinburgh’s eclectic food scene, perfect for those seeking a memorable dining experience with a twist.

Junk redefines fun dining with a bold approach to street food, turning classic comfort dishes into extraordinary culinary creations.
Junk redefines fun dining with a bold approach to street food, turning classic comfort dishes into extraordinary culinary creations.

11. Soul Vegan

Ever wondered where to find the best vegan food in Edinburgh? Soul Vegan is your answer, standing out as a beacon for plant-based dining in the city. This restaurant is a favorite for those seeking unique places in Edinburgh to eat that cater to a vegan lifestyle.

Soul Vegan is not just about eating plant-based. It’s about experiencing how diverse and flavorful vegan food can be. The menu is a vibrant array of dishes, each bursting with fresh, wholesome ingredients. From hearty vegan burgers to imaginative salads, every item is a testament to the versatility of vegan cooking.

What sets Soul Vegan apart is its commitment to sustainability and health. The ingredients are ethically sourced, and the dishes are crafted with both taste and nutrition in mind. It’s a place where you can indulge guilt-free, knowing that your meal is good for you and the planet.

Located in a charming part of the city, Soul Vegan is a must-visit for health-conscious foodies and anyone curious about vegan cuisine. The restaurant offers a warm, welcoming atmosphere, which makes it perfect for a casual meal or a special occasion. Whether you’re a long-time vegan or just exploring plant-based options, Soul Vegan promises a dining experience that’s as nourishing as it is delicious.

Soul Vegan is one of the unique restaurants in Edinburgh.
Soul Vegan shines as Edinburgh’s go-to for exceptional plant-based dining.

12. Clarinda’s Tearoom

As we round off our journey through Edinburgh’s most unique restaurants, Clarinda’s Tearoom stands as a delightful finale. This charming spot in Edinburgh is a must-visit for anyone seeking a quintessentially Edinburgh experience. They offer a cozy retreat into the world of traditional Scottish tea and treats.

Clarinda’s Tearoom is a celebration of Scottish hospitality and baking. Here, you’ll find a range of homemade cakes, scones, and pastries, each more tempting than the last. The tearoom’s specialty, however, is its traditional afternoon tea. This is a lavish spread of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of delectable cakes and pastries, all accompanied by your choice of fine teas.

What makes Clarinda’s Tearoom truly special is its atmosphere, which transports you to a bygone era of elegance and charm. The decor is quaint and reminiscent of a classic Scottish cottage, providing a warm and inviting backdrop to your tea experience.

Clarinda’s Tearoom is a destination for those who appreciate the finer things in life. If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion or simply want to indulge in a bit of Scottish tradition, this tearoom offers an experience that’s as delightful as it is memorable. Don’t miss it!

Clarinda’s Tearoom offers a quintessential Scottish tea experience in a charming setting.
Clarinda’s Tearoom offers a quintessential Scottish tea experience in a charming setting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Unique Restaurants in Edinburgh, Scotland

Searching for more information to help you decide where to eat in Edinburgh? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Edinburgh’s best restaurants.

What is the most famous food in Edinburgh?

The most famous food in Edinburgh, and indeed throughout Scotland, is Haggis. This traditional Scottish dish is a type of savory pudding that combines meat with oatmeal, onions, salt, and spices. It’s typically made from sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach.

Where do celebrities eat in Edinburgh?

There are several popular restaurants in Edinburgh that are known to attract famous faces. These include:

  1. The Witchery by the Castle: Located near Edinburgh Castle, this restaurant is famous for its luxurious and atmospheric dining experience. Its Gothic ambiance and exquisite Scottish cuisine make it a favorite among celebrities.
  2. The Kitchin: Run by renowned chef Tom Kitchin, this Michelin-starred restaurant in Leith serves modern British cuisine influenced by French cooking techniques. Its focus on locally sourced, seasonal Scottish produce makes it a hit with discerning diners, including celebrities.
  3. Timberyard: This trendy spot is known for its hip, rustic-industrial vibe and innovative dishes. Here, you might spot celebrities enjoying a more laid-back yet sophisticated dining experience.
  4. 21212: With a Michelin star to its name, 21212 is located in a Georgian townhouse and offers a unique dining experience with a constantly changing menu. It’s known for attracting a high-profile clientele.

Does Gordon Ramsay have a restaurant in Edinburgh?

Yes, Gordon Ramsay has a restaurant in Edinburgh – Bread Street Kitchen & Bar. Located on St Andrew Square, Bread Street Kitchen is a modern all-day restaurant. It serves classic Gordon Ramsay dishes, including Beef Wellington and traditional fish & chips. You’ll also find Scottish inspired dishes on the menu.

Gordon Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen & Bar is a chic, modern dining space exuding sophistication.
Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar is a chic, modern dining space exuding sophistication.

Here are four popular foods that are quintessentially Scottish:

  1. Haggis: Perhaps the most famous Scottish dish, haggis is a savory pudding containing sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach. It’s often served with “neeps and tatties” (turnips and potatoes).
  2. Scottish Salmon: Scotland is famous for its high-quality salmon. Scottish smoked salmon, in particular, is a delicacy enjoyed all over the world. It’s often served as part of a traditional Scottish breakfast or as a starter.
  3. Shortbread: A classic Scottish biscuit, shortbread is a buttery and crumbly sweet treat made from sugar, butter, and flour. It’s often associated with Christmas and Hogmanay (the Scottish New Year), but enjoyed year-round.
  4. Scotch Pies: A small, double-crust meat pie filled with minced mutton or other meat. It’s a staple at football matches and is often eaten as a quick snack or lunch item. The crust is traditionally made with hot water and lard, giving it a distinctively crisp and crumbly texture.

Is Edinburgh a foodie city?

Edinburgh is definitely considered a foodie city. It offers a diverse culinary scene that caters to a wide range of tastes and preferences. You’ll find everything from Michelin-Starred restaurants to local Scottish cuisine. Further, Edinburgh hosts numerous food festivals and culinary events throughout the year, attracting food lovers from all over. The city’s food scene is a blend of tradition and innovation, which makes it an exciting destination for foodies.

Is it expensive to eat out in Edinburgh?

Eating out in Edinburgh can vary in cost, depending on the type of dining experience you’re looking for. Like many cities, Edinburgh offers a range of options to suit different budgets:

  • Fine Dining: Edinburgh has several high-end restaurants, including some with Michelin stars. Dining at these establishments can be quite expensive, with meals often costing upwards of £50-£100 per person.
  • Mid-Range Restaurants: There are many mid-range restaurants where you can enjoy good quality food at more moderate prices. A meal in such a restaurant might cost between £15 and £30 per person.
  • Casual and Street Food: For cheap eats in Edinburgh, you’ll find plenty of casual eateries, pubs, and street food vendors. Here, you can find meals for under £10-£15 per person.
  • Cafés and Coffee Shops: These are great for light meals or snacks and are generally quite affordable.
  • Markets and Food Halls: Exploring local markets can also be a cost-effective way to try a variety of foods.

Concluding Comments: Unique Restaurants in Edinburgh

Our tour of Edinburgh’s most unique restaurants has been nothing short of a delightful adventure. Each restaurant we’ve explored offers something special. From the innovative fusion at Educated Flea to the comforting embrace of Tempting Tattie, Edinburgh proves that it can cater to every palate and preference.

If I had to pick just one restaurant to recommend, it would be tough, but The Devil’s Advocate stands out for its perfect blend of history, ambiance, and exquisite Scottish cuisine. It’s a place that captures the essence of Edinburgh’s charm and culinary excellence.

Remember, Edinburgh’s food scene is about more than just eating. It’s about experiences that linger in your memory long after the meal is over, complementing the diverse range of things to do in Edinburgh. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these restaurants offer a chance to connect with the city’s rich culinary heritage and contemporary innovations.

As you plan your next meal out in Edinburgh, consider these unique spots. Each one promises not just a meal, but a journey into the heart of what makes this city’s food scene truly special. Happy dining!

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