A Foodies Guide to Edinburgh

Hello my foodie friends! I’ve just got back from a 3 day city break in Edinburgh, Scotland and had an amazing time. I had such a good time in fact, that I wanted to share with you my recommended itinerary for anyone thinking of taking a long weekend in Edinburgh, along with some recommended restaurants and bars.

First things first, here’s a handy map of all of the places we visited. Some, but not all, of them will be mentioned in more detail in my post, but hopefully you will find it a useful starting point when planning a trip to Edinburgh.

Recommended Itinerary for a 3 day city break in Edinburgh:

This roughly follows the timetable we gave ourselves. It may seem like a lot giving yourself a whole day to do the zoo but there is so much to see that you can easily get lost wandering around. It’s also ideal if you’ve worn yourself out at Arthur’s Seat the day before and want to treat yourself to a lie in.

Day 1:

Half of the Royal Mile up to the castle (morning)
The Real King Mary’s Close (morning)
Deacons House Cafe (lunch)
Castle (afternoon)
Whisky Tasting (evening)
Castle Terrace (dinner)

Day 2:

Half of the Royal Mile up to Holyrood (morning)
Holyrood Palace, Houses of Parliament (morning)
Holyrood 9A (lunch)
Arthurs Seat (afternoon)
The Gardener’s Cottage (dinner)

Day 3:

Zoo (all day)
Gin Tasting (evening)
Timberyard (dinner)

Where we ate:

I have a motto that a holiday isn’t a holiday until you go on a boat… Well we failed on that front, BUT what we did manage to do was eat in some of the best restaurants in Scotland (or at least Edinburgh!) After going on a boat trip that’s the second most important thing about a holiday right?

Breakfast

Our hotel (The Place, Edinburgh) did amazing breakfasts. I ate sweet porridge with blueberries, smoked kippers with poached egg and a big Scottish cooked breakfast which included beef sausage, haggis, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs and potato scones. It was the perfect way to start the day! To be honest we hadn’t booked the hotel on its foodie credentials but it really came up trumps.

Lunch

For lunches you can find lots of cafes and restaurants along the Royal Mile (a big street running from Holyrood Palace to the Castle.) We stopped off at the Deacon House Café which served up tasty sandwiches and the softest, warmest scones you ever did see. We opted for the whisky scones and they didn’t dissapoint.

For something a bit more off the beaten track – which is particularly good after a big walk up to Arthurs Seat – why not try Holyrood 9A? They have a fantastic craft beer menu for those of you who are into that and they serve amazing burgers. The portion sizes are generous; the food is hot, juicy and full of flavour.

Dinner

To finish off our days, we ate at The Gardener’s Cottage, Castle Terrace, and Timberyard – some of the best restaurants in Edinburgh.

Over the next few weeks I intend to do full restaurant review of Castle Terrace and Timberyard as I was able to take some really nice pictures of the food and drink. Unfortunately, due to the set-up of Gardener’s Cottage (canteen style dining where you are sat next to strangers), Jon wouldn’t let me whip out the DSLR after every course…of which there were 8…

One thing that I must say about Gardeners Cottage is just how exciting it was eating in a restaurant where the staff were so visibly passionate about the food and drink they were serving, as well as how they were serving it. It was a more relaxed atmosphere than Timberyard and Castle Terrace but not to its detriment at all. The waiting staff were warm, chatty, funny and engaging but knew exactly when to lay off and let us eat in peace. They also recommended an amazing Sherry which we will be buying as soon as we get paid. Gardener’s Cottage really is a must visit restaurant!

In each of these restaurants I strongly recommend opting for the tasting menu. It was clear from the off that restaurants in Edinburgh are much better value than London, despite serving up food of the same quality. So don’t limit yourself to just 3 standard courses. Splash a tiny amount of extra cash and have a bit of everything!

Drinking:

Anyone who knows anything about the Scottish will know that they like their whisky. As a result whether you like whisky or not I’d really recommend going to a tasting. Jon is a huge fan so he loved every second of our session in the Whiski Rooms where we were talked through 4 whiskies from different whisky regions. Now, I hate the stuff but found myself really getting into the smelling and tasting. I’m certainly more educated about what I don’t like about whisky now.

Scotland also has a big gin industry which a lot of people aren’t aware of. After Jon had dragged me to a whisky tasting it was only fair we also tried some local gin. Heads and Tails is the bar attached to the Edinburgh Gin Visitor Centre and the bar is worth a visit in its own right. If you can though I’d definitely recommend booking yourself on to a distillery tour and tasting! Places do fill up fast.

If you’re not a fan of spirits you’ll also find a buzzing craft beer and ale scene. The Holyrood 9A and the Hanging Bat are both worth a mention in this respect. The Hanging Bat in particular has some amazing beer on tap (and a 2 page gin list to keep the rest of us happy…)

A handy bar list…

  • Edinburgh Gin Visitor Centre/Distillery (gin tasting and distillery tour)
  • The Hanging Bat (craft beer lovers dream)
  • Heads and Tails (gin lovers delight)
  • Holyrood 9A (amazing beer and burgers)
  • Whiski rooms (4-7 North Bank Street) (whisky tasting)
  • Whiski rooms (119 High Street) (live Scottish music every night)
  • Bon Vivant (for afterhours drinks)
  • Bow Bar (craft beer on tap)
  • The West Room (for cocktails)

So there you have it – a whistle stop tour through food and drink in Edinburgh. I hope I haven’t bored you too much with my photos and suggestions. We had such a wonderful time that I just couldn’t wait to share!

One last mention – we had a wonderful stay at The Place Hotel on York Place. Although we haven’t stayed elsewhere in Edinburgh so we can hardly compare, we found it met all of our needs (the bottle of bubbles on arrival was a particular treat).

Do you have any recommendations for Edinburgh, or perhaps suggestions for where my next foodie adventure should take me?

11 comments

  1. Sounds like you had a great time and went to some fab places to eat! I wasn’t really aware that Scotland had a large gin industry. My mother is a huge fan of gin so I’ll have to point her in that direction!

    1. Oh definitely do!!! I must admit I’d heard they were involved in the craft gin industry but didn’t realise to what extent. They have loads though, its very, very popular 🙂

    1. Thanks 😀 I am really trying to focus on my photography atm so that means a lot!

      Edinburgh is definitely do-able with the kids coz its so small and such a great transport network. Plus the zoo is AMAZING. We were the only couple without a buggy haha. Maybe one day, hey 😉

  2. Sounds fantastic – I haven’t been to Edinburgh for ages so I’m definitely overdue another visit, with my daughter this time. We had a fantastic long weekend in Glasgow, a city I didn’t know well, so would be lovely to do something similar in Edinburgh which I know much better. Especially the zoo.

    1. I bet its really fun with kids 🙂 I must admit I know next to nothing about Glasgow! We had such an amazing time though that we will definitely be going back to Scotland. Probably sooner rather than later. Do let me know if you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

  3. Looking forward to seeing your Castle Terrace and Timberyard posts. I’ve done the taster menu at Castle Terrace and loved it. Timberyard is on my to do list. Next time you are in Edinburgh try Restaurant Mark Greenaway. I was there last week and it is amazing.

    1. Thanks! I’m hoping to get the Castle Terrace post up tomorrow and then Timberyard by the end of the week 🙂

      I’d definitely recommend booking into Timberyard. It was really something quite special!

      We did think about booking into Mark Greenaways actually! 3 days was not enough time to eat everywhere we wanted to!

      Any other recommendations? I’m sure we’ll be back again before too long!!

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