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Edinburgh’s best food & drink

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 06 February, 2024

Edinburgh is the epicentre of Scotland’s vibrant food and drink scene. Once the butt of gastronomic jokes, for years now it has been celebrated instead for the bounty of its natural larder.

The capital’s restaurant scene is geared less towards Michelin star counts – although it has a smattering of these – and more towards field-to-plate and communal dining experiences, driven by chefs specialising in culinary acrobatics and pushing the boundaries, such as Aizle’s Stuart Ralston and Fhior’s Scott Smith.

There are more and more speciality food stores and delis springing up (stock up on local venison charcuterie), artisan bakers (tuck into smoked salmon bagels) and cheesemongers on every corner. Once there was one farmers’ market in the shadow of the cathedral – now there are five.

Local ingredients & flavours

It’s all about small plates, grazing menus and ingredients so seasonal, local and fresh you have to brush the soil from your plate.

Carnivores can tuck into wild venison, seaweed-grazed lamb and prime Aberdeen Angus beef. For fish-eaters there are hand-dived scallops from the west coast, Loch Fyne oysters to shuck, plump rope-grown mussels from Shetland’s chilly waters and artisan smoked salmon. It’s the produce and its provenance that shines.

And of course, Scotland is the home of the best whisky in the world, produced in world-class distilleries all around the region.

What to try

Haggis, neeps and tatties (haggis, turnips and mashed potato) is the best-known Scottish dish, and is surprisingly tasty. Many restaurants serve a contemporary gourmet take on the dish. All washed down with an obligatory dram or two.

Also see Lucy’s round-up of traditional Scottish foods you must try in Scotland.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Aizle

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

Cooked salmon plated dish from restaurant Aizle

Experience

Chef Stuart Ralston’s innovative tasting menu is an exciting leap in the dark, simply a list of seasonal ‘harvest’ ingredients.

Good for age: 18+

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East Coast Cured

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

East Coast Cured

Experience

Near Leith’s revamped docklands, this tiny artisan charcuterie producer sells venison, sloe gin salami and rare breed smoked chorizo.

Good for age: 18+

Website >

Edinburgh Farmers’ Market

  • Edinburgh , Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

market stalls on the street with blue and white striped awnings

Experience

In the shadow of the castle, the original farmer’s market has jauntily striped stalls stocked with sauerkraut, smoked salmon and Arbroath Smokies. Held every Saturday from 9am-2pm, 3 mins walk from Edinburgh Castle.

Good for age: 18+

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I.J. Mellis Cheesemonger

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

I.J. Mellis Cheesemonger

Experience

This artisan cheesemonger has been a stalwart on the Edinburgh food scene for almost 30 years. They’ve now opened a ‘Cheese Lounge’ at the back of the Morningside store where you can sample the signature cheeseboard and other cheesy dishes.

Good for age: 18+

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Scotch Whisky Experience

  • Edinburgh , Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Bucket List Experience

The Scotch Whisky shop on the Royal Mile highlights one of Scotland's chief attractions.

Experience

Disneyland-style mock distillery tour, with a glimpse of the world’s largest Scotch whisky collection.

Adult price 17

Min age 18

Good for age: 18+

Stockbridge Market

  • Edinburgh , Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

Stockbridge Market

Experience

Every Sunday, a pretty corner of this Edinburgh neighbourhood is home to a weekly artisan producer market of around 50 stalls, selling hot food, local produce and hand-made treats. Stockbridge is worth a visit too, with vintage shops and quirky cafes.

Good for age: 18+

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The Chocolatarium

  • Edinburgh , Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

The Chocolatarium

Experience

This micro-chocolate factory in the city centre offers 90-minute introduction tours to all aspects of chocolate-making, and you get you create your own bar to take away. There are also truffle-making masterclasses, and a unique chocolate and Scottish whisky experience that pairs artisan chocolates with single malts.

Adult price 20

Good for age: 8+

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The Gardener’s Cottage

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

Looking down on a plate of colourful vegetable slices

Experience

This pretty 19th-century gardener’s cottage, with its carefully tended kitchen garden, is chef Dale Mailley’s earthy field-to-fork, rustic communal dining spot.

Adult price 35

Good for age: 18+

Website >

White Horse Oyster & Seafood Bar

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

White Horse Oyster & Seafood Bar

Experience

At the bottom of the Royal Mile, in what was once the oldest inn in Edinburgh, this cosy seafood restaurant dishes up succulent seafood platters and small dishes – think crab Scotch Eggs with wasabi mayo, charred octopus, monkfish satay along with three types of oyster (Caledonian, Loch Fyne and Carlingford) freshly shucked at the bar.

Good for age: 18+

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Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: Any

Getting there & doing it

The gentrified docklands down in Leith are a real foodie enclave with no fewer than four Michelin-starred restaurants, along with gastropubs, seafood restaurants and bars lining the shore.

The chic neighbourhood ‘villages’ of Stockbridge and Bruntsfield, meanwhile, have plenty of cute eateries and bars away from the crowds.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Whisky and Tales : Whisky Tasting with History and Storytelling

  • Edinburgh

Whisky and Tales : Whisky Tasting with History and Storytelling

Viator

Our Whisky and Folklore tour is unlike any other experience in Edinburgh.  We take you to our personal, custom designed, whisky venue where you will be served four classic Single Malt Scotch Whiskies and immerse ourselves in the great cultural importance of whisky and storytelling in Scotland. The ticket price includes the cost of the whiskies. 4 great single malt Scotch whiskies will be served over the tour. Drink alternatives are available upon request for those who do not drink whisky.

Price £19

Min age 18

Rating 4.93 / 5 [637 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
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Edinburgh Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours

  • Edinburgh

Edinburgh Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours

Viator

On our Secret Food Tour: Edinburgh, you will not just eat delicious treats but also learn about the history of the food so you can understand Edinburgh's thriving culinary scene. You'll see Edinburgh's Old Town on a personal level and taste the dishes beloved by the locals. At the end of your tour, you'll have sampled some of Edinburgh's most delicious dishes and gained a better understanding of our culture and history.

Price £85

Min age 3

Rating 4.88 / 5 [516 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
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Edinburgh Food & Drink Tour with Eat Walk Tours

  • Edinburgh

Edinburgh Food & Drink Tour with Eat Walk Tours

Viator

Explore Edinburgh through food and drink. On this walking tour, your local guide will share the story of the city and you'll enjoy stops along the way our favourite local restaurants to sample Scottish food and drinks.

Price £95

Min age 0

Rating 4.86 / 5 [278 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
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Edinburgh Food Tour with Lower Step Count

  • Edinburgh

Edinburgh Food Tour with Lower Step Count

Viator

The Edinburgh Food and drink tour explores the West End and the elegant Georgian New Town. This tour has a lower step count and avoids hills. There are three food stops en route to enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner accompanied by three drinks. All of the stops have been carefully chosen not only to highlight Scotland’s iconic food and drink but also because the venues are much loved by local residents. This food tour takes you off the tourist trail. As well as delving deep into Scotland’s natural larder, the tour illustrates Edinburgh’s past and present; its history and the day-to-day reality of 21st century living in such a historical city.

Price £105

Min age 0

Rating 4.90 / 5 [214 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Website >

The Edinburgh Cheese Crawl

  • Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Cheese Crawl

Viator

The 2 hour crawl will be packed full of the finest of Edinburgh's brie-liant cheeses, with very mature fun facts, and the chance to heckle your quizmaster with your favourite cheese puns that will have your group crumbling faster than a Wensleydale. You have not truly explored Edinburgh until you tour Edinburgh as a turophile. Get involved in Edinburgh’s first and grate-est cheese crawl! The crawl is 2.5 hours of non stop in-curd-edible action. There will be a cheese whizz quiz and of course a little bit of fizz. The crawl will start at Saint Stephen's Comely Bank Church, and you will be taken on a journey packed full of the finest of Edinburgh's brie-liant cheeses. During the crawl there will be very mature fun facts, and the chance to heckle your quizmaster with your favourite cheese puns that will have your group crumbling faster than a Wensleydale. You will finish the crawl right by Leith walk.

Price £35

Min age 0

Rating 4.64 / 5 [168 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo
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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Edinburgh

  • Edinburgh Region, United Kingdom (UK)

An overview of Old town Edinburgh and Edinburgh castle in Scotland. thousands of buildings covering the ground with on a blue sunny day with a scatter of white clouds

Destination guide

Capital treats abound, from mighty castles and royal palaces to gourmet restaurants and arguably the world’s best performing arts festival.