At one time, I spent a lot of time visiting Edinburgh on business and ate out in lots of places on expenses. I was conscientious in blogging about my eating experiences and some people have said that they found these reviews helpful. We still eat out in Edinburgh but no longer on expenses so I’ve become a bit more selective about looking for value for money.
When I started, there were hardly any Edinburgh food blogs, now there are lots of reviewing bloggers and I’ve become less inclined to write about individual restaurants. Others do it more eloquently than me. So, rather than write about individual places, I’ll cover about half a dozen places in this post where we’ve had good experiences and which are good value for money (although not always cheap). This has a ‘south side’ bias as that’s where we stay. We don’t eat much in the centre of the city. The general rule that you get better food for less money if you get away from the touristy area applies in Edinburgh as it does everywhere else.
Castle Terrace (in Castle Terrace) is superb. We have been there for lunch and dinner and have never had a weak course let alone a poor meal. Definitely the best of the Michelin Star restaurants that we’ve eaten in although all of them are pretty good. It’s expensive but you won’t be disappointed.
Aizle in St Leonard’s Street focuses on seasonal ingredients so there is no fixed menu. Rather, each month, the restaurant choses what’s in season and offers a no-choice menu based on these. The menu board tells you that month’s ingredients and the dishes are a surprise. Some of the courses we had were absolutely superb, other’s didn’t work quite so well but overall this is an unusual and remarkable eating experience.
(Gardener’s Cottage has a similar approach – we haven’t tried it yet but have a booking there in a couple of weeks)
For quite a long time, my favourite French restaurant has been La Garrigue in Jeffrey St. It specialises in the food of south-west France with dishes such as cassoulet and stuffed rabbit. It would fit in well in a regional French town. It has been around for many years and hasn’t changed much at all – but why should they change a winning formula.
The Three Birds in Bruntsfield is a wee restaurant with an eclectic selection of dishes. It’s impossible to classify – Scottish/French/Cajun fusion would be the closest I can get. Great value lunch menu. The Bia Bistrot, also in Bruntsfield is also pretty good. Definitely worth the taxi or bus ride to Bruntsfield.
Leith has a great selection of restaurants but it’s a bit out of the way from Bruntsfield. However, on a Sunday we sometimes take an 11 or 16 bus and head to the Kings Wark in Leith for lunch. There’s no pretentions to fine dining – just hearty pub food and excellent beer.