Eating out in Edinburgh gets five stars
FOR years Scottish restaurants have been dismissed by London-based critics as at best sub- standard, at worst downright dire.
The Edinburgh-born food writer AA Gill recently described Scotland as "unquestionably the worst country in Europe to eat out in - or the worst country that didn't once have a communist dictator".
But now it seems Gill and his like-minded colleagues will have to eat their words as Edinburgh is today named the best UK city outside London in which to eat out.
A survey by the cognac producer Rmy Martin has found that 52 per cent of the 48 Edinburgh restaurants featured in Harden's UK Restaurant Guide 2007 are classed as either exceptional or very good.
Edinburgh-based food writer Alex Renton said he was not surprised the restaurant industry was starting to sit up and take notice.
He said: "This survey confirms what anybody who lives here knows - it is a fantastic place to eat out. There are people with great skills and great ingredients, and there are great innovators.
"This city has low commercial rents compared with some other cities, so there is space for people to innovate and take risks that are not possible in some other parts of the country."
One such innovator is Michelin-starred Martin Wishart, whose eponymous restaurant is on The Shore, Leith.
His business - along with the vegetarian restaurant David Bann in St Mary's Street - was one of two in the city listed as "exceptional".
Wishart was recently named by Britain's best-known chef Gordon Ramsay as "Scotland's next big thing, no question" and is the 2006 Scottish Chef of the Year.
He said: "This year we have been full almost every evening and lunch is proving very busy as well. We have a six- to eight-week waiting list for a weekend table at the moment.
"Other restaurants in Edinburgh do just as well in different styles of eating. It is a great time for restaurants in the city, whether they are small bistros or larger restaurants somewhere like George Street."
In a further sign of the city's culinary renaissance, Wishart plans to open a cookery school on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, berthed in Leith.
Contracts are being signed and the school is expected to open in the spring. It will rival another school run by another Scottish Michelin-starred chef, Nick Nairn, at the Lake of Menteith near Stirling.
Glasgow also fares well in today's survey, ranked eighth best restaurant city in the UK.
One Glasgow restaurant, the Urban Grill in Shawlands, claimed the Rmy Martin award for best new restaurant.
Owner Alan Tomkins said: "We're especially delighted because the awards are based on reviews from our customers, which are the people that matter the most."
Clare Richards, UK brand manager for Rmy Martin, said: "The awards prove that the idea of dining is now just - or mainly - a London phenomenon is now well and truly dead."
These are the highly rated restaurants that sealed Edinburgh's top position in the survey. One star is very good, two exceptional
Calistoga 93 St Leonard's Street *
Creelers 3 Hunter Square *
David Bann 56-58 St Mary's St **
Dusit 49a Thistle Street *
First Coast 99-101 Dalry Road *
Fishers Bistro 1 The Shore *
Fishers in the City 58 Thistle Street *
La Garrigue 31 Jeffrey Street *
Glass + Thompson 2 Dundas Street *
Grain Store 30 Victoria Street *
Iglu 2b Jamaica St *
Indian Cavalry Club 3 Atholl Place *
Kalpna 2-3 St Patrick Square *
Loon Fung 2 Warriston Place *
Mussel Inn 61-65 Rose Street *
Outsider 15-16 George IV Bridge *
Le Petit Paris 38-40 Grassmarket *
Restaurant Martin Wishart 54 The Shore **
Roti 70 Rose Street North Lane *
Skippers 1a Dock Place *
Suruchi 14a Nicholson Street *
Sweet Melinda's 11 Roseneath Street *
VinCaffe 11 Multrees Walk *
Vintners Rooms 87a Giles Street *
The Waterfront 1c Dock Place *
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North east