Our favourite new restaurants to visit this Edinburgh Festival 2023, rated from five-star luxury to casual
Browsing the Edinburgh Festival programmes can induce a feeling of severe indecision paralysis. What to see?
And that’s not all. Then you’ll have to decide where to eat, since it’s not possible to enjoy a show on an empty stomach. Here’s our selection of new restaurants and grazing spots, which we’ve rated in order of luxury, with the poshest first, and places to get the most casual (but still fancy) and quick bites last.
1 LUXURY: If you want to feel like Logan Roy and his entourage, book The Balmoral’s new Private Dining Room in their Michelin-recommended Number One, where head chef is Matthew Sherry. You can file this new wood-panelled eating space under extremely swanky. It’s a new addition to the restaurant, and seats up to 10 guests for a seven course tasting menu (£115pp, with dishes that might include Isle of Skye langoustine, raviolo and dill), in a spot right beside their extensive wine cellar. You’ll leave feeling like a billionaire.
1 Princes Street, Edinburgh (0131 557 6727, www.roccofortehotels.com)
2 PLUSH: Eorna in Stockbridge will be six-months-old at this festival. If you want a table to celebrate their half year birthday, you’ll have to move fast, as they only seat 12 people at their chef’s table each night. The food is cooked by Brian Grigor, and drinks are served by sommelier, Greg Montgomery. Sample six-course tasting menu dishes, at £95pp, include sirloin of Dounby Farm Orkney beef, bordelaise sauce and brassica. For a similar chef’s table experience, try Argile (www.argilerestaurant.co.uk) in Marchmont. On the 4th and 5th August, they’re hosting chef Rodney Wages, whose CV includes stints at The French Laundry in California. Tickets are £170 for his seven-course collaborative tasting menu, plus a welcome drink.
Eorna, 68 Hamilton Place, Edinburgh (0131 531 4680, www.eornarestaurant.com)
3 FANCY: Le Petit Beefbar is a new upmarket chain, which has just landed at the InterContinental Edinburgh The George. It was created by restaurant concept creator, Riccardo Giraudi, and dishes include Kobe beef jamon, their take on KFC and the beefiest (and probably the most expensive, at £26) burger you’ll ever have. If you want to hang out and have a cocktail, like the signature Clover Club with Edinburgh Gin, there’s a chi-chi bar area at the front of the space.
21-25 George Street (0131 240 7177, www.beefbar.com)
4 SMART: We’re becoming very predictable, because anytime anyone asks us to recommend a restaurant, we say Tipo, which opened at 110 Hanover Street a few months ago. Their newest dishes, among their selection of small and large plates, include cured mackerel with chilli and grape, and a vanilla and strawberry soft serve. The location is so central, and near many venues, like Assembly, while the upstairs white-painted venue feels like a Zen escape from the hordes. If there’s no room at the inn, try one of the other restaurants in the family, including Aizle or Noto. In autumn, they’ll have an even fresher addition, as they’re opening Lyla, in the former premises of the late Paul Kitching’s restaurant, 21212.
5 RELAXED: Skua is the newest bar and restaurant project from Sam Yorke and Tomas Gormley, who own the recently Michelin-starred Leith venue, Heron. Their younger business is a much more casual proposition. Think late night drinks in a darkened space and dishes like fried chicken and fermented peach hot sauce. The drinks list includes some intriguing cocktails, like the Cramond Island Iced Tea with pisco, yellow chartreuse, tropical tea and apple. There are another couple of newbies to check out in the vicinity too, like Satine Saint Stephen (www.satinesaintstephen.com), a new branch of Joelato (www.joelato.co.uk) and Chulo’s, because life is never too short to eat a stuffed cookie.
49 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh, www.skua.scot
6 CASUAL: It’s got to be noodles, for a fast feeding session between shows. However, “adventurous Asian eatery” Pomelo is no bog-standard carb pit-stop. We visited them last year, at their original Strathearn Road branch, but now they’ve moved into a bigger home at 27 Sciennes Road and have smart new dishes including Shanghai-style line-caught mackerel for dinner and Hong Kong French toast with foraged blaeberries for brunch. We hope and pray that their fantastic hand-ripped noodles are still on the menu. If they aren’t, we're gathering names for a petition.
7 TAKEAWAY: You CAN sit in at the new branch of Alby’s, but their big hot focaccia sandwiches make for an excellent take-away since the Meadows is just round the corner. Choose from versions including the fried chicken Caesar, the veggie option of hispi and umami mayo, or a toastie that contains sardines, jalapenos, Mull of Kintyre Cheddar, mozzarella, capers and parsley. We’ve never managed to finish a whole one, so though you might say it’s pricey at £12.50 per sandwich, it’ll probably do two meals, especially if you add fries or prawn toast, and why wouldn’t you?
94 Buccleuch Street, Newington (0131 202 2172, www.albysleith.co.uk)
8 CAKE: If there’s no time for a three-course meal, make do with a bake from the brand new and much anticipated Lannan Bakery, which is owned by Darcie Maher, who honed her Viennoiserie skills at one of our favourite Edinburgh restaurants, The Palmerston. As the place is barely a week old, please don’t scuff the paint when you’re loading up on pain au raisins, iced buns or croissants made with The Edinburgh Butter Company’s produce, or her pastries. These might include versions that showcase peach, fig leaf and einkorn (a type of wheat flour) or strawberry, vanilla and oat. Guaranteed frenzied sugar high joy.
29-35 Hamilton Place, Edinburgh (Instagram: @lannanbakery)
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