This French restaurant in Edinburgh is a great place to eat out – and it has two AA rosettes

For a true taste of France, this informal, friendly and cosy bistro is not to be missed – with hearty food and an inspirational wine list it’s a hidden gem in the heart of the capital.

The restaurant opened in 2001 and is largely inspired by the Languedoc region of the South of France. The name Garrigue is a French term for the wild hillside vegetation that you find along the Mediterranean Coast and in wine terms ‘Garrigue’ refers to a mix of lavender, juniper, thyme, rosemary and sage – just the type of herbs you might find growing in that terroir.

23 years ago when celebrated chef J-Michel Gauffre opened La Garrigue restaurant he did not anticipate that he still will be part of the team at what has now become a gastronomic institution in our beautiful city.

He still acts as a consultant but it is Morgan Miceli, who joined La Garrigue as manager in 2013, who now owns the business. Head chef Peter Duck joined the team in 2018, and they continue to concentrate on the daily running of the business making sure the original concept of La Garrigue continues. Together they showcase the amazing wines and cuisine from this southern part of France that is the Languedoc- Roussillon.

That influence still inspires so much about La Garrigue, from the selection of wines exclusively from the Languedoc terroir to typical regional dishes such as Cassoulet or Roquefort Soufflé.

Everything about La Garrigue has been carefully thought out, from the specially curated wine list to the hand-crafted rustic dining tables, the colourful contemporary art on the walls to the presentation of the skilfully prepared dishes.

There is little wonder La Garrigue has won two AA rosettes – awarded for both the quality of the food and the service. La Garrigue also has an AA award for its ‘notable’ wine list.

Rustic and hearty

The regional influence still inspires so much about La Garrigue, from the selection of wines exclusively from the Languedoc terroir to typical regional dishes such as Cassoulet or Roquefort Soufflé.

The food is quite hearty and traditional. It is all cooked from fresh, carefully sourced ingredients and the dishes have some modern touches and are all beautifully presented.”


The dining room itself can seat around 45 people and is set out in a U-shape. The walls are a gallery of art from acclaimed Aberdeen artist Andrew Walker. This contemporary painter who trained at Edinburgh School of Art, is renowned for his colourful landscapes and has deep links with the Languedoc region.

Morgan says it has a cosy and friendly atmosphere and offers an informal dining experience. Even the tables you eat from are like works of art, being hand-crafted from beautiful woods by carpenter Tim Stead who is renowned for his rustic furniture style, which suits both the food and the wine.

Languedoc wines – an area also known as Le Midi – are as robust as the food. Expect flavours to be full of red fruit and spices on the palate – typically they are associated with that Garrigue blend of herbs that are typical of the region and from where the restaurant gets its name. Morgan and his team will be happy to recommend wines to go alongside the dishes you choose.

On the menu

As you’d expect the menu has plenty of choice of fish and meat with starters such as smoked trout with free range eggs, mayonnaise and rocket leaves, game and pork terrine or pigeon breast but also has imaginative vegan options such as roasted heritage carrot terrine with ‘cream cheeze’.

A herb-crusted fillet of cod with mussel, peas and spicy sausage risotto might take your fancy for a main course, or perhaps the scotch beef filet with king oyster mushroom, ox pithiviers and jus? or how about duck tournedos, fig, chicory, fondant potatoes and jus or some Parisian Gnocchi with Asparagus, Broad Beans and Wild Garlic

If you have space for dessert then you won’t be disappointed by the Crème Brulée, Les Tartes, sorbets and, of course, the cheese selection.

What diners say

The AA inspector who awarded it with a two rosette mark for ‘culinary excellence’ and a ‘notable wine list’ accolade this year described it as an authentic French bistro in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

The AA website says: “This smart neighbourhood restaurant stands out with its blue frontage, large windows and scrubbed pine floorboards. Expect the full throttle rustic cooking of Provence and Languedoc in the south of France, including the worth-a-detour signature dish of cassoulet.”

The restaurant gets a very favourable 4.5 on Trip Advisor. One diner in January this year said: “Dined at La Garrigue on a wet and windy early Tuesday evening. Offset by the warm and friendly welcome from the waiting staff. The restaurant was quiet with only a few diners but the ambience was relaxed with the opportunity of those views of the cityscape.”

Picking out the “Roquefort cheese soufflé, the venison daube, the cassoulet and the desserts” for special mention.

Whilst another Edinburgh resident, who says they have only just discovered the restaurant, wrote: “The food blew us away. It’s been so long since the evening’s conversation was dominated by how amazing the food and wine was. Highly recommend the Roquefort starter and either the Pheasant or meat Cassoulet for mains. A definite HIT and we will be back there soon.

Find out more

The restaurant is at 31 Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh, between the Royal Mile and Waverley Street Station and has great views of Carlton Hill.

There is a lunch menu and dinner menu and the restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 2pm and then from 5.30 to 9pm (9.30 on Fridays and Saturdays)

To read more, look at the menus and book a table visit the website here. You can telephone 0131 557 3032 or email on [email protected]