10 Places To Eat In Edinburgh On The Heritage Food Trail
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With 2015 being Scotland's illustrious Year of Food and Drink the folks at Edinburgh World Heritage have unveiled what they refer to as the 'Edinburgh Food Heritage Trail'. This interactive map (viewable on their site) is a selection of New and Old Town hotspots notable for their unique combination of historical, architectural and culinary significance. In this blog we decided to hone-in more on the culinary aspect and picked out 10 of our favourite locations featured along the trail. Take a look below and discover how robust Scotland's gastronomic connection to Italy is, how it boasts some of the finest farmers markets in the world, and where to find some of the best places eat in Edinburgh be it seafood of fudge.
1, Georgian House Kitchen (7 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh EH2 4DR)
Tucked away behind the grand façade of architect of Robert Adam's Charlotte Square townhouse is a magnificently revived piece of Edinburgh's culinary heritage. The Georgian House is a National Trust property that currently features a fully-equipped and working 18th century kitchen. Visitors are greeted by costumed volunteers whose job it is to reveal how the wealthy families of yesteryear winded, dined and lived. In addition to live demonstrations you'll encounter a stunning collection of cookery artefacts from porcelain and silverware crockery to original furniture and 200+ year old kitchen appliances. Though the Georgian House is not a place where you can grab something to eat we've included it here as a must-visit historical attraction for sightseeing foodies.
2, Contini Ristorante (103 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 3ES)
In 2004 Contini set up its first restaurant in the pretty and spacious interior of George Street's former banking hall. Now firmly established within Edinburgh's gastronomic scene the venue plates-up beautiful Italian dishes be it à la carte or breakfast. So if you've ever wondered where you can get one of the finest Risotto's in the Scottish capital try one that includes Italian courgettes and smoked pancetta. Alternatively, you could fork out for something a little more expensive and try their Sogliola Atlantica, a chargrilled fillet of halibut with Italian green beans.
3, Cannonball House (356 Castle Hill, Edinburgh EH1 2NE)
Cannonball House is another Contini restaurant that maintains a theme of offering Italian flavours within iconic Scottish architecture. This particular building, first erected in the mid-17th century, is notable for having an actual cannonball embedded in it's western gable. Rumour has it that the ordinance got there in 1745 after being fired from Edinburgh Castle by union troops towards the building in which they believed Bonnie Prince Charlie was residing. This story is widely rebuked in favour of the cannonball having been placed their as a measurement reference by engineers roundabouts 1621.
Whatever the real story, Cannonball House is a fascinating historical landmark, and one in which you can enjoy fine Scottish cuisine with an Italian twist.
4, Tron Kirk (9 Hunter Square, Edinburgh EH1 1QW)
The kirk itself was originally a parish church situated along the southern edge of the Royal Mile before it fell into disuse in 1952. Today this Gothic structure serves mostly as a focal point for tourists during the festival season. It's the adjacent Hunter Square, once a site of fruit and vegetable sellers, that now features a small but welcoming student pub simply called 'The Tron'. It's a good spot to enjoy fairly priced pub grub in the company of locals. Also note that during festival events, particularly the Fringe, Hunter Square and the Tron are always a hive of exciting activity.
5, Ondine Restaurant (2 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1AD)
Ondine is an award-winning seafood restaurant run by professional chef Roy Brett. His establishment prides itself on supporting Scottish fisherman by purchasing their fresh catches and transforming the produce into a bewilderingly diverse range of fish and shellfish dishes. Enjoy a great value set menu that includes salmon gravadlax, steamed Shetland mussels, and chianti wrapped cod. Whatever tickles your fancy you'll be enjoying dinner right in heart of Edinburgh's ancient city centre.
While you're around Ondine you won't be very far from Edinburgh Castle. If you choose to incorporate this attraction into your Heritage Food Trail then you might like to grab a skip-the-line entry ticket.
6, The Fudge House (197 Canongate, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH8 8BN)
Edinburgh's Fudge House is definitely one to look our for if you've got a sweet tooth. Head half-way down Canongate until you reach the brown sign marking out a lovely old boutique shopfront. Inside is where brothers Giancarlo, Paolo and Ottavio make and sell some of the city's most delicious confectionery using a secret recipe that's been in the family business since 1949. Feel like trying a butter tablet or whisky fudge? Pistachio and chocolate orange? Or maybe just a classic vanilla and butterscotch. The Di Sotto brother's age-refined and handmade sweets are sure to suit any taste- this is, so long as you love fudge.
7, The Gardeners Cottage (1 Royal Terrace Gardens, London Road, Edinburgh EH7 5DX)
Take a stroll along from New Town or hop-off at stop 10 on the Edinburgh Majestic Tour and delve into the Royal Terrace Gardens, a stunning green space located beneath the northern slopes of Calton Hill. At the western end of the gardens is a little culinary gem tucked away between the trees and hedgerows. Gardener’s Cottage is a restaurant co-owned by chefs Dale Mailley and Edward Murray. This duo make it their goal to serve up an ever-changing menu using only the freshest, sustainably sourced local produce. You won't find a set menu on their site, only photographic updates of the onsite chalkboard. Enjoy your meal inside their historic B-listed building, originally constructed for the resident gardener in 1836.
8, Stockbridge Market (1 Saunders Street, Edinburgh EH3 6TQ)
A historic farmers markets open every Sunday from 10:00-17:00. It's located within the Jubilee Gardens, a compact and leafy public space bordering the Water of Leith.
9, Edinburgh Farmers Market (Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH52 6RH)
Resting beneath the western slopes of Edinburgh Castle is one of the Scottish capital's most renowned culinary gems. Edinburgh Farmers’ Market takes place every Saturday from 09:00-14:00, and brings together over 50 of the nation's fresh food producers. Of this recent tradition (in its 15th year as of 2015) famous foodie Loyd Grossman once said: "This has a fabulous setting on Castle Terrace, with Edinburgh Castle behind it, and sells locally sourced food from all over Britain, as well as Scottish produce like lobster, beef and rapeseed oil", (Source: Telegraph).
10, Edinburgh Grassmarket (City of Edinburgh EH1 2JU)
Whether it be streams of 18th century cattle drovers or hordes of modern day sightseers, Edinburgh's Grassmarket is and always has been a hive of activity within the Scottish capital. The public gathering point is popular amongst festival goers as an entertainment hotspot, and also foodies for its Saturday Market and abundant eateries. Be adventurous and try a haggis and apple pizza at Mamma's Pizzeria (yet another Scots-Italian connection), grab a quick panini at Caffé Piccolo, or order up a hearty platter of nibbles in Slighhouse.