Edinburgh is a great romantic destination. Evidence of an often turbulent history is there for all to see, and it is a city of great character and charm. From the cobbled streets of the Old Town nestling in the shadows of the majestic and imposing Edinburgh Castle, to the classical architecture of the New Town; from the bustle of the University and its lively surroundings to the more sedate and relaxed suburbs; it is a great place to explore with that special someone. What better way to start a night of flirtation and seduction that with a great meal in enchanting surroundings?
Of course, not everyone agrees on the perfect spot for a romantic meal. For some, romance is inextricably intertwined with notions of opulent surroundings and decadent indulgence. It is hard to resist the magical Gothic charm of the Witchery by the Castle, undeniably one of Scotland’s most uniquely beautiful venues. For others, an intimate Italian restaurant such as Locanda de Gusti is the perfect start to a romantic night out. For something a little different, why not try Aizle which offers a more innovative experience which is bound to stimulate good conversation, as well as impeccable food and a stylish yet relaxing ambiance.
Whatever your preference, we hope that you find the perfect destination in our list of Edinburgh’s top ten romantic restaurants.
Pickles is a delightfully laid back subterranean bar in trendy Broughton Street. Decorated in the manner of an eccentric library or drawing room with large clocks, pictures and mirrors adorning the walls, it is above all a very intimate and comfortable place to spend time. Oak furniture and soft cushions continue the rustic feel, and there is even a lovely little beer garden for fair weather. They have a good selection of bottled beers and ciders and a decent wine list. However, the touch of genius is the selection of sharing platters of meat and cheese backed up by pates, chutneys, and pickles.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: 5 pm is a great choice for an unconventional yet romantic and intimate meal.
Simon’s expert tip: You can also buy a jar of your favorite chutney or pickle to take home with you.
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New Chapter is a chic restaurant in Eyre Place, near to the foot of Dundas Street. The interior is uncluttered with some nice design touches the never become too fussy. The menu follows suit, with local produce and traditional Scottish recipes reimagined and given new life. The ever-changing menu adapts to take advantage of seasonal produce and their desserts are delightfully decadent. The wine list is good, and they also have a wide range of dessert wines and digestives. They have a wonderful private dining room with its own private bar and cater well for larger parties if given advance notice.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: New Chapter is 5 pm choice for a romantic meal, with wonderful food, attentive service and a chic ambiance
Simon’s expert tip: The two and three-course lunch menus are very good value for money and quite delicious
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David Bann’s restaurant is a wee gem, considered by some to be the best vegetarian restaurant in Scotland. The menu is eclectic and innovative with influences from around the world. Thai fritters sit alongside a selection of tempting pastry dishes and delicately spiced smoked tofu, and the whiskey pannacotta is both decadent and delightful. Patrons can enjoy fine dining at a very reasonable price in relaxed, but stylish surroundings just off the Royal Mile. Bann’s is strictly vegetarian, but as the cuisine is both delicious and chic it attracts rave reviews even from meat eaters. Carnivores should give it a go as well.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Serving top quality vegetarian cuisine in a sophisticated and chic environment, David Bann is the ideal location for a romantic meal for two.
Simon’s expert tip: On Saturday and Sunday until 5 pm they serve a delicious brunch with homemade muffins, potato scones and eggs.
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The Stockbridge Restaurant has been delighting locals and visitors alike for over a decade. It is a romantic and atmospheric subterranean delight, featuring wonderful, local produce cooked to perfection. The interior is quite beautiful. Grey slate walls form the backdrop for stunning prints featuring the works of the Scottish Colourists, Cadell and Peploe, and ornately framed mirrors. Gold brocade chairs complement the crisp white linen and silver cutlery. In the evening tiny fairy lights twinkle and candles flicker. The menu features a tempting array of tasty dishes and the portions are more generous than is usual in a fine dining establishment. The wine list is good and they also have a good range of decadent desserts.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The Stockbridge Restaurant is a deliciously romantic and atmospheric spot to enjoy fine dining at a reasonable price.
Simon’s expert tip: The set menu (available Tuesday to Friday) offers a great selection of seasonal dishes and is great value for money.
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Aizle (named after the old Scots word meaning “spark”) is a delightfully unconventional restaurant located in the South side of Edinburgh. Rather than a menu patrons are presented with a list of around twenty ingredients, some familiar, many obscure and intriguing. From this list you discard anything that is not to your taste and you place yourself in the capable hands of the chef and wait with baited breath. A four course meal costs around £40, a seven course tasting menu is £70 (but by the time you add in all of the little extras such as the delicious artisan bread it feels more like a luxurious feast) which proves to be very good value for money. The décor is cool, clean and minimalist and the food is immaculately presented and delicious. It is definitely worth stepping outside of your comfort zone to try this experimental approach to Scottish cuisine.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Aisle’s innovative cuisine and chic surroundings make for a very memorable date.
Simon’s expert tip: You will not recognize all of the items on the list of ingredients, but staff are knowledgeable and helpful and it pays to take a chance!
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Rhubarb is the decadent and romantic restaurant of the Prestonfield House Hotel. Nestling in the shadow of Arthur’s seat, Prestonfield House is a beautiful seventeenth-century building. The restaurant is formed from two opulent oval rooms in the heart of the house, decorated with plush rich fabrics. Pre-dinner drinks are served in four ornate and beautiful drawing rooms and the dining rooms are flanked by a stylish bar and salon where visitors can enjoy cocktails or afternoon tea. The menu features Scottish produce at its best. The a la carte menu features some wonderfully extravagant delights to feast upon, but there is also a very good table d’hote menu which will not break the bank.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Idyllic surroundings, sumptuous interiors and wonderful food make Rhubarb the perfect spot for a romantic meal.
Simon’s expert tip: Afternoon tea in Rhubarb is a delight not to be missed with cakes and pastries which are almost too beautiful to eat.
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The name “Forage and Chatter” proves fairly self-explanatory, if rather inaccurate. There is definitely an emphasis on foraged food in this wonderfully eccentric restaurant, but the chatter is often curtailed by the quality of the dishes. Decorated in a fairly rustic fashion with reclaimed wood furniture, tweed soft furnishings and dim and twinkling lighting, the interior is very comfortable and welcoming. The menu is interesting and inventive, but not so unfamiliar as to make you worry too much when ordering. Most importantly, the food is wonderful and presented with panache and a little humor. This restaurant is most definitely a pleasure worth seeking out.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Beautiful surroundings and wonderful food make for a great spot for romantic dining
Simon’s expert tip: All desserts are not created equal, do not miss the Vahlrona Mousse!
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An interesting blend of foraged salad leaves and rare herbs is combined with the finest meat and seafood that Scotland has to offer in this fine dining establishment. The restaurant is situated in a prime location on the Royal Mile. The decor is fresh and light, the atmosphere is relaxed, and although this is definitely fine dining there’s a lack of pretensions. You can opt for a two course lunch is you don’t want to spend too much, but for the full experience you should come at night and go for the “Deciding time” which provides you with a glass of champagne and an amuse bouche selection while you peruse the menu.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The “Wee Tour of Scotland” Menu is simply divine and a very good introduction to great Scottish cuisine
Simon’s expert tip: Wedgwood serves delicious dishes with locally sourced ingredients in a wonderfully chic but relaxed environment, and their “deciding time” entree is a novel and delightful introduction to your meal.
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You’ll find plenty of nooks and crannies in this atmospheric Old Town Edinburgh restaurant and bar. The building itself dates back to the sixteenth century and the name derives from an interesting carving in the Thistle Chapel of the St Giles Cathedral. It’s a great place to drop in for a coffee or a drink, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you miss out on the fabulous menu. You’ll find classic Scottish notes in the menu and the finest ingredients. The seasonal menu is full of delicious options and playful dishes like the Angels with Bagpipes Tunnocks Cake. The presentation is also stunning.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The intimate private dining room is one of the most romantic spots to share a meal.
Simon’s expert tip: Request the Halo room when you book for a snug and intimate romantic meal.
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The Witchery has two dining areas, both magical and atmospheric. Whether you choose the darkly romantic sixteenth-century Witchery, with its rich red leather booths, oak paneling and flickering candles, or the wonderful Secret Garden, an open leafy courtyard festooned with vines and intricate wooden carvings, you are guaranteed a memorable evening. The restaurant showcases the best of Scottish produce, locally sourced and cooked with care and attention. Considering the sumptuous decadence of the surroundings, and the high quality of the food, the Witchery is remarkably reasonably priced. It may not have a Michelin star, but it has quickly become one of the most popular Edinburgh restaurants.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The Witchery is one of the most romantic places to enjoy high-quality Scottish cuisine in Edinburgh.
Simon’s expert tip: Those with a love of red meat should not pass up the chance to try the Angus steak tartar which has gained quite a following.
Read more about The Witchery by the Castle →