It’s no secret that I love eating and drinking, and by now I’ve worked my way round a pretty big number of Edinburgh’s restaurants. But there are always new places opening up, and plenty “to-visit” places on my list that I’ve been meaning to try for years.
So, it’s always helpful when there’s an event on to encourage you to try out more of Edinburgh’s foodie hotspots. The Edinburgh Restaurant Festival is back for another year, running from 5th-25th February, and there’s lots to check out. Focused on the restaurants around George Street, Princes Street, Rose Street and St Andrew Square, there’s a variety of luxury chains and local independent restaurants to choose from.
Here are a few of my top picks of things to do at this year’s Edinburgh Restaurant Festival.
The Moveable Feast
The centrepiece of the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival is the Moveable Feast, a unique dining experience that will take you to five different locations to enjoy a course at each. It’s on every Tuesday evening throughout the festival (5th, 13th & 20th February) and begins with drinks and canapés at the Voodoo Rooms.
Then the feast begins with a starter and paired drink at Gaucho, a palate cleanser at the Eteaket Frederick Street Tea Room, a main course and drink at The Rosehip, dessert at Tigerlily and finally a nightcap at Hyde & Son on George Street. Book your ticket here.
The Secret Dining Experience
Another exclusive foodie experience, created specially for the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival, is the Secret Dining Experience. As the name suggests, the exact location and menu are being kept under wraps to ensure the meal is a complete surprise.
Guests will meet at the Melville Monument in St Andrew Square (1pm and 3pm on 15th February), then will be escorted to a unique venue which promises to intrigue and delight. Book your ticket here.
Discovery Cocktail at The Ivy on the Square
As well as enjoying good food at the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival, don’t forget to check out the drinks menus of the restaurants taking part. The Ivy on the Square have created a brand new cocktail for the event, called the Discovery.
The cocktail brings together elements of an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan to create a sophisticated drink. It’s made using Shackleton Scotch Whisky, Barolo Chinato Vermouth, honey and rosemary syrup, and Peychaud’s Bitters. Perfect as an aperitif before tucking into The Ivy’s classic menu – I’d recommend the shepherd’s pie! Book your table here.
Scottish Seafood at Cadiz
Lots of restaurants along George Street are offering special discounts, set menus and complimentary dishes as part of Edinburgh Restaurant Festival. One of my favourite restaurants in the area is Cadiz, who specialise in fresh Scottish seafood with a Mediterranean twist.
They’re offering two courses for £16.95 or three courses for £20.95 on weekdays throughout the festival, with delicious options like calamari with chilli and sea salt, grilled king prawns with smoked paprika oil, steamed mussels with white wine and chorizo and sea bass with new potatoes and roast pepper salsa. Book your table here.
World Nutella Day at Harvey Nichols
Did you know it’s World Nutella Day on 5th February? Me neither, but now I know about it I need to go to Harvey Nichol’s celebration of everyone’s favourite spread on 4th-5th February.
The Forth Floor restaurant has created a special Nutella-filled menu for the occasion, with everything from Nutella, peanut butter and bacon sandwiches for the more adventurous, to classic options like Nutella and banana French toast. Book your table here.
Lamb Raan Bun at Dishoom
Several of the restaurants around St Andrew Square are also taking part in the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival, including Dishoom. They’re offering a special dish for the festival, the lamb raan bun, which includes succulent lamb, pickles and onions served in a sourdough bun along with sali crisp-chips and deep fried green chillies.
Dishoom have also created an exclusive cocktail for the occasion, the Robert Burns Whisky Tipple. Enjoy the specials at lunch or dinner, and head to the Permit Room bar afterwards for some drinks. Book your table here.
Beer Dining Experience at 1780
If you’re a beer fan, don’t miss out on the Beer Dining Experience at 1780 Restaurant on Rose Street. They’re holding two beer tasting evening during the festival, on 15th and 22nd February.
The restaurant has teamed up with The Ferry Brewery and Cross Borders Brewing for an evening of delicious food and local beers. Choose from either a three course menu or a four course tapas-style feast, with each dish paired with a different beer. Book your table here.
Don’t forget to check out the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival website to see the full line-up and plan your culinary journey around the city!