What’s worse than asking someone on a date? Choosing where to go. Luckily, we have just the answers. Whether it’s to blow the big bucks on an afternoon tea or have a chilled out date night at the local, these Edinburgh spots are a must when visiting the city.
Palm Court, The Balmoral
– 1 Princes St
The Balmoral is arguably Edinburgh’s most iconic hotel. The Rocco Forte property has the most coveted address on Edinburgh’s Princes Street, towering between the regal Old Town quarters on the city and the trendy Georgian New Town. Within The Balmoral is the beautiful Palm Court, a room of gilded grandeur that feels so far from modern-day Edinburgh. Reminiscent of scenes in the Great Gatsby, the formal proceedings include impeccable silver service with a few delightful twists from the knowledgable staff. Sip on some of the world’s finest, sustainably sourced teas and indulge in the renowned pastry splendours beneath Venetian crystal chandelier and towering palm trees. Don’t forget to wait for the handmade ice-cream cones at the end – a totally tropical experience in dreich Edinburgh.
El Cartel Mexicana
– 64 Thistle St and 15 – 16 Teviot Place
One of Edinburgh’s finest establishments, it became so popular (like three hour wait popular) that they made two! Locals rejoiced as now you can dig in to deliciously spicy tacos and homemade guac without having to wait forever. The restaurant has a London vibe, with awesome staff, epic playlists and an ever-flowing array of frozen margaritas to keep diners entertained as they recover from their taco coma.
The Ivy on the Square
– 6 St Andrew Square
With glitzy interiors, a sophisticated menu and cocktails aplenty, The Ivy on the Square is a must-visit restaurant for a glamorous date night. Don your gladrags and meet your date at the Art Deco-inspired bar for a glass of The Ivy Collection’s own Champagne, before heading to a table for two. Indulge in something decadent from the menu – like grilled whole lobster with garlic butter and thick cut chips, or fillet steak with bearnaise sauce and truffle and parmesan fries – while you watch the sun set over St Andrew Square.
– 3 Royal Terrace
Named as one of Edinburgh’s most romantic restaurants by The Telegraph, Michelin star restaurant 21212, offers an unforgettable romantic date night experience. Dine in the opulent Georgian townhouse and discover the unique tasting menu designed by award-winning chef, Paul Kitching. The creative and mysterious menu changes every week with new concepts being developed all of the time so you can expect something very different each time you dine at 21212. You can also enjoy the 21212 experience a bit longer, by taking advantage of their rooms within the townhouse. The classically chic rooms and replenishing breakfast the next morning will ensure that your evening will go down in history.
Le Roi Fou
– 1 Forth St
Owned by Chef Jérôme Henry, Le Roi Fou, (‘The Mad King’) is located in Edinburgh’s vibrant New Town. Le Roi Fou offers a relaxed fine dining experience and serves modern European dishes influenced by Jérôme’s French-Swiss roots and extensive culinary career in fine restaurants, including as Head Chef at Anton Mosimann’s private dining club.
Le Roi Fou opened in 2017 and has gone on to win multiple awards, recognising its use of local Scottish ingredients. Le Roi Fou’s seasonal à la carte or tasting menu is perfect for an evening to remember in stylish surroundings, designed by its creative director Isolde Nash, in the heart of the city.
Contini George Street
– 103 George Street
Nothing says ‘amore’ more than a great Italian. Dine in the opulent George Street banking hall interior surrounded by cherubs and luxury furnishings as if you were in a Florentine palazzo. Enjoy their classically Italian menu featuring dishes using the best fresh produce, such as mozzarella di bufala DOP with blood oranges, toasted fennel seeds, avocado puree and a Taggiasca olive tuile or their classic pasta dishes, made fresh every day with some perfectly paired cocktails. Perfect for sharing with your loved, or enjoying all to yourself, there is something for everyone.
The Stockbridge Restaurant
– 54 St Stephen St
Those who say that romance is dead haven’t visited The Stockbridge Restaurant. Nestled in a candlelit basement venue on St. Stephen Street, it’s one of the city’s only family-run two AA Rosette restaurants; this is the best of Scottish fine dining without the pretension.
Voted one of the Sexiest 20 Restaurants by The Times, The Stockbridge Restaurant makes for the perfect romantic evening. The ivy covered doorway situated at the foot of age-old stone steps opens onto an intimate space awash with character. Natural stone walls create an atmospheric ambience with a striking fireplace, overflowing with wax from candles burned out during intimate evenings of dining takes stance at the head of the room.
– 18-24 Deanhaugh street
Owners of the ever-popular Kenji Restaurant have outdone themselves with this basement beauty, whose name means sea or ocean. It takes a brave person to open another Japanese restaurant just a 3 minute walk from their already booming property, but Umi brings a relaxed, truly authentic Japanese dining experience to the Edinburgh food scene. The choice of dishes on the menu is much more explorative than Kenji and the decor resembles a cross between a Gion restaurant and a trendy ryokan. It’s my favourite place to eat in Edinburgh, not least because the sushi is the freshest you can get in the city!
– 81-85 Broughton St
If a laid-back date is more your style, book a table for two at The Barony. This historic Broughton Street bar is also a fantastic gastropub, with a lovely buzzing atmosphere that’s perfect for a first date. The food is a step above the usual pub grub, with options like truffle mac and cheese with brioche croutons, or hot smoked salmon couscous salad with grilled veg, coriander and harissa yogurt. Behind the bar, you’ll find plenty of local beers on tap, malt whiskies and craft gins – and The Barony is open until 1am so you can continue your date until the wee small hours!
Cold Town House
– 4 Grassmarket
A new addition to the historic Grassmarket in Edinburgh, Cold Town House offers an uninterrupted view of Edinburgh Castle from their roof terrace. Enjoy a Cold Town Beer from their selection brewed in house, or a perfectly mixed cocktail with a pizza, fresh from their Neapolitan wood-fired pizza oven, whilst gazing at the perfect view. The roof terrace is fit for all weathers, with their cozy ski gondolas straight from the French Alps, fluffy blankets and outdoor heaters. Perfect to keep you warm during the chilly Edinburgh evenings.