If you’re spending the day in Edinburgh city centre you may well be looking for George Street restaurants. This eclectic bunch of guys all offer something a little bit different.
There are small independent names coupled with big branded chain restaurants in this end of town, so it really is down to you what you go for. If it’s a quick bite to eat at lunchtime in between shopping then a bowl of noodles from Wagamama might be perfect, but if you’re after a date night spot then Café St Honore makes a really special setting for a romantic evening, with high quality cooking and attentive service to boot. From pub grub and Thai plates, to all-out American cooking we’re sure you will be able to find something you like, whatever you’re looking for.
We’ve taken the liberty of suggesting close by eateries, as well as George Street restaurants themselves, because we’re of the opinion that a good dinner is worth walking for. But all of our picks are no more than a five minute stroll from George Street itself, so they won’t be a huge detour when you’re out and about.
If you’re visiting over the weekend or during the Edinburgh Festival you might want to book well ahead as this popular postcode does get rather busy.
Restaurants on George Street
These George Street restaurants are on the main drag itself, giving you the easiest access to a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner in the heart of Edinburgh's shopping district. If you don't mind stretching your legs a little further then you can scroll down to our section on restaurants near George Street, rather than ones slap bang on the road itself.
This large South American steak restaurant isn’t one to take your vegan pals to, but if you’re a carnivore who enjoys nothing more than hunks of well-cooked meat to fill up on, then Fazenda is the place for you. To start you’ll be able to help yourself to the restaurant’s salad bar, which includes cold meats and bread, before using a small double-sided card on your table to signal to the servers that you’re ready for the main event. When your card is turned green side-up the chefs will bring out different skewers of sizzling meats and serve them to you at your table until you’re full and turn your card red side-up.
Cuisine: South American
Where: 102 George Street, EH2 3DF
This small Scottish chain restaurant (there are branches in Glasgow and Aberdeen, too) serves up tapas in a buzzy atmosphere. The décor, as you might expect, is eclectic and rustic, with pretty patterned tiles and mismatched furniture. You can expect all the classics like garlicky gambas pil pil and patatas bravas, as well as some lesser-known plates, like carrillada de cerdo, which sees pork cheeks braised in Spanish blonde beer and sweet sherry, and served with thyme and garlic lentils.
Where: 77B George Street, EH2 3EE
The Alexander Graham Bell
If you’re after something cheap and cheerful then you can’t beat a bit of pub grub, and The Alexander Graham Bell serves up all the usual suspects. This is a Wetherspoon’s, so don’t go expecting high-end far, but you can expect to get change out of a tenner for your lunch or dinner. From steaks and curries to fried breakfasts and burgers, there should be something everyone will fancy.
Where: 128 George Street, EH2 4JZ
We’re yet to meet someone who doesn’t like Italian food, thanks to its winning combo of carbs. Gusto serves all kinds of aforementioned carbs, with a menu that has dedicated sections for pizza, pasta and risotto. One of our favourites has to be the traditional Milanese risotto which is cooked simply with saffron stock for its signature yellow colour, and topped with a slow cooked three meat ragu.
Where: 135 George Street, EH2 4JS
Hard Rock Café
We all know what we’re getting into when we choose to eat in a Hard Rock Café – an excited atmosphere, some loud music and an extensive menu of American classics. This particular iteration of the famous chain has been in situ since 1998 and serves up all kinds of family-friendly fodder – like fajitas, mac ‘n’ cheese, and burgers. They take online bookings for up to eight people, and they do get busy so it’s always worth securing your spot ahead of time if you can.
Where: 20 George Street, EH2 2PF
The Dome is a rather grand affair, with its marble bars and Corinthian columns, and has four restaurants and bars within its space. The Grill Room is probably our favourite one for dinner, but there is another eatery called The Club Room, as well as a room for afternoon tea and a dedicated bar. At The Grill Room you can expect a menu that spans the globe, but still includes a few Scottish highlights within its offering, including a haggis starter and a locally-caught salmon main.
Where: 14 George Street, EH2 2PF
The modern, stylish dining room at Amarone makes eating here feel like an event. The cuisine on offer is Italian, and specifically Milanese, so it’s great for a mixed family group as there are all the usual firm favourites on offer. Start with crisp-fried buffalo mozzarella with a tomato sauce before moving on to linguine alle vongole, which takes a heady mix of white wine, olive oil, parsley, garlic, chilli and clams and mixes it through fresh pasta with delicious results. Got a fussy eater? Don’t worry, the tomato and basil pasta is a fail-safe bet.
Where: 12-13 St Andrew Square, EH2 2AF
Restaurants near George Street
Moving on from George Street itself there are still quite a few good options, and we wouldn’t want you to miss out on a good feed for the sake of a five minute walk. All of the below are close-by George Street itself, and span the globe in terms of cuisine – from Italian and Argentinian to Japanese and Thai.
Looking to get your Thai fix today? Chaophraya should be able to help, with its menu of dishes that expertly balances all those key flavour profiles – sweet, sour and salty. For starters we’d go all out on a platter for two which includes Thai tacos, fish cakes, spring rolls, red curry battered prawns, crispy duck salad and all sorts of sauces, and for mains who can resist a pad Thai? Here there’s the choice between chicken, prawn or tofu. If you’re not overly hungry but just fancy a few snacks then this is also a great spot, as it has rooftop Edinburgh views and a cracking cocktail list.
Where: 4th Floor, 33 Castle Street, EH2 3DN
Sometimes you just need junk food, don’t you? TGI Friday’s deals in American comfort food and is famous for its Jack Daniel’s marinades, which is slathered on ribs and chicken with gay abandon. For different dietary needs there are gluten-free, lactose-intolerant and vegan menus, so this can be a good shout if you’re with a bit of a mixed group where everyone needs different things.
Where: 26 Castle Street, EH2 3HT
The Boozy Cow
Name a better combo than burgers and milkshakes? We’re struggling to think of one that comes close, and The Boozy Cow has capitalised on that, coupling this pair of delights to great success. The restaurant claims its milkshakes are now famous, so it would be rude not to try one, and the burgers themselves are made from locally-sourced meat. The bar serves all kinds of cocktail and beers, if you’re looking to make a night of it. Beyond classic cheeseburgers there are also venison options and a hen and haggis burger that combines a beef patty with haggis and a fried egg.
Where: 17 Frederick Street, EH2 2EY
This small family-run restaurant takes pride in its sourcing of the very best ingredients, which translates to plates that are bright and bursting with flavour. To stick with a traditional choice why not try the Cullen Skink (a Scottish smoked haddock and potato soup) for starters before moving on to a surf and turf for mains, where you’re able to choose your preferred steak that will be accompanied by three king prawns that are sautéed in ‘lashings’ of garlic and parsley butter.
Cuisine: Steak and seafood
Where: 192 Rose Street, EH2 4AZ
If you’re a seafood lover then you’re going to love the Mussel Inn, which serves up all kinds of preparations of shellfish, plus offers a catch of the day on its menu. For starters whitebait is fried until crisp and served with a roasted red pepper and garlic mayonnaise, while tiger prawns are given a Spanish touch thanks to a combination of chorizo, red onion and charred baby gem lettuce. For mains it has to be the mussels, which are rope-grown in Orkney and can be served one of five ways – from natural to Moroccan and everything in between.
Where: 61-65 Rose Street, EH2 2NH
Miller and Carter
If you’re searching for a George Street restaurant to eat in on a Thursday then you’re in luck, Miller and Carter run a date night special offer where they serve three courses for £27.95. Any other day of the week you’ll also be able to enjoy some delicious dishes, with the favourite obviously being a steak. The ‘steak experience’ here includes parsley butter, chips, a roasted tomato and a slice of onion loaf and comes with the choice of six sauces, salad dressings, prime cuts and the option to upgrade your chips to things life beef dripping jacket chips with Scotch Bonnet chilli mayo. There’s also a child’s menu from £7.95 for two courses.
Where: 29-31 Frederick Street, EH2 2ND
On a mission to serve up relaxed and authentic Mexican street food, the team at El Cartel make the atmosphere fun and lively, dishing up delicious plates along the way. All tacos are made in house and can be filled with a variety of toppings. Our favourite has to be the cochinita pibil, which takes slow cooled pork shoulder and combines it with orange and achiote, red onion, sweet and smoky habanero chilli and coriander. All for a very palatable £7. Aside from tacos there are a few other choices, like a daily-changing cevice type, roasted chicken wings and freshly-made guacamole.
Where: 64 Thistle Street, EH2 1EN
The Queens Arms
We always like a place that gives the option to add chips to the side of a sandwich, and The Queens Arms does just that. Safe in the knowledge that you’re in the guardianship of people who care about your carb intake you can relax and peruse the menu which includes classics like a sharing pie for two, served with mash, seasonal veg and gravy; or battered haddock and chips with tartar sauce and mushy peas.
Cuisine: Pub grub
Where: 49 Frederick Street, EH2 1EP
The Honours Brasserie
For fine dining near George Street you really can’t beat The Honours Brasserie, from Michelin Star Chef Martin Wishart. Despite its luxury dining credentials this city-centre restaurant also caters to the little people in your life, serving up a children’s menu for just £12.50. The three courses include starters like corn on the cob with melted garlic and herb butter, mains such as halibut fish fingers, chips and peas, and puds which include a white chocolate mousse with strawberry sorbet and puffed rice. Quite the selection, it would almost do us. Looking to the main menu there all sorts of delicious dishes on offer, like a breast of guinea fowl with baby artichokes, toasted fregola, peas and broad beans, served with a Parmesan veloute.
Where: 58A N Castle Street, EH2 3LU
The Wee Restaurant
The Wee Restaurant, as the name might suggest, is small in stature but not in substance. The food here is really good, made from the best locally-sourced ingredients, and served by a knowledgeable and friendly staff. There’s a bargain Menu Du Jour each day that has two choices for each course, with starters coming in at £5, mains at £11 and puds at £5. You can expect dishes like potato and leek soup with truffle oil, grilled hake with pea risotto and salsa verde, and vanilla panna cotta with blood orange compote.
Cuisine: International, with a French lean
Where: 61 Frederick Street, EH2 1LH
Café St Honoré
As part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, Café St Honore has long been an Edinburgh hot spot for those in the know (and those who care where their food comes from). There’s a daily changing menu and every Sunday there’s a BYOB option at lunchtime. Although no two days will ever be the same you can expect dishes like house-cured smoked salmon with pickled cucumber, organic salad, toasted buckwheat and rye bread; or pork belly with white beans, organic chorizo, greens and apple sauce.
Where: 34 North West Thistle Street Lane, EH2 1EA
This fail-safe Thai restaurant is a lot of locals’ favourite spot to get their Southeast Asian fix, having been around for nearly twenty years. Definitely don’t skip the starters, with some of their best dishes featuring at the top of Dusit's menu – like curry puffs and char grilled chicken satay. For mains we love the pad kee-mow ped which sees spicy stir fried roast duck mixed with vegetables, chilli, garlic and Thai sweet basil.
Where: 49A Thistle Street, EH2 1DY
With no formal airs and graces Yes Sushi is the perfect spot to grab a quick and informal bite to eat. They specialise in, you might have guessed, sushi, and serve it up in all sorts of ways – from traditional raw fish versions to teriyaki chicken rolls. They also give the option to order platters, which give you a good mix of fillings, toppings and roll styles. If you’re with anyone who isn’t the biggest fan of sushi there are a few other things to choose from too, like noodles, soups and stir fries.
Where: 89 Hanover Street, EH2 1EE
For a quick in and out, dine and dash, Wagamama always provides. This Japanese chain restaurant serves up quite the selection of dishes, primarily from Japan but also some from further-flung corners of Asia. We love the chilli squid starter with its sweet and sharp dipping sauce, and the classic katsu curry for a comfort food fix as a main course.
Where: Unit 5 St Andrew Square, EH2 2BD
Promising ‘the true taste of Argentina’, high-end chain restaurant Gaucho deals in top quality steak. Interiors are lavish, with generously spaced tables and dimmed lighting for a luxurious feel, and the menu here is the same as at other branches of this well-known eatery. Start with cevice to keep things light before indulging in a steak served with chimichurri sauce.
Where: 4a St Andrew Square, EH2 2BD
Created by MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers, Wahaca is inspired by the authentic flavours of Mexican street food. You won’t find standard fajita options here, but instead an interesting mix of taco toppings and small plates. One of our favourite dishes is the sweet potato and feta taquito which balances the sweet and salty ingredients perfectly for a moreish snack – the perfect accompaniment for a cold beer.
Where: 16 South St Andrew Street, EH2 2AU
Looking for a room with a view? Check out our guide to Edinburgh's best rooftop bars, the perfect venues to enjoy an evening tipple from.