The 47 best restaurants in Scotland

A list of the best restaurants in Scotland is no small feat to collate given that the country is literally bursting at the seams with world-class cookery.

Updated on 11 February 2022

The success of the culinary scene in Scotland we suppose lies in it being home to some of the most incredible produce found anywhere in the UK. There are the sweet, meaty scallops from the Hebrides, the wild venison from the glens and of course the world-famous salmons from the rivers around the central belt. Taking this produce and transforming it from plain ingredients into plates of pure class are the chefs who keep the best restaurants in Scotland bustling and busy any night of the week. These talented teams are made up of passionate hospitality pros who know how best to showcase the country’s larder in never-ending ways.

Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly lunch spot close to where you live or a fine dining special occasion destination worth travelling for, Scotland really does have it all when it comes to eating out (are we coming off too keen?). Up north you’ll find a few hidden gems which are ideal if you’re looking to undertake the North Coast 500 route, while the Isle of Skye has become a foodie destination in its own right recently thanks to a host of Michelin starred spots which have made narrowing down the best restaurants on Skye a tricky task. Back down in the hustle and bustle of Scotland’s two biggest cities – Glasgow and Edinburgh – every craving is catered for with a plethora of incredible spots serving up all sorts of cuisines.

As any keen diner knows, enjoying a restaurant visit isn’t just about the food. As well as spending hours weighing up the merits of each menu, we also took into account ambiance, décor and service so that you know you’ll be getting a top experience all round. Book now, thank us later.

Sugar Boat

Sugar Boat

30 Colquhoun Square, Helensburgh, Argyll, G84 8AQ

Not known as a foodie haven, the west coast town of Helensburgh is forty minutes from Glasgow and just ten minutes from the bonnie shores of Loch Lomond – which until recently severely lacked decent lunch or dinner options. Filling a gap in the market is Sugar Boat, a smart, small bistro in one corner of the town square that has been recognised by the Michelin guide for its contemporary Scottish cooking. The interiors are pretty trendy too, and the kitchen serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus afternoon coffee and cake which means whenever you’re passing there’s an excuse to grab a table.

£30 - £49
Scottish
British
The Three Chimneys

The Three Chimneys

Colbost, Isle of Skye, Highlands & Islands, IV55 8ZT

Arguably once one of Scotland’s most famous restaurants – previously having held a covetable Michelin star - The Three Chimneys might not hold the draw it once did but we maintain that it’s still one of Scotland’s best restaurants. Found at the northern tip of Skye, you’re going to have to put in a few miles to secure a meal here, but we think that’s all part of the experience. There are rooms if it’s too far for a day trip, and the menu does a beautiful job of showcasing Skye’s unique bounty. It’s here, in fact, that we had one of the best desserts of our life – a sponge, caramelised banana and Drambuie custard concoction that has held a fond place in our hearts ever since.

£50 - £79
Modern European
Scottish
Crabshakk

Crabshakk

1114 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8TD

There’s something that is always going to feel ritzy about ordering oysters on ice followed by a fruits de mer platter. Providing the goods in the heart of Glasgow is the Crabshakk (which also has a site up near the Botanic Gardens now thanks to the original restaurant’s popularity). Despite piles of crab and lobster on the menu, this doesn’t have to just be a special occasion place. Many plates giving you change from a tenner, plus good old-fashioned favourites like fish sandwiches and fish suppers are on offer too.

Under £30
Fish
SquareMeal UK Top 100
The Little Chartroom

The Little Chartroom

14 Bonnington Road, Edinburgh, EH6 5JD

The Little Chartroom started off life as little more than a couple of enthusiastic chefs armed with a six-burner gas stove. Now, a few years and an address change later, it’s become one of Edinburgh’s most popular restaurants. There’s a daily choice of three starters, mains, and desserts each, and food is served in a slick Scandi-style dining room that leaves all the talking to what’s coming off the pass. Recent favourites have included a crab and courgette tartare and a BBQ January king cabbage with a smoked potato croquette, black garlic, and shitake mushrooms.

£30 - £49
Modern European
Kinloch Lodge

Kinloch Lodge

Sleat, Isle of Skye, IV43 8QY

Unless you’re lucky enough to call Skye home, Kinloch Lodge is going to require quite a journey. Luckily, the effort is worth the reward when you’re met by a beautiful lochside home with a cosy candlelit dining room. Plating is a little retro here – cue dots of things on the crockery – but the flavour combinations are unequivocally delicious. It probably helps that the local larder is world-class. Expect ingredients like scallops, hen of the wood mushrooms, highland beef, and halibut from the cold, crisp waters of Portree. These are all accompanied by classic but luxurious extras like butter-fried breadcrumbs, beurre noisette or chanterelle vinaigrette.

Over £80
Modern European
The Shores Plockton

The Shores Plockton

30 Harbour Street, Plockton, IV52 8TN

A daily blackboard menu at The Shores shows off what the kitchen team have been busy preparing for guests each day, with starters mostly under a tenner and mains hitting around the £15-20 mark. While it’s not cheap, for the quality of the ingredients and the cookery, it’s a relative bargain. Views over Loch Carron make this a particularly picturesque spot to enjoy some of Scotland’s best seafood. Take your pick from plates such as chowder, scallops with black pudding or the house ‘medley’ which typically gives you a top-shelf selection of the catch of the day presented simply but elegantly.

£50 - £79
Scottish
Caprese don Costanzo

Caprese don Costanzo

13 Woodside Crescent, Glasgow, G3 7UL

A proper family welcome awaits at Caprese don Costanzo which is the perfect example of a restaurant not trying to be something it’s not. Here you’ll find hearty portions and crowd-pleasing favourites like chicken cacciatore, spaghetti vongole or calamari fritti. The menu in its entirety is comforting, familiar and nearly guaranteed to offer up something everyone will love. The charm is compounded by red and white check tablecloths, bouncy service and walls covered in vintage photographs.

Under £30
Italian
The Palmerston Edinburgh

The Palmerston Edinburgh

1 Palmerston Place, West End, Edinburgh, EH12 5AF

The Palmerston subscribes to the contemporary style of simple food done really well. You won’t find glazes, gels, or smears of sauces here, but instead plates of robustly flavoured combinations that make the most of incredible produce. The daily menu ensures things never start to feel stale and might feature a hearty beef shortrib and suet pie for two with buttered cabbage, or grilled gurnard with butter beans, spinach, celery and caper dressing. There’s an on-site bakery here too, so puds are non-negotiable.

£30 - £49
British
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Bar Brett

Bar Brett

321 Great Western Road, Kelvinbridge, Glasgow, G49HR

If natural wine and open-fire cooking are your thing, you’re going to love Bar Brett, the casual offshoot of Michelin starred Cail Bruich. The cosy bar has just a handful of tables, so make sure to book ahead. There’s a selection of small, big and side plates which draw on influences from international flavour combinations. Grilled young chicken with a chilli and lime salt and soft herbs – for instance – or scallops with a salted egg yolk butter. The knowledgeable team make great pairing suggestions too, so don’t miss out on a glass or two of something good to wash it all down with.

£30 - £49
Bars
International
Wine Bars
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Applecross Inn

Applecross Inn

Shore Street, Unknown, IV54 8LR

There’s something oddly endearing about the pine panelled interiors at Applecross Inn, a cosy pub which specialises in plates of sparklingly fresh seafood served up in front of a roaring fire during the winter or on picnic tables outdoors come summer. While the cooking is solid, it’s the produce that makes this places so special. You’ll have your pick of local gems like langoustine, lobster, scallops, and crab which are all served with simple sides like salad, and bread and butter – the ideal foil for the sweet shellfish.

Under £30
Gastropub
Lochinver Larder

Lochinver Larder

Main Street, Lairg, Highlands & Islands, IV27 4JY

Whether you sit in or takeaway, the reason you’d allocate time to stop at Lochinver Larder is the pies. No frills plates are served with sides of mash, peas and gravy, while the main event can take all sorts of forms. Fillings include chicken curry; steak and ale; venison and cranberry; and poach salmon. There are far-reaching veggie options too, as well as a really delicious, sweet pies section that range from apple and blackcurrant through to chocolate, pear and almond. If you’re not sticking around the takeaway pies make a great walking snack – and can be served hot or cold - or if you can’t quite make it that far north, they send their pies by post too.

Under £30
Scottish
British
Silk Road Deli

Silk Road Deli

34 Minard Road, Glasgow, G41 2HW

Setup by Tanya Golhil, a former Million Pound Menu contestant, Silk Road Deli in Glasgow’s southside is somewhat of a hidden gem populated by locals in the know. While the functional interiors might not be much to write home about, the sandwiches are worth travelling for and include all sorts of internationally inspired creations. Think a tortilla hash with padron peppers, salsa brave, shaved manchego and aioli or a crispy panko sweet potato stuffed sub with katsu gravy, pozu dressed leaves and pickled ginger.

 

Under £30
Fusion
The Gate

The Gate

251 Gallowgate, Glasgow, G4 0TP

We’re willing to admit that we’re sort of sneaking this one in under the guise of a restaurant when it’s really a bar, but we hope you’ll agree that the drinks make this a destination worth visiting in its own right. The Gate – we think – unequivocally serves up the best drinks in Glasgow. The team are pretty passionate about their craft, changing their menus monthly, while food options include classic white bread cheese toasties (with a side of cheese puffs if you’re asking) and some really rather lovely grazing boards that showcase Scottish cheeses.

Under £30
Gastropub
Fhior

Fhior

36 Broughton Street, Bonnington, Edinburgh, EH1 3SB

One of team SquareMeal’s favourite Edinburgh restaurants, Fhior turns out exacting plates that appear simple but conceal a complexity of culinary skill. Prime ingredients are carefully handled to intensify their flavours in dishes such as langoustine with kohlrabi and lovage or aged duck with turnip and scurvy grass. Plates here are unusual, and we love that each time we join the team for dinner we are consistently served a combination we haven’t tried before.

Over £80
Scottish
British
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Grain Store

Grain Store

30 Victoria Street Old Town, Edinburgh, EH1 2JW

As the name suggests, this Edinburgh restaurant is found above the city’s Old Town, in a building that used to house supplies for the shops below. Run by Carlo and Paul, this isn’t a slick, faceless operation but instead a candlelit stone room where a warm welcome is guaranteed by the owners themselves. Everything, from the pasta through to the bread, is homemade and having built strong relationships with their suppliers, the team here has access to some incredible local ingredients. Stop in for pinxtos and beers pre-theatre or take your time over a relaxed lunch or dinner. Come the weekend there’s a cracking Sunday roast.

£30 - £49
Scottish
British
Eleanore Edinburgh

Eleanore Edinburgh

30-31 Albert Place, Leith, Edinburgh, EH7 5HN

Younger sibling to The Little Chartroom (also on this list), Eleanor is the work of Roberta Hall who impressed judges during her 2020 appearance on Great British Menu when she represented Scotland. The menu is creative and interesting, almost hard to pinpoint to a specific genre or cuisine. Seemingly exotic ingredients like kohlrabi and black garlic sit side by side with British favourites like crab or potato flatbreads. It’s hard to put in a box, but that’s what makes it so appealing. While you’re here you’ll enjoy a low-lit space with simple but stylish surrounds.

£50 - £79
British
SquareMeal UK Top 100
FIVE MARCH

FIVE MARCH

140 Elderslie St , Glasgow , G3 7QF

Fine dining is all well and good, but sometimes you just want a hearty plate of something delicious. Leaving the pretention at the door is Five March which serves up please-all plates. Fried chicken burgers sit alongside confit garlic panisse to allow a little something for everyone. The breadth of the menu doesn’t – as it so often can – detract from the offering either. If anything, it’s the restaurant’s superpower, ensuring nobody feels alienated, which results in a glorious humdrum of people there for all kinds of occasions on any night of the week.

£30 - £49
Modern European
Mediterranean
Restaurant Andrew Fairlie

Restaurant Andrew Fairlie

Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scottish Borders, PH3 1NF

Undeniably one of Scotland’s most famous food destinations, the allure of the late Andrew Fairlie’s eponymous restaurant lives on despite the untimely death of the chef. Head Chef, Stephen McLaughlin is now overseeing things and retains much of what people loved about Fairlie’s cooking. There’s the choice of a la carte or tasting menus here, with both giving guests an opportunity to try the kitchen’s signature dish: home smoked Scottish lobster. This iconic dish is inspired by Fairlie’s time training with Michel Guérard and is the kind of food that keeps guests returning year on year.

Over £80
Modern European
Two Michelin stars
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Noto

Noto

47A Thistle Street, New town, Edinburgh, EH2 1DY

Often cited as many a Scot’s favourite restaurant, Noto is chef Stuart Ralston’s second site, following his tasting menu restaurant Aizle. It’s also the proud holder of a Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide. For somewhere with such lofty credentials, the dining room remains pleasingly laidback with simple décor. The menu follows a small sharing style format, and dishes are inspired by a huge variation of international flavours with a decidedly Asian lean. Sesame prawn toast has been reimagined here with katsuobushi flakes while cured trout comes with a tomato ponzu and kohlrabi garnish. This is one for top of your to-dine list.

£30 - £49
Pan Asian
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Locanda de Gusti

Locanda de Gusti

102 Dalry Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2DW

Big flavours and hearty portions make Locanda de Gusti the perfect family-friendly destination in Edinburgh. The food is Neapolitan and as such features plenty of seafood as well as classic pasta dishes like fresh linguine al pomodoro. If you’re open to trying new things we’d suggest plumping for the Fai Tu menu which leaves the specifics of each course up to the kitchen. Your meal will kick off with olives, bread and olive oil before a starter of antipasti which will cover seafood, meats, cheeses and vegetables. Pasta follows before meat or fish mains. You’re able to tailor the offering to your preference, so if you’d like more of one thing the team can accommodate specifics to ensure you have a meal to remember. It’s fun and something a bit different, and – if you’re don’t already – will leave you secretly wishing you were at least part Italian.

£30 - £49
Mediterranean
Italian
The Clunie Dining Room at The Fife Arms

The Clunie Dining Room at The Fife Arms

Mar Road, Aberdeen & Deeside, AB35 5YN

The golden girl of Scotland’s luxury hotel scene, The Fife Arms was never going to serve sub-par food to its punters (because let’s face it, if you’re paying £700 for a room you don’t want an average meal before bed). The dining room is fantastically decorated in a no-expense-spared kind of way, with hand painted walls brought to life by artist Guillermo Kuitca. The menu showcases the best of Scottish produce and is comforting and rich – just the thing to tide you over after a blustery afternoon exploring the world-class countryside on offer at the doorstep.

£50 - £79
British
Ondine

Ondine

2 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1AD

Gorgeous, smartly plated seafood is always the dish of the day at Ondine. Despite its location firmly in Edinburgh’s tourist-trap centre, it has managed to retain its authenticity and high standards. Live fire cooking gives many of the plates a delicious smoky edge and no ingredient seems too luxurious here. Lobster, monkfish, scallops and crab are all present and correct, while meat-eaters might enjoy the rib of beef from cattle reared in neighbouring Perthshire.

£50 - £79
Scottish
Fish
The Printers Rest

The Printers Rest

Cliff Road, Wick, Highlands & Islands, KW1 5BX

Just about as far north as you can go, The Printers Rest is a stone’s throw from John O’Groats and offers the perfect pitstop for those completing the north coast 500. This is an unassuming spot, so don’t turn up expecting silver service but rather appreciate it for what it is: a really good café serving up interesting, hearty fare. Sharing plates of breads and dips are popular, as are the homemade pizzas, salads and the cooked-to-order churros. Homemade drinks also add to the appeal, with a favourite being the bright lemonade.

Under £30
British
Heron

Heron

7, 91A Henderson Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6ED

As with any seaside restaurant worth its salt, Heron subscribes to the aesthetically pleasing shiplap walls and muted colour scheme that is confident in its restraint. The menu works in harmony with its surrounds, with each dish championing a few choice ingredients. The menu is written in such a way that you never really know what you’re going to get: Chicken, grapes, oats, brioche and sprouts, for instance. The details actually prove not to matter in the case of Heron, with the team’s relaxed fine-dining approach resulting in pitch perfect plates every time. The candlelit dining room makes the ideal backdrop for dates, while its location in Edinburgh’s trendiest suburb – Leith – ensures the crowd is lively enough so the atmosphere doesn’t suffer.

£50 - £79
Modern European
L

L'escargot Bleu

56 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH13SA

Chef patron Fred Berkmiller is somewhat of a celebrity in the foodie circles of Edinburgh, having won a slew of awards since he opened his first restaurant back in 1998. Since then, his restaurant has become synonymous with the slow food movement, with Berkmiller growing much of what’s used in his restaurant in his own walled garden. Passionate about produce and seasonality, Berkmiller ‘s traditional blackboard menu changes daily and might feature things steak with bordelaise sauce or grilled snails with a chorizo and garlic butter.

£30 - £49
French
Rocpool

Rocpool

1 Ness Walk , Inverness, Highlands & Islands, IV3 5NE

The further north in Scotland you go, the better the ingredients get (in our humble opinion) thanks to the cold waters and large expanses of countryside – perfect for both sweet shellfish and incredible game. Making full use of its local larder is Rocpool, one of the best restaurants in Inverness and a spot worth travelling for. If you get in before 6.30pm you can take advantage of the early evening menu that is priced at £25.95 for two courses. Dishes change regularly but mains might be loin of Speyside venison roasted with Parma ham and haggis or Shetland cod with a chermoula crust.

£30 - £49
Scottish
British
Cail Bruich

Cail Bruich

725 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G12 8QX

The proud owner of Glasgow’s only Michelin star, Cail Bruich offers incredibly nuanced cooking in the heart of the city. Headed up by one of the best female chefs in the country, Lorna Mcnee (who also happened to win the Great British Menu in 2019), this fine diner offers tasting menus only of either five- or seven-courses. Highland roe deer might be paired with squash, polenta and a sauce gran venuer, while dessert could offer up a pear, yuzu and hazelnut creation.

Over £80
Modern European
Scottish
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
IV10

IV10

18 High Street, Fortrose, Highlands & Islands, IV10 8SX

North of Inverness might not be where you’re expecting to find top drawer food in Scotland, but bucking the trend is IV10, a vibrant café restaurant with family-friendly vibes. At lunchtime there are sharing boards and homemade pizzas (with build your own topping options). Come dinnertime there’s a short run of international favourites presented simply – think crispy buttermilk chicken thighs with a chipotle BBQ sauce or sticky Asian halloumi with a carrot and ginger puree.

Under £30
British
Grandtully Hotel Restaurant

Grandtully Hotel Restaurant

Grandtully , Pembrokeshire, PH9 0PX

Family-run, The Grandtully retains a cosy, neighbourhood pub feel while simultaneously serving up top-class comfort food that changes in line with the seasons. A sort of perfect combination. The contemporary dining room is centred around the bar (which does a mean cocktail in its own right) and has been designed with a range of materials and colours that help to create a cosy ambiance. The menu is headed up by owner Chris, who retrained as a chef after a career in financial services. Here you’ll find his menu of short, sharp bites that put emphasis on bold flavours and making the most of local produce.

£30 - £49
Scottish
British
Fusion
The Hoebridge

The Hoebridge

Gattonside, Melrose, Scottish Borders, TD6 9LZ

What The Hoebridge might lack in size and scale it certainly more than makes up for in personality and punch. This dinky, white-washed restaurant is simply styled, making it the perfect foil for an interesting and inventive menu of the most beautiful Scottish produce. As any Scot knows, a sunny day is a gift, and when the great ball in the sky decides to shine there really is no better place to enjoy a long lunch than the Garden at The Hoebridge. The menu is a solid lesson in how to create dishes with mass appeal, demonstrated through plates like tempura prawns and langoustines with a yuzu aioli or braised oxtail and bone marrow with truffle mash and glazed carrots.

£50 - £79
British
Julie

Julie's Kopitiam

1109 Pollokshaws Road , Glasgow, G41 3YG

Former MasterChef contestant Julie Lin Mcleod’s love letter to Malaysian street food has become somewhat of a cult classic in the years follow its opening. The pared back, perfunctory space in Glasgow’s southside feels as though it’s deliberately deferring to the food to do the talking. From the kitchen plates of addictive nasi goreng follow bowls of traditional curry dal with flaky, buttery roti canai. While this might be no-frills dining, it’s no-frills dining we’d happily eat any night of the week. Properly delicious without a hint of food snobbery.

Under £30
Malaysian
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Ox & Finch

Ox & Finch

920 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G3 7TF

You’ll have to be organised to bag a table at Ox & Finch, which has come up with a formula so popular that its tables get booked up weeks ahead. The formula – it would seem – is serving up sharing plates that aren’t confined to one country or cuisine. Instead, you’ll find a menu of internationally inspired dishes with wide appeal, which includes things like langoustine ceviche; cod cheeks with chorizo; and crispy lamb mince with a cannellini bean saag and raita.

£30 - £49
International
Fusion
The Kinneuchar Inn

The Kinneuchar Inn

9-11 Main Street, Kilconquhar, Fife & Angus, KY9 1LF

This sweet 17th century pub has a fuss-free policy in terms of both décor and dinner and is found in Leven, just south of St Andrews. The main space is one long room with a wood burner in the middle and rows of stripped back tables and pew benches lining the walls, while the food and drinks are comfortingly uncomplicated. Ingredient-led mains like Toulouse sausages with braised lentils, kale and mustard or a Saddleback pork chop with celeriac mash and sauerkraut are the kinds of combinations that see this secret spot on the top of many locals’ list of favourite places.

£30 - £49
British
Gastropub
The Lovat Loch Ness

The Lovat Loch Ness

Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire, Highlands & Islands, PH32 4DU

Boasting the title of the only four-star hotel in Loch Ness, The Lovat also happens to be home to one of the area’s best restaurants with somewhat of a cult following. Here you’ll find beautifully presented plates of modern Scottish cookery from chef Sean Kelly who takes pride in how things look and taste in equal measure. Expect unusual, interesting combinations like pheasant broth with a confit yolk and hazelnut oil or asparagus with pheasant ‘ham’ and nettle puree. The menu is in a constant state of evolution, so one trip here could never be enough.

£50 - £79
Scottish
British
Fish
Hanoi Bike Shop

Hanoi Bike Shop

8 Ruthven Lane, Glasgow, G12 9BG

The smell of fish sauce hits you from the top of the lane as you approach Hanoi Bike Shop just off Glasgow’s Byre’s Road. Tucked away in a two-story building, there are options to enjoy al fresco dining outside or on the balcony above, or you can take a seat in one of the snug, eclectically decorated dining spaces on either level. The menu is fairly comprehensive, covering curries, pho, grills and street food favourites and plates expertly balance the sweet, salty and sharp flavours of Vietnam. Our favourite setup is to leave it to the kitchen who will happily come up with a multi-course menu for £25 per head, allowing you to avoid the trouble of choosing between the delicious sounding dishes.

Under £30
Vietnamese
Unalome by Graeme Cheevers

Unalome by Graeme Cheevers

36 Kelvingrove Street, Glasgow, G3 7RZ

Chef Patron Cheevers has had his fair share of experience, having headed up the kitchen at Isle of Eriska (also on this list) when it won its Michelin star as well as working at Martin Wishart’s eponymous Loch Lomond-side restaurant which also held a star. The chef’s first solo venture is found in Glasgow’s hip foodie Finnieston district, amongst some of the city’s best up and coming eateries. Interiors have been designed in a calming green palette with a mix of banquette seating creating cosy nooks. When dining here you’ll be treated to the full theatre of an open kitchen, plus a menu of modern classics that use the most luxurious ingredients. Think roast Orkney scallops with cauliflower, finger limes and a white wine sauce or Perigord foie gras with white turnip and brioche.

Over £80
Modern European
British
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Timberyard

Timberyard

10 Lady Lawson Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9DS

Achingly cool, Timberyard is a lesson in industrial-style interiors that manage to somehow feel warm. Something – we suspect – to do with the candlelit dining room and painted brick walls. The front of house too is led by a sweet sibling team, while the food is wonderfully up to date. You might start with smoked haddock served with cured egg and wild leeks before enjoying a main of market fish with kale and vin jaune. Cheese and sweets are all available as add ons, and if you really want to go all out there’s a tasting menu which leaves all the decision making up to the experts. Found in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, this is the perfect pre- or post-sightseeing spot if you want to avoid tourist traps in favour of a true taste of city life.

£50 - £79
Modern European
British
The Free Company

The Free Company

The Free Company, Balerno, Midlothian, Edinburgh, EH14 7HZ

Not a restaurant proper as such, but an undisputed foodie destination in its own right, The Free Company is a collective run by a group of friends who grow and rear their own produce. Their home-grown ingredients are then served up in a supper club style every few months in the setting of the farm’s hayloft. Here you’ll find long, communal tables illuminated by candlelight and decorated with seasonal floral arrangements. The menus change with what’s available – naturally – but the team’s specialism is rare-breed pork and live-fire cooking. Expect a three-course menu of hearty plates like chargrilled flatbreads with veg-patch crudites and dips, pork chops with sides and little chocolate pots for pud. Arrive early to enjoy drinks at the bar downstairs before your meal, and if you’re lucky there’ll be live music from Scottish folk bands afterwards. If you can score yourself a ticket (they sell out fast), this makes the perfect place for group get-togethers.

British
Isle of Eriska Hotel

Isle of Eriska Hotel

Benderloch, Isle of Eriska, Argyll & Bute, Appin, PA37 1SD

Boasting views of Loch Linnhe and the Morvern Mountains, Isle of Eriska is a tiny island just north of Oban on Scotland’s west coast. Here you’ll find a classic stately home hotel with all the luxury trimmings you’d expect – including a spa. The real jewel in the crown though is the Michelin starred restaurant at the heart of the space. Found in a traditionally panelled dining room with dark wood furniture and an open fireplace, this is one for diners who enjoy the ambiance as much as the menu. As is the done thing these days, menus flex with the seasons, but you can expect a choice of starters, mains and desserts as well as little extras like an amuse bouche and the option to add a cheeseboard.

Over £80
Modern European
Afternoon tea
The Witchery by the Castle

The Witchery by the Castle

352 Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NF

While Edinburgh certainly doesn’t fall short when it comes to interesting places to eat, The Witchery is in a league of its own. Ornate, indulgent, and completely fantastical, this is a one-of-a-kind dining experience not to be missed. You’ll find your seat in either the 16th Century wood-panelled Dining Room or the romantically styled Garden Room. Whichever you end up in it’ll likely be candlelit and filled with an excited buzz. The menu would make any Scot proud making use of ingredients such as Isle of Mull scallops, haggis from Portobello and partridge from the Balmoral Estate, to name but a few. For those who like to enjoy a Champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget (we count ourselves in such a cohort), there’s a very reasonably priced set menu to take advantage of.

£50 - £79
Modern European
18 at Rusacks

18 at Rusacks

Rusacks St. Andrews Pilmour Links, St. Andrews , Fife & Angus, KY16 9JQ

Despite its reputation for being a wealth magnet, we have to say that St Andrew’s has been somewhat lacking in interesting dining options in recent years. That’s all changed with the arrival of 18 at Rusacks, a restaurant led by Derek Johnstone (the first ever winner of MasterChef: The Professionals, no less). With a CV that spans experience under Michel Roux Jnr at his world-famous Le Gavroche, we think it’s safe to say you’re in safe hands here. You won’t find a gargantuan menu, but instead a well-honed selection of bistro-style favourites. Think dry aged steaks with classic sauces; Orkney scallops with a roasted roe butter; or a celeriac and mushroom pie with Minger cheese.

£30 - £49
Scottish
British
Gloriosa

Gloriosa

1321 Argyle Street, Kelvinhaugh, Glasgow, G3 8AB

Gloriosa is a bright, vibrant restaurant in the heart of Glasgow’s finest foodie district: Finnieston. Here owner Rosie Healey serves up generous portions of ingredient-led plates in a space just a couple of doors down from her first restaurant in Glasgow, Alchemilla, where she split from her business partner a few years back. Healey’s CV includes time at some of London’s best restaurants – including training with Ottolenghi and stages at Quo Vadis, Rochelle Canteen and Padella. The culmination of all this experience is a style that could be summed up as high-end family food. Think sharing bowls of pasta, little pickle plates and wedges of warm focaccia drizzled in bitter, gold olive oil.

£30 - £49
Mediterranean
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Inver

Inver

Strathlachlan, Argyll & Bute, Highlands & Islands, PA27 8BU

Set on the water’s edge over on the west coast of Scotland, Inver’s stunning location could nearly make this a worthwhile jaunt even if the food wasn’t as good as it is. Run by a husband-and-wife duo, the menu flexes with the season but always makes the most of Scottish produce and is served in a pleasingly Scandi-style dining room. Expect refined but unfussy cookery presenting itself in plates of things like langoustine with bread, butter and homemade mayonnaise or wild duck with bitter radicchio and braised lentils. The team makes a mean cocktail too, plus there are log fires to warm yourself by after a walk exploring the neighbouring estate - castle and all. A word of warning though, the service doesn’t always scream Scottish charm, we’ve sometimes found it to be a little on the cool side.

£50 - £79
British
SquareMeal UK Top 100
New Chapter

New Chapter

18 Eyre Place New Town, Canonmills, Edinburgh, EH3 5EP

Colourful, cool plates of food keep this family-run bistro busy every night of the week with a mix of regulars and out-of-towners looking to treat themselves. The vibrancy of the cooking here is down to the dedication the team has to using the freshest ingredients. Dishes are comfortingly familiar in their flavour combinations but always come with a twist. A salmon tartare might be topped with a wasabi ice cream while halibut and beluga lentils could be lifted with lemongrass and ginger. On Sundays New Chapter serves one of the best roast dinners in Edinburgh.

£30 - £49
Scottish
British
The Cellar

The Cellar

24 East Green, Anstruther, Fife, Fife & Angus, KY10 3AA

Fairly traditional, The Cellar has a dark drawing room with a fire at one end and neatly upholstered chairs throughout that combine to create an atmospheric destination. Local boy Billy Boyther is at the stove here, whose experience at Number One at The Balmoral shines through. Plates are precisely executed and beautifully presented, and the tasting menus run seamlessly from course to course. You get seven serves for well under a hundred pounds at dinnertime, while lunch sees a set five courses set you back just £50.

£50 - £79
British
Fish
One Michelin star

As you can see, Scotland possesses no shortage of culinary talent, and with so many differing areas to explore it can be hard to know where to start. May we gently point you in the direction of our guides to the best restaurants in Glasgow and the best restaurants in Edinburgh where you can get to grips with Alba’s best big-city eateries before heading north to explore the food of the highlands and islands via the best restaurants on Skye.