Cafe St Honoré

Modern European, Scottish·
Bronze Award

SquareMeal Review of Cafe St Honoré

Bronze Award

A longstanding fixture on the Edinburgh scene, Café St Honoré has a classic fin de siècle Parisian look that could have come straight from a canvas by Manet or Renoir. Bentwood chairs are set upon monochrome checkerboard floors while tables are laid with sparkling napery, gleaming white crockery and shiny cutlery.

The food is both more modern and pan-European than the nostalgic setting suggests, with good use made of Scottish ingredients (many organic) where possible. The cooking is in the hands of Neil Forbes – Scottish Chef of the Year 2011 – who used to be at Edinburgh’s late lamented Atrium restaurant.

Things kick off with seafoody starters along the lines of a smoked salmon tartare with pickled cucumber, dill and crouton, or hand-dived Orkney scallops with organic nduja and apples.

Follow, perhaps, with North Sea hake with mash, pak choy, fennel and shellfish bisque or go meatier with the likes of confit chicken leg with sautéed heritage potatoes, chanterelles and greens, or Perthshire venison with black pudding, roast roots and greens. Desserts are traditional – crème brulée, apple cake, chocolate fondant – or there are British cheeses with oatcakes and chutney.

There’s also a short, good-value set menu of ‘Café Classics’ – think ham hock terrine with piccalilli, fish pie, Irish stew and desserts including crème fraîche mousse with English gooseberry compote.

The daily changing menus include dairy-free and gluten-free options, and there's an excellent French-leaning wine list which is well worth investigating for 15 bottles by the glass.

Look out, too, for seasonal masterclasses when Forbes showcases chef tips and technique, with a glass of fizz and a two-course lunch thrown in.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Modern European, Scottish
Cosy, Lively, Romantic, Traditional
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Gluten-free options, Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Birthdays, Celebrations, Dates, Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


Tucked away on a cobblestone lane just off Thistle Street, Cafe St Honore serves a daily-changing menu inspired by Scottish produce. At the helm is Neil Forbes, formerly of Atrium and holder of The Scottish Chef of the Year 2011 title. It’s an elegant bistro, serving a refined menu of French-adjacent fare within similarly elegant interiors.

Behind the Parisian blue frontage and net curtains, you’ll find a smart film-set-worthy cafe adorned with elegant linen tablecloths, checkered floor tiles, and carefully tarnished mirrors. It’s not a large dining room, but it's a mighty one without a hair out of place. It’s the type of restaurant you’d expect to have a regular clientele of poets, painters, and cultural cognoscenti - but it’s not a place for frills and pretentiousness. The Cafe St Honore menu is one of simplicity and technique, making use of local produce and supporting independent suppliers where possible.

Dishes come to us as Franco-Scottish amalgams. You can kick things off with organic pork rillettes served with piccalilli, Belhaven smoked trout with pickled cucumber and horseradish cream, or chargrilled Phantassie asparagus with hollandaise. The mains have previously included plates of slow-cooked lamb shoulder served with a herb crumb, ratatouille, and salsa verde; and pearlescent fillets of East Coast cod, with a saffron veloute, sea spaghetti, and Shetland blue shell mussels and aioli.

You’ll also find an approachable lunchtime menu of cafe classics, presented as a two or three-course set menu. And the wine list contains several bottles from across the globe showcasing the best of the new and old world styles. The desserts are classics in style, with choux buns, chocolate fondants, and creme brulees on offer. But if you can’t save the space for dessert on your visit, keep an eye on the website for Forbes’ own recipes including that for his creme brulee.


Are there gluten-free options on the menu at Cafe St Honoré ?

Yes there are gluten-free options on the menu at Cafe St Honoré .

Helpful? 0

Cafe St Honoré is featured in


34 North West Thistle Lane, New Town, Edinburgh, EH2 1EA

0131 226 2211 0131 226 2211


Opening Times

Mon 12:00-14:00
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu 12:00-14:00
Fri 12:00-14:00
Sat 12:00-14:00
Sun 12:00-14:00
Mon 17:15-21:00
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu 17:15-21:00
Fri 17:15-21:00
Sat 17:15-21:00
Sun 17:15-21:00


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1 Review 


13 December 2021   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 3.5
Amazing evening!

Great food, great atmosphere, great service!

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