9 quirky places to eat in Edinburgh
Looking to shake things up a bit next time you go out on the town? Have you got a thing for the tasty, and the wonderful? Then Edinburgh’s best quirky restaurants will sort you out.
From a vintage New Orleans-style tavern to a restaurant with a Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory themed menu, the city is full of places that offer that something extra special to go with your food. Check out our picks for some of the quirkiest spots to eat in Edinburgh. Make your next dining experience an eccentric one!
The Voodoo Rooms lives and breathes quirkiness. Located bang in the centre of town, this dynamic venue offers everything from cocktails to fine dining. Housed over numerous floors, it’s a pretty special place to spend your evening whatever the occasion. The glamourous dining room area comes adorned with ornate ceilings, huge arched windows and comfy, plush booth seating, while the bar stocks at least 60 varieties of tequila and rum at any given time. Their choice of cocktails and beers is dazzling too. Definitely one of the most unique bars in Edinburgh.
Warm, cosy and seasonal, Howies restaurants are casual, café-style restaurants serving seriously tasty Scottish cuisine. Options include real Scottish classics like Cullen skink (smoked fish and potato soup), haggis, neeps and tatties, and smoked salmon. Howies Waterloo Place is housed in a gorgeous Georgian building at the foot of Calton Hill – a real head turner with lots of natural light flooding the building, showcasing original period features and contemporary Scottish style. Howies Victoria Street, located in the city’s historic Old Town, boasts stone walls, wooden floors and an eclectic mix of Scottish art that marry with the historic surroundings.
Artisan Cheesecake is a popular, family-run bakery. Their showstopping display of cheesecakes will make your stomach grumble. They make over 250 different kinds of epic cheesecakes, changing their flavours every day to keep things interesting. One of the shop’s most loved creations is the Eton Mess cheesecake. Think of a crumbly biscuit base with a rich, creamy filling and a sky-high topping of crunchy meringues, all finished off with soft whipped cream and fresh strawberries. The ultimate drool-worthy treat!
If you're looking for something healthy, Hula Juice Bar & Café may be just the place. Their menus offer all the healthiest options including tropical açaí or a colourful poké bowl. That they look as good as they taste is just a plus! Their drinks menu is equally healthy and epic with options including fresh juices, smoothies, milkshakes, turmeric lattes and more. Hula’s interior design is also seriously photo worthy. You could feel like you’re in Bali with your smoothie bowl and bright, pastel wallpaper. Give it a try next time you're in town.
Located in a stunning setting of the Signet Library, a meal at the Colonnades is a special treat. Housed within the historic Signet Library, this secluded restaurant is known for the three-tiers of deliciousness served as part of its afternoon tea. Indulge in a delightful selection of finger sandwiches and sweet treats, rounded off with a warming beverage or a glass of bubbly. Perfect for a special treat or celebration!
One table, ten seats and one chef; this fine dining venue is rather special. The very definition of exclusive, you could say. The Table Restaurant might seem a tad refined for this list at first glance, but that doesn’t make it any less quirky. Held in an intimate setting, prepare for an interactive dinner. You’re greeted and served by the chefs. The table overlooks a gleaming open-plan kitchen, and they will talk you through each dish as it’s being prepared. It’s not cheap but you’re in for a truly theatrical experience that you won’t forget for a long while.
Quick bit of advice: don't come here if you don't like potatoes. But if you do, then welcome to heaven. Makars Gourmet Mash Bar offers tasty and affordable bespoke Scottish dishes inspired by the fine local craft farmers, brewers and distillers. An eye-catching option includes Bonnie Prince Charlie chicken with whisky, mustard and cream sauce. Or how about a plate of Hornig’s haggis with turnip mash and a honey and thyme sauce? There’s black pudding for a side, while rösti stacks replace the traditional burger bun. All sounds perfect if you want to fill your belly but not empty your wallet! There’s also a small heated beer garden.Key facilities
- Level access to dining room, cafe or restaurant
- Level Access
- Accessible toilets
Did you know that Badger & Co. is the former home of Wind in the Willows author, Kenneth Grahame? This Georgian building has been transformed into a modern bar and restaurant with furnishings inspired by the gentleman’s club of the Edwardian era. Expect chandeliers, wood-panelled walls and leather Chesterfield armchairs. The rest of the look is partly a nod to the children's book, with paintings of the riverbank characters. There is a courtyard for al fresco drinks and dining and a private dining room. It’s a great Edinburgh hangout if you want to try something different.
The Lookout By Gardener's Cottage takes Scottish dining to new heights – quite literally. This so-called ‘destination restaurant’ sits on top of Edinburgh's Calton Hill within the restored City Observatory and dome – a trendy art and restaurant complex. Imagine a cantilevered glass box suspended over the hill’s slope. To say the views are jaw-dropping here would be an understatement. The daily changing menus match the vistas without a doubt. You must experience it to appreciate the uniqueness of this place.
While we would normally suggest you don’t play with your food, here you can – but of course, before or after your meal. The Sheep Heid Inn not only comes at you with steaks and burgers aplenty, but also lets you enjoy a round of skittles, a type of bowling game (indoor bowling. There’s a hidden 19th-century skittles alley in the back of the restaurant. It’s said that James VI, son of Mary Queen of Scots, had a great time playing the game in 1580. The Sheep Heid Inn is one of Edinburgh’s oldest pubs.
We've only scratched the surface with some of our favourite places. There is plenty more fantastically quirky restaurants and bars in Edinburgh that will fulfil your strangest desires. Think of the likes of The Witchery for the sheer opulence of its interior; Brewhemia for providing whole sections devoted to German bratwurst, currywurst, and kaiser wurst; Lovecrumbs for their quirky flavours embodied by their bacon and maple cinnamon swirl cake with caramel cream cheese frosting; or for instance Urban Angel for their focus on ethical, sustainable food.
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