Edinburgh is a beautiful city with incredible architecture, stunning views, and the best and most diverse restaurants. Put all this together and you’ve got a recipe for a perfect dining experience. No matter where you eat out in Edinburgh, it’s going to be special, but you can’t get much more special than eating at a restaurant with a view of the castle. The iconic Edinburgh Castle sits on a hill overlooking the city below, but some of the tucked-away streets and squares hide you away from its splendor, so you aren’t guaranteed a view of this ancient building while you dine. To make sure you can gaze at the castle while you eat, here’s my pick of Edinburgh restaurants with castle views.
Chaophraya is a true hidden gem. In fact, you might need Google Maps to find it! It looks unassuming from the outside, but once inside you’ll find out what all the fuss is about. This Thai restaurant has incredible views. The restaurant has a rooftop location and is beautifully designed inside, with the outer wall being entirely glass. The rooftop location and the floor-to-ceiling windows mean you can see the castle from anywhere in the restaurant. The menu here is really extensive, and you might feel like you’re faced with a novel when you open it up. There’s also a separate vegan menu, meaning everyone is catered for and the choice in dishes is phenomenal. Take some time to choose; they have every Thai dish you can think of.
Book a table in “the glasshouse” which runs alongside the main restaurant on the rooftop, and you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the castle and all of Edinburgh. This is like sitting out on the terrace but protected by a glass wall and ceiling, meaning you can enjoy that outdoors feeling with great views even if the weather isn’t great.
2. Cannonball By Contini
Situated on Castle Hill, Cannonball by Conti is literally laying in the arms of the castle, and you can see this iconic old building up close from the windows of the restaurant. You can’t really get much closer than this. The menu here is sumptuous, but the tasting menu is especially good. There’s also a vegetarian option for the tasting menu. I’d recommend pairing the tasting menu with the wine flight. It’s a little expensive, but so worth it. There’s no comparison to taking your time over these small dishes, paired perfectly with wine, while gazing out the window at the castle. The produce here is seasonal, meaning the menu differs depending on what time of year you visit, and where possible, it’s locally sourced, so you know it’s authentically Scottish.
3. The Lookout
The Lookout is perfectly named. Perched high up on Carlton Hill, the restaurant supplies views not just of the castle, but the entire city of Edinburgh. This is like a lookout point that’s a restaurant. It’s a stunning location, and you really do feel like you’re way up in the hills. This is a small and unique restaurant that many visitors don’t seek out because it’s a walk to get to it. The walk is worth it though, as you are rewarded with the most incredible scenes. The walls are glass from top to bottom, so no matter where you sit, you have those sought-after views. It’s a lovely place to go for breakfast or brunch, as the light is ideal for the setting early in the morning. There’s a laid-back atmosphere in the restaurant, and it always feels like a lazy Sunday morning. It’s the perfect place to sit back with a coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening.
In the evening, The Lookout has a tasting menu with a wine flight. It’s a good selection, but much more expensive than you’ll find elsewhere in the city. You’re paying for the incredible views here, so I’d recommend going for breakfast or brunch.
4. The Outsider
The Outsider, despite its name, looks fairly modest from the outside, but once you’re inside you’ll find a restaurant with a lively atmosphere and great food. There’s something of a buzz around this restaurant that tells you people want to be here. It serves some amazing seafood dishes, and you can enjoy your meal with uninterrupted views of the castle. One of the things about this restaurant that keeps visitors coming back again and again is the fact that the menu is always changing, and it’s always so good. This means no matter how many times you eat here, you’ll always find something different. There are some elements of the menu that stay the same, but for the most part, you can expect to be surprised. I love the ad-hoc feel of the menu, even though in reality it’s anything but. I’d recommend eating seafood while you’re here, as it really is their specialty.
I love seeing an extensive wine list in a restaurant, and The Outsider has a really solid and lengthy list. The French Picpoul de Pinet is perfect with fish.
5. The Pompadour At The Waldorf Astoria
After his appearance on MasterChef: The Professionals, Dean Banks made something of a name for himself, but food lovers already knew how great his food was. He now runs The Pompadour restaurant at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Princes Street. This is most definitely fine dining. The restaurant is beautiful and simple while being luxurious at the same time, just like the food. Everything here is beautifully designed and thoughtfully laid out, and the food keeps closely to the local bounty of Scotland. The elegance inside the restaurant is perfectly matched by the views of the castle, which can be seen from the restaurant windows. This restaurant first opened in 1925, and you’ll find much of that original atmosphere still exists here. The décor stays close to its history; there’s a whisper of those roaring ’20s in every corner.
6. The Johnnie Walker Experience
The Johnnie Walker Experience on Princes Street can feel like a world of sensory overload. The colors in the bar are bright and neon, the whisky has a punch, and the food being cooked in the kitchen smells incredible. But if you want a little quiet time to enjoy pulled pork doughnuts with a dram of whisky and your own thoughts, ask for a table out on the terrace and you’ll find peace and the most incredible view of the castle. The restaurant is perfectly placed, right across the road from the castle. With nothing in between to hinder the view, it’s simply breathtaking. This is more than a restaurant; as the name suggests, it’s an experience, and you can combine a trip for lunch or dinner with a distillery tour and a whisky cocktail in the bar.
Some of the seating in the restaurant is a little uncomfortable. You might also find, if you visit for lunch you’re seated on sofas rather than a table and chairs, which will make eating lunch uncomfortable and difficult. Ask to be seated at a table, or better still, on the terrace for those views.
7. Harvey Nichols
Harvey Nichols has a name that speaks about luxury, but even though the store’s reputation precedes it, the restaurant on the rooftop here offers comforting food, and even quite hearty meals. The idea is that this is a pitstop mid-shopping. Most people heading to Harvey Nichols are doing so for the shopping experience, so the bar and restaurant upstairs are an added bonus rather than a destination in their own right. But I’d encourage anyone to seek the restaurant out whether you’re going shopping or not. The menu is perfect for a mid-shopping break, but also for brunch and lunch even if you’re not shopping. The rooftop location of the restaurant makes it a beautiful spot to stop and take some time out. One wall is entirely glass, and if you step out onto the terrace on a clear day, the castle is right there in front of you.
8. Yo Sushi
Yo Sushi is a well-loved chain of sushi restaurants, but not many branches have a view like this one. As the small plates of sushi snake their way around the conveyor belt in the window of the restaurant and you sit upon the high stools and try to choose from the train of goodies, look up and you’ll see you have the most perfect view of the castle. If you’re not familiar with the food at Yo Sushi, it’s small plates of sushi dishes on the conveyor belt with other dishes to be ordered from the menu. It’s sushi fast food and not for everyone’s taste, but this particular branch does have the added value of being in a prime castle viewing spot.
If you haven’t been to Yo Sushi before, watch those small plates. They pile up fast and before you know it, you’ve spent a fortune.
For more ideas on a trip to Edinburgh, check out these articles:
- The Unique Cocktail Bar In Edinburgh Where You Can Stay The Night
- 4 Reasons This Classic, Luxurious Hotel Is A Must-Visit
- 7 Can’t-Miss Authentic Pubs In Edinburgh
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THE Arcade Restaurant
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