If you are dreaming of being whisked away to Paris this Valentine’s day, but like me suspect that’s not going to happen, we have a pick of our top 5 romantic places in Edinburgh to eat this year.
When you think of THE most romantic place in Edinburgh to eat The Witchery has to come at the top of the list. Called the “Ultimate Romantic Bolthole” by the Guardian, it is a much loved Edinburgh institution. A stone’s throw from the Castle esplanade, housed in a 16th century building, the restaurant is like entering a scene from a decadent past. The oak panelled rooms, red leather seats, white linen and candelabra are the perfect setting for the most romantic of meals. The Fruit de Mer is a lovely starter to share, local Scottish langoustine, oysters (better not miss the aphrodisiac), clams, mussels, crab, smoked trout served on ice. The main courses are a mixture of delicious fish and meat dishes, including Roast Loin of Cairngorm Venison, simply the words confit of golden beet and pommes Anna make me hungry, verjus, prune and cardamon, glazed fig and Roast North Atlantic Monkfish with squid ink risotto. Divine!
Tucked away in Thistle Street Lane North Café St Honoré is a little slice of French heaven right in the centre of the city. Chef Neil Forbes and his team believe in the slow food ethos, serving the best fresh locally sourced produce thereby supporting the local economy. The interior is lined in dark wood, tiled floors and white linen table cloths with fresh flowers and candles on the tables, think 1930’s Paris rather than 21st Century Edinburgh. The menu is mouth wateringly delicious and lists some of the local origins of the food, for example: Pickled Phantassie Organic Beetroot, Katy Rodgers’ Crowdie, Hazelnuts, Organic Apple. Phantassie is an organic farm on the east coast, south of Edinburgh and Katy Rodgers Cheese is made on Knockraich Farm, in Stirlingshire. If you are looking for a fabulous taste of Scotland with some French romance, this is definitely the restaurant to visit.
If you want to add a little spice to your Valentine’s day, with a view of Edinburgh to die for, head to Chaophyra Thai restaurant right in the heart of the city. You can relax with a cocktail before dinner on the enclosed balcony which boasts views over the Forth to Fife, and make sure to book your table in the glass covered section with views of the castle to impress your date! The menu has all the usual Thai classics, Green and red curries, some lovely starter platters to share and some interesting dishes on their Thai Re-imagined section, including a dish with Toulouse sausage with red wine and Sous Vide Pepper and Garlic Beef with pearl barley and truffle oil, mung beans and crispy garlic. Chaophyra have a Valentine special offer "Transport your love to Thailand and indulge in an evening of delicious Thai cuisine and carefully crafted cocktails inspired by our travels across the 'Land of Smiles'. Enjoy three courses for £39.95 with a glass of prosecco from their Valentine's menu.
Heading off the beaten path into the district of Marchmont you will find the Rabbit Hole restaurant. Opened in 2015 by husband and wife team Mo Boulay from Canada and Antonello Esposito, from Sicily, they share a love of French cuisine. They prepare everything from scratch and love to use local suppliers like Eddie the fishmonger (their next door neighbour) and J Mellis Cheese. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and the snug is a particularly romantic spot, tucked away from the rest of the room. The menu has a lovely mixture of fish, meat and vegetarian dishes including Red mullet, calamari, saffron orzo salad, Duck breast, celeriac purée, spinach, brambles, bramble jus and Grilled chicory, curly endive, blue cheese salad, toasted walnuts, pear, kale pesto. With a very reasonable wine list this is a place worth venturing out of the centre to experience.
If your romance is new and all of the above might startle off your valentine, we recommend heading to Pickles to share a board of lovely cheeses and find a cosy corner to have a chat over a glass of wine. Nestled in the basement at the bottom of Broughton Street, it is easy to miss this lovely little bar. Think twigs and fairy lights interior, quirky prints, and a little touch of tartan and tweed too. It’s always busy and has a lovely buzzing atmosphere, so don’t be surprised if the time slips away in this wee hidden gem.
Whatever you do, we wish you all the most lovely of Valentines days, and don’t’ forget to check out our Instagram feed for daily updates on gift ideas.