With its iconic castle dominating the city skyline day and night, surely there’s no finer location than the Scottish capital to enjoy dining or drinks with a scenic backdrop. Not all Edinburgh restaurants with a view focus on the castle. Some instead feature Firth of Forth or vistas over the city from a lofty hilltop position.
This guide contains eight of the finest restaurants in Edinburgh with a view – as well as four bars offering drinkers a stunning outlook as they sip a wee dram. If you’d like a side of stunning city skyline vistas served alongside your meal or drinks, look no further than this desirable dozen.
8 best Edinburgh restaurants with a view
1. Twenty Princes Street
Hotel Indigo, 20 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2AN
Twenty Princes Street can be found within Hotel Indigo. As the name suggests, it’s located on Princes Street, right in the beating heart of Auld Reekie.
This award-winning Edinburgh eatery specialises in modern Scottish cuisine. There’s plenty of choice for everyone, from vegans, seafood fans and vegetarians to committed carnivores. Your sizzling steak or colourful, meat-free plateful can also be washed down with your choice from an impressive wine, drinks and cocktail list.
From the Josper Grill to the Juniper Bar, dining at Twenty Princes Street is a delight from starter to dessert. All while you enjoy superb views over the centre of the Scottish capital.
2. Chaophraya Thai
4th Floor, 33 Castle St, Edinburgh EH2 3DN
Drinking in the views of ancient Edinburgh Castle while dining on a sumptuous Thai feast is a highlight of the city’s Chaophraya Thai restaurant.
You’re not just looking through the window here. Rather, an entire wall constructed from plate glass that’s been designed for that precise purpose. There’s also an outdoor space for summer, where the city rooftops are almost within touching distance.
Both the menu and the decor are Thai with a contemporary twist. This place even offers cookery masterclasses. Perfect for recreating authentic versions of the fragrant curries and stir-fries at home.
3. Kyloe Restaurant & Grill
Rutland Hotel, 1-3 Rutland St, Edinburgh EH1 2AE
While the name ‘Kyloe’ may hint at foreign climes, it’s in fact a traditional Scottish term for Highland cattle. This gourmet Edinburgh steak house is all about the finest cuts of Aberdeen Angus, all accompanied by the freshest local produce.
Featuring the restaurant’s signature Australian Cabernet Sauvignon known as ‘Angus the Bull’, the red wine list is every bit as hearty as the grill menu. Though white, rose, sparkling and even orange wines from all over the globe are also available, as are craft beers, gins, cocktails and of course whiskies.
This restaurant with a view in Edinburgh offers views of the castle that are even more delightful than the cowskin booths within.
4. The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage
38 Calton Hill, Edinburgh EH7 5AA
The name alone is surely enough to tell you that The Lookout is one of the best restaurants in Edinburgh with a view. Occupying a lofty position atop Calton Hill, there are sweeping views over the historic cityscape from the full-length windows.
This all-day eatery serves food from 10am to 5pm daily and until 10pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The menu is based on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, served with more than a dash of contemporary culinary flair.
The Lookout restaurant actively welcomes walk-ins with open arms, although due to its popularity booking is always advisable. The evening menu with a wine flight option is good value and may include the likes of Dunbar crab tart, Perthshire venison and Scottish cheeses.
5. Harvey Nichols Forth Floor Brasserie & Bar
30-34 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2AD
No, it’s not a spelling error – the Forth Floor restaurant at Harvey Nick’s in Edinburgh is named for the famous Firth and bridge, which you can gaze out over as you dine or settle down for a drink at the Window Bar.
All-day dining is offered from 11am. It’s also one of the best spots in town for an afternoon tea, a cocktail or a glass of celebratory champagne.
The menu takes its inspiration from all over the globe, so you can start with Greek-style hummus, Thai fishcakes or soup mopped up with focaccia. Mains include steaks from the Scottish borders, chipotle mushroom tacos or pan-fried cod. While the elegant desserts include a pretty pistachio and polenta cake or crumble with rhubarb sorbet.
6. Cold Town House
4 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JU
This rooftop restaurant in Edinburgh is located in the Grassmarket area. It’s a part of town that truly comes to life after dark. Cold Town House is also close to the castle, meaning that diners and drinkers get a front row seat to the illuminated spectacle every evening.
Authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas are topped with a creative array of toppings. And you can wash it all down with the craft beer brewed on site or a glass or two of prosecco.
Though the range of pizzas has a decidedly Italian flavour, the names call to mind local landmarks like Leith, Portobello, Stockbridge and Arthur’s Seat. Topped with salami, beef brisket, chargrilled vegetables and Italian cheeses respectively.
7. The Outsider
1ee, 15 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EE
The Outsider is a real gem of an Edinburgh eatery. Occupying a split-level space on the historic George IV Bridge in the Old Town, it serves hearty portions of tasty, seasonal food – and offers superlative castle views to boot.
A range of daily specials complements the regular menu. And you may even snap up a bargain bin end bottle of wine too. Mouthwatering mains include mussels served with basil cream, gnocchi with romesco sauce, venison with mushrooms or a down-to-earth chargrilled burger topped with Mull cheddar.
The location is in fact reflected throughout the menu. From the cheese board served with Scottish oatcakes to the Edinburgh gin featured on the drinks list.
8. Old Chain Pier
32 Trinity Cres, Edinburgh EH5 3ED
If it’s waterside views that float your boat, the Old Chain Pier is surely the Edinburgh go-to for you. Located in Newhaven, diners enjoy uninterrupted views of the Firth of Forth from Trinity Crescent.
As you might expect, seafood is something of a speciality here. Expect authentic cullen skink or smoked mackerel pate to start followed by fish and chips, hake or mussels.
There are plenty of classics to choose from too, such as mac ‘n’ cheese, haggis with neeps and tatties or various burgers. So even if you’re not the biggest fan of fish, you’ll be just fine. ‘Wee bairns’ are also well catered for with fail-safes like fish goujons or sausage ‘n’ mash.
4 of the best Edinburgh bars with a view
1. Skybar @ Doubletree by Hilton
SKYBar Edinburgh, 34 Bread St, Edinburgh EH3 9AF
Hilton’s dedication to the Skybar concept is no more evident anywhere than at the Edinburgh branch. Situated on Bread Street, it’s convenient for the Old Town, University and Grassmarket districts.
The bar is located on the top floor of the Hilton Doubletree, and thus offers panoramic views over the city skyline. Due to the immense popularity of this place, booking in advance is essential. In fact, the venue advises doing so three months ahead of time.
Selecting one of the window table packages with prosecco or champagne is necessary if you want to secure a seat with a view.
2. 1820 Rooftop Bar
145 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 4BL
Edinburgh’s 1820 Rooftop Bar is also known as the Johnnie Walker bar, as it’s housed in the famous whisky distillery’s Princes Street quarters. The drinking and dining venue offers superb views over the castle and city centre.
Though better known as a bar, 1820 offers an all-day dining menu ranging from light bites to more substantial meals. Perhaps not surprisingly, the options include dishes with an added dash of Scotland’s national spirit.
You can also sample whisky-based cocktails at the 1820 Rooftop Bar. Or opt for something with a more global flavour while gazing out over local Edinburgh landmarks.
3. Nor’ Loft Champagne Bar
6 Market St, Edinburgh EH1 1DE
The ethos at the Nor’ Loft Champagne Bar in central Edinburgh is this: why wait for an excuse to enjoy the pleasure of sipping a glass or more of champagne? This smart bar is located within the Market Street hotel, close to both Princes Street and the Royal Mile.
It’s a chic yet comfortable space, with colourful chairs upholstered in soft, jewel-toned velvet fabric. Marble countertops, cosy sofas and blonde wood flooring completes the look.
This rooftop bar also offers drinkers a view over the castle and Old Town while drinking champagne accompanied by grazing plates or sharing platters. For a truly decadent start to the day, you can also book a table for brunch.
4. Cask Smugglers
Waverley Mall Rooftop, 3 Princes St, Edinburgh EH1 1BQ
Waverley Mall is located above the train station of the same name. This relaxed rooftop drinking den has an outdoor terrace for the summer months and offers fabulous views over the city of Edinburgh.
You can order pizza to go with a wee dram or a cocktail, and whisky-based concoctions are of course de rigueur. Book one of the ‘secret domes’ if you want the best views and experience – as well as protection from the often-harsh Scottish elements.
The drinks menus at Cask Smugglers are themed, and include some innovative combinations, such as gin with kaffir lime, maraschino cherry, lemon and violetta liqueur. Or you could sample a smoky mixture with whisky, apple, butterscotch and rosemary.
Edinburgh offers plenty of choice when it comes to bars and restaurants with a view. Be sure to book in advance and perhaps time your visit in line with the sunset for an extra special experience. If you’re planning a trip to the Scottish capital, have a read of my Edinburgh travel guide.
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