Travel Scotland. Where to Eat Vegetarian in Style in Edinburgh

Scotland is world famous for its unhealthy cuisine right? Do you like deep fried mars bars or tatties? Me neither, so I had to find pretty restaurants to eat delicious food. And that was as easy as counting to ten. It leaves me puzzled as to why Scotland has this bad food reputation?

There is the rustic medieval Old Town and the elegant Georgian New Town. Edinburgh the capital city of Scotland holds the charm of a great country town. There is the lush green area all around Arthur’s Seat with the deep blue North Sea in the far distance. Edinburgh is narrow lanes, Gothic architecture and grand roads with colourful doors.

I found several great options for food, and all in stylish settings. It appears that in winter it is all about beets, barley and pears, but read on. I went to ...

Printing Press Bar and Kitchen. Wunderbar Night Out

The restaurant is on the one and only George Street in New Town, and its interior is just as lovely as all the Georgian houses on that road. This is like that place you think of when dreaming of an elegant gastro pub dinner. The interior is all comfortable chic. Think brown leather chairs, wooden floor boards, checkered black and white floor and velvet blue sofas, dimly lit atmosphere.

We had a booking, and our table was ready when we arrived. The waiter stayed in contact throughout our stay, just as it should be. Food was served with a smile. What a simply wunderbar place to spend an evening. I imagine lunch here is a lovely affair too.

The name of the restaurant stems from the fact that the Scottish writer Susan Ferrier, known for her Charles Dickens-like family sagas, lived at this place in the 1780s, and that the house later became a publishing house.

Starter: Butter lettuce with blue cheese, pears and celery.
Main: Wild mushrooms & barley risotto.
Dessert: Cranberry and honey burnt cream, and an Espresso. 

Info: The Printing Press Bar and Kitchen. 21-25 George Street, New Town.
Website: The Printing Press Bar and Kitchen
Instagram: printbarkitchen
Twitter: @PrintBarKitchen

Cucina at G&V Hotel. Brightly Coloured

This restaurant is at a hotel right in the centre of the Old Town. The members of staff were a mix of friendly to slightly distant but overall they were very lovely. Everything I ate was satisfying, but nothing was cooked in a way that I wanted to cry out of joy. This is not true. The big surprise arrived at the very end. I loved the way they cooked the pears; they just had the right bite, and the white and the red ones, tasted so very differently from each other. Together with the Marsala ice cream and an espresso it was the highlight of my meal. 

It is a bit too “hotel-restaurant” for me, nothing wrong with that since it is in a hotel but I wish they would have waited to set-up the breakfast tables till after dinner. I loved to enter and leave through the secret back entrance through the Lawnmarket buildings, really special.

Starter: Mozzarella with tomato jam plus fried basil
Main: Pumpkin risotto with saffron and almond
Dessert: Poached white and red pears with Marsala ice cream, and an Espresso.

Info: Cucina at G&V Hotel, 1 George IV Bridge, Old Town.  
Website: Cucina at G&V Hotel
Twitter: @GandVHotel

The Devil’s Advocate. Eat, Drink, and be Merry

While on a stroll through the closes of Old Town Edinburgh I happened to pass by this place in a former pump-house at lunch time and thought why not? Lucky me, there was one free table in the upstairs area, I felt lucky but also a bit guilty. While I waited for my table to become ready the waiter had to send away eight other diners who entered the place after me. Everybody was welcoming and warm. The restaurant was packed, but the atmosphere was so very relaxed. 

For lunch I had the Roasted Heritage beetroot, bitter leaves, goats’ cheese, candied walnuts & cider dressing together with some bread and olive oil. The service was swift; drinks and food were served with a smile. I rarely eat salads at restaurants, but here I wanted more of it, because it was so great. I liked this place so much, and I can imagine this as a place people who live in Edinburgh would visit regularly.

Info: Devil’s Advocate. 9 Advocates Close, Old Town. 
Website: The Devil's Advocate
Twitter: @TheDAOldTown

Number One Balmoral. Food, Service and Design

This restaurant is at the Balmoral in Edinburgh. I had high hopes before I went … and they were fulfilled. The reception at Number One was professional and felt authentically warm. The red lacquered walls in the hotel’s basement restaurant go very well with the oak floor boards, and I couldn’t help but feel to be on a yacht. A truly spacious one as it happens.

We sat on a white striped, light grey coloured dining sofa at a round table and away from the other diners. Listen to others sitting too close to you? This is not going to happen here.

When I asked for vegetarian options the waiter handed me the vegetarian menu, needless to say that he did this with a very friendly smile. He explained everything we needed and was just generally welcoming; you know how it is when somebody confidently believes in what he does.

Over the years my rocky relationship with beetroot turned into a love affair. My starter The Heritage Beetroot will convert even die hard opponents of the root. You won’t believe what you can do with it until you eat this, there are even Macaroons involved. The Mushroom Barley Risotto is a lighter version of risotto cooked with Arborio rice, and the great thing is, that it is high in fiber. The Corra Linn Mousse is made with a hard cheese that is produced from sheep’s unpasteurised milk and vegetarian rennet near Edinburgh.

Amuse Bouche
Starter: Heritage beetroot
Main: Mushroom barley risotto
Dessert: Corra Linn mousse 

Info: Number One Balmoral. 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh. 
Website: Number One
Instagram: thebalmoral
Twitter: @NumberOneEdin

Witchery by the Castle. Fabulous Dining Room

This is probably one of the most romantic restaurants one can visit. We entered the historic building, which is sort of right next to Edinburgh Castle, from the small Boswell’s Court. Days earlier I walked past and from looking inside I so wanted to have dinner here.

We had a booking and upon our arrival the welcome was awkward, but we were promptly guided to our table, which was ready for us. I wondered how it can be so hard to give diners a (warm) welcome but got over it as soon as I stepped into the richly decorated and candle lit dining room of this sixteenth century building. The tables are on the tiny side, it is very warm in here and that too emphasizes the very intimate atmosphere. This really is perfection in the true sense on the word.

A fabulous dining room is a big plus for any restaurant. I actually like to go to restaurants to eat food. After I browsed the menu, and when I ordered my food and a bottle of wine (giving the name) the waiter replied “What number?” I had no idea what he meant with that. As I asked “pardon?” and he simply replied “what number?” it dawned on me. I started to re-scan the extensive wine menu, to find the wine I had chosen. We didn’t get any bread, only as we begged for it.

The variety of roasted Arran beets went well with the cauliflower puree, the moussaka was moussaka. As I ate my dessert I asked the waiter why I didn’t get the marzipan tart as ordered. He looked at me and said “but I served exactly that.” I didn’t taste any marzipan at all, but the ice cream that came with it was a treat. The waitress notices this and takes it off the bill, I highly appreciate this nice gesture, but a well cooked dessert was what I was after.  

Starter: Roast Arran Beets
Main: Aubergine, pepper and courgette moussaka
Dessert: Mulled pear, almond and marzipan tart, and an Espresso

Info: Witchery by the Castle. The Royal Mile, Edinburgh.  
Website: Witchery by the Castle
Twitter: @TheWitcheryEdin 

Edinburgh: A Foodie Heaven

Edinburgh has all this history and stunning nature, well worth a visit, but is also great for a foodie vacation. I booked all restaurants one week or more in advance. Have you been to Edinburgh? Where did you eat? Can’t wait to hear from you.

Can’t wait to hear from you. Comment on this article, send me an email or find me on Twitter @DoroLef and Instagram The Touristin.

From Berlin with love