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With two of Edinburgh's Michelin star chefs; a lively bar culture and a dynamic restaurant scene, Leith has become one of the most interesting places to eat in Edinburgh. This didn't happen overnight. When Malmaison and its Brasserie opened on Tower Place, twenty years ago, they were not the first restaurant to strike a claim in Leith but they were perhaps the most high profile until Martin Wishart opened in 1999.
Thanks partially to these early pioneers, Leith's reputation as a culinary hotspot began to shine and helped the area to leave behind some of its less positive past. It has been a very long time since taxi drivers refused to take passengers here after dark but, like most ports, it retains a certain earthiness. There is little that is la-di-da about Leith.
What makes Leith special is the fact that that grit sits happily alongside some of Scotland's most innovative and highly awarded restaurants. Leith thrives on that diversity. Within a five minute walk of the bridge over the Water of Leith, you can eat French brasserie classics at Mal; fine dining Indian at Mithas or Spanish at Tapa. And, of course, should you fancy a wee hauf an' hauf, you don't have to scratch too far beneath the surface to find old Leith.
Modern, Bistros & Brasseries
Housed in the eye-catching Malmaison hotel on Tower Place, the Chez Mal restaurant enjoys spectacular views over the Port of Leith. Given a smart refurbishment in 2016, the dining room has a sleek, contemporary look and light, spacious feel. The new look bar is a hip hangout with craft beers and innovative cocktails while the waterfront terrace is always popular when the sun makes an appearance.
Make a free reservation at Chez Mal - Edinburgh »
Mediterranean, Spanish, Tapas
Situated in a refurbished warehouse building, Tapa is an atmospheric Spanish tapas restaurant on Shore Place in Edinburgh's Leith. The welcoming, vaulted interior combines a classic bodega feel with traditional Spanish colours, old film posters, exposed stone and fairy lights wrapped around iron pillars. Friendly staff make for a relaxed atmosphere. A good selection of Spanish gins and sherries complements a wine list which draws on both the finest and other, less known and sometimes under appreciated, Spanish grape varietals.
Make a free reservation at Tapa »
French café and wine bar in Leith
An airy French café, bistro and wine bar on Commercial Street, Café Tartine is open for breakfast crepes right through to late nightcaps. The menus offer plenty of choice. There are lots of French classics such as onion soup, boeuf Bourguignon and confit duck leg. A popular option, especially when paired with an after work glass of wine, are the sharing platters of charcuterie, cheese, pâté and char grilled vegetables
Make a free reservation at Cafe Tartine »
British, Modern, Gastro Pub
Offering live big screen sports and a hearty menu, The Fly Half Bar & Kitchen is a laidback spot for a bite to eat. Beyond the often buzzing bar area, the restaurant section’s exposed brickwork and flickering candlelight adds a certain rustic charm to proceedings.
Make a free reservation at The Fly Half »
The sister restaurant of the Dalry Road eating spot, La Casa in Leith serves up a mix of Spanish and Greek tapas dishes. It is a family business that’s committed to sourcing authentic ingredients from top suppliers, so that diners can enjoy a real taste of the Mediterranean.
Make a free reservation at La Casa - Leith »
Indian, Thai, Vegetarian/Vegan
Mintleaf is a vibrant restaurant on Bernard Street in Leith and offers authentic Thai and Indian cuisine. Around the corner from The Shore, the restaurant is wheelchair accessible, child-friendly, and also boasts two private dining rooms on the mezzanine floor. Striking as the decor is, it’s the Indian and Thai dishes which keep the customers coming back.
Offer: Save £5 on the a la carte menu
View all offers & make a free reservation at Mintleaf »
Far Eastern, Indian, Thai
Named after the Royal Yacht Britannia which is berthed nearby, Britannia Spice is located in a former whisky warehouse on Commercial Street. The restaurant itself is in ship-shape condition; immaculately clean with rope ladders and ships’ helms carefully chosen to accentuate the maritime theme. Child-friendly and wheelchair accessible, Britannia Spice serves multi-ethnic cuisine with dishes from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand. An AA Rosette for culinary excellence is the latest in a long line of awards.
Offer: 20% a la carte discount
View all offers & make a free reservation at Britannia Spice »
Offer: £17.95 for meat mezze on tapas + mezze menu + glass of fizz
View all offers & make a free reservation at La Casa - Leith »
European, Italian, Vegetarian/Vegan, Pizza
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This cosy deli and cafe has a loyal clientele who appreciate the cooking and the ambience created by Sicily's Dragotta family. Located on Crighton Street, Leith Walk, Gaia offers home-style Italian and Sicilian specialities. Many would nominate Gaia for the title of Edinburgh's best coffee makers and the sofa by the window is a prime spot for sipping an espresso and watching the Walk's reliably colourful street life.
Offer: £13 for 2 courses from daily menu + BYOB + tea or coffee
View all offers & make a free reservation at Gaia Deli »
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Take in Edinburgh's historic charm in the heart of the city's ancient commercial district with restaurants in the Old Town.
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Head to Leith's restaurants for the best seafood caught fresh from Scotland's coast, easily reached just north of Edinburgh's city centre.
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