Edinburgh is the UK’s second city for dining out

Edinburgh remains the UK’s second city behind London for quality restaurants but Manchester is hot on its heels, according to the latest Harden’s diner survey

Edinburgh has cemented its title as the UK’s second city behind London for dining out, with a record 13 top-scoring restaurants – up from 10 last year. These findings are contained in the Harden’s Best UK Restaurant 2018, the country’s most comprehensive restaurant guide sold in bookshops, which is published today.

Within the city’s impressive tally of top-scorers, three eateries also secured a coveted place in the Harden’s 100 ranking of the UK’s best restaurants. Restaurant Martin Wishart at number nine: “Still remarkable in innovation and surprise after all this time”. Tom Kitchin’s The Kitchin appeared inside the top 50 at number 47 thanks to its: “Great produce” and “high end dining without all the pretentiousness”. And relative newcomer Norn was placed 66th: A “truly brilliant” Leith yearling, which provides “an exquisite and mind-unravelling experience”.


A total of 55 Edinburgh restaurants are listed in the latest Harden’s edition, compared with 43 in 2017. Only Manchester had a greater number of entries in the 2018 guide, with 66 restaurants listed. Manchester is also catching up to Edinburgh in terms of quality dining destinations with 11 top scorers (up from just five last year), although they still do not boast a restaurant in the Top 100.

Outside of Scotland’s capital there were three Scottish restaurants listed in the Harden’s 100: Andrew Fairlie, Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterarder where “incomparable and memorable dishes” and “justifiably stratospheric prices” make this a perfect destination for a “once in a lifetime gastronomic blowout”. The Three Chimneys in Dunvegan was placed 68th. With its “most magical and mystical location” and “beautifully presented” “fantastic” food, the journey to get to this remote Highlands cottage is completely “worth it”. And at 94 was Cupar’s The Peat Inn: “a first class experience that is hard to surpass”.

Based on one of the country’s most detailed surveys of regular restaurant-goers, Harden’s 27th annual poll of diners, surveyed 8,500 participants who contributed 50,000 reviews. These nominations, as carefully curated by the editors, form the basis for the inclusions and ratings in the guide, apps and website. It is this long record of careful curation which has won the guide’s high reputation, and which sets it apart from other publications and websites using user-generated content.

The guide’s editor and co-founder Peter Harden said: “

Edinburgh Top Scorers (those scoring 5/5 at any price point, or 4/5 above £60 per head), listed below in descending price order:

Top Scorers in Edinburgh

Above £60

Restaurant Martin Wishart

Number One Balmoral

The Kitchin





The Wee Restaurant



Below £60

The Rabbit Hole

Bia Bistrot

Mother India’s Cafe

Other notable Edinburgh restaurants

Other Edinburgh restaurants judged as providing very good value for money (achieving a score of 4/5) were:

The Dining Room

Dishoom Edinburgh

El Cartel


Gardener’s Cottage



Mimis Bakehouse

Navadhanya Edinburgh

Noks Kitchen

Scran & Scallie


The Stockbridge

Top Restaurant Cities in the UK by Quality and Overall Coverage

Edinburgh has the UK’s largest number of high scoring restaurants outside of London and has the second highest number of restaurants listed in the guide behind Manchester.

What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant?

Leave a Reply