Mouthwatering lunch ideas
Secret Herb Garden
Set within an old nursery, this delightfully shabby-chic café keeps it simple but seasonal and delicious. They serve soups, quiches, and cakes with a sprinkling of herbs and edible flowers. Wander throughout the nursery and greenhouses set with tables and chairs and lunch amongst the flowers. On cold days, curl up in the cosy old leather loungers by the wood-stove in the schoolhouse surrounded by drying herbs.
Secret Herb Garden 0131 4455 888
Jupiter Art Land
For quirkiness this place wins hands down. Set within a country estate turned sculpture park, the drive takes you quite literally THROUGH a Jenks land-art sculpture. The restaurant serves delicious, seasonal meals with super-fresh summer salads, cakes, and coffees from their Silver Bullet caravan. Tables are arranged under umbrellas in the cobbled courtyard. The shops and exhibitions, as well as the spectacular sculpture park of course, are well worth an explore after lunch.
Jupiter Art Land 01506 889 900
Dawyck Botanic Gardens
The award-winning Dawyck Visitor Centre serves light lunches and coffees from it's spectacular new building. The huge windows take full advantage of its picturesque arboretum setting. Explore what is widely regarded as one of the UK's finest arboreta with towering trees, quaint bridges, and follies looking down to Dawyck House at the valley bottom. An Autumn visit is highly recommended.
Dawyck Botanic Gardens 01721 760 254
Modern Art Gallery
Café Modern One is the perfect spot for some alfresco dining in the city. Explore the gallery and sculpture park then retire to the garden terrace to enjoy their great selection of sandwich and salads - with a glass or two of wine. The garden leads from the gallery out onto the Water of Leith Walkway. This picturesque walking route links it conveniently to Stockbridge and the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens.
Valvona & Crolla
Valvona & Crolla is something of an Edinburgh institution; the deli and restaurant were established in 1934. Visit their original authentic Caffe Bar on Elm Row for menus stuffed full of delicious Italian food using only the best ingredients.
Valvona & Crolla 0131 556 6066
Whitmuir Organics, based on a farm near West Linton is well worth a visit. Whitmuir is a unique place, with the whole food system on one farm. They grow, rear, process, package, cook, and serve their own food from seedling to salad leaf. With farm shop, garden centre and farm walks encouraged.
Whitmuir Organic 01968 661 908
Bruntsfield is really like a bustling village within Edinburgh. It's easily reached from Eastside with a short drive into town. Central to the neighbourhood of shops, jewellers, chocolatier, and bakers is Montpeliers bar and restaurant. They serve light bites, pub grub and coffees to the locals.
On a sunny day sit out under the awning watching the world go by. There is a short walk to the Brunstfield Links. Here it's great to lie back on a summer's day as the rest of the family explore the local boutiques.
Montpeliers 0131 229 3115
Craigie's Farm Shop
At Craigie's farm shop what you eat comes either directly from the farm or from other small local suppliers. These guys believe that good eating starts with the best ingredients, skillfully prepared to make the very most of the freshness and flavours. Nothing too fancy but good, honest food and a menu that changes with the seasons.
Go berry picking on the farm in the summer or sit back and relax with plenty to entertain the little farmers at the tractor themed play-park.
Craigie's Farm Shop 0131 319 1048
A great place to stop for lunch (or supper) after a visit to Edinburgh Castle is the delightful Contini Cannonball Restaurant & Bar, a three-storey eating and drinking experience. The restaurant on the top floor serves award-winning Scottish food with stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and The Royal Mile. Their Whisky Bar is open from 11am till late Tuesday to Saturday serving over 120 malt whiskies!
Contini Cannonball 0131 225 1550
Rhubarb at Prestonfield House
For a real treat head to Prestonfield. Set on the edge of the Queen's Park with views to Arthur's Seat this grand baroque country house is home to 'Sheer glorious indulgence' (Hotel Guru). It is also one of the capital's most memorable dining experiences.
Rhubarb delivers gourmet delights and magic in the oh-so glamorous Regency rooms at the heart of Prestonfield. Explore the adjacent historic rooms as places to enjoy a drink from their impressive cellar before and after dining.
Rhubarb at Prestonfield House 0131 225 1333
The Paper Mill
Overlooking the River Esk in the tranquil conservation village of Lasswade, this family friendly bar and restaurant serves the very best of local produce within a characterful old paper mill.
In the summer their riverside terrace is the perfect spot for an alfresco lunch by the water, retreat indoors during the colder months for the log fire and excellent selection of locally brewed beer.
The Paper Mill 0131 663 1412
Restoration Yard comprises a cafe, boutique shop and wellbeing lab based in the historic stable yard of Dalkeith Palace. The stable yard has been painstakingly restored, so today you’ll still find the horse stalls and their feeding racks woven into its modern day interior.
Visit for lovely woodland walks, relaxing yoga classes, shopping therapy as well as a delicious locally-sourced seasonal menu. Children will be overjoyed to explore their fantastic turreted treehouse.
Restoration Yard Cafe 0131 322 2572
Well worth the drive down the coast DRIFT sits on the clifftop overlooking the beach and Bass Rock. Made out for reclaimed shipping containers the interiors are super cool and the view to die for. Simple soups and savoury scones for lunch and the best of cake and tea in the afternoon.
Drift Cafe on Facebook 01620 892817
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city as you walk up the garden path to this wonderfully intimate little restaurant. A real hidden gem in Edinburgh's city centre.
Built in 1836, for many years the cottage was home to the gardener of Edinburgh’s Royal Terrace Gardens. Today, the tradition continues with their restaurant gardener who grows the fruit, vegetables and herbs that make their way to your plate.
The Gardener's Cottage 0131 677 0244
Pentland Hills Cafe Express
The Pentland Hills Cafe Express is by far the best lunch stop in the hills. Alex and his team have up-cycled the old Pentland rangers bothy into a small restaurant serving excellent lunches with an Italian twist. Expect soups, bolognese, cured meats, cheeses and home baking.
Hike from Eastside over the Pentland peaks to Flotterstone. Refuel with a proper Italian coffee before heading home to the hills.