I spend every second weekend in Edinburgh with my husband and three step-children. I’ve always liked Edinburgh but have yet to fall in love with it. It has never felt like “my city” the way Glasgow does.

Some cities get into our soul. Edinburgh for me is a slow burner but I’m embracing the nation’s capital with an open heart and mind and immersing myself in its restaurant scene –always a good place to start to see where the character and vibe of a city is really at.

Contini, 103 George Street

SITUATED in a former banking hall and modelled on a Florentine Palazzo, Contini is an airy, vibrant, colourful culinary haven. It’s my point of reference for grounding myself in the city, thanks to Carina and Victor’s unfailing ability to deliver an exceptional, seamless experience every single time, with incredible food and warm hospitality.

Contini has been a “go-to” for a while for my husband and me, culminating in our post-Florentine elopement wedding celebratory meal. The menu is modern Italian featuring homemade pasta and fresh Scottish fish and shellfish with a focus on the best seasonal ingredients from Italy.

The Chicken Milanese with almond puree, Italian leaves, capers, fried potatoes, gremolata and cooked Sicilian lemon is my favourite dish. It feels like culinary sunshine. The contadino is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes – the ultimate in Italian comfort food.


BABA, 130 George Street

MY top restaurant for tucked-away together time. It serves Levantine small plates that come to the table when they’re ready. The food, decor and ambience set the scene for an easy-osey couple of hours on a late Saturday afternoon, our opportunity for a proper catch-up accompanied a steady flow of outstanding mezze.

The National: My top tastiest spots in

The BABA ganoush (pictured) is standout – creamy and irresistibly scoopable with a handful of the soft, warm pitta bread. The muhammara, a nutty, roast pepper dip is a vibrant, spicy contrast. The marinated chicken thigh, spiced red lentils, plum, yoghurt and mint is deliciously deep flavoured with an uplifting freshness. Earthy, warming, fresh and feelgood food.


Dishoom, 3a St Andrew Square

WORTH the hype and the only restaurant I’ll queue for 30 minutes to get in to. Upon entering, you’re transported to an all-day Irani cafe from Bombay’s bygone era, the air thick with incense, freshly brewed chai and the low hum of chatter.

I have no qualms about curry for breakfast but my head is always turned by the signature bacon naan roll. Who knew bacon, chilli jam, cream cheese and naan worked so well? Well, most of Edinburgh now to be fair … We’re a family of six and there’s a bit of everything for everyone. Each dish is a delight, but the black house dahl is other worldly – luxurious, creamy, rich and comforting, I bought the Dishoom recipe book just to recreate it.


Chez Jules, 109 Hanover Street

A NO-NONSENSE basement bistro where you’ll be served all the French classics and drink red wine from a school dining hall-style tumbler. Which I like.

Relaxed restaurant experiences where the vibe is “up”, the food is exceptional and the conversation is flowing is where it’s at for me, and this is the essence of Chez Jules. Menu highlights for me are the French onion soup and the chicken with pomme frites.


Pizzeria 1926, 85 Dalry Road

ONE of the best places for pizza in Edinburgh. The decor is shabby chic, old-world Naples street cafe and the emphasis is on the art of authentic Napoli pizza-making combined with the finest ingredients.

I choose a margarita named the San Paolo. My husband went for the Maradona (every pizza is a nod to SSC Napoli), although I’d say mine was more from the hand of God than his meat feast.

It's the only pizzeria in Scotland to be a member of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. Busy, buzzy, book ahead.