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The best international restaurants in Edinburgh

By Keith Smith

Edinburgh’s cuisine now reflects the city’s increasingly cosmopolitan nature, drawing on influences, ingredients and techniques from all four corners of the globe, and has firmly established it in Scotland’s gastronomic vanguard.

Italian cuisine

If Italian is your thing, then Nonna’s Kitchen in Morningside serves up exactly what it sounds like it should – hearty Italian food just like mamma used to make, while Contini on George Street has an eye for the contemporary.

Civerinos Italian restaurant in Edinburgh

Grab a slice at Civerinos Italian street food restaurant

For truly authentic regional dishes, Locanda de Gusti is a winner. Pizza aficionados are looked after too, whether it’s grab-and-go NYC-style slices from the likes of Dough or Civerinos, or sit-down affairs such as Pizzeria 1926.

Chinese & Japanese restaurants

One experience not to be missed is a trip to Chop Chop. Rather than serving up anglicised versions of Chinese cuisine, they specialise in traditional dishes like stuffed dumplings – steamed or fried – and a variety of noodle, meat and vegetable dishes, too.

If it’s sushi that you’re craving, then Hakataya, Harajuku Kitchen and Kanpai are all superb Japanese restaurants, while Maki & Ramen goes the whole hog, offering a sake-paired 12-course omakase tasting menu. Fountainbridge is recognised as Maki & Ramen’s most aesthetically beautiful site, boasting traditional Japanese tatami-inspired seating and a sleek, stylish contemporary sushi bar.

Mexican dishes

Whether it’s takeaway Tex-Mex-style burritos or more authentic regional cuisine, Mexican food is a firm favourite in Edinburgh.

El Cartel Mexican restaurant in Edinburgh

Enjoy freshly-made, authentic Mexican street food at El Cartel

Both Bodega and El Cartel serve up amazing street-food style dishes, including a range of delicious soft tacos, while Miros Cantina on Rose Street is a real treat for those seeking some hearty, feel-good flavours.

Indian delights

Curry plays an important part in the city’s eating habits, too. Mother India’s tapas-style approach means that it’s a great place to try something new without having to go the whole hog, and the variety ensures it never gets boring.

Navadhanya Indian restaurant in Edinburgh

Chicken Chettinad at Navadhanya on Grindlay Street

The Original Mosque Kitchen might hardly be the most luxurious setting, sitting outside under a plastic roof cafeteria-style eating off paper plates, but it all adds to the fun. If you still want something more comfortable, then you’re in luck – its founders upped sticks and moved to more amenable premises in the nearby Nicholson Square, setting up a competitor named the Mosque Kitchen. For more inventive Indian cuisine, both Dishoom and Navadhanya are great choices.

Gallic flair

If it’s a touch of Gallic flair you’re seeking, then sister restaurants L’Escargot Blanc and L’Escargot Bleu are a safe bet. Owned and operated by Frenchman Fred Berkmiller, he’s made a name for himself by cooking the classics of his homeland, but embracing Scottish produce in order to do so.

Also worth a visit is friendly French bistro Petit Paris, with its small rustic dining room and good value pre-theatre menu deals.

Thai food

Ting Thai Caravan do some of the tastiest Thai street food-style dishes around, bursting with zing.

Chaophraya Thai restaurant in Edinburgh

Chaophraya is one of the finest places to go for Thai food in Edinburgh

If you’re after similar flavours in more sophisticated surroundings – and with spectacular views of Edinburgh Castle, then try Chaophraya in the New Town.

Middle Eastern flavours

For Middle Eastern mezze with a difference, then BABA is a surefire hit. Influenced by the taste of the Levant, their dips and dishes – intended for sharing – will have you fighting each other for every last morsel.

See what’s cooking at El Cartel Casera Mexicana

Read more about Edinburgh

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Image credits: Chaophraya Edinburgh; El Cartel; Julien Lux/Unsplash; Kanpai Limited; L'Escargot Bleu; Maki & Ramen; Navadhanya Edinburgh; Video: Down the The List Food & Drink/Sandy Butler Videography/YouTube

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