Scotland has been the secret larder of many of the best restaurants in Europe (and farther afield) for a very long time. “We used to send all of our beautiful game, seafood, beef and other produce to London, Paris and other big cities,” explains chef Jonny Wright, whose witty contemporary Scottish restaurant has made the new Gleneagles Townhouse hotel in Edinburgh a hot spot for discerning locals. “Now we’re keeping some home and cooking it for ourselves.”
While a sprinkling of some 12 Michelin stars (including five in Edinburgh) affirms the excellence of modern Scottish cuisine, it’s the small, easygoing bistro-like restaurants that have recently made the country a great gastronomic destination.
A new generation of young chefs is returning home to Edinburgh, Scotland’s most sophisticated city, after working abroad in places like Denmark, France and New York City. They’re opening their own restaurants, where they take pride in cooking the best from Scottish waters, farms and fields. The new style is seasonal and produce-centered, looking to showcase the natural flavors and textures of an ingredient rather than transforming it or overwhelming it with a denaturing sauce. Reservations are recommended (or required) at all of the below.