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Eating out and around Edinburgh and East Lothian

21 Jan 2011 at 14:02
A list of some of the best places to eat in and around Edinburgh and East Lothian when we visit.


This is a list of places I would recommend in East Lothian and Midlothian. The list is ordered and it is structured by my preference. That's not to say that the bottom contender is not as good as the top, the difference may be a few minor details. However, the order is correct as of 31/01/17. Remember please, I am not a food critic, this is all based on my own opinion. Also note, that this list is in alphabetical order. A dash simply means I have not been in over a year and cannot comment.

The list

Position About
4 The Castle Inn Dirleton

The Castle Inn in Dirleton is a fresh pub that when I wrote this had only just reopened with the new management and it has perhaps the best fish and chips and smoked salmon available!

Everyone at the table complimented the food and the atmosphere as well as the style of the pub.

  • Location: Dirleton, East Lothian
  • Food: good variety of food as well as a few vegetarian options
  • Atmosphere: pub style mixed with restaurant that works well. The staff are reasonably friendly and it feels like a happy pub.
  • Website
- Craigielaw Clubhouse

Craigielaw Golf Club House is more than just a golf course (and it will be even more sometime soon as it's evolving into a hotel). Craigielaw offers the nicest place to go for something to eat in terms of atmosphere, but it does have one hindrance.

One problem however with Craigielaw: a lack of vegetarian options.

  • Location: Aberlady, East Lothian
  • Food: very nice, offers a good range of drinks and always up to standard. Lack of vegetarian options.
  • Atmosphere: Soak up the beautiful sea, as you have one of the greatest views of any place in East Lothian
  • Website
- Cuddie Brae

The Cuddie Brae is a modern pub built traditionally in appearance. It is located next to Fort Kinnaird, Edinburgh. The Cuddie Brae offers a large menu at a competitive price point.

  • Location: Musselburgh, East Lothian
  • Food: large extensive menu which is one of the cheapest menus on this list
  • Atmosphere: a traditional pub style building which has been recently built
  • Website
5 The Duck's Restaurant

The Duck's at Kilspindie is one of my personal favourites as of 2013. It offers 4 different ways to dine, and it has very nice staff and a nice atmosphere. It offers a la carte style dinning room as well as a public bar, lounge and dining room.

  • Location: Aberlady, East Lothian
  • Food: very good variety and very nice as well.
  • Atmosphere: very pleasant, a bit more relaxed than the first two mentioned earlier
  • Website
1 Goblin Ha'

The Goblin Ha' or Goblin is a great place to go to eat. It offers a large menu (the biggest I've seen in a while) with a lovely setting. There is a proper wood burning fire, conservatory and a pub.

I would say perhaps the best thing about the Goblin Ha' is just how incredibly nice the staff are!

Not only that, but I took my first steps here!

  • Location: Gifford, East Lothian
  • Food: variety of different foods, with a huge menu
  • Atmosphere: pub style and restaurant that works well. The members of staff are the nicest staff in all restaurants I have been to.
  • Website
- Longniddry Inn

The Longniddry Inn is a fantastic place to eat. There is no formal dress code and the food is excellent. It looks incredibly small from the outside, but it is quite large inside. It is also in a coastal village but it does not share the excellent sea view that Craigelaw does.

Being closer to a traditional pub may sway you towards it's decent menu.

  • Location: Longniddry, East Lothian
  • Food: quite a wide variety and very good food
  • Atmosphere: a bit closer to the Stair Arms; lacking in a major atmosphere
  • Website
3 The Marine Hotel

The Marine Hotel is situated in the famous holiday town, North Berwick. Now North Berwick is a lovely sea-side town with a lot to do. The Marine Hotel is run by MacDonald Hotels, a chain of hotels with resorts in other places such as St Andrews, Linden Hall and Aviemore.

The Marine Hotel is an incredibly nice place to go and eat and if you stay there you can even enjoy the swimming pool (alternatively you could do what I do and buy a gym membership or pay each time). The food is good and you have a good view again, similar to Craigielaw. Also, we did not realise until recently you get 25% off food and drink if you are a member of the gym.

  • Location: North Berwick, East Lothian
  • Food: a bit limited, small portions and expensive, but if you enjoy something from the menu, there tends to be no reason not to come back!
  • Atmosphere: The sea view makes for this to be a top contender above many other good places to eat.
  • Website
- Stair Arms

The Stair Arms is located on the side of a busy road, in the outskirts of Pathhead. It's located off the A68 between Jedburgh and Edinburgh and is one of the nicest places to go to eat. Not only that, it has a really interesting history and has a great place to sit outside.

  • Location: Pathhead, Midlothian
  • Food: variety of different foods, mainly steaks and burgers, with fish and chips and many more small portions and starters.
  • Atmosphere: beautiful countryside but a bit lacking in terms of atmosphere
  • Website
- Melville Inn

It offers a lovely remote Midlothian country pub with a large menu. It has nice staff, a very cosy feeling in doors, outdoor sitting and plenty of parking spaces. It tends to be a place for celebrations for us.

  • Location: Eskbank/Lasswade, Midlothian
  • Food: large menu but quite expensive
  • Atmosphere: traditional pub with nice dinning. It feels like a much better "Toby Carvery".
  • Website
- The Walled Garden at Archerfield

The Walled Garden at Archerfield is a lovely place to go for a snack or some dinner perhaps.

On all occasions that I have been there it has been very tasty, but the problem has always been that it is quite noisy during the day with kids.

  • Location: Archerfield, Dirleton, East Lothian
  • Food: variety of good foods
  • Atmosphere: not the best, quite a busy/noisy atmosphere
  • Website
2 The Waterside

The Waterside has a lush and welcoming atmosphere next to Nungate Bridge in Haddington. In 2016, it has gone back up on my list to a strong 3rd place. It's definitely the best place to go for something to eat in Haddington and the smoked salmon I had was absolutely lovely. The waterside views make this a great place to just go for a drink too!

There were plenty of vegetarian options that I could enjoy, as well as many fish options which can satisfy the pescatarian side of me too.

  • Location: Haddington, East Lothian
  • Food: food is good again! I thoroughly enjoyed the smoked salmon and the chickpea burger. There are quite a few good vegetarian options too.
  • Atmosphere: very friendly place in East Lothian and on the riverside
  • Website