Top 5 Places to Eat on a First Date in Edinburgh



Written for eHarmony by MJ and BKR of

BKR and MJ started Lunchquest in July 2011 to create a website that would tell visitors and locals alike where they can find the best grub. Over the last three years, we have dined everywhere from street vendors, family restaurants, cafes, and fine dining establishments, and we have published over 900 reviews. As such, it’s only natural that we have an inkling of where the best first-date spots are here in our fair city. And we think these five fit the bill, very nicely.

Bon Vivant

bon vivant

The Bon Vivant, recently voted Best International Restaurant Bar at the Spirited Awards, has everything you could need for an impressive first date.

Their menu brings together a “bites” selection, which would be ideal for sharing, or a full a la carte, if “Joey doesn’t share food.” They have an outstanding cocktail menu, too.

All of this is wrapped up in a smart yet relaxed New Town pub setting that manages to be both lively yet intimate.

This is setting the bar high for where you might go on your second date, but you can worry about that when it comes around.

Looking Glass Books

looking glass books

If a dinner date feels too formal for a first date, then Looking Glass Books is the perfect solution. The cafe and book shop, situated in Edinburgh’s Quartermile, maintains that ideal mix of buzz and intimacy.

Have a wee wander through the shelves of specially curated, beautiful books and learn more about your date’s reading tastes before settling into one of the comfy sofas and chatting over cakes from Patisserie Madeleine and coffee from Cumbrian roastery Carvetii.

The relaxed atmosphere, excellent coffee, and ready-made conversation material promises to make Looking Glass Books a fun and different first date.

Ting Thai Caravan

ting thai

Lively and buzzing with the atmosphere of a London-style, minimalist cafe, the Ting Thai Caravan was a Thai street food pop-up at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival setting up permanent residence on Teviot Place.

The kitchen quickly delivers a variety of classic and modern Thai dishes in small and larger portions, perfect for being adventurous or sharing with your date. Try the Moo Yang (barbecued pork) or bowls of noodle soup as you watch the world pass by from the window seats.

Though Ting Thai doesn’t lend itself to long, lingering dinners, it’s perfect for a tasty meal to pre-empt a stroll down the cobbled streets of Edinburgh or a show at one of the nearby theatres.

Divino Enoteca

divino enoteca

For the discerning wine palate, Divino Enoteca is a must on a first date. Located below Vittoria’s on South Bridge, Divino Enoteca is a wine lover’s paradise.

Stone walls, arches and candle light fill the room with an elegant romance that will leave you free to focus on your date. The platters, featuring excellent Italian meats and cheeses, are a great thing to share and the a la carte menu offers a good array of traditional Italian dishes that will nicely hit the spot.

But at Divino Enoteca, the wine is the star of the show. They have an impressive array of wines by the bottle and the glass, including an extensive array of Italian wines. Or, if you fancy being taken on a journey, they offer several wine flights, all guaranteed to keep the conversation flowing well into the night.

Edinburgh Larder Bistro

larder bistro

Walking into the Larder Bistro in the fashionable West End feels like you have discovered a secret. The custom furniture and relaxed ambience showcases the best of smart, casual dining at which Edinburgh excels.

Perfect for a lunchtime first date, the menu features locally sourced, Scottish cuisine with considerable flair. The bread is fresh from the Larder’s bakery and menus change seasonally. Sit in the glass-roofed dining area to take advantage of lunchtime sunshine and linger over a delicious dessert while getting to know each other better.

For smart dining without breaking the bank, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better first date spot in the city.

If you’re dating in Edinburgh and you’d like to find more awesome dinner date ideas, visit or follow Lunchquest on Twitter.

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