The Gardeners Cottage

4.6
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698 reviews
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£26 to £40
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British
The Gardener’s Cottage is a restaurant in Royal Terrace Gardens at the foot of Calton Hill. Built in 1836 the cottage, which was originally home to the gardener, has been transformed into Edinburgh’s home for seasonal cooking and social dining. Seated at long communal tables our guests can enjoy weekend brunch, an a’la carte lunch menu, or an inventive, set seven course dinner menu, using only the best seasonal, local produce.

Please note, most of our bookings are not conducted through Opentable, so if you are struggling to find availability please check here or via telephone.
What 698 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.4
service
4.2
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
80% of people would recommend it to a friend
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F
San Francisco
51 reviews
Dined on 11 October 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food was amazing. Wonderful service. Hope to return one day soon.

w
San Francisco
26 reviews
Dined on 6 September 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience2

Interesting little place but way too noisy. Half the seating was next to the open kitchen which seemed to be grinding things and generating lots of noise. Since the restaurant is so small, it was very distracting.

HB
Baltimore
92 reviews
Dined on 25 May 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is our fourth time dining at The Gardeners Cottage. We loved the monkfish and lamb dishes, cheeses, rhubarb in the dessert. Adjusting the dishes for my wife's shellfish allergy was greatly appreciated too. We hope to be back again.

CL
Edinburgh
1 review
Dined on 18 May 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Highly recommended. Unusual dishes with an individual style. High quality presentation. Continually experimenting. Only go if you are prepared for something different and interesting.

D
1 review
Dined on 10 May 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Belle expérience gustative avec des produits locaux. Bonne ambiance sans chichi.

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AM
Edinburgh
24 reviews
Dined on 22 March 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely delicious. Every course was amazing , wine superb, staff just lovely. Will definitely be back

NC
London
1 review
Dined on 13 March 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious, seasonal food with a cosy atmosphere and very friendly staff. We loved it!

CM
London
11 reviews
Dined on 1 February 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Delicious food, portions could have been a bit bigger though!

S
London
2 reviews
Dined on 23 December 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was excellent; service was absolutely outstanding.

s
Edinburgh
13 reviews
Dined on 2 December 2018
Overall4food4service3ambience3

Sunday breakfast and no sausages! Nevertheless this was compensated for with extra egg and black pudding. Food was great; delicious and of good quality. Service charming although a little bit laid back. A bit chilly when other customers kept for open too long....however We enjoyed it immensely and will be back.

Z
Edinburgh
1 review
Dined on 25 November 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Favourite restaurant in Edinburgh, a real special treat. The food is outstanding, lovely atmosphere and excellent service. Highly recommend.

WL
London
8 reviews
Dined on 7 November 2018
Overall1food1service3ambience1

Do not trust the reviews, the tasting menu was way below my standard. Waste of time and money -.-

CL
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on 2 November 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food, top quality produce and creative cooking. I would strongly recommend the experience.

OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on 13 October 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

An incredible experience!

GC
Edinburgh
6 reviews
Dined on 21 September 2018
Overall4food3service4ambience5

Interesting concept and good fun with being elbow to elbow with fellow diners and forcing you into conversation. Food was a little disappointing given the reviews on the site and not cheap but overall a good dinner and a lot of fun.

CM
Angus
1 review
Dined on 14 September 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Gardeners Cottage is a truly unique dining experience. It’s a cozy bucolic setting right in the middle of the city. The food was wonderful, the staff attentive and the long tables encourages you getting to know your neighbors. We had a great time and can’t wait to go back.

l
Philadelphia
90 reviews
Dined on 13 August 2018
Overall3food4service3ambience3

This was my second visit and they presented all arriving guests with a Five Course Prix fixed menu. They also have a seven course one but don’t seem to encourage it as there was no mention of its being available until I asked. The first course is a few slices of Bread with three slices of chorizo. Almost simultaneously they bring the second course salad. The third course is a Pigeon and when I expressed my dislike for game birds the chef offered to prepare mackerel in a similar preparation. The fourth course was another fish dish and finally dessert.
Everything was good but I was not really impressed with the menu and thought the price was too high considering the first two courses were Bread and a small salad. Also seating is at a communal long table and there was no interaction between the people seated at the table. The two ladies next to me spoke a foreign language between themselves although they were able to communicate with the restaurant staff in English.

This is a unique setting but is not really a comfortable setting and not worth the price of the current menu.

CK
London
1 review
Dined on 28 May 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent, down-to-earth experience. Simple decor, no fuss in the service or the table. Puts the focus on the food and the ingredients - which were outstanding. Fresh, tasted like the meal had been pulled straight from the ground to the plate.

RH
Denver
2 reviews
Dined on 22 April 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

From the time we entered until we left the staff made us feel like part of the family a great dining experience. Very accommodating to vegetarians.

PT
London
7 reviews
Dined on 8 February 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As brilliant as recommended in other reviews. Fantastic combinations of flavours in the veloute, cod and bitter cocolate desert. Very welcoming

OT
Staffordshire
1 review
Reviewed on 23 July 2017
Overall1foodserviceambience

Went here for my parteners 50th after a day in Edinburgh, she was looking forward to some nice food according to the 5 star reviews ( don't believe them I think it's a case of the emperor's new clothes, if your told it's good it's got to be good)
I am 56 and this was the worst food I've ever had tasteless and minute portions. The first course was a single quails egg and a single tiny stuffed mushroom, I nearly forgot the crushed hazlenut dip that didn't stick to anything.
We thought it couldn't get any worse so we persevered, how wrong were we. The palette cleanser witch is one of the courses was like freezer defrosting ice coloured with no taste at all and the desert was a few small chopped up pieces of dried cake and a mouthful of ice cream.
Neather of us are big eaters but we had to buy snacks on the way home we were that hungry. Don't go for a meal here if you want good food and feel like you've had something to eat.
I would have complained after the meal but they have this policy of taking your debit card number and security code when you book ( should have rung alarm bells at the time ) so knew they had my details written down somewhere. The obviously have no qualms about ripping people off so didn't trust them with my details.
I CAN'T STRESS ENOUGH THAT THIS WAS THE WORST MEAL I'VE EVER HAD

HB
Baltimore
92 reviews
Dined on 3 June 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is our second time dining at The Gardener's Cottage for our anniversary. We highly recommend this place if you are looking for that one special holiday dinner experience that is slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the New Town and Royal Mile.

s
Surrey
14 reviews
Dined on 14 May 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience4

An excellent evening; seven course fixed menu - every course excellent and wonderfully presented; good choice of wines but allow staff to guide you to best wines; wine flight available - didn't have this but looked to be well matched with food courses.
Restaurant format is "communal" long tables but no fixed sittings other than time booking accepted for so your dining company changes during the evening. We dined with some excellent company which changed during the evening - like all these things you get out of evening what you put in to it; if you want to keep yourself to yourself then you can but you'll probably still have others sitting either side of you. From our point of view, it was a great evening and we probably didn't concentrate on the wonderful food we were eating as much as we should have.
Definitely something to do again.

AT
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on 26 April 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience4

There were 4 of us, 2 with diet concerns. The attention to detail and the appreciation for diet was superb.

Every course was delightful, creative, and flawless. Wine pairings were spot on.

We had been once before, and made this a destination with two friends. Our efforts were rewarded by the wonderful meal.

H
London
1 review
Dined on 15 April 2017
Overall3food4service3ambience3

Bit disappointed by sluggish service when meal had already started late. Several of th courses were a bit disappointing, though others were excellent. Generally nice ambience though a little bit crammed in next to strangers

C
New York Area
34 reviews
Dined on 10 April 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Es realmente una experiencia gastronómica. Consta de un menú de degustación donde los platillos son cuidadosamente elaborados bie presentados. Desde un mero hasta un filete de venado no deja uno de asombrarse y complacerse con cada bocado. Totalmente recomendable pero habrá que hacer reservación ya que son muy pocas mesas.

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OT
Aberdeen
3 reviews
Dined on 8 April 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a fantastic dinner at the gardeners cottage. It was a tasting menu which was explained at each course. Everything we were given was just lovely and the wine was fantastic!!

P
London
8 reviews
Dined on 8 April 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A wonderful place and staff.

Food is great and will definitely be back.

Wine is a bit expensive

OT
Edinburgh
1 review
Dined on 1 April 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband is a notoriously fussy diner as he is a really good cook so this was our last chance to find somewhere he would like for his birthday. He absolutely loved it - we both did. They changed the menu for me as I am allergic to shellfish and nothing was too much trouble. I'm much less of a foodie and was worried I wouldn't enjoy it but every course was delicious and beautifully presented. The staff were really lovely - helpful and knowledgeable without being intimidating or snobby. As we were coming in, the couple leaving just shouted 'you'll love it!' and we did!

JO
Edinburgh
4 reviews
Dined on 1 April 2017
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Excellent evening

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LF
Hertfordshire
37 reviews
Dined on 30 March 2017
Overall5food4service4ambience4

Lovely food!

OT
Edinburgh
1 review
Dined on 29 March 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic lunch, fresh, seasonal food, expertly cooked. Service was very friendly & knowledgeable. The restaurant is a little hidden gem in the hustle & bustle of the big city!!
The owners & Staff should be very proud of what their doing. Keep up the work!!

OT
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on 26 March 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food and service was outstanding. Loved everything about this place.

OT
Glasgow
1 review
Dined on 26 March 2017
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Very small and unassuming quaint and casual restaurant but packed powerful plates of food for our evening out with our teenage family !

Excellent food ,wine and service . Very unusual seven small course tasting menu but full of flavour ,colour and excellent presentation of each course. Very filling menu indeed !

We all really enjoyed it and will certainly go back .

Good value for money and staff were friendly and helpful too. Quite liked seeing the chefs plate up each course .

Would definitely recommend to foodies out there .

OT
Cheshire
1 review
Dined on 25 March 2017
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Our table was in full view of the kitchen (and the bins) which whilst interesting was not ideal. The food was very good but some dishes were served on cold plates and were not hot enough. The chefs were preparing the intricate dishes on a stainless steel worktop which did not appear to be heated from above or below and the food got cold whilst in the preparation.

G
London
6 reviews
Dined on 25 March 2017
Overall3food3service4ambience3

This was a trip down memory lane because I lived 200 yards from the restaurant from 1950 till 1975. In these days, however, it was truly a 'gardener's cottage' where the 'parkie' for the surrounding City Council gardens lived. The transformation is remarkable. How they can get 30 covers, kitchen etc into such a small space is amazing. The set menu was interesting with a number of courses that we would not normally eat. The food was perhaps a bit rich for our palates but very well presented. The accompanying wine flight also included some wines that we would not normally have chosen.

E
Edinburgh
1 review
Dined on 24 March 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience4

This is a meal you will remenber. The cottage is very cosy and you are seated on one of two long tables in a small room. The seven course menu is set and the same for everyone, but provides a great experience and great value for money compared to other restaurants. This is "social dining" since you won't get a table to yourself but rather encourages making new friends, while at the same time the small size of the cottage ensures it's not too crowded. Book a table in advance, and get swept away by the Gardener's Cottage great service and kitchen!

S
Edinburgh
1 review
Dined on 23 March 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I went to the Gardner's Cottage with my partner, as it was our ten year anniversary. We had the most amazing meal. The service was attentive without being intrusive, the waitstaff enthusiastic and well trained, and the cosy, comfortable decor a real treat.

Of course, the food was the most important part. There wasn't a note wrong. From the homemade sourdough, to the mushroom macarons, to the perfectly medium rare wood pigeon, to melt-in-your mouth plaice, it was a symphony of local, seasonal flavours that made our special occasion a true delight.

OT
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on 19 March 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The meal, service and atmosphere was beyond wonderful. The food is spectacular.

OT
London
1 review
Dined on 19 March 2017
Overall3food4service3ambience5

Second time to this quirky and charming restaurant. Sadly, our main course was undercooked (the fish was translucent in the middle); this was remedied, but with no apology and quite a wait as a whole new set of mains had to be cooked. Nothing was taken off the bill for this, so we didn't leave a tip. It's a good restaurant and coming from London I found it reasonably priced, but they need to work a little on the customer service and not give the impression that if they make a mistake it's the customer's taste that's at faults rather than their cooking.