Best places for al fresco dining in Edinburgh

As summer approaches, sun seekers take to the streets of Edinburgh to find the best places to make the most of the great British summertime. There’s nothing better than enjoying a bite to eat and a chilled drink with friends on a warm day, and lucky for us, Edinburgh has a variety of restaurants that offer al fresco dining in the heart of the city. From relaxed French dining in the Grassmarket to contemporary cuisine just a 5 minute stroll from Calton Hill, there’s something for everyone. Read on for our favourite places for al fresco dining in the capital.

Petit Paris

Image: Petit Paris on Facebook

If delicious French food and Parisian charm is your thing then you’ll want to pay a visit to Petit Paris. Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, this charming restaurant with al fresco dining offers guests an impressive menu that features French classics like coq au vin, grilled snails and oven-baked Camembert. Situated in one of the city’s liveliest spots and in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, al fresco dining at Petit Paris allows you to fully immerse yourself in the capital’s culture whilst the food transports you across the Channel.

Elliot’s at Apex Waterloo Place Hotel

We might be biased but we don’t think there’s anywhere chicer to enjoy a spot of al fresco dining than Elliot’s Bar & Restaurant at our Apex Waterloo Place Hotel. We’ve extended our cosmopolitan bar and restaurant outside onto Waterloo Place to allow you to make the most of Edinburgh in the sun. With a varied menu that includes British classics like fish and chips, plus delicacies from further afield and light bites, our Chef has ensured there’s something to suit everyone. Surrounded by stunning Georgian architecture and just a stone’s throw away from Calton Hill, it’ll be difficult to find a more picturesque al fresco dining spot in the capital, if we do say so ourselves!


Image: Akva on Facebook

If you’ve never been to Akva, add it to your list of places to go. This Swedish restaurant is located in the heart of Fountainbridge and is famed for its relaxed atmosphere and cool beer garden. With a large menu featuring bar bites and sharing boards, it’s the perfect place to unwind with friends over a chilled drink and some nibbles. Their beer garden is complete with fairy lights, fire pits and garden style furniture making it the ultimate chic outdoor dining experience.

The Cumberland Bar

Image: The Cumberland Bar on Facebook

Situated in Edinburgh’s stylish New Town, The Cumberland Bar offers a laid-back setting in which you can enjoy all the classic British pub favourites. Think bangers and mash, battered haddock and chips and beef burgers paired with fine wines and ales. The pub’s secluded beer garden offers an oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh city centre so you can enjoy a glass or two with friends after a busy day’s shopping.


Image: Contini on Facebook

Ideally situated on George Street and boasting an impressive outdoor seating area, the award-winning Italian restaurant, Contini is the perfect place to grab a bite with friends if you’re in the mood for something a bit more indulgent. Relax and enjoy the fresh, seasonal Italian produce on one of Edinburgh’s most scenic streets – because what’s better than pasta and people watching after all? Contini’s Instagram also showcases some of their vibrant cocktails that are no doubt popular on those warm summer days in the capital.

If you join us for a spot of al fresco dining at Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, let us know on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!