Iris: Where to Eat in Edinburgh

where to eat in new town edinburgh


One of my go-to bistros in New Town

Iris is a jewelbox bistro tucked into a picturesque Edinburgh alley called Thistle Street, just across from Fishers. The menu is varied and the portions are reasonable, meaning not so large that one would feel gluttonous ordering courses for lunch.

I’ve been here numerous times and I’ve never had anything I didn’t enjoy thoroughly. The fish and mussels are very good, and the starters are innovative and quite delicious, such as pancetta wrapped scallops or morel pate with chorizo. It’s often quite easy to get a table when other restaurants are full.

The dining room is comfortable but elegant and the acoustics are muted, so that it never seems too deadly quiet but neither does it get too loud to have a decent conversation. It’s a great place to bring friends, but equally comfortable to dine alone.

Iris could stand improvement in a couple of areas. The dessert menu is off balance. There are too many options that include chocolate and sometimes at the end of a meal you’d prefer something more refreshing. It’s absurd to have four chocolate desserts on a short menu, with no fruit or sorbet option. Sometimes you want to refresh and clean the palate rather than end dinner in an indulgence, especially after having a fish course.

If you want tea after your meal you’ll get a pot of bagged Twinings. It’s Scotland, for heaven’s sake, and this is too nice a restaurant to be skimping out on a proper brew.

Other than these details, I enjoy my meals here. It’s especially relaxing after a day of shopping. The colors and ambiance are soothing and refined, and the staff is engaging and knowledgeable.