The Bar

From the moment you enter through the revolving doors of this 180-year-old Edinburgh institution, you can tell that you’re in for an “expérience gastronomique”. Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh, just off Princes Street, the Café Royal has been a hive of eating and drinking since 1826, meeting the city’s appetite for the Café’s speciality – oysters. In 1863, the Café moved to its present Parisian-styled building becoming one of Edinburgh’s most striking restaurants. Surrounded by original stained-glass windows, Victorian plasterwork and Doulton ceramic murals, you really feel that nothing has changed in over 100 years.

The menu has a distinctly Scottish feel, focussing on dishes such as Cullen skink and equally well-known ingredients like Stornoway black pudding. But as the name implies, oysters (and mussels) are what the Café is renowned for. Oysters are served either naturally, Rockefeller (on spinach with mornay sauce) or Kilpatrick style (wrapped in bacon, grilled and drizzled with balsamic), while the mussels are offered with either white wine, cream and shallots; tomato, chilli, red onion and coriander; or with cider and pear. But the menu offers much more than seafood, presenting a selection of venison, lamb, chicken and vegetarian options.