Best restaurants in Musselburgh
Situated just five miles west of Seton Sands, Musselburgh is Edinburgh’s seaside village within a city. Locals love its pretty harbour and sandy bay and golf enthusiasts flock to its celebrated links course, which some claim is the world’s oldest.
With its own unique character and history, Musselburgh offers a picturesque day out and has loads of great restaurants. We’ve selected some of the very best, giving you everything from Nepalese to Italian cuisine.
Crolla’s Italian Kitchen
Owner Joe Crolla and father and son team Giuseppe and Adriano Amato are from just outside Rome and have relocated to Edinburgh to provide traditional, authentic Italian cuisine by the banks of the river Esk. With its stately setting and classy menu, Crolla’s is a real treat, with a great selection of pizzas and meat dishes. The seafood pasta is especially popular, and the tiramisu described as “light and fluffy”. Prices are a little steep, but the food and service are both impeccable!
Situated on the High Street, Dal Patino is one of the prettiest restaurants on this list, both inside and out. Owner Nino hails from the Lazio region of Italy and his varied menu runs from unusual pizzas such as his panino ripieno, with roasted pork belly and grilled peppers, to spaghetti with sea bass.
It’s worth leaving room for the creamy homemade pannacotta too, served with mixed berries. A cosy and rustic vibe, friendly, knowledgeable service and a good Italian wine adds to the charm.
Indian / Nepalese
Gurkha Bar and Restaurant
The renowned fighting force of the Nepalese Gurkhas have long been associated with Scottish soldiers. Musselburgh’s Indian/Nepalese restaurant commemorates these proud warriors in its name and website.
The restaurant’s extensive menu includes Indian, Nepalese, and Tibetan classics, and they are happy to cater to groups or couples. Curries can be spiced to taste, and the lamb in particular is recommended. Don’t forget to try a Nepalese tea at the end of your meal.
Parilla Bueno Ayres
Steak lovers will love Parilla Bueno Ayres, which won a Restaurant guru Best Steak House award in 2022, as well as being a finalist in that year’s Scottish Food Awards. Situated on Musselburgh’s High Street, Parilla offers fine dining with an Argentine twist.
The house speciality is a mouth-watering 35-day aged steak espetada, a skewered, chargrilled steak with pepper and onions. Fillet, ribeye and sirloin are all present and correct too. Vegetarians can enjoy a wild mushroom risotto with truffle oil or a blue cheese, olive, and toasted walnut salad.
Book early as it’s a popular draw for celebrations and boasts many regular customers.
Scottish, British, European
Given Musselburgh's seaside location, it makes sense to try the local seafood, and East Coast is an excellent venue to sample locally caught fish and chips. Another member of the Crolla family, Carlo, owns and runs East Coast, and its sister takeaway, and the family has been serving the local catch in Musselburgh since 1974.
The harbour bowl is an appetite satisfying sampler of the catch of the day, calamari, prawns, and fries. Lobster thermidor and scallops rate highly with customers, as does the Cullen skink (smoked haddock soup with potatoes). Their fish and chips won a Good Food Gold Seal Award in 2023.
Campaign Room Bistro at Carberry Tower
If you fancy dining in a stately home, visit the Carberry Tower Bistro by the golf course, and look out for roe deer and pheasants on the lawns. The oldest part of the estate dates to the fifteenth century, and it’s now a luxury hotel boasting a popular bistro and champagne terrace.
Given its exemplary location, the compact lunch and dinner menus are reasonably priced, with a mix of Scottish and European offerings including sirloin steak and lamb stroganoff. Vegetarian and vegan offerings are a little slight, but the ambience is the main draw, with afternoon teas popular on the terrace on warm days.
Ship Inn Bar and Bistro
If a pub lunch is more your style than fine dining in castles, the Ship Inn might be just the ticket. Newly refurbished, the pub has been serving locals since 1824, and its Bistro restaurant offers a clever twist on pub classics, such as n’duja crusted cod and smashed beef and bone marrow burger.
For vegans and people with food intolerances, the Ship Inn is a godsend, with many gluten-free and plant-based alternatives on separate menus. As well as the local ales, you can sample gins alongside your meal, including from several Edinburgh distilleries.
A friendly welcome is assured (including dogs in the front bar), and the food is a cut above standard pub fare, at decent prices.
Cuddie Brae Pub & Grill
A short drive along Newcraighall Road, the Cuddie Brae is a local favourite. It’s a Greene King pub, which means you’ll get value for money and grilled classics including chargrilled rack of ribs, salmon fillet and 28-day matured steaks of varying sizes and cuts.
The Cuddie Brae does a popular Sunday roast too, as well as brunch from 9am every weekend. Service scores as well as you might hope from a local pub, but you’d be advised to book on weekends, as it can get busy. There are plenty of outdoor tables for sunny Scottish days, and it’s dog-friendly too.
A compact but inviting eatery, the Lanna Thai is another local’s favourite noted both for its takeaway and sit-in service. Regulars recommend the duck red curry and coconut rice, beef stir fry and hot and sour soup with king prawns.
Lanna Thai scores high for authenticity in its food, even with customers who’ve travelled in Thailand. It’s also much more affordable than similar city centre restaurants.