The Outsider

The Outsider
15/16 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EE
  • Telephone 0131 226 3131
  • Food served Mon–Sun noon–11pm.
  • Average price £13 (lunch); £22 (evening meal)
Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2014 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

This review is taken from the current (2014) edition.

It’s worth grabbing a table here for the view from those oversized rear windows alone – watching the sun dip behind the rooftops of the Grassmarket, the hulking mass of Edinburgh Castle looming in the background, is a magical sight, whether you’re a wide-eyed tourist or a hardened local. Plying its trade in the heart of the Old Town for more than a decade, The Outsider still has a buzz about it, with clatter and chatter bouncing around its mezzanine level and high-ceilinged main room complete with cute, corner cubbyhole table. Good Scottish produce infuses a menu with built-in comfort factor: a fresh-as-a-daisy trout salad, tender rabbit leg on barley risotto, or fall-off-the bone duck confit with a tomatoey cassoulet, dotted with spicy merguez sausage. Plum and limoncello tart is a real home-style crowdpleaser, and a chocolate pâvé with hints of cardamom is an indulgent treat that presses all the right buttons.

  • High point: Feel like king of the castle with that killer view
  • Low point: Well-meaning service can stray at peak times
  • Notable dish: Confit duck leg with merguez cassoulet
  • Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Gluten-free options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Not audible above noise of diners
  • Capacity: 110
  • Largest group: 12
  • Open since: 2002
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 12
  • House wine: £18.60 per bottle

Comments & ratings

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43. Evan12 Aug 2014, 12:16pm1 star The Outsider Report

Worst restaurant I've ever been too. Poor service and mediocre food. Service staff need to wake up and realise what they're there to do.

42. HelenF7 Aug 2013, 1:50am2 stars The Outsider Report

I'm disappointed! My friends and I went to the Outsider 2 weeks ago before seeing Jessie J at the castle. The food was fantastic and the service was great-I'd have given them 9/10. Tonight I took my 15 year old as a treat before going to see a couple of fringe shows.
We were stick at a table with chairs like we had to sit on in the lunch hall at school- I think they are genuine retro! But not comfortable at all! We then were told that the chicken and prawn skewers were finished (at 4.30pm) I ordered the veggie ones, my son the burger, 2 veggie skewers arrived- no burger.. The sides came 10 mins after my order arrived, the burger even later. No salt and pepper on the table, we had to ask for ketchup and we were charged for the side of chips which were brought to accompany the veggie skewers that my son hasn't ordered in the first place. My dish went cold as I waited for the replacement burger, and we were given a Luke warm apology. Not impressed I'm afraid-I'd have been more lenient in my criticism but there was only about a quarter of the tables full- the rest awaiting unsuspecting booked customers pre-theatre. My 9/10 goes to a 1/10. Even a McDonalds would have been better and a third of the cost! Mmm won't be back sorry:(

41. tyke traveller14 Mar 2013, 4:37pm4 stars The Outsider Report

Lunch today. Busy restaurant and service was pleasant and efficient. Food offerings varied and interesting so I would not say this is a tourist trap. Also the 12% service optional service charge applies to 6 or more only. Modern and comfortable, quite a large main room with offshoots, and nice views of Castle from the rear window tables. I had Hake fillet with a cassoulet and mussels, and my companions Pigeon, and a nice looking Burger from the cheaper menu. Deserts were Baked Figs, Tarte Tartin and Chocolate Pave, all tasty and well received. Wines by the glass four white and four red choices, prices Edinburgh average. So I was intrigued after seeing the mixed reviews what this place was like. In my view plenty to like about it, and I would happily return. The philosophical comments on their wine mine choices were a laugh too, but you do need a sense of humour.

40. Cyril B27 Feb 2013, 12:26am1 star The Outsider Report

To start with, the food was just OK. When you pay an average of £15-16 a dish you expect a wee bit of taste and surprise in your plate.. here it was clearly not fantastic. Could have done everything by myself home for much less than that price.

Secondly, service wasn't great too. Professionalism could be discussed. When you try to put your cuisine to "high" standards, the minimum is to get your team a uniform. After that, serving the wine is a whole technic. Leaving the bottle on the table without any other comments wasn't great.

Thirdly, concerning the bill. Be aware POTENTIAL customers that a 12% charge appears on the final bill for the service which I found quite shocking in view of the quality of the service. The way this line is added on the bill is very weird.. like coming out from nowhere. However,we've been advised that this was still a discretionary tip and not compulsory as it could be in some other places.

The overall is not worth spending a night despite the fancy inside design and the nice rear window giving on the Castle. Just a tourist trap in fact.

39. Chris S25 Aug 2012, 6:14pm4 stars The Outsider Report

Went to The Outsider last night with a few friends and we all had a fantastic experience. The food was delicious - steak, salmon and pork belly consumed happily by our party along with some nice wine. Will be going back very soon I hope!

38. Kirsty H19 May 2012, 11:53pm1 star The Outsider Report

I have dined at the outsider many times. Therefore I had no qualms in recommending it to my friends. I am a Assistant Restaurant Manager, so would like to think I knew where was good to eat. Apparently not. Although I have had several good experiences at this restaurant, my friends unfortunately did not. We had arranged for a large booking of us to go as a reunion dinner, I had to cancel due to illness but wished them well on their night out. Only to receive a message from them saying it was a terrible experience (put into nicer terms). Obviously I was shocked as, yes on occasion there was below par service, but I really liked this restaurant. So I assured my friends that I would follow up their complaint. I took to my computer to write an email to The Outsider, only to find they do not have an email address or a website. I know that if I call, they will be unable to satisfy my disappointment, which should really not have occurred in the first place. The Outsider paints itself as quality dining and is set in a prime location for a thriving business, why then would they hire rude staff, or not strive to provide the service they should be? And to discriminate against the big party bookings, that will ultimately stay longer and spend more? And surely a place like The Outsider would have competent Chefs on so as to have all dishes ready at the same time? Having read all the other posts, I can determine that this is really a hit or miss place. Unfortunately for my friends, and to my embarrassment, tonight was a miss. I can only apologise to them.

37. Louis & Mariella14 Apr 2012, 5:11pm Report

The Outsider was our first dining experience when we visited Edinburgh for a few days last week. The food was excellent and the service was just superb. We'll definitely make it a point to re-visit the place when we're next in Edinburgh.

36. margaret rowley10 Apr 2012, 10:31am Report

Just called into this Restaurant on passing so had not read all the reviews beforehand so I'm sorry to say that "Faulty Towers" comes into mind !
After waiting half an hour for our soup to be served we had another hours wait for our second course to arrive after asking the Staff what had happened. They were full of apologies and said they had new Staff on who did know what they were doing. It was a busy lunch time, but then again it was Easter Monday. We were told they would not charge us for starters or side dishes to compensate.
We then ordered desserts and one of them when it arrived was not what we ordered. Another wait and more apologies.
When we came to pay they took our card away, something I thought did not happen these days, and on its return were told they had made another mistake and charged our card with someone else's meal but they did give us a refund !!!! Will we be going back - NO.

35. JustJohn30 Jan 2012, 4:58pm4 stars The Outsider Report

Thought I would weigh in on this as I had a great night at The Outsider on Saturday night (28 Jan) with my g/f who's been there before and had an equally good time. Can't quite see why it's so hit and miss here.

Service was excellent, couple of very minor quibbles but our waitress was so friendly and attentive that they were of no significance. If there was any time when they weren't checking up on us then it was really easy to get their attention.

Didn't have a starter as we weren't sure they actually served them, but in hindsight their skewers are supposed to be shared. Gutted I didn't try one judging by the rest of the food. We did have some bread to share though, and it was to die for. Warm, softy, crusty outside, served with warmed butter and a basil/oil dip. Could have eaten that all night.

Main course was amazing and the waitress again was really reassuring when I asked for it with no nuts (allergy). Had a goats cheese and pumpkin pie/pasty (they didn't call it a pie!) with kale, roast beetroot and small potatoes.

We were in two minds about dessert but shared a lemon sorbet in the end (comes with frozen vodka on the side, both vodka and glass from the freezer). I never drink vodka but with the sorbet it was amazing. Ended up ordering one more shot each before finishing off the sorbet (we'd shared one originally).

Card was taken away from the table which is a big no-no in my book, but it transpired they don't have a mobile handsets rather than anything more sinister. Obviously it's not ideal but you'd be unlucky to have your card cloned anywhere really.

Ambiance wasn't quite noisy - it was lively but intimate at the same time. I can see why they take coats when you enter - the chairs and general decor are improved by the lack of clutter, but I understand if some are uncomfortable with it. They knew exactly what coats were ours at the end so it really wasn't a problem. I had a hoodie on underneath so don't feel like I was cool or trendy in any way.

Would go back in a heartbeat.

34. L.M.30 Jan 2012, 12:08am3 stars The Outsider Report

Not impressed.

I visited The Outsider with a family party of 9 for a birthday meal. Upon first entering the restaurant we noted that it is manditory for you to give your coat to staff to hang up (there was a notice by the door that they strictly did not ALLOW outdoor clothing which I found a little odd). The decor was stylish, the temperature pleasant, the music quiet with a nice ambience. The waiting staff were attentive, and we were seated at a long table with 3 wooden chairs and two bench/sofa-type things which were not very comfortable. The views of the castle from the rear window were stunning.

BUT - The food was not worth the prices. A steak was so over seasoned that it made one of out party feel very ill, both the sea bass dishes were over salted to almost inedibility and a dish of roast carrots and parsnips was also salted to the point of having no flavour. One of the meals was served so late that everyone else had finished eating. The other dishes and the desserts were adequate, but the atmosphere was spoiled by the other poor offerings. The price of the sea bass was discounted from the bill however, and we felt that was fair. The staff were polite in response to our complaints but overall we felt very underwhelmed by somewhere that seems to think the style and attitude of their establishment matters more than feeding their customers meals worth the money.

I'd say it is somewhere more suitable for a light nibbles and wine sipping, than a dinner party or for anyone actually hungry.

33. Bonnyblink27 Aug 2011, 12:16pm3 stars The Outsider Report

Visited this restaurant on a few occasions. Food has a nice twist - not quite fusion but along those lines though pricy for what you get. Lovely views to the castle if you get a table at the back. Restaurant is noisy and they are reluctant to take large bookings - I suspect because it would exacerbate the noise problem. I won't return though because they took our credit card away from the table to process as they don't have hand-held machines.

32. Nik24 Aug 2011, 5:25pm5 stars The Outsider Report

Blimey - the negative reviews are quite breathtakingly...er, negative.
Have we eaten in the same place, I wonder?
This has got to be one of my fave places in the 'burgh.
I am neither trendy, 20-something, and not particularly stunning... but heck, not only do they allow me in each time, they welcome my wheelchair using friend. Service fab fast and friendly; food great.
A place I keep on returning to even though there are indeed many other options to choose from.
Well done Outsider folks for running what is a stonkingly enjoyable place to visit. :)

31. H&M13 Aug 2011, 9:44pm3 stars The Outsider Report

We've been to the Outsider a few times but this time I was left disappointed with the food. I had the beef salad from the lunch menu and it was very bland. However, the service was fantastic and I was very pleasantly surprised at how child-friendly they were. I give the benefit of doubt and put it down to being very busy with the festival.

30. Lizzy1 Aug 2011, 3:54pm1 star The Outsider Report

I took my disabled daughter to Edinbrugh for the day and my mum came with us
My daughter is in a wheelchair .......
We were hungry and went to go into the Ousider restaurant only to be told we wernt allowed in as my daughters wheelchair wheels would mark their flooring .......... I really don't know how I kept my temper with such a comment ....... So I phoned the restararaunt manager this morning to ask why my daughter was turned away ..... He peplied they must have been busy at the time ........ There was plenty of tables avalible and only a few pepole in javing a bite to eat ...... My 14yr old daughter was left insulted and totally humiliated ...... The manager Roury Stwart was very insulting on the phone and hung up and now I'm trying to get in touch the the owner of the restauraunt as he maybe unaware of the situation if anyone can help please I would be very greatful as this must not happen again !!!!!!!

THIS IS NOT THE END OF THIS MATTER
THIS IS DISCRIMINATION UNDER THE ACT OF DISABLED RIGHTS 2010

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27. kiwib1 Aug 2011, 11:03am1 star The Outsider Report

I had a friend up from London and after a recommendation from a friend, we decided to have dinner at The Outsider. BIG MISTAKE! We both got food poisoning after eating seafood!!!!! Had no apology or offer of a refund from the manager. Will certainly never eat here again and will warn others to avoid at all cost.

26. MandyJane7 Jun 2011, 5:43pm5 stars The Outsider Report

The Outsider is one of the first restaurants my partner took me to, three years ago now and we keep returning, in the evening and at lunchtimes. I enjoy cooking and it's not always easy to find somewhere that will provide something just that bit better, or different, than I could put together at home, but The Outsider does just that; I smile every time I visit and have enjoyed every plate put in front of me.

Couple of weekends ago, we had four visitors arriving, from Birmingham and Exeter, where to take them? The reviews on here about bad service, despite my experience have made me nervous, but I decided to take the plunge. I rang late, managed to get a cancellation for 6 at 8 and gathered my friends together.

Grin, what are you expecting, the usual moan and groans? Well I have none. They were as busy as you'd expect on a Saturday night, they seated us promptly took coats that we gave up, left those we didn't; served us promptly with bread, olives and wine while we chose, took our order promptly, came back with our meals in good time, caught our eye every time we waved for another bottle, bought lemon and water to clean fingers, hovered at the right time with the sweet menu and left us to finish our wine and chat when the boys disappeared to watch the end of the footy.

I guess every restaurant doesn't suit every person, but this suits me, very well.

25. MelD29 May 2011, 2:31pm1 star The Outsider Report

Bland. Overcooked. Over-priced.
We visited last night for the first time expecting great things.
I had whole roast sea bass which was lacked flavour and would have benefited from a good pinch of salt. My other half had the Duck which was tough, overcooked and completely tasteless. Service was surly at best. And they demand to take your coat from you on arrival. Is this because so many people walk out without paying for the crap food they've been served??

24. RosC29 May 2011, 1:30pm2 stars The Outsider Report

OK, so I'd tried to ignore some of the negative reviews on this site about the Outsider, having previously eaten there (and its sister, The Apartment) and really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. However, last night, having organised for a group of 10 of us to go there, for many of whom their first experience of dining in Edinburgh, it was a real disappointment. On the plus side, the setting is fantastic (in particular the view of the castle and old town), the decor and ambience relaxed and stylish, and the service friendly and pretty efficient (albeit I didn't particularly like having to justify why we were a group of ten - no, we're not a birthday or hen party, and if we were, should it matter?); however, the food really was a let down. Normally, a fan of the shared skewers, these just weren't up to scratch last night, and the main courses - of which we had to send three steaks back to the kitchen for being overcooked (one was quite literally charred to a crisp) - didn't particularly impress either - fairly tough meat, and otherwise quite small portions (of what was admittedly apparently a tasty risotto). In short, there are so many other great restaurants in Edinburgh, this one won't be getting our return custom.

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22. Samuel14 May 2011, 2:41am5 stars The Outsider Report

Really good food, fantastic value, and lovely staff. I don't know what is wrong with all these people who have given such weirdly negative reviews; perhaps you're just not used to restaurants? Maybe stick with MacDonalds or an Angus Steak House next time...

21. Feed me full15 Apr 2011, 3:43pm Report

The problem with the Ousider is that they think they are 'it'. They only want you in the restaurant if you are a young pretty/ handsome, posh twenty something. Lack in even one of those catergories and you've had it!

Food wise, I love it... and it's that that keeps pulling me back, but on many occassions I have left vowing never to return due to their snotty attitudes. I was actually contemplating booking it for my birthday on Monday and is why I am on this site, but I just know that at least one member of my party would be deemed 'inapproriate clientele, so it's out.

The occassion where I had my biggest gripe was when I wanted to book a meal to celebrate getting married. I am not calling it a hen night, coz it wasn't. It was to be a meal in my favourite restaurant with my mum, 2 aunties, 2 sisters, my cousin and my best friend.

I called to make my reservation. As soon as a said I wanted a table for 8, I was asked 'is it a special occassion?'. Not even thinking, I said 'oh, it's actually my hen night' thinking I would et a congratulations. I was then promptly told that they couldn't take my booking. I was stunned, but I argued my case and assured them that there would be no pink cowboy hats. It was not until I said that 'I just wanted to have a meal with my female family in my favourite restaurant which I fequently rather alot' that I was finally allowed to book it. I basically had to beg though. When the night came, I did enter with an attitude as I was still annoyed and was expecting to be badly treated. As usual the food was fab, but as predicted, some of our faces didn't fit, we were too loud, we weren't allowed to put coats on the back of our chairs etc etc. My sister wasn't able to make the night in the end and had secretly phoned up to buy a bottle of champagne which was brought to our table by two soured-face waiters. In such shock and thinking how kind, we all made a loud 'aaawhhhhhh!!!!' sound and they were seriously disgruntled. If looks could kill I tell you. We drank our champagne quickly and left, slagging them off for the rest of the night and went onto somewhere where we didn't feel like naughty scumbags.

I have however returned - as I say, the food it too good. However, on these occassions I have been with my hansome 28 year old husband and they couldn't have been any nicer. Obviously our two faces alone fitted into their desired clientele. They want custom, but they have criteria. I can see what type of person they want to avoid, but your average lager lout Weatherspooner wouldn't set foot in the place anyway and I think it's so wrong the way that they treat people who enjoy food and are their to spend their cash there.

20. Yumbo Gumbo3 Mar 2011, 5:39pm5 stars The Outsider Report

My fiance and I eat here all the time and it is definitely among our favourite Edinburgh restaurants. Service is always slick and professional when we are in. I am in the trade as well and cant help but notice. Keep up the good work guys!!

19. Oh my, how crappy!21 Jul 2010, 8:54pm Report

We visited this overpriced, "fancy" restaurant expecting to get our bellies full and feeling satisfied. However, I urgently suggest never to eat here as you will be disappointed by the food and overall staff. This restaurant seems, on first eye, a nice choise of evening. It looks clean and the menu appealing. Although I did get a feeling of not having made the right choise when the waitress started explaining the menu. Restaurants with certain "ways of working", when it comes to difficult menu set-ups, mostly do not have great food. They attract a certain crowd that eats there once and never coming back again.

We just came from Glasgow, having had lunch in a great restaurant called "the grill on the corner". There I had an amazing Kobe Beef Burger for just over 18 pounds. Here, I ordered the mussels and my girlfriend ordered the rib-eye steak. The rib-eye was priced 17 pounds 20, which was, comparing to the Kobe-burger I had earlier, quite expensive. Well, it was, especially when you take in mind that the rib-eye ressembled a rubber sole and was hardly suitable to swallow, yet greasy like John Travolta's hairdo in the movie called....you guessed it. The mussels were ok, but the quantity of it was rather stingy. (12 mussels.. on a plate). But, I was still full from the Kobe-burger, so that was fine.

When we were finished eating, after having to wait for 15 minutes before anyone came up, the waitress cleared our table without even making eye-contact, let alone asking if everything was in order. Which was obvious it wasn't, as my girlfriend ate 2 mouthsfull of the rubber sole, before leaving it on the plate, afraid of choking on the thing.

People, Edinburgh is FULL of great places to eat. Where you get proper good food worth every penny you pay for, and with staff happy to serve you. Do NOT go here, it is not worth the money, the time and your stomach.

PS: We come from Amsterdam, so we are used to crappy food. But this was lousy, even for us Dutch.

18. Jonathan5 Jun 2010, 4:23pm1 star The Outsider Report

We visited the Outsider for a family members birthday. We were shocked by the poor level of customer service from the rude female maitre d'. We brought one balloon that we discretely placed at the side of our table only to be told that balloon’s were not allowed in the 'main hall'.

The food was good but the staff were not very attentive and quite rude. We were also shocked at the mandatory 12% service charge, especially when the service was so poor.

All in all the food was good but the service was shocking and the atmosphere was bad. We will never ever be going back to this place and looking at the rest of the reviews we will not be the only ones!

17. Lynda17 May 2010, 12:44pm5 stars The Outsider Report

I've read the comments and just can't believe what people say. I have visited The Outsider on quite a few occasions and have never ever seen the staff be rude to anyone. I have always found them polite, efficent and friendly.

Anyway, I visted on Saturday afternoon (15 April) and had an excellent meal. There were three of us and we started with the soup (roast garlic, sweet potato and cumin) which was really good. It came with bread and a dip. We all then had a blue cheese and red onion tarlet with a potato and tomato salsa. This was just divine. I could have eaten another portion. The puff pastry was so light and delicious and it tasted to fresh. For dessert I had an orange and lemon tart and I have to say it was one of the most delicious desserts I have ever eaten. It was light, fluffy, moist, so fresh and home baked with fresh cream flavoured with orange. Stunningly good. My friends both had chocolate mousse which they said was delicious.

We ordered from the lunch menu, so it was three courses and a bottle of wine and it came to £61.00 which I thought was very, very good.

Again, the staff were efficient, friendly, attentive and the surroundings in the restaurant are great. I love this place and will continue to go back.

16. Gaultus10 May 2010, 10:26am2 stars The Outsider Report

My friends and I ate at this restaurant on Saturday evening. Upon arrival, we informed the front of house that an extra person would be joining us. I'm guessing from the comments above that the owner is the manager/owner. Rather than being delighted with an extra few quid on the bill, the guy immediately pulled a face like a smacked backside. While waiting for the table to be rearranged which was obviously a Herculean task, we chatted amongst ourselves and being in good spirits, had the audacity to laugh. There must be a ban on laughter in this place or a quota that had already been exceeded as the front of house rushed over to tell us that there were other diners and that we had to be more considerate or would have to go somewhere else. Not a single diner was disturbed by our laughter, no one looked up, they were all too busy eating their meals and chatting amongst themselves. The front of house then followed up his scolding up with a quiz on whether we were a stag do!! The food was just about ok but pricey, irrespective of that, I wouldn't go back to a place were I was made to feel like a naughty child. I have been party to some fairly outrageous behaviour in restaurants and our behaviour wouldn't have disturbed a library. The attitude from their front of house was a disgrace so next time I am in Edinburgh I won't be going back to this place, think I would prefer to give my hard earned cash to a restaurant that respects its customers rather than offering them utter contempt.

15. Jack and Bethan9 May 2010, 3:56pm4 stars The Outsider Report

We heard nothing but bad things about this place but went anyway as the menu looked very much to our taste. Good move.
The food we had was first class. We had one of their signature skewers. The fish on this was cooked beautifully and there was a really nice mix of flavours on the plate.
The wine was excellent and relatively good value.
The bread served with the meal was as good as any I've ever had.
Give it a try. I would suggest that you should not not go just because of these poor reviews - we had a lovely night.

14. Kathryn18 Apr 2010, 12:17pm Report

I have eaten at The Outsider many times and with the exception of the time I found hair in my coleslaw (which was dealt with very well) I have always enjoyed my visits and have recommended the place to several friends. Some have loved it and some have been very disappointed. I have even heard the tales of the manager/owner's extreme reactions but have never experienced it myself. Last night however was probably the last time I will eat there. Our table was booked for 9pm - to avoid the pushed departure that we were aware of - but clearly that policy was not being implemented on this occasion - we waited for 40 minutes for our seats as did many others behind us jammed into the entrance. We were offered a glass of fizz as an apology but with nowhere to sit to enjoy it and staff squeezing past to get upstairs and customers squeezing past to get downstairs to the loo it was an offer to decline. Once seated, we felt abandoned - we eventually had to ask for menus, we asked 4 times for a jug of water and waited another 20 minutes for bread and our wine. Our usual shared starter of mussels was disappointing with very harsh spring onions covering it and my friend's main course skewer had to be sent back because the chicken was like leather. Her "replacement" arrived within 2 minutes and was no better apart from the addition of extra sauce and the fact that it was removed from the bill. Staff were clearly struggling to cope making the whole place feel stressed. Despite most of our supper remaining on our plates, our waiter failed to ask what was wrong. We were offered dessert and coffee but by then, hugely disappointed by the whole evening we declined anything further and settled up.

13. dress up doll7 Apr 2010, 10:24pm Report

I have to agree with all of the other negative comments. I visited when it very first opened and, though I enjoyed the food, have never been back as I just didn't like their attitude to customer service. Taking coats is a good idea but the way that they ask for them is just unfriendly - as if bringing a coat in the first place is a major inconvennience! I think it is clear from most of these reviews that the owner is not a people person and I think this taints the atmosphere as I really did not feel welcome here even though nothing untoward happened whilst I was there. I am sure that some people visit and enjoy their meals here, like HappyScotia, but I don't think the bad comments are "pretty unfair". Most people work really hard for their money and should be able to enjoy a meal out without feeling unwelcome, rushed or pressurised. If the owner of this resturaunt can't put up with complaints from customers he should stay behind the scenes and employ someone who can. I have never recommended this resturaunt to anyone.

12. Mahmoud Khalik16 Feb 2010, 11:25am Report

This has to be the worst restaurant in Edinburgh! I will be honest here, the food is good....so is the food in a lot of other restaurants in Edinburgh! the customer service is horrible, the waitress wanted us to do her job for her by giving out the plates, handing them around, also one of our meals arrived at the table with the paper that had the order on it in the meal! they made a fuss about taking it back?! and when we decided to talk to the manager and explain that the food is good but the service really needs improvement, he kicked me and my friends out!! and shouted "get out, just dont come back again" everyone around the restaurant looked, unprofessional!

Anyway there are plenty of places that are good in Edinburgh, do not waste your time at this place, the staff are rude and fake. I am not the type that likes to be pampered and I have alot of patience, but this place really was the worst I have ever been to ever! Hope this helps!

11. Eleanor Logan16 Dec 2009, 8:29pm Report

I ate here on Friday 11th December and was not impressed. The waitress kept trying to rush us to choose our items, and kept being over assiduous in checking up on us. As a result we kept having our cnversation interrupted.
I can concur with other posts here that the people have posted with similar complaints reflected our experience - including the maitre-d being frosty. I did not receive a warm welcome on arrival and the whole rushed experience began as soon as I walked in the door.

What was most annoying was that before we had finished our meal we had been presented with the bill and asked to leave since the table was booked for someone else.

We HAD NOT been informed of this when booking the table and were still drinking our wine. In fact, we would perhaps have spent more on coffees/desert had we not been moved.

In the end, despite spending £60 we were not valued and received no apology.

Given the prices are not cheap and that there are many comparable restaurants in Edinburgh I would not recommend anyone eating here. Go somewhere where you are valued as a customer......

10. HappyScotia3 Dec 2009, 12:29pm4 stars The Outsider Report

I simply cannot understand some of the poor comments for this restaurant. Our family dined last night (two adults and two older teenagers) and had a lovely time. The service, granted was a bit slow, but when the food arrived, it was well worth the wait. I would have given 5 stars for a rating, but my husband's meal (mussels in a jus) was a little disappointing - it seemed like an after thought compared to the other meal triumphs. The sauce was thin, the shallots were raw and many of the mussels hadn't been cooked long enough to open. That was a bit of a shame, because the other meals were just delicious.

The view from the Castle was just magical and the ambience in the restaurant was just right. No blaring music, plenty of happy diners chatting. The only atmospheric point to question? I like dimmed lighting in my restaurants, but when you have to read the menu by candle-light, it is a little irritating.

Still, we had a lovely evening and didn't have any of the 'owner/waiting staff' issues mentioned in previous reviews. I felt I needed to write a review to counter, what we felt were pretty unfair comments. It's still good to eat here......as for the comments about taking our coats - we were happy to do so. The seating arrangements are such that coats hanging off would just get in the way. We think if you have a laid-back attitude to a restaurant and you are polite, then staff will return the compliment.

9. Timmy11 Oct 2009, 10:58pm Report

Well I visited the outsider last week and thought it was lovely, the staff were very attentive, we were given an awesome table upstairs looking out at the castle at night, lovely! The food was fantastic and very quick!

Eveyone seems to have a problem with jackets being taken, can everyone not undrstand that it makes the restaurant look a bit messy with jackets hangin off chairs everywhere?!

Anyway this place is well worth a visit, I will definitely be back!!

8. ouime9 Sep 2009, 12:11pm Report

I went the outsider on a Wednesday for a family birthday
The doorman (sorry) maître d! asked to take my coat on arrival, when I explained it was fine I’ll just hang it over the back of the chair he got rather annoyed and demanded the thing explaining it was restaurant policy!
Not a good start to an overpriced slowly served meal.
There ‘s too many other restaurants in the capital to bother there door again.

7. DearEskimo4 Aug 2009, 12:22pm Report

I've visited The Outsider 6 times in the last 2 years, and every time I've had a brilliant experience.

I've always found the staff to be welcoming and friendly, during every stage of the process, from the initial welcome to wine recommendations, and meal service.

The food at The Outsider has never disappointed. The menu is set out simply, and while having a really good selection of meals, doesn't overload you with options. The portions are a good size, and with an added side (optional, not necessary) desserts often have to be shared.

The decor and atmosphere is cosy, stylish and warm, and if you do manage to get a seat near a window at the back, the castle view is spectacular.

Definitely worth a visit!

6. Dave K11 May 2009, 8:53pm Report

We went in May 2009 for a family meal on a Sunday evening. The service was slow and poor, yet delivered with arrogance. We waited over an hour for mains. We all had steaks apart from my girlfriend who had trout. The steaks were good however my girlfriend suffered food poisoning from the trout.

In sum I think the restaurant is over-rated but will probably continue to do well due to it's location in the main tourist part of Edinburgh.

5. emily m9 Feb 2009, 4:22pm Report

I urge everyone to boycott this restaurant due to the behaviour of it's shrill, rude owner. Never have I have been to a restuarant and been spoken to as I had by this twitchy little man. The Outsider is a jumped up gastro pub with ideas above its station - for a while there it was a nice place to go for cheap eats on the way to somewhere else, but it seems the owner has taken its comparative success to his head. Our crime on the night? Singing 'Happy Birthday' to a friend at the table. We were told the restaurant doesn't 'accept singing' and were hastily given our bill middway through our main courses. Never mind that 10 of us paid £40 a head each for wine and food, we were asked to leave and then abuse was hurled at us by the owner when we dared to suggest that perhaps his staff should follow the mantra that 'the customer is always right'. To this I was told to f*ck off and never to come back - then he launched in to calling us 'b*thes' and 'd*cks' - he had to be held back and taken inside by one ofhis friends. Please bear in mind our group were all over the age of 40 and we had pregnant women amongst us - hardly hellraisers. A vile little man with terrible waiting staff, please never go here.

4. Nina24 Dec 2008, 4:25pm5 stars The Outsider Report

I have been to the Outsider several times and have never been disappointed. The food is great, always a good selection of starters and mains. The service is good too. You are always greeted with a smile as you come in. Overall a great restaurant.

3. Iain W12 Jun 2008, 12:56pm Report

Tried to get a table for 2 one Friday in Edinburgh in May 2008 - tried Montpelliers, Outsider, all George Street etc and nothing doing. Edinburgh restaurants know they can sell the same table over and over again and if one punter does not like it - stuff them - they will get another!
I've been told by a Toy Soldier (doorman) that there is no way I am getting into Oloroso, Edinburgh , been told there is 40 minute wait at (the very average) Pizza Express Stockbridge etc - it is just that the best places are booked weeks in advance - this over demands leads the suppliers to often become arrogant, lazy and greedy - they forget who is feeding their mouths and paying their staff - but that is just the way it is I am afraid.
During the Festival these places will want to sell the same table 3 times over from 6pm and turn the dining experience into a conveyor belt.
Not all restaurants are this way but many do end up with this mindset - best vote with your feet or temper your expectations.
Hen and stag nights should stick to Pizza Hut as they do tend to ruin the intimate dining experience (plus push out the regular customers) -witnessed this many times.

2. Karen1 Jun 2008, 2:14pm Report

Having been to The Apartment before and loved the food, I was looking forward to going to The Outsider. I had a met friend who I hadn't seen for a while and we had loads to catch up. We chatted, ordered food, ordered wine, ordered more wine........you know what it's like. We were chilling! Ordered a 3rd bottle of wine., well we don't get out much and we had not drank much out of it, when we were presented with our bill and asked to leave. We told the waitress that we still had our wine to finish, but she told us that our table was needed. The restaurant was quite empty at this point, although I did realise that it was coming up to evening covers. She went and got the manager, Matthew Kelly and he told us that they could pour our wine, that was in our glasses into the bottle and we could leave with that!! We were shocked to say the least, having just been presented with the bill of £75, it was a bit like, we've had all we are going to get from you, so you can now get out. We were not rowdy or unruly, we were having a girly chat with some food and wine thrown in. Eventually after a bit of persauding, the manager gave us another table to finish our wine, however we were not that long there and we were told that this time we must leave. We settled the bill and sad to say did not leave a tip, purely down to the appalling way we were treated. It was such a shame as the food and surroundings were great. I felt that when we ordered the 3rd bottle of wine, we should have been told then that out table was going to be needed. It's no way for customers to be treated. Funnily enough when I phoned up to get details of who to write to about a complaint, the girl who answered thought I was someone else, as according to her there had been another incident in the evening.

1. Louise16 May 2008, 5:31pm Report

Have been to outsider before and really enjoyed the food. However, when trying to book a table for 10 on a Saturday night, I was snootily told after a long pause that they don't take bookings for tables of 10 only 8. I was also then told that they don't allow hen nights - stuff them, we will go and spend £400 in another restaurant!

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Average rating 3/5 from 24 reviews of The Outsider.

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