The Apartment Bistro

The Apartment Bistro
7–13 Barclay Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4HW
  • Telephone 0131 228 6456
  • Seasonal times Open until 10.30pm during festival period
  • Food served Mon–Sun noon–10pm.
  • Average price £15 (set lunch); £22 (evening meal)
  • Email
  • Website
Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2015/16 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

This review is taken from the current (2015) edition.

Just up the rise from the hodgepodge Gothic of Barclay Church, the Apartment's style might best be described as abbatoir chic, with solid pale chairs, polished copper fixtures and blood-red walls through which telegenic young staff glide smoothly between spotlit tables. The only thing missing is a Rothko print. Mercifully, they've revised the slightly manic 'personality' wine list of yore, which clears the way for a smart cellar selection to shine through. Alongside a rich palette of New World reds a crisp house fizz is well worth a punt. The food menu, for its part, foregrounds a range of skewers including a lovely veggie sweet potato and citrus halloumi option. Oven-warmed bread and soft, salty olives on a dark wood block make for a strong opener, and the sweet venison haunch (part of the reasonable set menu deal) is satisfyingly flavoursome. It’s a solid venue for a midweek dinner with your thirtysomething friends.

  • High point: Despite the aesthetic, vegetarians will find much to delight them
  • Low point: The squid salsa is more of an apologetic shuffle
  • Private dining: Up to 22 covers
  • Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Free wi-fi
  • Capacity: 120
  • Largest group: 22
  • Open since: 1999
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 15
  • House wine: £15.90 per bottle

Comments & ratings

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28. Polly Fleck27 Oct 2013, 7:03pm2 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

This place used be nice and the food good. Ate lunch there today with two friends as our guests and were embarrassed on their behalf at the food we were served. The main course risotto size comprised of about 3 dessert spoonfuls of food. Chips were over salted and the chicken and prawns on skewers were over cooked and dry. Dessert didn't get better. Portions were mean in size and the poached pear flavourless.
Interestingly, unlike previous comments the service was fairly good.
This is a restaurant we have enjoyed in the past under the old ownership but sadly the new owners 'tweaks' seem to mean cutting portion size and employing poor cooks .
We will not be back and would not recommend this restaurant.

27. hungrybear30 Aug 2012, 4:39pm4 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

*casual and refined atmosphere, tasteful and dynamic fare*

For a weekday catch-up with an old friend in town on business, The Apartment Bistro strikes just the right balance between familiarity and cool sophistication. The clean lines and ‘unfinished’ interior themes give it the air of a new studio flat belonging to an art enthusiast. The moderately-sized menu printed on A4 paper gives the impression of a considered, yet unpretentious approach to restauranting as a business. After a dramatic contest between the salmon skewers and the butternut squash and bleu cheese risotto, I went with the skewers. My friend went for the mussels and I must say, the mollusks well out-did the fish for the olfactory award of the evening. Smothered in cream and bacon, the fragrant mussels were everything you could want for decadent, late summer fare. The salmon, skewered alongside chunky portions of artichoke and beetroot, held it’s own for flavor, however. Succulent and delicately pink, the well-seasoned fish accommodated the green flavor of the artichokes (if a bit tough) and deep purple sweetness of the beetroot with perfect balance. Accompanied by a very economical bottle of tempranillo, the meal was satisfying and gave plenty of food—no pun intended—for thought. Overall, someone has given the whole affair a great deal of attention, carefully considering the experience of their customer while maintaining a clear vision for a relaxed and intriguing style of dining. And most importantly, the comfort (and dessert offerings) to sit and chat well past the last dregs of wine.

26. Lynda8 May 2012, 10:13am4 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

I was there for lunch on Saturday. First of all I have to say it is a gorgeous restaurant inside. I love the arty decor and the chairs and tables. Everything is beautiful. Also, service is very good.

However, food had mainly good but some bad points. I ordered the chicken and king prawn skewers which has been on the menu for at least 10 years. I was disappointed with the skewers, although the chicken was succulent I only got two miniscule tiny prawns, one on each skewer. You could barely see them and that was unacceptable. The sauce over the meat and salad was delicious though. However, also for at least 10 years, they have made their own beetroot salad in a pitta bread. This was, to be blunt, tasteless and bland. I think it is very tired now and should come off the menu. I am sure they could come up with something much more interesting.

I then had the cheeseboard which was excellent. The blue cheese in particular was mouth watering and it came with lovely homemade looking and tasting biscuits/oatcakes, slices of pear, grapes and a delicious homemade chutney.

All in all loved the meal but I think they should revamp some of the main courses.

25. Miss Bahookie24 Mar 2012, 11:11am5 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

We chose a 6.30 sitting on a Friday night. Perfect time to eat dinner and as soon as we arrived we were greated with smiles and the staff were really attentive. The atmosphere was nice and relaxed. We were offered the choice from the set or full menu. There were so many dishes to choose from - spoilt for choice really. While we chose we were given olives and bread - delicious!. For anyone like me who loves fish, the Haddock tart was moreish and the seabass dish very very tasty!. My guy had pork belly and scallops followed by pigeon - both of which he commented were perfectly cooked. Service was great, wine and food tasty and satisfying. We can't wait to go again to try other dishes on the menu! And the good thing is prices are so reasonable we won't need to wait too long.

24. rustyB17 Oct 2011, 1:17pm Report

Excellent dinner. Nice bread, good wine. We arrived late and were made to feel more than welcome. Unlike many Edinburgh restaurants, which chase late tables out the door. Very good service. Will be back, cheers!

23. y.s visitor27 Apr 2011, 7:44pm5 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

I went today for an early dinner with my missus. I can start and tell you all about how good was the pan fried duck breast salad or the asparagus salad with the quail eggs and sun dried tomatoes, but instead I'll just recommend to you guys to go there and experience it for yourself.
We really enjoyed that. good quality food, very good value for money and brilliant service all combined to a great dinner!

Definitely 5 stars.

22. Nurse6617 Jan 2011, 9:14am4 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

Visited the Apartment on the 15th Jan ,have registered 4 stars because i really enjoyed my food,devilled kidneys followed by steak,can't fault that,good sized portions too( which is a priority for me )service was fine upto a point,the point being that we were verbally abused and made to feel threatened by the diners at the next table in a very unpleasant way,this appeared to be provoked by one of those ridiculous "you looked at me the wrong way "moments.My criticism is that no member of staff noticed that the ambiance of the evening was seconds away from being shattered by a thug,and open violence was only narrowly avoided by our restraint.I would never suggest not visiting somewhere because one idiot spoilt it,the food was great,a little bit of support from attentive staff would have been nice,we reported the incident and they did say they would keep"an eye out for them"in the future ,for the staffs sake i hope that "keeping an eye out"isn't a literal interpretation of what might happen!4 stars for food( its a restaurant)2 stars for ambiance,afterall we were'nt actually hospitalised!

21. Marie L4 Nov 2010, 9:04pm5 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

We had such a sweet time, this place is cool as it's between college and home and an empty fridge. loved the fish, loved the pudding, loved the wine, adored the waiter :)

20. sarahc27 Sep 2010, 12:18pm2 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

Food was great, service was appauling. That is all!

19. Susi24 Sep 2010, 11:40pm3 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

The Apartment has had a reputation for some years as a place with great food, but hit-or-miss service. Our experience this evening suggested that its recent revamp has done little to change this.

The food was all delicious - from the bread at the start right through to the desserts at the end. The dishes were interesting and fun, and I did like the option to order a medium-sized caraffe of wine if you didn't want a whole bottle.

But all this was marred by disorganised, unsatisfactory levels of service. We arrived at 8pm and ordered soon afterwards. After a fairly long wait the mains arrived - immediately followed by a frantic waitress explaining that they'd forgotten to serve our starters. So the mains disappeared and the starters arrived. Once the latter were finished we had a ridiculously long wait for the mains to be brought through again. In fact, it was 9:35pm before we got them.

The service picked up then as our friendly but embarrassed waitress dished out the desserts speedily. But after we'd asked the bill she disappeared completely and 10-15 minutes later we had to grab another member of staff to get it.

To be fair, we did seem to be the only ones receiving such bad service. But it's still a mixed bag of a review. If you like good food and atmosphere, go for it. But don't make any immediate plans for afters as you could be there a while!

18. A P M29 Aug 2010, 3:59am2 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

Well, read this review! I took my girlfriend tonight and we left after our meal feeling very let down! The food was good but not amazing , but the service was not good! It was as if they couldn't have cared less if we were there or not. Although, the table next to us got plenty of attention. Maybe we should go again and speak with the very best of Queens English and have 1 course like they did instead of 3 courses like we had and get no customer service. Why did I waste £100 to be treated like a second class citizen?? NEVER BE BACK!

17. harrietchat29 Aug 2010, 1:09am5 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

The moment we stepped through the door of the Apartment the atmosphere grabbed us, we got a cheeky hello from a sweet waitress and then a little more of a mad gesturing from the busy maitre d' to follow him. We loved the decoration, it's more what we are accustomed to in London, it's well done, based on jazz and murals, dim lighting, but it's all about the food and that I'm glad to say was very good. There was depth to the cooking which showed in the taste and we loved the old school menu, the seafood rillette tasted of sea and of the taste that only salmon has and it was seasoned subtly as it should be and the duck confit was perfect, stock gravy sweet off the bone. I recommend the chocolate tart it was perfection and very seductive, all in all very good food. If you're in need of a night away from the festival as we did then I recommend this restaurant, and it's a little bit theatre in itself. CH

16. P B C28 Aug 2010, 3:38pm Report

I RECOMMEND ANYONE to read new reviews not older ones as these not represent what the restaurant currently offers.

During the last year I had dinners at least twice a month at the apartment. My first time was before refurbishment and despite I enjoyed the food I found the staff pretty(not beautiful) but pretentious.
Following the make over of the restaurant, I must confess that food has improved and the staff is very pleasant which makes a big difference to the eating experience. The decoration of the restaurant is now contemporary and fresh.

15. MarionW20 Aug 2010, 12:42am5 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

Hell no, I want to give them a 5 star x

14. MarionW20 Aug 2010, 12:41am4 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

I had friends up for the festival and we ended up here after a bad show, it was a good choice. the show was better, this place is fun and cool and got to say the food is pretty good too. That's all, had to give them my praise it was a great evening.
Thanks guys MWX

13. chicha27 Jul 2010, 3:16pm4 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

We heard that this place was all changed and open for lunch now so we blasted UP HILL thirsty, hungry and WTF has happened, someones done some magic, some trick with light and space, it's beautiful. The food aah the food, well good news it's very tasteful and yummy, very much so.
We give The Apartment 4 out of 5 because you're on top of a f**k**g hill.
Good luck with the change guys, it's way better than before.
ps. the manager's hot, loco but hot.

12. CharlieB17 Jul 2010, 12:43am5 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

This place is pretty cool, actually very cool and the food was bl**dy good and it's run by an all girl cheerleader team, tasty. Too many cocktails though, my heads fuzzy, pockets empty, but loved it, we'll be back. CB

11. sbrwn6 Jul 2010, 12:57pm5 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

I used to go to the Apartment years ago but it had lost it's way and so I stopped, but I'd heard from friends that the place was pretty cool after a refurbishment so we strolled down the hill last night to give it a shot and it's just not the same place, it's so beautiful. The good news? the menu has been ditched and we're liking what's on the new one. I had the baked duck egg wild mushroom starter and James the salmon and crab rillette, both pretty awesome and after the wild rabbit and him the hake dish, soooo tasty. The atmosphere was alive for a Monday and we left feeling pretty good from the experience, at last Edinburgh has a groovy restaurant with great food, just don't drink that second bottle if your home's on top of a hill. S&J

10. Mick G4 Feb 2010, 2:11pm4 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

Having seen some of the scathing reviews listed, it was with some trepidation that we (a party of 4) booked a table last night (Wednesday). But we couldn't see what all the fuss is about - the welcome was genuine, the atmosphere in the restaurant lively but laid back and the place was quite full. The menu is good; try a CHL as a shared starter, and then a main course from a selection of meat, fish or some veggie dishes, and the wines were reasonable too; making it a value for money evening. Service wasn't particularly slow but we weren't in a rush (try a fast food place if you are), the food seemed freshly prepared & cooked, and the waiter dudes were friendly and unintrusive and seemed happy to have us there. We're not students or tourists, and as locals we shall return; maybe weekday evenings are better for service as it's clearly a popular place, but we see no reason not to go and enjoy it!

9. scarlet a4 Feb 2010, 11:28am1 star The Apartment Bistro Report

i cannot believe this is on the lists "hit list"

terrible service. we had made reservations for 730pm and were made to wait for an "available table" untill 810pm. like the other reviews, the food was really quite nice but the complete lack of effort from any of the table staff was shocking- no communication between staff and we had 3 staff coming up to us asking for our orders.

we were also given the wrong wine and they cleared away the table when of our party were still eating

i hope the managment reads these reviews and take actions. i shall definitely not be visiting again.

8. D23 Dec 2009, 10:49am3 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

Great food, Shocking service

Great food - lamb and slow roast pork were perfectly cooked and delicious, apple struddle was the best iv had

Shocking service - lets see... Two employees breezed straight past us at the door and didn't return my hello; they had no record of my booking and were humphy about it, but reluctantly seated us (myself and a new girl friend - which was embarrassing), they didn't offer to take our coats, they rushed us by asking for our orders 4 times by two different people within about ten minutes, they took an absolute age to take our sweet order; and finally they brought us the wrong bill - what a shambles. The two waiters we had had a poor attitude, and couldn't be further removed from the warm and welcoming staff of their sister restaurant (The Outsider).

I'm really not sure I would go again, its a shame because the food was tasty and at a good price.

7. M Lang27 Aug 2009, 11:55am Report

DO NOT EAT HERE! We were visiting from London at the weekend, and are from Edinburgh. My partner's parents were down for the weekend, and we thought we'd eat at the Apartment.

When we arrived, we found that my in-laws, presumably because they have white hair, had been put at a small table in the dungeon-like gloom of the back room. There was one other table there, also with over-fifties sitting at it. It was incredibly, unpleasantly dark.

The service is so bad. I don't know where to start. The staff, including the one who seems to be the manager (but it's hard to tell because they're all dressed as if they're on the sofa at home), act as though you're in their house, and it's an amazing house, and you're lucky to be there. Put simply, they are rude and have deluded ideas about their 'coolness'.

I wouldn't mind, but the Apartment is not cool - it's a dated, mediocre restaurant in a provincial location popular only with students and tourists, both of whom are famously easy to gull.

The food is poorly designed. I ate mussels - they were almost cold, and absurdly over-seasoned - drenched in cream, garlic, bacon, mounds of onions. Perhaps this was to hide the fact that they were off? My body has been doing terrible things since eating them.

The staff are truly awful - being put at the back, we were close to where the waitresses stood gossiping and ignoring everyone. Twice I had to approach them to ask for drinks, and twice I was looked at as if I was out of my depth. Funny, really, considering how little I think of people like them. Oh, and before I forget, one of them was, in view of the room, PICKING HER NOSE.

So there we are, people - poor food, served with bad grace by provincial types who have been led to believe that they're performing some kind of public service while cooling-up the world. I'd say that it makes me feel sick, but I already feel so sick from the mussels that I can't tell.

Avoid at all costs. Boycott these fools!

6. Fraser Edinburgh16 Jul 2009, 2:41pm2 stars The Apartment Bistro Report

As a regular customer of both The Apartment and The Outsider, I can truly say i will not be returning for some time if ever.
On our last visit I found the food to be over priced for the sub standard quality meal and the service from the a staff that felt they were more important than the customers they were supposed to be serving annoyed me immensly.
It has not always been the case but after reading some of the reviews posted recently I am not alone in my feelings.
I hope the management or the list take some notice of these comments as it would be a great pity to see either of these restauarants suffer because of the attitude of the rude staff and the decreasing standard of the food.

5. Harriet24 May 2009, 3:46pm Report

The Apartment used to be my favourite place for big and small celebrations. Hadn't been for a little while, but after last week I do not ever plan on going back.

I ordered the lamb CHL which I've enjoyed there several times before. When I cut into the minced lamb it was extremely pink. Since I'm pregnant I didn't feel I could risk eating them and sent them back. Even if I hadn't been pregnant I would probably have sent them back, as there's rare and too rare. My husband tried to eat his steak slowly, so we could still enjoy our meal rather than take it in turns to watch each other eat. When the dish arrived for the second time, the lamb was even pinker than in the first dish.

The manager was more interested in gossiping, than checking her customers were ok, but eventually came over and suggested I order something else. She also suggested the lamb balls were always that pink - which they haven't been in the past.

So by now, I didn't feel that I could safely order any of the meat and went for the more expensive fish instead. The manager said she was sorry and would do something about it. By this time my husband's food was completely cold.

For me doing something about a customer's complaint means apologising, doing your best to resolve matters, checking the resolution you offer is ok and doing your best to make it up to them - perhaps offering to knock something off the bill, so that they feel confident about coming back to you.

For the apartment it means you ignore them for the rest of the night and put the more expensive item that they felt forced into ordering on their bill instead of their original order.

4. I Love Edinburgh20 May 2009, 8:57pm Report

I will never eat at The Apartment again. The food USED to be good, but the service is terrible, the staff are nothing short of rude.

I did love this place when it first opened, we even had a private party here. Booked another one and The Apartment cancelled our booking one week beforehand (Christmas) without any explanation.

I don't know of anyone apart from The List who has a good thing to say about this place - they must be putting on a special show for you !

3. Nina24 Dec 2008, 3:46pm1 star The Apartment Bistro Report

A very disappointing experience. The food and service was average. The food was expensive and rather boring and unimaginative.

2. JSONE12 Nov 2008, 2:05pm Report

The Apartment used to be a decent place to eat but my last visit was a completed disappointment. The waiters are not the best and project the impression that tehy are doing you a favour to serve you, it is also pretty expensive for wghat you get.

1. cooktobe25 Oct 2008, 11:25pm Report

This restaurant is not worthy of inclusion in the List. We visited last week and were met with the rudest and most unfriendly 'front of house 'person ever. Although we arrived at 4.30, we were not allowed to order from the early dining menu which was advertised from 2.00 til 5.00pm, the order took an hour to be served, then we were asked to leave at 6.30, with no time for coffee or dessert. One of our group got the wrong meal but no apology. We were given a bill with a service charge of £35.00, which we declined to pay.
The revue on the List does not compare with the other revues on other websites. Perhaps The Apartment put on a special show for you- they certainly didn't for us, or for many others.

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Average rating 3.5/5 from 21 reviews of The Apartment Bistro.

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