The King's Wark

The King's Wark
The King's Wark
36 The Shore, Edinburgh, EH6 6QU
  • Telephone 0131 554 9260
  • Opening times Sun–Thu noon–11pm; Fri/Sat noon–midnight
  • Bar open Mon–Thu noon–11pm; Fri/Sat noon–midnight; Sun 11am–11pm
  • Food served Mon–Sat noon–10pm; Sun 11am–10pm.
  • Average price £17 (lunch); £17 (evening meal)
  • Email
  • Website

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Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2015 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.

On an inclement night, this is an excellent place to hole up, drink red wine and eat really good pub food. In a stone-walled 15th century building down on The Shore, it feels like escaping to an old country pub. Flickering candlelight, low ceilings and well-beaten dark wood floors add to the romance of the setting, but it wouldn’t be a Leith favourite if it didn’t deliver on the food front. Seafood features strongly, with smoked mackerel pâté, hot-smoked salmon and crayfish roulade, natural smoked haddock and mash among the highlights. Burgers (double minced rump, chuck and brisket, with bacon jam and optional Dunsyre blue or Applewood cheddar) are large and delicious; breakfasts cover the seriously hearty (the Bigger Breakfast includes the works, plus fried tatties and a tattie scone, just to be sure) and the vegetarian (spinach crêpes with brie, mushrooms, poached egg and hollandaise sauce), and their Sunday roasts come highly recommended with a pint.

  • High point: Classic pub food, in an excellent setting
  • Low point: Gets full up on weekends
  • Notable dish: Steamed Shetland musssels in white wine, garlic and cream sauce with chips and aioli

The award winning 15th Century King's Wark nestles in the heart of Leith's famous Shore area. Renowned for our innovative use of Scotland's larder, we use only the best seasonal produce from sea, land and air.

From our ever-changing à la carte restaurant menu, bar meals and daily specials boards; to seasonal tasting menus and adventurous celebration feasts, such as a roast pig's head banquet, we offer something for every occasion. Our bar stocks a wide selection of fine wines, malt whiskies and traditional cask ales. And, on the weekend, we serve a variety of hearty breakfasts and sumptuous Sunday Lunches.

Text supplied by third party.

  • Private dining: Up to 25 covers
  • Provides: Gluten-free options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
  • Capacity: 45
  • Largest group: 25
  • Open since: 1991
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 7
  • House wine: £15 per bottle

Reviews & features

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Six of the Best - Eating & Drinking around Leith

11 Jun 2009

The King’s Wark 36 The Shore, 0131 554 9260 Few things can make a foodie as happy as a portion of homemade fishcakes and frites courtesy of this granddaddy of the Leith eating scene. Oozing olde worlde charm, the Wark’s menu boasts everything from…

Comments & ratings

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20. Joseph Lindsay Haley7 Sep 2014, 10:11pm Report

Benard Lindsay of Kingswark was my 9th great grand father. His grandson was Robert, who's mother was daughter of Sir Hirome Lindsay Lord Lyon. Sir Hirome's father was David Lindsay Bishop of Ross, minister of the Church of South Leith. I descend from Robert, who came to the Colonies wirh his uncle, Rev. David Lindsay of the Edzel Lindsay's in about 1650. I visited Kingswark some years ago. The bottom floor was a pub then, run by a very nice lady who's name I have forgotten. It looks like the front has been refurbished since my visit. I wonder if the large painting of Benard on the Wark, greeting James VI on his return from his trip to pick up his new bride is still in the building. One of the other Lindsay's in the family loaned James the money for his "bridal trip". As you can see I have a strong tie to not only Leith but to Kingswark itself. I am very pleased to see that the building and its landlords are doing so well. I hope to get back to Leith in the future, and will be looking forward to enjoying your fine foods and drink.
Your aye
Joseph W. Lindsay Haley
Tallahassee Fl.

19. June rose19 Jun 2013, 6:21am Report

Enjoyed it so much in 2010', back again twice this visit, Sunday was so busy, we had to wait, but, so worth it, last night Tuesday, a bit quieter, but again so enjoyable, the ambience and service is excellent and the food, generous serves, large seafood chowder for my husband and small for me, great bread nice wine, good price. Hope we can come back some time. Thankyou.

18. June rose19 Jun 2013, 6:13am Report

Stumbled on Kings Wark on last visit 3 years ago, loved the ambience, food, service, etc. went again twice this time. Sunday evening was so busy, had to wait a while, but so worth the wait. Last night Tuesday, again excellent, bit quieter, we both love the seafood chowder,nothing so good for the price in Perth, Western Australia. Hope we do it again some time.. June.

17. Leither812 Jul 2012, 11:13am1 star The King's Wark Report

Awful. Such a shame this place has gone so far downhill. Was in last night with some friends visiting Edinburgh - I was so embarassed I took them here. Our table was 'cleaned' by a member of staff wiping it down and flicking a piece of meat from the previous diners food onto the floor. Food was ok, not a patch on what it used to be. Chocolate ganache for dessert was a lump of compressed cocoa on a plate - completely in-edible, hard a nails, tasted like cardboard. Irish coffees after that were poor also. Shoddy. Wont be going back for food for a long long time.

16. Hellsbells7 Feb 2011, 5:38pm5 stars The King's Wark Report

We booked the whole restaurant for a family birthday celebration, and have nothing but praise for the staff. The service was excellent, going over and above what was required. The staff were friendly helpful and patient!!The food was first class, a testament to the chef. Between the 20 of us we sampled just about the whole menu, and it was clean plates all round. The service was impressive in that they managed to get all the food out, hot, beautifully prepared,and virtually all at the same time. Thanks to all at the Kings Wark for giving us a fabulous evening..............
oh yes, and the bog was spotless

15. 2manycooksinthekitchen7 Jan 2011, 12:59pm4 stars The King's Wark Report

Liked this place. Lovely, pubby feel, nice staff, good beer and good food (most of us had fish and chips). It is not trying to pretend it is something it is not. Unpretentious, fresh and reasonable. Wish there were more paces like this in Edinburgh. Would definitely go back.

14. Claudia9 Dec 2010, 10:32am Report

I ordered mussels for lunch , they smelled almost off , had big slices of onion and a watery sauce .
In one word, awful.
Not what you would expect from an award winning pub
I would not eat there again .

13. dodsnclaire3 Sep 2010, 7:46pm4 stars The King's Wark Report

seafood chowder to die for,balance perfect.pigeon breast perfect.mains were guinea fowl and ribeye.both cooked by a chef who has the touch....Ingredients stand by themselves, and he/she has the bravery to let this happen. Coming from Perthshire, fresh ingredients count for everything. very impressed,esp. at these prices.

12. Darren24 Aug 2010, 5:57pm5 stars The King's Wark Report

Can gaurantee that the there is no better place for fresh, locally sourced, simple, delicious meals within 5 miles of The Kings Wark. Ship on the shore no patch on the Kings Wark (Hence it's recent pub food in scotland). i visited last week and had the best seafood chowder ive ever tasted (starter) and Mussels and fries for my mains (ive tried mussels from every seafood restaurant in edinburgh and can assure you there are the best ive sauce and fries to : ~ )) Cool staff,

The Clambelt.

11. Stumpy31 May 2010, 10:26am2 stars The King's Wark Report

Very disappointing experience last night. Cramped table settings. No flexibility between bar and restaurant menu and small portions served lukewarm and service at best could be described as chaotic and frantic. No where near as good as The Ship on the Shore.

10. afrikat10 Mar 2010, 4:23pm4 stars The King's Wark Report

I have eaten at the King's Wark several times now and the food probably deserves a 5 but the service badly lets this place down. The first time we went the waiter was so rude that we stayed away for 6 months despite enjoying our meals and although we haven't had anyone that bad since there are still a lot of improvements to be made.
We went for Sunday lunch last weekend and the place was probably only half full, however we waited 20 minutes to place a drinks order and another 15 at the end to get the bill. It was impossible to get anyone's attention and it just really let down the food, which is outstanding.

9. tourist14 Feb 2010, 6:54pm4 stars The King's Wark Report

Delicious food and friendly service, definately recommended- we had an exceptional Sunday breakfast steak and veggie haggis.

8. Dines out every day.20 Jan 2010, 10:49pm5 stars The King's Wark Report

I'm lucky enough to have ate here roughly,once a week for the last four years.The choice of dishes indicates the chefs aspirations.Some have been achieved.Best Gastropub chef in Scotland.Michelin good pub food guide.
Aspirations wise making dishes utilising offal,oxtail,unexpected fish cuts, ie monkfish cheeks.
All are prepared with thought & skill.
The ambience is what some of Leith should try to retain.
Mr Craig Gatensby RN.

7. Fee6 Dec 2009, 5:46pm5 stars The King's Wark Report

Amazing food at reasonable prices. Seafood chowder is excellent and well recommended. We both had the sea bass on a bed of risotto and were trying to make it last as long as possible because it was so nice. The place is very busy and no sooner is a table vacated than it is filled again. The restaurant/ bar a few doors a long was very quiet in comparison so this speaks for it's self. Well worth a visit to see for yourself.

6. Leither815 Aug 2009, 12:05pm5 stars The King's Wark Report

Absolutely one of the best, most reliable spots in Leith. Great food, good prices, friendly staff. This cosy, fun pub is always a sure spot for some good food without breaking the bank. I have been going here for over 4 years now and have always come away happily fed and watered!

5. Bean15 Jun 2009, 4:30pm5 stars The King's Wark Report

Visited the King's Wark a few days ago and this time around I felt compelled to write a review. Where else in Edinburgh could you have an amazing seafood or fish main course for under a tenner? I certainly can't think of anywhere. Yes, you could go to other, similar restaurants down the Shore like Fishers, Skippers or the Shore, but you'd be paying close to double that amount. My personal favourite at the Wark is the seafood chowder - heaven. The service is excellent - friendly and assertive but not overbearing. The atmosphere is cosy and welcoming. All that's left to say is - try it! I doubt you'll be disappointed.

4. Scottish lass26 Apr 2009, 8:58pm3 stars The King's Wark Report

Been to the Kings Wark the last two Sundays for dinner, first time in the bar were the food was great but service was lacklustre, Barman/waiter/Seventh Dwarf Grumpy looked like he had been to all night rave previous night and was sleeping off after effects behind bar. Food however was perfect from the Mussels to the Risotto, the bread basket was brimming with fruity fresh loaf and was excellent. Following visit was to the dining room were service was slow again however Grumpy was replaced with more cheerful version of staff. Booking was for 7pm and finished a two course dinner at just before 10pm which for a Sunday night i think is a little drawn out. Food was excellent with the Steak a firm contender for best ever. Will be back but not if i'm in a hurry....

3. Nina24 Dec 2008, 2:10pm5 stars The King's Wark Report

Great cosy restaurant where you can eat simple and well prepared food at a reasonable cost. I have been there several times and have never been disappointed.

2. R Dineen15 Sep 2008, 12:52pm3 stars The King's Wark Report

Went there on the 13th Sept and managed to get a table in the bar. IT wasnt clean or cleared down and no one came to do this. in the end we had to do it our selves. we ordered and their was a delay in the kitchen due to a member of staff going home sick which meant the food was delayed and not as good as it has been in the past. however, would recommend and will go back to give it another try as this is the only bad experience i have had.

1. The Mother of Bono19 Apr 2008, 12:05pm4 stars The King's Wark Report

Simple food well done and great service from friendly and relaxed staff. On the last visit we had messed up our booking (at their busiest time) and the manager didn't blink - it was no problem - even when someone else joined us for a swift glass of wine. No bother. Great stuff.

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Average rating 4/5 from 16 reviews of The King's Wark.

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