70 Rose Street North Lane, Edinburgh, EH2 3DX
  • Telephone 0131 225 1233
  • Opening times Will open bar at different times for groups or wine tastings by prior request
  • Seasonal times Closed Sun Jan/Feb.
  • Food served Mon–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–10pm; Sun 12.30–2.30pm, 5–10pm.
  • Pre-theatre times Mon–Sun 5–6pm (finish by 7.30pm)
  • Average price £12 (set lunch); £26 (evening meal)
  • Pre-theatre price £12 (same as lunch. £16 for three-courses)
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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.

Let’s just put it out there: this is never going to be the plushest venue in town. But get over it, because here is a restaurant that’s not so much hitting its stride as redefining it. Owner Gordon Minnis cheerfully admits that in Calistoga’s ten years his menu has moved from ‘Californian with Scottish influences’ to ‘Scottish with Californian influences’ and that’s a thing of joy. It puts a meltingly tender lamb shank centre stage, with cumin and Zinfandel notes providing a very able back-up. A smoked chicken chowder feels like a clever twist on Cullen skink, while the accompanying rice crackers add a witty dash of texture. Albondigas – spicy meatballs – are perhaps less refined, but still delicious and warming. In short, the food’s all good, and with the fruits of an exceptional Californian cellar available at a mere £5 mark-up, the value’s tremendous too. Definitely try one of the short wine tastings which can be bolted on to your meal – they're informal, informative and a great way to build knowledge of the product as well as increase enjoyment of the wine list later on.

  • High point: That wine list
  • Low point: Not a lot of choice for veggies
  • Notable dish: Seared tuna
  • Private dining: (4) 12/2x16/32
  • Provides: Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Pre-theatre menu, Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Cali radio
  • Capacity: 80
  • Largest group: 52
  • Open since: 2008
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 21
  • House wine: £14 per bottle

Comments & ratings

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7. Christine G6 Dec 2015, 8:37am2 stars Calistoga Report

Went to Calistoga for our work Xmas dinner, and wasn't impressed at all. The staff were friendly and accommodating, however the rooms were tiny with overwhelming smells of other food orders. The set Xmas menu choices were excellent, however one bite of my cold mushroom tart left me instantly ill. Several of our group refused to eat it too and opted for something else. The steak I believe was served cold and also had to be returned. Not a very good meal for many in our party group.

6. Al Henderson21 Oct 2013, 9:45pm5 stars Calistoga Report

Just got home from a visit to Calistoga with some friends who know a bit about good wine. We were all blown away by the wine tasting experience and the dinner after was excellent too. Happy days.

5. M11 Aug 2011, 11:52am2 stars Calistoga Report

For a restaurant to be based in a city centre back lane it should offer excellent food and service to make up for the less than salubrious surroundings. Unfortunately Calistoga doesn't even come close to offering either.

The service was so-so, with a distinct lack of warmth or personal touch. It gave the impression that everyone was too busy and there was a distinct lack of attention paid to customers.

The food itself was the main disappointment. Warm asparagus and shitake mushroom salad included a grand total of one and a half spears of asparagus. In fact the asparagus had been sliced down the middle to give the impression that there were a whole three spears! This wasn't helped by the fact it had obviously been cooked in bicarbonate of soda to keep them greener, but at the same time make them mushier. The shitake mushrooms didn't compensate for this and although tasty enough were a bit gritty.

The mix and match main grill was underwhelming with the chicken erring on the side of being overcooked and lacking any real flavour. At best it was adequate and did nothing to tempt us to go for a third course.

Trying a new cuisine is always something to look forward to, particularly when you don't really have any idea or expectation of what it's going to be. We left Calistoga with no real idea of what Californian cuisine actually is, but pretty sure we didn't care much for it.

4. Brodieman31 Jan 2011, 2:39pm Report

Never had a bad meal here. Staff remain courteous and attentive without being intrusive. The menu changes regularly and there is always plenty to choose from. The Californian wine list is outstanding. One of my favourite places in Edinburgh.

3. AM15 Jan 2011, 7:48pm1 star Calistoga Report

Disappointing. The only thing I can agree with in previous review is the presentation of the food.

I booked a table and advised we needed highchair, was not advised that they'd rather not have small children! Even when we pored over the menu with the waiter there he offered no suggestions -this is not a fussy child.

The vegetarian main course was a soggy bit of pastry with a non descript tablespoon of 'rosted' veg which could easily have been frozen diced veg., half a tinned/jarred artichoke & 4 cherry tomatoes. i had asked if i should order a side but was advised this would be filling - it was not.

The chocolate dessert was reasonable but the cheese board stingy.

Came home hungry and disappointed. I would avoid if you have young children. Also take 3 courses even if you don't feel hungry! The service is 'unobtrusive' but toward cold.

2. SaraD8 Mar 2010, 10:41am Report

Absolutely fantastic meal, the duck was perfectly cooked. Wine list was great, and the cheapest white by the glass very tasty for £3.50. I'll go back!

1. veggiefan21 Dec 2008, 11:10am4 stars Calistoga Report

Lovely tasty food, beautifully presented but portions on the small side. Staff pleasant and unobtrusive.

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Average rating 3/5 from 5 reviews of Calistoga.

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