55–57 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DB
  • Telephone 0131 662 4493
  • Seasonal times Mon–Sun noon–late during Edinburgh Festival.
  • Food served Mon–Sat 11.30am–2pm, 5–10pm. Closed Sun.
  • Pre-theatre times Mon–Sat 5–6:45pm.
  • Average price £13.95 (set lunch); £21 (evening meal)
  • Pre-theatre price £13.95
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Photo of Sylvesters

Friendly, family-run bistro with low-key prices and a seriously good kitchen.

Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2017 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

How many times have you headed down West Nicolson Street to something at the Fringe and passed Sylvesters without a second glance? Well, that's a shame as this little gem deserves some attention. Kieran Sylvester has put his all into creating a restaurant serving the kind of refined food he cut his teeth on while training under award-winning chef Neil Forbes. In fact, his whole family are devoted to the cause, with mum providing the décor, dad selecting the wine list, and his wife handling the correspondence. While the music selection could do with a tweak and the lighting needs to be toned down, the food is why you’re here. The menu is Scottish with a twist, featuring perfectly seared west coast scallops with a coconut and coriander dhal, Pickering's gin-cured salmon with punchy grapefruit espuma, homemade haggis with pickled turnips, and pan-fried sea bass served on a delicious leek rösti floating in vanilla sauce. It all gels and makes for interesting, well-executed dishes. Portions are generous and filling, but do persevere; the rhubarb trifle is worth it.

  • High point: The excellent wine list
  • Low point: Can lack atmosphere on quiet nights
  • Notable dish: Roast Borders duck, served pink
  • Provides: Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Pre-theatre menu, Free wi-fi
  • Music on stereo: Easy listening
  • Capacity: 40
  • Largest group: 40
  • Open since: 2013
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 6
  • House wine: £17.45 per bottle