As midsummer approaches Edinburgh's myriad eateries and bars unfold on to the pavements, into secluded suntraps and even up onto rooftops, enticing visitors from far and wide. We choose five of the best restaurants and bars across the city to experience that most continental of rituals – al fresco dining.
Malmaison Edinburgh, The Shore
Nestled in the relative seclusion of the Port of Leith, Edinburgh's renowned Malmaison boutique hotel offers stunning views over the quiet quayside. Make yourself comfortable in the front-of-house terrace while sampling the locally sourced delights of the brasserie's menu. Drinks from the MALBAR and wine from a superbly stocked cellar complete the offering, promising an al fresco dining experience to remember.
Chaophraya, City Centre
Chaophraya, much like its rooftop views, is second to none. The latest addition to Edinburgh's Thai dining scene boasts a fantastic fusion of authentic Eastern cuisine, sleek surroundings, extravagant cocktails and, of course, a stunning rooftop restaurant from which diners can enjoy magnificent views of both Edinburgh Castle and the Firth of Forth. It's the perfect venue for those seeking a touch of outdoor class during the day or evening.
Petit Paris, Grassmarket
Visitors to Edinburgh's historic Grassmarket have no shortage of dining options, but for those looking to sample something distinctly continental, Petit Paris is the place to be. Checked tablecloths, whitewashed walls and a sunny street scene, this well-loved bistro has been serving up ‘plein air' Parisian charm under the shadow of the Castle for years. Think Pernod on the terrace followed by grilled escargots.
Contini Ristorante, City Centre
Husband and wife-owned Italian restaurant Contini Ristorante is one of many businesses on Edinburgh's George Street to have embraced the development of a thriving al fresco dining culture within this premier heritage site. Patrons can expect simple, beautifully prepared cuisine, showcasing the very best seasonal produce from both Italy and Scotland.
Orocco Pier, South Queensferry
Perched on the water's edge of the Firth of Forth, Orocco Pier oozes contemporary style and enjoys breath-taking views of the Forth Rail Bridge. From the Samphire Seafood Bar & Grill enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner or a drink outside on the decking while watching the estuary traffic pass by – the focus is on fresh, seasonal produce and the location is one of a kind.