Price guide: Mid-range

29 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3BQ

Price guide: Mid-range

Howies Waterloo

By Alison Craig, your Edinburgh expert

I write for BBC radio, The Scotsman, .... Read more
#23 of 40
expert-rated restaurants in Edinburgh
Expert overall rating:4.4 out of 5
Food and drink:
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Business travellers, Families with teenagers, Singles, Relaxation

Expert review of Howies

A great Scottish restaurant set in a beautiful historical building.

Howies is owned and run by a local businessman and has been on the go now for nearly 20 years. At Howies Waterloo (one of four branches in the city) the ethos to start with was 'food without the faff', which has sustained it through the economic ups and downs of recent times. Always popular with locals, the Scottish elements of the food are tempting for visitors too.

BYOB was introduced in the first Howies all those years ago as they waited for a licence. It proved so popular that BYOB is still on offer today (corkage is £3 per bottle). They do offer an extensive and well-priced wine list too, featuring some good value bin ends.

Howies Waterloo has a wedding licence, so if you feel the urge to take your vows (and they know how to throw a wedding party) this might be the place to do it. They have the luxury of space too, so despite large numbers you won't feel compromised.

Food and drink: 

Good local produce and BYOB are Howies' buzz words. Each Howies has a chef who puts together his own menu, so this is a group of individual restaurants rather than a chain. The menus change all the time though Scottish produce is always prominent. Game, as such venison, pheasant, partridge and rabbit, are real favourites in the winter months and lighter summer options include salmon, herring, fresh herbs and leaves.

Recommended dishes: 

The banoffie pie has been popular since day one and is unmissable. The haggis spring rolls with chilli dipping sauce - traditional food with a twist - are also big sellers!


A Georgian meeting room, which was built to celebrate the winning of the battle of Waterloo, is now a substantial restaurant seating about 80. You'll see amazingly high ceilings, warm colours, open fires in the winter and ever-changing art on the walls.

Due to the height of the ceiling, the wooden floor, the gallery and the raised stage area, the acoustics in here are wonderful - just in case you feel like bursting into song. Such is the realxed atmosphere you might get a round of applause.

In summer it is bright and airy and in winter, cosy and welcoming. How they do that? I have no idea but it works.


Informal, friendly. Expect to pour your own wine.


Waterloo Place is really a continuation of Princes Street, so it is about as central as you can get.

Price advice: 

Main courses from about £12.95, starters from £4.

Tables to book: 

Ask for a table in the raised area; the best spot for people-watching.

Other useful branches: lists all Howies branches; there are four in Edinburgh and one in Aberdeen.

VIctoria Street, which is handy for The Royal Mile, is split into two distinct rooms; the room closest to the kitchen is the lightest, airiest option. If you want romance and discretion, then go for the other.

Howies Alva Street is in the heart of the west end and recently rebranded as a Scottish tapas  restaurant - food for sharing and very good it is too.  Below street level, with a light conservatory area to the back. Cosy upholstered booths, and individual iron work and the tapas idea make it stand out from the crowd.

Bruntsfield Place is in a lovely old bank building in a student and residential area a mile from Princes Street on the way to Morningside.

More information on Howies :

Price guide:
Bar, Brasserie, Restaurant
British, French, International, Modern, Scottish
29 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3BQ
0131 556 5766
Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
Opening times:
Coffees, snacks and drinks from 11am everyday; Sun-Fri noon-2.30pm, Sat noon-3pm, Mon-Sun 5.30pm-10pm
Accepts Credit Cards:
Essential at peak times
Free tags / Keywords:
BYOB, seasonal, Quick bites

Have you been to Howies ? Would you recommended it?