George IV Bridge, Edinburgh
- Recommended for:
- Business travellers, Couples, Culture vultures, Foodies, Honeymooners, People watching, Special occasions
Best for Dining alone - Expert review of Ondine
Ondine has only been open since September 2009 and has already won several awards, which is no surprise. Chef proprietor Roy Brett was Rick Stein's prodigy in Padstow, Cornwall, so this man knows how to handle seafood better than anyone. Roy is in here day and night overseeing his baby, which is why it has been consistent and made such a splash. Two-Michelin-starred Andrew Fairlie from Gleneagles Hotel has been in here a few times, as has Nick Nairn and other well known chefs.
The place is jumping day and night so booking is essential. As are the hand-dived scallops - about the size of golf balls - served in their shells with a mini chorizo sausage. Even writing about it makes me want to go...now.
The main seafood extravaganza can be pricey but they do a lunch and pre-theatre menu for £15.95 for 2 courses, £18.95 for 3 courses.
Seafood...eat it. That's the motto here. All types, shapes and sizes of the highest quality.
If you have a die-hard meat eater in your midst, don't fret, they don't do a lot of meaty dishes but the ones they do the meat is sourced from a farmer in Stonehaven in the north east and is of a superlative quality.
The wine list is comprehensive and changes regularly. Last time we were in we quaffed a lovely Sauvignon named Little Beauty - aptly named, I can recommend it and the sommelier can recommend many others.
The gougeres that are popped down as you settle are warm and evaporate in your mouth - these are part of the deal but are worth mentioning. Scallops for a starter or main are fabulous. As mentioned above, they're huge and served in their shell with a mini chorizo sausage nuzzling next to each one. Divine.
The seafood platter is vast: lobster, crab, langoustines, razor clams, mussels, cockles - hot or cold. Three different varieties of oyster are served and interestingly they do all taste quite different.
You will be met by a smiling member of staff on arrival and as you are shown to your table you will notice an impressive array of the seafood catch of the day sitting in the bar area.
Black and white is the colour pallet for the upholstered round-backed chairs, some round tables, banquettes, an oval bar and lots of curves - they all give it a welcoming air. Light music can be heard tinkling in the background during early evening and late on, as the restaurant fills up and empties.
Comfortable and relaxed, you can wear jeans or your best bib and tucker and feel quite at home.
Uniformed but friendly. No embarrassing maitre d' type nonsense. The second you sit down light as a feather gougeres are offered and water and bread magically appear. The sommelier has a great knowledge of wine and is good at recommending wines to accompany specific dishes - and does not always go for the most expensive.
On the first floor, it is physically attached to the Missoni Hotel but is a completely separate entity. The address of George IV Bridge is literally 10 steps from The Royal Mile, making this a great spot for exploring Edinburgh. A five-minute walk to Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street and The Tron - put it in your diary. You'll regret it if you don't.
OK, so some of it does sound a bit pricey. For example, the seafood platter at £38 may bring tears to your eyes. Order it though, and they will be tears of joy: it's a vast platter bursting with razor clams, langoustines, lobster, mussels, cockles and any other crustacean the heart desires.
As I mentioned above the lunch and pre-theatre menu is excellent value at £15.95 for 2 courses or £18.95 for 3 courses.
The lunch menu is served between noon and 3pm and the pre-theatre menu between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.
Dining alone is easy here, as they have a bar area which has high stools running its length.
The banquette, as you come in on the left, is my favourite table if dining with two or four people. Right along at the window you get a great outside view, though beware if a double decker bus stops just outside, as passengers on the top deck will be at eye level with your food - tortuous for them - though that just makes me enjoy mine all the more.
For a large party of six or eight request a round table. There are two and very sociable they are too.
There are no bum steers in this place.
More information on Ondine:
- Price guide:
- George IV Bridge, Edinburgh
- 0131 226 1888
- Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Daily noon-midnight.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Essential at peak times
- Free tags / Keywords:
- Quick bites, Wine, Scottish seafood, seafood bar