Scotland's The Witchery Restaurant Carries A Dark History

If you walk too quickly down Edinburgh's Royal Mile in Scotland, you may miss the stone close-off that leads to The Witchery. Tucked off one of the city's most famous streets, The Witchery boasts views of Edinburgh Castle in an area that has provided the backdrop for notable events in Scottish history. Stone walls remind guests of centuries of history baked into the premises, and the arms of the Duke of Gordon, Keeper of the Keys to Edinburgh Castle, can be seen at the entryway. 

Inside the Witchery, gilded ceilings, oak-paneled walls, tapestries, and murals establish an alluring ambiance. Red leather upholstery and antique candles lighten the setting as visitors make their way down a staircase to the Secret Garden. Red roses, crimson ribbons, and golden candelabras make beautiful tablescapes as visitors explore the urn-filled terrace, and diners sit beneath ceiling murals of tarot symbols and bagpipe-wielding cherubs to enjoy the elegant fare. With opulent suites and stately dining spaces, The Witchery is full-on gothic. But that's not why this establishment has its name.

A place of bewitchment

Though the restaurant is named after the people accused and burned as witches in Edinburgh under James VI's rule, the setting is now serene and refined. Afternoon tea is served inside the Secret Garden, where cakes, scones, and meticulously cut sandwiches are presented on silver stands. A wine cellar with hundreds of bins has been honored with Wine Spectator's Best Award of Excellence, and The Witchery sources ingredients from local purveyors so that seasonal ingredients can be easily incorporated into menus. 

With the help of local butchers and nearby farms, the kitchen showcases the best of what Scotland has to offer. Feast on oysters Rockefeller, lobster Thermidor, and foie gras while basking in the gothic surroundings. For those who want to imbibe and sample a dram of whisky or two without wondering how to get home, nine luxurious suites await, with elegantly draped beds and bathtubs for two. Voted one of the U.K.'s most romantic hotels, The Witchery may very well bewitch those who enter.