We went to Calistoga for an evening meal recently, and I have to say it was one of the nicest dining experiences we've had in a long time. It is situated on Rose Street Lane North - this street reminded me of an alleyway you see on CSI, so I found it a little daunting to walk down. But don't let it put you off! Once inside, the restaurant is cosy, clean and staff are friendly and helpful.
And the food! I am still dreaming of the food. We chose our main courses from the grill menu, where you select the meat, then your specific choice of sauce and finally your choice of fries/rice/potatoes. It was cooked to perfection and tasted really fresh. The starters and dessert were lovely too, and all courses were very generous portion sizes (very important to my other half!) The Californian Merlot we chose was beautiful and complimented the meal perfectly.
It was £23.50 for three courses, which I think is more than reasonable for the quality of the food. We will definitely be returning to Calistoga to sample their menu variations in the future.
My one criticism, which I note has been mentioned by other Yelpers, is the music playing - it must be some kind of local radio station from America which that evening was playing mid-90's pop and a LOT of adverts. Tub thumping by Chumbawamba didn't really create the romantic ambiance we were wanting for a rare evening out! However, this didn't really spoil our good mood after being so satisfied by the food. Some people may find this ruins the atmosphere.
Finding a venue for a work Xmas lunch of around 40 folk was always going to be bit of a challenge. I'd never heard of Calistoga when it was suggested and unless you've been or someone recommends it, you probably wouldn't. It's tucked up a lane off a lane, Rose Street North Lane, right round the back. Definitely too tucked away to stumble upon. A bit of a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it's a lovely little place with fab food and service, a curse because I'm not sure that I'd manage to find it again, especially in the dark if I've had a few drinks.
To start I had the pork belly with chilli coleslaw. I was a bit apprehensive, I love pork belly when it's done well and it's crispy but done badly, it's awful. I took a gamble. I'm glad I did. Although it wasn't crispy, it was melt in the mouth. The chilli coleslaw was a lovely accompaniment.
For main I had the lamb shank. Again, melt in the mouth, lovely gravy. Portion-wise it was a bit small, more veg would've been good. What was there was tasty. Just not enough of it.
Dessert was a lovely chocolate tart. It was perfect.
Given our number they did a really great job of the food and the service. I'd love to see what they do on a regular service and if the portions are better sized. Maybe then it'd get the coveted five stars...
Yeah, I had a very lovely meal here. Steak cooked to perfection and generally amazing. I ate on a set menu coupled with a wine tasting event. The gentleman leading the wine tasting was witty, dry and generally lots of fun and he didn't come over as a wine snob at all (although I suspect he is a major wine snob!). Would definitely come back here again. Only downfall for me was that it was quite pricey. If you're watching the pennies then maybe not the place for you.
This restaurant is in the weirdest location - from the outside it looks like some kind of warehouse up a back alley in the new town. Really just quite odd for an eating establishment. Must be very difficult to drum up custom off the street and I suspect relies on a lot of word of mouth to get the punters through the door.
Incredible wine selection and all from California. A place to come if you're feeling glum and need the Sunshine State to rub off some of its effervescence onto you.
Still awesome, went last night - 50% off mains with early dining (you have to be out by 7.30 ish, though we stayed till 8 and they didn't notice) is an amazing deal, especially when a full price barbecued marlin steak is only £15 full price...
recommend fishcakes, and the above steak, which with sweet potato chips is a bit special...Wine's not as cheap as I remember, but I got a good one, so that might be why :S
Cheap and (almost) Cheerful!
My first impressions weren't great; the restaurant is situated down the very unappealing Rose Street Lane and when we entered this place it was SILENT- no music and no customers ( fair enough it was 5.30 and the place had obviously just opened, but it still wasn't the warm welcome you'd expect).
While customers started to arrive, the restaurant was plagued by really awful radio which I would go as far as saying almost ruined my meal. And I say 'almost' because to this restaurant's credit, the food was very good.
In fact, it was excellent for the price- 3 courses for £12, and the waiters were very attentive too. After Thai coconut soup, a sunblush tomoto pastry dish and a spiced-chocolate heaven later, I was feeling a bit better about the place.
Go on Calistoga, put on some decent tunes.
I have only been there for lunch so this is not a full review.
Lunch offer (which also runs at weekends) is £12 for 2 courses (with an extra £2 for the beef) and £15 for 3 courses.
For starter I had the smoked mackerel and avocado terrine, which was lovely, served with some delicate beetroot shoots. As a carnivore, I do like my beef blue, and they were happy to do it that way. I was not disappointed, it came perfectly blue. Not many places can cook beef to my taste, so hats off for that. The fries that accompanied it were very nice. But what's with that sweet chili sauce that came with it? It really had no place there. Sorry guys, but that's just plain wrong! Anyway, the meat and the chips were lovely on their own.
To accompany my meal, I had some lovely Sierra Nevada pale ale. I am a fan of American craft beers and was happy with that. It was reasonably priced too.
I would like to go back for their wine tasting dinners, which seem like a fantastic offer!
The staff were very nice too. However, I have to say that the restaurant lacks atmosphere, the decor is bland and there there is no background music. It is also tucked away in some dodgy Rose Street lane. But the food does make up for it I guess.
This is by far my favourite restaurant in Edinburgh. I've lost count of how many times I've visited (going back tomorrow too!). The food is Californian style, but this doesn't mean burgers. The menu is completely different to any others I've seen. Ingredients are mixed in novel ways, and the presentation is always fabulous. For main courses, you have it just how you want it - you choose your main item (their seared fish is fantastic), the sauce to go with it, and the accompanying sides.
All wines and beers are American, and they import a huge selection of wines which you can buy to take home too. It's not expensive for the quality of the food. The menu changes every month, so it's worth getting your name added to their mailing list. They also have a loyalty card. And the staff are absolutely lovely.
If you've never been, do yourself a favour ASAP!
Having missed Calistoga during Yelp Eats Week, I jumped at the chance to go for a friend's birthday meal.
Don't know if I'm the only one to do this, but I have a habit of venturing online and perusing a restaurant's menu before I get there. Simply out of impatience, but 10 out of 10 times, once I've seen the menu and made my choice, my decision is made and ordering is a doddle. I'm ahead of the game.
....I'll need to amend that statistic to 9 out of 10 times. Boy oh boy, I did not anticipate Calistoga's specials!
Having viewed the online menu, I was settled on the Lobster, Pork and Tarragon Sausage for starts, followed by a main of Lamb Shank. Mind made up.
Then the waitress came out and announced the specials...
Sooo.... the starter did not change. The sausage was good, coated in a crisp herb and breadcrumb shell and my only wish was for a little more sauce for dipping as the sausage on its own was in need of a touch of seasoning for me. The lamb, however, was shelved in favour of the Saddle of Venison with Mustard Mash and a Peppercorn Sauce. Can't fault it. Actually I take that back.... bigger portions please. Venison was rare and juicy and more-ish, so give me more!
Again, dessert wasn't on my radar.... until that crafty waitress told us of the Chilli 3 Ways. Lo and behold, less than an hour later I'm munching on a trio of Lemon & Chilli Jelly, Chilli-infused Lemon Sorbet and Chocolate Torte with (you guessed it) Chilli. Outstanding all round. Sorbet was a highlight.
Other meals I had the opportunity to sample by way of a bit of inter-diner sharing included the Steak (MASSIVE regrets not choosing this myself!), the Duck (and this!), and the deep fried fish starter (forget the name of it but, also, AND this!).
Amazingly NO ONE opted for the Lamb Shank, so that one is still a mystery to me. And guess what? Excuse for another visit. Boom!
One of Calistoga's wee trademarks is that the Grill section of their menu is a sort of DIY affair wherein you choose your meat, your side and your sauce from a pre-populated list of each. A charming and clever wee way of inventing a personalised meal, by your leave.
The venue itself is classy, hidden away in the network of lanes and alleys that make up Rose Street (I honestly had no idea Rose St. was this complex!). Inside, the décor is warm and inviting and the staff just as much so. Our waitress was chatty and refreshingly informal, offering a bit of dry banter as well as a depth of culinary knowledge.
Prices were reasonable. Most folk around the table were satisfied (save for the Michelin-regulars amongst us!). 1 star reserved for consistency (confirm on the next visit) and another for lack of JD behind the bar (sort that out!).
I recently subjected Calistoga to my work's Christmas night out, and I can happily say that it's the best meal we've ever had for the celebration. What impressed me the most was that I usually expect a meal which is churned out for 20 drunkards to be of a lesser quality to the restaurant's standard fare. Calistoga, however, delivered a wonderful three course meal which I would have been happy to receive on any normal night when the kitchen and staff weren't maxed out.
My tortilla soup starter definitely stole the show, but the zin braised beef was fantastic and the zinfandel we ordered to accompany the meal was not only gorgeous, it was very reasonably priced. The desserts were nice, but really didn't hold a candle to the other two courses.
The only down side for me was the service. We had two waitresses - one was fantastic and put up with us wonderfully, but the other was rude and snapped at people on a number of occasions. I realise that a table full of druken revellers is every wait-person's worst nightmare, but if you take it well, you will be tipped accordingly. Some of my coworkers were so put off by the second waitress that they weren't happy with the fact that service had been added into the bill.
Realizing that the service was likely a bit of a fluke related to the situation, I would be happy to return for some more wine and food from home.
Finally a place where you feel that the owner cares about you and the restarant.
So good food, all carefully thought out, we tried the scallops for example, it was completely fantastic.
The meat for main course was tender and delicious with lots of flavors.
Dessert was amazing aswell, I took the banana parfait.
the wine was fantastic carefully selected by the owner, I guess
3 courses for 23.50 and great wine for 4.00 very resonable price.
Note. kind of funny is that the restaurant is inspired from California, Napa Valley and they have only American whiskey on the drink list:) dared to be in Scotland:)
the only thing I am disappointed with the decor, they could make out a little more cozy, it does not feel so cozy, we eat with all the senses and surroundings are very important
This has got to be our "go-to" place in Edinburgh for a relaxed meal out. We always seem to end up here and have brought various people here to share a meal with us. The menu is very reasonable - around 23 i think for 3 courses (and you can also add on an extra course of cheese for a little more!!)
The wine list is fabulous and they have a policy of not adding on more than 5 extra charge than you would pay for the bottle in the shops which is very cool. This is certainly where the Californian influence comes in and the guys in charge really know their stuff. The quality throughout the price ranges of the wine list is excellent and you can often pick up a bottle to take home from their Sideways wine shop next door. We now are living in Boston MA for a bit, and we enjoy spotting the wines that we have had at Calistoga. (many are not so readily available in wine shops in the UK)
The menu perhaps at times can be a little limited which is why I 'm giving it 4 stars rather than 5 as fussier eaters than me may struggle to find something as the ingredients and flavours are often a strange (but yummy) fusion of scottish/american/oriental. You always get a complementary bowl of edamame beans which are coated in a lovely spicy pepper thing and are soooo yummy - I am now so addicted to them! Oh - and the pancake cheesecake is certainly worth a try to top off the meal and if you can, split someone with the cheese platter as a 4th course - washed down with a glass of Califorinian dessert wine, naturally
Taking advantage of a 3 courses for £12 deal a friend and I ate here a couple of weeks ago. Having been in this building many years before when it was Martin's I was keen to see if the space had been opened out and if it still had a cosy, family home-esque feel.
Unsurprisingly there were a lot of other diners making use of the same offer therefore the overall atmosphere was a bit cramped, to say the least. The staff were all exceedingly pleasant and as an introduction to Californian cuisine I'd recommend it to anyone.
On the downside my dessert was rather bland (Hot Tamale Trifle) and my friend was also rather underwhelmed by his Pancake Cheescake, as indeed was the chap at the table next to us with his chocolate-based pud. His partner seemed to have made the best choice of us all with her selection of cheeses. The lamb main course was pronounced as good though, as was my chorizo-stuffed breast of chicken and the starter of artily served buritto. Taking all that into account I'm not completely sure I'd be happy paying much more than £20 for the whole thing when there on a full-priced night. The £30 and upwards tutored wine-tastings with dinner do though look to be good value so may attend one of those in the future.
Updated as Calistoga southside is now closed. Calistoga in Rose Street lane is still operating though and well worth a visit. Here's the review of the old southside place........
Part of me doesn't want to give Calistoga a five star rating. It's only small and once the word gets out it'll be harder for me to get a table. But it really is that good!
This little restaurant specialises in Californian style cooking and wine. There's a definite Asian influence on the food which is apparent right from the start when you are presented with a bowl of edemame (steamed, salted soya beans). That same Japanese attention to presentation follows through into each course with every dish being carefully plated with sauce used as much for presentation as flavour. The menu changes fairly regulary which avoids you getting into that trap of always ordering your favourite dish each time you visit.
A large selection of Californian wines is available and if you stumble upon a bottle you like you'll be able to pick one up for £5 less from Sideways (named after the fantastic movie. Go rent it if you've never seen it), their sister wine shop next door.
Top everything off with friendly, efficient service and Calistoga is always an enjoyable experience.
Located just off Rose Street, this restaurant is a great alternative to grabbing the standard Rose Street pub meal.
I first tried it a couple of months ago for a girls night out; they offer a fantastic 2-for-1 mains if you eat between 5pm and 6:30pm and I was well impressed with the delicious, lovingly presented food and great service.
So, while wandering the streets with a couple of out-of-towners last night (a Friday) I was inspired to go back. You may wonder where you are heading when you first turn into Rose Street Lane North: it looks a little dark and seedy with at least one "sauna and massage" place also gaining its access from this lane, but the restaurant itself, just a little bit further round the corner, is a delight.
We were met at the door by an waiter, who immediately showed us to a table (despite not having a booking on a Friday night). Again, the food did not disappoint. The braised lamb shanks were delicious, as was the tuna steak; if you order from the grill you get to build your own meal with a choice of sauce and vegetables. While I opted out of dessert, my fellow diners were more than impressed with the raspberry creme brulee. The mains were all around £15, with an extensive wine list, and starters and desserts for £5.
Was here 10 days ago with my mother after a spa. It was very, very quiet for a Friday lunchtime (we were one of two tables occupied) which led to little atmosphere.
To start, I had the cob chowder, but don't remember what mother had. For mains, I had the harissa chicken and mother had the aubergine tian. The food and drink were both nice enough, but there was something missing. I don't know if it was a lack of atmosphere, but it was enough that we won't be rushing back.
I really enjoy eating here. The food is a bit different and of a high standard. It is all complimented by a fantastic wine list, if you can't chooose, just ask for a recommmendation.
On one of my visits we each had the recommended dessert wine for our respective dishes, absolutely brilliant and an experience I would not have had if choosing for myself.
As another reviewer says, it is a far better choice than the easy options on Rose Street and surrounding streets.
This was recommended to me by a friend, I was looking for somewhere a little different to take colleagues, it was a great recommendation! I'd never have found it otherwise.
The décor is lovely, very clean and fresh. We all had different starters, they came out quickly and were delicious.
We all chose from the grill menu for our mains. I had the marlin, its a rare treat to have great fish on the menu, one had the ostrich which looked good, she said it was lovely, the rest had chicken which they raved about.
We were all stuffed and couldn't eat desert, though the menu was very tempting. I'll definitely be back
Worth it if you go during early dining hours when main courses are half-price. Don't go during peak hours and pay full price - not worth it.
My partner and I are Californians living in Edinburgh, so we had high hopes for this place. It wasn't bad overall, but it did leave us quite disappointed. The staff are friendly (but our server was either SUPER socially awkward or homophobic - it made us kind of uncomfortable). The wine list is really impressive, and the food offerings are great. My partner ordered a steak, which was cooked perfectly, and our food was brought out to us incredibly quickly (there were only two other tables occupied in the restaurant).
Downsides: The white wine is served near room temperature instead of properly cold (I had to fish an ice cube out of my water to cool it, which melted completely within two minutes - that's how warm the wine was). Their "seared" tuna is actually cooked more than half way through, whereas proper seared tuna is meant to be just barely seared. It was clear that it was cooked on way too low a temperature. It wasn't really seared, just cooked to medium done-ness. They had put some sort of liquid smoke flavouring on it to make it taste seared (we use liquid smoke in our cooking all the time, and are familiar with the taste). That being said, though, it still tasted good - it just wasn't seared tuna.
My partner ordered her steak (which normally comes with ordinary fries/chips) with sweet potato fries, but they brought her regular fries anyway. Also, both her fries and my sweet potato fries tasted fishy, like they'd been cooking fish and fries in the same oil.
Overall, it was a pretty tasty meal, and definitely good for the (50% discounted) price we paid, but if we'd gone during full-price time we would've felt extremely ripped off.
This place is quite small but has a nice atmosphere. The food is a bit different (I think I had white chocolate and peanut butter cake for dessert!) but not amazing and the portions were a little small. Still the owner was very friendly and make it a good night for all of us.
Cheap and cheerful- I was very impressed with the food considering the reasonable prices. The atmosphere was a bit lacking, but the we were there at 5.30, I imagine the place picks up as the evening goes on.
This place is a great find. Had dinner there last night for a friends birthday and really enjoyed it. The food was fantastic, especially the chowder and the tuna steak. The wine list is very impressive and well priced and the service was spot on. I would highly recommend it and shall be returning soon.
Had dinner here last night with work colleagues and we were VERY, VERY IMPRESSED!!! Service was impeccable! Food was great! Venue was fabulous. From starters to desserts, we were amazed at the quality of food we had. We had a great time and went home with happy stomachs... There is an area where they have the wine tasting below and upstairs. Can be reserved for private parties as well. Highly recommended! We got to sign the comments book which we passed around to put our comments in and everyone had only good things to say. Thanks for a fab evening, guys!
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