Edited by Matthew Wears
Scotland’s cuisine is sometimes thought to be a bit of a weak point within our culture, but I’m here to say that that’s totally unfair! We seem to have everything covered, from iconic main meals to really good desserts, there’s even a wee alcoholic drink that you may have heard of too. All of Scotland’s tasty foods come together in the capital city; Edinburgh, a place where everyone can find a huge array of authentic local dishes and international delights.
The thing I love most about my city is that some of the best restaurants in Edinburgh can be hidden down windy alleyways and unassuming places, there’s just no-knowing what you’re going to find when you’re exploring these streets. Even still, my Edinburgh food guide aims to cut out the middleman and tell you exactly what you don’t want to be missing and where you don’t want to be missing it.
I’ll be naming just a wee selection of the must-eat food in Edinburgh, whilst taking you to some of my all-time favorite spots that I’ve found through extensive research (and eating). So, whether you’ve just touched down in the city or you just want to find some new places to eat, you’re going to love my personal what and where to eat in Edinburgh guide!
Haggis – The Auld Hundred
No surprises that we’re starting the list with this classic! Haggis is by far our most well-known dish, I’d it’s right up there with tartan and bagpipes in terms of iconic Scottish items.
Haggis has to be your number one must-eat food in Edinburgh, although I’d recommend not looking into what it was made from because that seems to put a lot of people off. One of the best restaurants in Edinburgh to get haggis has to be The Auld Hundred on Rose Street, an old stone-walled drinking den that oozes that typical Scottish character.
I’m choosing this one because not only can you get the classic haggis, neeps, and tatties, you’ll also find it in just about every other form too. This includes the local favorites; Balmoral chicken (chicken stuffed with haggis) and haggis burgers, as well as a little haggis tasting board if you’re unsure about getting the full thing!
Cranachan – Rose Street
This delicious dessert should top the list of every Edinburgh food guide, in my opinion, it’s really amazing! In typical Scottish form, Cranachan is beautiful in its simplicity. It generally consists of just a wee bit of whipped cream, Scottish oats, whiskey, and of course only the finest, fresh Scottish raspberries.
Add all of this together and you get what is often regarded as the best Scottish dessert of them all! It’s perfect on a hot summer’s day, but we don’t really get many of those in Scotland.
Any Edinburgh foodie will tell you that you can go to just about any traditional-looking restaurant and the chances are they’ll have cranachan on the menu. I’m going to suggest Rose Street again for this one, purely because there are just so many old-fashioned restaurants and bars along this stretch that you’ll be sure to find this Scottish delight on the menu.
Whisky – Whiski Rooms
Would you believe that this strong-tasting alcoholic drink is actually sometimes regarded as Scotland’s biggest export? We must really have something special going on, right? I know this isn’t really a food item, but some of the best food in Edinburgh is flavored with this.
Think whiskey sauce, whiskey flavored tablet (kind of like fudge), and of course our good friend cranachan just above us there. For the true experience though, you can’t beat having it served neat or on the rocks from somewhere with more brands of whisky than people at the bar.
The Whiski Rooms fits that bill just perfectly. Here you’ll find all kinds of categories of whisky, so much so that you’ll begin to wonder; how can a wee glass of golden liquid be so complicated? Once you know whether you prefer the peaty island malts or the fruity tones of the Speyside, you’ll be an expert in no time!
Scottish Salmon – Fishers In The City
Some of the best food in Edinburgh comes from the strong relationship we have with our rich oceans. There really is a lot of great seafood in this city, so it’s kind of tough to pick just one, but I think fresh Scottish salmon just wins it for me. Over the years, Scottish salmon has become the best in the world, to a point that it’s now wanted in every corner of the globe. Even so, there’s nowhere better to try it right here on home soil!
My favorite seafood restaurant has to be Fishers in the City down on thistle street. This classy place has been serving top-notch food for years, and although it’s not really one of the cheap places to eat in Edinburgh, you one-hundred percent get what you pay for. The salmon here is so good and usually comes in a variety of different dishes, such as the sharing platter which I really couldn’t recommend enough.
Chips & Cheese – No.1 Kebab
Right, it’s time to venture over to Scotland’s not-so-glamorous culinary heritage. If you’re walking around the city, you might notice how many takeaways and chippies we have here, they’re a big part of the city’s culture and just right when you’re after some cheap and cheerful Edinburgh eats.
There are plenty of greasy goodies to find here, but for me, you just can’t beat cheesy chips! These are a good idea at absolutely any point during the day. Night out? Cheesy chips. Night in? Cheesy chips? Breakfast? Cheesy chips. Well maybe not that last one, but you get my point.
You’ll find this simply delicacy at pretty much any chippy, but it’s the No.1 Kebab that keeps me coming back for more. I’ll admit that from the outside this place might not look the most appealing, but trust me when I say that the cheesy chips from here are the best in the whole city, and this one does make the cut for cheap places to eat in Edinburgh.
Scottish Breakfast – The Raeburn
This is a bit of a tough one, simply because it’s a bit difficult to determine what exactly a Scottish breakfast is. It’s essentially just a full English breakfast with a few changeable items thrown in there. The biggest additions usually include haggis (obviously), a Lorne sausage (a normal sausage but square), and of course a tattie scone or two!
This delicious concoction is the must-eat food in Edinburgh if you’ve had one too many down in the Haymarket the night before. Again, you’ll find this anywhere you go, although The Raeburn in Stocksbridge has a serious claim for being the best in the whole city.
This is one of my favorite parts of the city, and these guys serve some of the best traditional Scottish food Edinburgh has to offer. It’s their breakfast that’s the star of the show for me though! My partner and I are always looking for excuses to come here on Sundays, it’s the best way to start your day.
Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DeepFried
Deep Fried Mars Bar – Haymarket
We’re ending on a misunderstood classic here; the locals’ favorite deep-fried Mars Bar. Usually when I recommend what to eat in Edinburgh, it’s this one that confuses people the most. But my advice is, don’t knock it until you try it!
Over the years this has become a cult icon for the whole of Scotland, to a point where I think it’s probably just as well-known as our signature haggis. A top tip for you; if Mars Bars aren’t your thing then don’t worry, just ask behind the counter and they’ll be happy to deep-fry anything you want!
For those of you who are searching for where to eat in Edinburgh for that perfect fried Mars Bar, I’d say some of the best places have to be down in the Haymarket area. Take your tasty delight and grab a seat overlooking the mythical Edinburgh Castle, you won’t find anything that sums up this city more than that!
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