Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

The best food in Edinburgh is made for the weather. From Cranachan on a summer day to stovies on a winter night, your tastebuds will surely be tingling.

Edinburgh has plenty of restaurants that will delight a gourmet foodie, and Scotland has a thriving culinary culture of fusion cuisines. However, the traditional staples focus on two goals: warming and filling. Got those covered? Then, it’s time for something sweet. Enjoy a sugary explosion of butter tablet for a mood boost or fruity Cranachan — the King of Scottish desserts — to finish a meal.

What food is Edinburgh known for? If you’re planning to explore the city’s best museums, a full Scottish fry-up will give you plenty of energy. Want food to eat after a raucous night out? Then a fish supper will surely hit the spot. Whether you’re on a solo trip or traveling with the family, there’s a popular food to suit every tastebud on a visit to Auld Reekie.


1. Haggis, neeps, and tatties

While legend has it that haggis are cute little animals running around the Highlands, it’s actually a dish made from the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep. The recipe includes oatmeal, onions, suet, and spices, and it’s usually served with neeps (swede) and tatties (potatoes). Take a Tolbooth Tavern Haggis Taster & Whisky Sampling to enjoy the full effect.

How to eat the best haggis, neeps, and tatties in Edinburgh?

Traditionally served to celebrate Burns Night, you should grab a ticket to a formal event where bagpipers will ‘pipe in’ your meal.


2. Cullen skink

A fitting must eat dish for this port city, Cullen skink is a thick, fish-based soup made from smoked haddock, onions, and potatoes. A specialty that originated in Cullen, a town on the coast of Moray, this is a hearty meal traditionally eaten in fishing communities. Perfect after an Old Town Walking Tour and Beer Tasting to regain your strength for your next adventure.

How to eat the best Cullen skink in Edinburgh?

Order Cullen skink with a side plate of fresh bread and butter. You’ll want to mop up every last drop from the bowl.


3. Scotch pies

A meat pie should be judged by the crust; true Scotch pies have a deep lip and a double-crust casing. Delicious both hot and cold, try one on a Highlights, hidden gems and street food tour. Traditionally filled with minced mutton, they can also be made with lamb or beef, and while the specific spices are generally a closely-guarded secret, there’s always a heavy dose of pepper.

How to eat the best scotch pie in Edinburgh?

Every cafe and baker will have their own version, or head to Portobello Market on the first Saturday of every month to try a wide range.



4. Cranachan

Cranachan is considered the King of Scottish desserts. The standard recipe includes layers of cream, raspberries, and oats, all sweetened with honey, but you’ll find a wide variety of flavors depending on the season. Crowdie, a soft Scottish cheese, sometimes replaces the cream, as that was the original ingredient.

How to eat the best Cranachan in Edinburgh?

Order Cranachan in June to take advantage of the seasonal raspberry harvest and have a dram of whisky to wash it down.


5. Butter tablet

Tablet (or butter tablet) is the most famous food to try on your visit. Firmer than fudge but softer than hard candy, the recipe hasn’t changed much since the 18th century. If you want something a little more modern, take a Chocolatarium Tour, Tasting & Chocolate Making to see how Scotland’s chocolatiers are revolutionizing the confectionery industry.

How to eat the best tablet in Edinburgh?

You’ll often get a small square of tablet along with your coffee in cafes. Eat it in small bites between sips for the best flavor combo.


6. Full Scottish fry up

There’s a healthy rivalry between the 4 British nations — who has the best fry-up? While all include eggs, beans, and bacon, the ‘full’ version depends on traditional specialties. In Edinburgh, you should also expect haggis, Lorne (square) sausage, tattie (potato) scones, black pudding, and fried fruit pudding (a mix of oatmeal, rusk, and fruit). Definitely not for the small of appetite.

How to eat the best Scottish fry-up in Edinburgh?

The best way to try a fry-up is if you’re recovering from an Edinburgh Pub Crawl with Free Shots & Discounts. Top tip? Find a local cafe for the biggest portions.


7. Fish supper

Deep-fried battered haddock with a side of chips (thick-cut fries), a fish supper is a local staple. Don’t fancy fish? Most chippies (chip shops) will deep fry anything, so get a battered sausage, haggis, steak pie, or even the infamous deep-fried Mars Bar instead. Ask for a ‘supper’ to include the chips.

How to eat the best fish supper in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh chippies offer a condiment combination known as salt-and-sauce. The vinegary brown ‘sauce’ is unique to the city, and you can pick a side in the local debate: salt on first or second?



8. Stovies

Stovies are a traditional potato dish, slow-cooked with onions, fat, and meat. The potatoes are stoved (stewed) in a crock pot, and while you can find fancy versions with brisket or stewing steak, a more casual type is made with corned beef.

How to eat the best stovies in Edinburgh?

Apart from the potatoes, stovie recipes are incredibly varied, so take an Edinburgh Food Tasting Tour with a Local to find your favorite.


9. Cock-a-leekie soup

Cock-a-leekie is a soup made of peppered cock (chicken) stock and leekies (leeks). The 16th-century version was very thin, with very little meat, and included prunes; modern versions are thickened with rice or barley, and the prunes — if even included — are simply a garnish as a nod to tradition.

How to eat the best cock-a-leekie soup in Edinburgh?

This recipe is the traditional soup course for Burns Night Suppers. Alternatively, take a 3-Hour Guided Secret Food Tour to taste the National Soup.


10. Shortbread

Scottish shortbread is a crunchy, crumbly, patterned biscuit traditionally associated with Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations. Made from sugar, butter, and flour, there are 3 standard shapes: a slim ‘finger,’ round like a cookie, or the triangular wedge of a ‘petticoat tail.’

How to eat the best shortbread in Edinburgh?

Eat a piece of shortbread with a cup of tea, but don’t try to dunk it: it will fall apart and end up at the bottom of your cup.


11. Porridge

Made of oats boiled in milk or water, porridge is a winter dish. Eaten by the Scots since Roman times, it was historically made with very little liquid, poured into a dedicated drawer to ‘set’, then served in slices once hardened. Now, you’re more likely to get it in a bowl for breakfast and at a much creamier consistency. It is surprisingly moreish and definitely one of the foods to try in Edinburgh.

How to eat the best porridge in Edinburgh?

Traditionalists add just a pinch of salt, but brown sugar is a popular alternative.



12. Grouse

Mascot of The Famous Grouse whisky, an optional extra experience on this Scotland Whisky Explorer: Highlands Day Tour from Edinburgh, grouse are small birds native to the Scottish moors. Glenmore is one such habitat, just over an hour away from the city center. Because of this proximity, grouse are a staple of city menus. Order yours with fried potatoes, gravy, and seasonal vegetables for a classic plate.

How to eat the best grouse in Edinburgh?

Grouse shooting season is from August to December, so that’s when you’ll get the freshest meat.


What are the must-try traditional dishes in Edinburgh?

The must-try traditional dishes in Edinburgh are haggis, neeps, and tatties, followed by Cranachan. Want to eat like a local after a night out? Pick up a fish supper with salt and sauce.

What are the best food tours in Edinburgh?

The best food tours in Edinburgh depend on your tastes. Take the Chocolatarium tour if you’ve got a sweet tooth, or the Scottish Dining Experience for all the savory classics. Not sure what you fancy? Then take a Secret Food tour to try a little bit of everything.

What are the top local food markets in Edinburgh to visit?

The top local food markets in Edinburgh are weekend affairs. Castle Terrace Farmers Market offers fresh produce on Saturdays, Stockbridge Market hosts snack food stalls on Sundays, and Portobello Market is a once-a-month event.

What is the best time of year to visit Edinburgh for food lovers?

If you want to savor top Scottish cuisine, the best time of year to visit Edinburgh for food lovers is during the annual Food Festival. It usually runs for 10 days in July, just before the annual International Festival kicks off in August.

How much should I budget for food in Edinburgh?

If you’re sticking to casual dining, budget around £50 per day for food in Edinburgh. If you want to try out the gourmet restaurants, however, it’s £75 and up for a 3-course meal.


By Lala