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If you are wondering what to eat in Edinburgh, Scotland, you are not alone. Travelers are often mystified by Scottish cuisine. If you are traveling to Edinburgh and are curious about local fare, we are making it simple with our list of the best things to eat in Edinburgh!
What To Eat in Edinburgh: A Traveler’s Guide
In our opinion, one of the best things about traveling is getting a taste of the local cuisine. Food is at the heart and soul of every culture – and we found it especially so with the Scottish food in Edinburgh.
On our recent trip, we eagerly sought out unique food to eat in Edinburgh. Intent on finding the must eats in Edinburgh, we ate at restaurants, pubs, cafes and food trucks. We took advice from locals as well as fellow travelers – and feel we succeeded in sampling some of the absolute best Edinburgh food.
In our list, we feature the best food in Edinburgh, Scotland – specifically, what dishes are a must eat. For each of the iconic Scottish dishes, we also provide a tip on the best Edinburgh restaurant to try that specific meal.
Furthermore, because this list of What and Where to Eat in Edinburgh is designed especially for travelers, we are sharing some of the common food items that appear on menus throughout the city (even though they may not technically originate from Scotland).
Need more tips for your Edinburgh trip? Use our guide to the Best Things To Do in Edinburgh in 3 Days.
26 FOODS TO EAT IN EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
The selections on our Must Eat in Edinburgh list features the most quintessential Scottish food – and the items you will likely see on most menus. We share both traditional and modern fare and the absolute best places to eat in Edinburgh.
Save, Pin or Bookmark our Edinburgh Food Guide so that you can access it as you plan your trip to Scotland!
We can’t write about what to eat in Scotland without talking about haggis. It’s the national dish of Scotland – and a must eat in Edinburgh. Yet, it is one of the most mysterious dishes for travelers. For some visitors, it’s better not to know what is in haggis – instead, just try it and see what you think.
Haggis is a Scottish pudding – as in, a savory sausage. It is made with sheep – typically, the heart, liver and lungs that are ground and mixed with spices and oatmeal and then encased (traditionally in the sheep’s stomach, but more often in artificial casing). The result is a nutty and deliciously divine main dish.
Haggis is served in a variety of ways – and it appears on the menus at all Scottish food restaurants in Edinburgh. We are sharing a few of the best ways to eat this classic food in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Haggis with Neeps and Tatties
When you see Haggis, Neeps and Tatties listed on menus, you may really start to wonder if Scottish people speak English. Don’t stress; it’s just slang. Let me translate: Haggis with Turnips (Neeps) and Potatoes (Tatties). A whisky sauce is served on the side. It’s comfort food at its finest and the most traditional meal for dinner in Scotland.
Pro Tip: On some pub menus, Haggis with Turnips and Potatoes is offered in a smaller, appetizer portion. If you are uncertain about eating haggis for a full meal, consider starting off with just a taste.
Simply a modern way of presenting an old favorite, a Haggis Stack (also called a Haggis Tower) contains the same ingredients as above, but is neatly assembled in rounds of each item, layered on top of each other and then drizzled with whisky sauce.
Breaded haggis balls – or Haggis Bon Bons – are deep fried appetizers that provide a great introduction to the cuisine. Everyone at the table can get a taste of haggis without committing to the full order.
Best Haggis Restaurant Edinburgh
Labeling just one restaurant as the Best Place for Haggis in Edinburgh is somewhat of a challenge. We tried haggis at a few different Edinburgh restaurants and pubs – and actually enjoyed them all.
I particularly liked the haggis at The Conan Doyle (map) – a pub named for the Edinburgh native that invented Detective Sherlock Holmes. The classic pub atmosphere is highlighted by the traditional gastronomy – all of the Scottish dishes we tried, including the haggis, were excellent.
That said, Greyfriars Bobby (map) is often hailed as the best haggis restaurant in Edinburgh. They serve haggis as both a starter portion and main meal – plus they have heaps of other traditional Scottish food on their menu.
#2 Fish and Chips
While Scotland can’t lay claim to inventing Fish and Chips, in Edinburgh, they have certainly put their own spin on it. The Edinburgh version is Fish and Chips with Salt ‘n’ Sauce.
Typically made with a large fillet of haddock, which is breaded and deep fried, the fish is then salted and generously doused in Chippy Sauce (a mixture of malt vinegar and ‘brown sauce’).
For Scottish Fish and Chips – often referred to as a Fish Supper – the fried fish is served atop a bed of thick fries (chips). If you want tartar sauce, you may have to pay extra, as it is not a typical accompaniment.
Best Edinburgh Restaurants for Fish and Chips
Fish and chips are served in nearly every pub and restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland. Additionally, chippies – small take-away spots that excel at making fish and chips – are found throughout the city and, in our opinion, are some of the best places for local eats.
Travelers sticking to the city center, however, should pop into Berties Proper Fish and Chips (map) on Victoria Street (just steps from the Royal Mile). It is one of the top places to eat in Edinburgh for a taste of the caloric meal.
However, visitors willing to venture beyond the center for a truly delightful platter of fish and chips, should head to the north side to The Fishmarket (map) in Newhaven. With a long history in the seafood industry and a commitment to sea-to-table fare, The Fishmarket serves exceptional fish and chips.
Pro Tip: Craving something sweet after a dish of salty fish and chips? Be sure to order a Fried Mars Bar from the chippy for an after-dinner treat. Yeah, you read that right: Deep Fried Mars Bar. It’s an Edinburgh foodie thing!
#3 Cullen Skink
Cullen Skink is another classic Scottish comfort food – but one that I will admit I had a difficult time getting on board with. The decadent, thick and creamy soup is made with smoked haddock, potatoes and onions, all of which sounds wonderful. It was the name that hung me up – and I almost missed out on what has become my favorite Scottish meal.
The dish was created in the seaside town of Cullen along the northeast coast of Scotland. Skink is a Scottish word that means shin or knuckle – and was long ago used to describe soups made from these animal parts. The word later just came to mean soup. Thus, Cullen Skink is simply soup that originated in the town of Cullen.
Regardless of the name, the smokey flavor combined with the creamy texture is absolutely delicious.
Best Restaurant in Edinburgh for Cullen Skink
Visitors dining in Edinburgh restaurants will find Cullen skink on many menus – usually as a starter, but often available as a main meal. Although I tried the hearty soup in many establishments, I found two of the best places to eat Cullen skink in Edinburgh: The Magnum in New Town and Teuchters Landing in Leith.
At The Magnum (map), the dish is served with large chunks of smoked fish in a superb broth. A slice of cheesy bread is brought alongside the soup. As a main meal, it was more than enough for one person.
At Teuchters Landing (map), they serve Cullen skink in a mug – either small or large. While the soup at Teuchters features smaller pieces of haddock and potatoes, it was an absolutely delicious appetizer.
#4 Balmoral Chicken
In my What To Eat Edinburgh research, Balmoral Chicken is not something that I came across. However, we consistently saw it listed on pub menus and other places to eat in Edinburgh – and decided that we had to try it.
Balmoral Chicken is a stuffed chicken dish that seems to be lacking a good story but is nonetheless a popular thing to eat in Edinburgh – and a tasty one, at that.
Not particularly complex – but definitely Scottish – Balmoral Chicken is a chicken breast stuffed with haggis, wrapped in bacon and baked in the oven – then topped with a whiskey gravy. The distinct flavor combination is sublime.
Pro Tip: Balmoral Burger is another currently fashionable pub meal. The burger is topped with haggis, bacon, cheddar cheese and gravy – and can be found in popular Edinburgh pubs, like The World’s End (map).
Balmoral Chicken: Where To Eat in Edinburgh, Scotland
As we already mentioned, Balmoral Chicken is a Scottish food in Edinburgh that appears on many menus, but we have two specific recommendations for where to eat it.
The Conan Doyle (map), which makes our list for their haggis, serves a scrumptious Balmoral Chicken accompanied with mashed potatoes and carrots.
The Hanover Tap (map) is another spot where we enjoyed Balmoral Chicken. One of the fun and funky places to eat in Edinburgh, The Hanover Tap features a great line up of craft beer and has a lively atmosphere.
#5 Full Scottish Breakfast
Similar to an English breakfast, a traditional Full Breakfast in Edinburgh – sometimes called a Proper Fry Up – is a hearty affair that includes an array of items on a single plate.
Diners who order a Scottish Full Breakfast can expect to be served a plate of bacon, sausage, haggis, black pudding, a potato scone (also called tattie scones), baked beans, grilled mushrooms, a slice of fried tomato and a sunny side up egg. Of course, the breakfast is best with a cup of Scottish tea.
Where To Eat Breakfast in Edinburgh
Loudons is hailed as the best place for breakfast in Edinburgh. There’s a location in New Waverley (map) and Fountainbridge (map) – and it’s best to reserve a table ahead of time. At Loudons, options are not limited to a Full Breakfast – other choices include pancakes, eggs benedict (try the Hoots Mon Scottish Benny!) and sweet pastries.
Snax Cafe (map) is a famous breakfast diner and one of the cheap places to eat in Edinburgh. The small greasy spoon offers all-day breakfast dishes (among other menu items). Well known for filling breakfast food, Snax provides good value for a morning meal.
#6 Scotch Pie
An institution of Scottish cuisine, a savory Scotch pie is a must-eat in Edinburgh. Considered a convenience food for centuries, the hand-held pies are cheap, on-the-go fare.
According to culinary tradition, a Scotch pie is filled with spiced minced lamb with a slightly sweet taste. Modern versions of the Scottish pie, however, feature a more savory beef filling. Each baker has their own guarded recipe of their secret blend of spices, but we haven’t come across one that wasn’t totally satisfying.
A Forfar Bridie is another type of Scotch hand pie in the shape of a half moon. It is similar to the Cornish Pasty in appearance, but only includes beef, spices and onion (and does not include swede/turnip/rutabaga, like a pasty does).
Scotch Pie: Where To Eat Edinburgh
Scotch pies are often sold from bakeries and small cafes (which, by the way, are some of the best cheap places to eat in Edinburgh).
The Piemaker (map) is a modern bakery doling out a hefty range of Scotch pies. The assortment includes pies filled with steak, beef, chicken, haggis and macaroni and cheese. They also have a list of vegetarian and vegan pies.
Storries (map), on the other hand, is a classic bakery on Leith Walk where we think they make the best pies in Edinburgh. The no-frills establishment bakes homemade pies with both meat and non-meat fillings (plus donuts and cakes).
#7 Scottish Steak Pie
A pub specialty throughout the United Kingdom – and a must eat food in Edinburgh – a steak pie is similar to a Scotch pie, except that it is larger and eaten as a sit-down meal. The pie is typically served alongside mashed potatoes and vegetables, like peas, carrots or broccoli.
In a Scottish Steak Pie, the filling is chunky and saucy – more like a thick beef stew encased in either a buttery or flaky crust. The variations of pie fillings are endless – from chicken to game to fish to lentils.
Pro Tip: Traveling in Europe for Christmas holidays and wondering what to eat in Edinburgh for New Year’s Day? Steak Pie is the traditional Scottish dinner on January 1st.
Best Restaurants Edinburgh for Steak Pie
Nicholson’s Pubs (of which there are 8 in Edinburgh, each with a unique theme) specializes in pie dinners. We recommend indulging in the Steak and Nicholson’s Pale Ale Pie, which won gold at the British Pie Awards, at Deacon Brodie’s (map). The classic tavern is right on the historic Royal Mile – and the pies are certain to tantalize the taste buds.
That said, if you have a kitchen in your accommodations, get a Steak Pie from James Anderson Butchers (map) in Leith where they make an award-winning Steak Pie that just needs to be reheated in the oven.
A one-pot, stovetop dish based on stewed potatoes, stovies are a Scottish food that is versatile. Although stovies always include potatoes, they are usually accompanied by onions and meat – which can be corned beef, lamb, sausage, steak, roast beef…or any other leftover meat that needs to be used up. A warm and comforting traditional stew, stovies are a favorite cold-weather meal.
Top Places to Eat Edinburgh Stovies
In our opinion, cozy and dimly lit pubs are the best places to eat stovies – and it’s even better if the weather is cool and drizzly outside.
The Last Drop (map) – a former execution site and now an atmospheric restaurant with exposed brick – makes excellent stovies. Prepared with beef rib, potatoes and root vegetables, the slow-cooked stovies is served with bread and seasonal greens.
#9 Fresh Fish and Seafood
Not surprisingly, seafood is a staple of Scottish cooking. There are more than 6,000 miles of coastline around mainland Scotland and fishing is a major industry.
With Edinburgh’s prime location right off the sea, fresh fish is a highlight of the local cuisine. Haddock and Atlantic Salmon are two of the most popular types of fish in Scotland that are caught regionally and sold fresh.
Fresh Seafood Places to Eat in Edinburgh, Scotland
Fishers is the best seafood restaurant in Edinburgh. The location – called Fishers in the City (map) – is located in New Town, but we like the ambiance of the original Fishers in Leith (map) a bit better. The oysters and scallops are popular starters, but if you are going all in, get the Seafood Platter and enjoy!
The Kitchin Edinburgh (map), which is also in Leith, is an upscale Edinburgh Michelin star restaurant run by Scottish chef, Tom Kitchin. Diners can feast on a multi-course surprise tasting menu or order seafood items a la carte. However, reservations definitely need to be made in advance.
Popular Edinburgh Food
So far, our Edinburgh, Scotland Food Guide has featured traditional Scottish food, where you can order the classic meals, and the best places to eat in Edinburgh. That said, there is a lot more to Scottish cuisine than centuries-old dishes.
In addition to the classics, we are highlighting some of the most popular food found in restaurants around the city. These items may not necessarily be Scottish, but they are certainly dishes that you will want to put on your list of Must Eats in Edinburgh!
#10 Scottish Hog Roast Roll
Although a pulled pork sandwich might not be the first thing to come to mind when thinking about what to eat in Edinburgh, Scotland, the hog roast roll is a big hit with both locals and foreigners.
Edinburgh Best Restaurant for Pulled Pork
The hog roast roll catapulted to popularity with a food stall at the Castle Terrace Farmer’s Market in 2001. Since then, the creators behind the popular pork sandwiches have opened multiple take-away locations under the name Oink – with the Oink Victoria Street (map) location being the most popular.
The slow-cooked pork sandwiches come in three sizes – piglet, oink or grunter. What elevates these sandwiches to the status of Best Things To Eat in Edinburgh is the unusual (but classic Scottish) toppings of haggis, apple sauce and crackling!
#11 Scottish Cheese Macaroni
Many nations lay claim to Macaroni and Cheese – from the United States to Switzerland to Italy. While Scotland is not claiming to have created the dish, the locals certainly seem to crave it – as it appears on pub menus throughout Edinburgh.
The best mac and cheese is baked in the oven with local Scottish cheese and a breadcrumb topping. Some restaurants take it up a notch by mixing in tasty trimmings – like sauteed mushrooms, lobster, truffles or chili jam.
In an even bolder move, some pastry chefs are packing pies full of macaroni and cheese. At places like the aforementioned Piemaker, the Mac and Cheese Pie is one of their best sellers.
Mac and Cheese Restaurants Edinburgh
MUMS Great Comfort Food (map) gets rave reviews as a top place to try Scottish macaroni and cheese. At MUMS, the dish is paired with chips (fries) for a fully carb-loaded meal.
However, we prefer eating creamy macaroni cheese at a classic pub, and the best place we ate mac and cheese was at the Volunteer Arms Pub in nearby Dunbar. In Edinburgh, pubs, like The White Hart Inn (map) in Grassmarket (which claims to be the Oldest Pub in Edinburgh) or the family-run and delightfully quirky Roseleaf Bar Cafe (map) in Leith, also make great macaroni and cheese.
Nachos seem to be a thing in Edinburgh – and although we were left scratching our heads trying to make the connection as to why they are so popular, we couldn’t resist ordering some.
Admittedly, we didn’t have big expectations for nachos in Edinburgh, but we were pleasantly surprised by the generous portions and the all important chip-to-topping ratio.
Places to Eat Edinburgh Nachos
Without a doubt, The Auld Hoose (map) is one of the best restaurants in Edinburgh for nachos. Their legendary Gigantic Nachos – either meat, veggie or vegan – is a literal mound of nacho goodness.
That said, you really don’t need to go out of your way for a good plate of nachos – just pop into the closest pub!
#13 Sausage and Mash
A regional dish in the UK and Ireland, Sausage and Mash (or Bangers and Mash) is a classic dish of sausage (usually two thick pork links) and mashed potatoes covered in an onion gravy. Sometimes the meal is served with a side of peas.
Good Places to Eat Edinburgh Sausage and Mash
Chefs at both local pubs and upscale restaurants can cook up a tasty platter of sausage and mash. However, our top pick for the best place in Edinburgh for the British meal is Makars Gourmet Mash Bar (map).
At Makers, they use local ingredients to create an array of flavor combinations. Diners choose a meat (or veg option) and then pair it with a choice of mashed potatoes. Our top combination is the Wild Boar Sausage with the Smoked Bacon and Spring Onion Mash.
#14 Scotch Eggs
It may be somewhat surprising (and nonsensical), but Scotch eggs are not Scottish. The Scotch egg – a hard (or sometimes soft) boiled egg, wrapped in sausage meat, covered in breadcrumbs and then baked or fried – is actually an English culinary treat. All the same, Scotch eggs are eaten throughout Scotland as pub snacks.
Where to Eat Scotch Eggs in Edinburgh
The Innis and Gunn Brewery Taproom (map) makes incredible Scotch eggs. The free-range egg is coated in sausage and black pudding and served with Brown Sauce.
For unique take-away Scotch eggs, however, head to IJ Mellis Cheesemongers (map) where they offer a fun variety of Scotch eggs – including haggis, chorizo and vegetarian.
#15 Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea – or High Tea – is a great British tradition and prevalent throughout Scotland, as well. Finger sandwiches, scones and other sweet nibbles are served on a tiered tray alongside tea or champagne.
Typically, the ‘in between’ meal is served in the late afternoon as a snack to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner. However, in many Edinburgh restaurants, the meal is served from lunchtime until early evening.
Best Places to Eat: Edinburgh Afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea is often a fancy affair – but it doesn’t have to be! We are highlighting a few of the best places in Edinburgh for the delightful mid-day snack.
The Witchery Edinburgh (map) is, by far, the most elegant place to have afternoon tea. Only available on weekdays from 3 to 4pm, tea and hand-crafted bites are served in a gorgeous candlelit dining room.
At The Dome (map), afternoon tea is served in the classic Georgian Tea Room from 12 noon until 5pm. Visitors looking for a traditional tea experience will find it at The Dome.
Brewhemia (map) offers afternoon tea with a twist. The sandwiches and pastries are non-traditional and the ambiance is casual and inviting. Plus, they offer a special Gentlemen’s Tea, which features heartier pub fare and tank beer. There are three seatings – at noon, 2pm and 4pm.
#16 Sunday Roast
The tradition of Sunday Roast in the United Kingdom dates to medieval times. The big meal consists of a succulent meat, gravy, roasted potatoes, root vegetables and Yorkshire pudding (which is similar to a popover dinner roll). The meal is eaten on Sundays at around 3pm – but many pubs serve it all day long (or until it’s gone!).
Best Scottish Restaurant in Edinburgh for Sunday Roast
There are no shortage of places offering Sunday Roast in Edinburgh. For the best Sunday Roast, however, we recommend going to The Ox (map). The hip gastropub serves delectable meals alongside a wide array of craft beers and lovely wines.
The Queens Arms (map) also gets high marks for their Sunday roast – plus, we love the cozy interior and book-lined walls!
International Food in Edinburgh, Scotland
International fare thrives in Edinburgh! After getting a taste of Scottish cuisine, consider eating some of the most popular food on offer from around the world.
#17 Indian Food
As a former British colony, Indian food is common throughout the United Kingdom. In Edinburgh, they have an affinity for the cuisine – as evidenced by the high number of Indian restaurants.
However, Dishoom (map) on St. Andrew Square is far and away the most popular Indian restaurant in Edinburgh. At Dishoom, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner – and have special vegan and kids’ menus, too.
#18 Best Bagels in Edinburgh
We didn’t expect to eat bagels on our trip to Scotland, but when locals boasted about how good the bagel sandwiches are at Bross Bagels (map), we had to see if they lived up to the hype. The Montreal-style bagels are, in fact, incredible.
We recommend ordering the Mama Bross Club on an everything bagel. The sandwich is piled high with the Bross signature chicken salad, topped with bacon, lettuce, pickles and spicy mayo.
#19 Pizza in Edinburgh
Wherever we are in the world, we almost always end up eating pizza. Sometimes it impresses, other times it falls short. In Edinburgh, we were pleasantly surprised by the phenomenal pizza at Civerinos (map).
Selling both pies and humungous slices-to-go, Civerinos makes a New York style pizza featuring creative topping combinations on a utterly delicious crust.
Pro Tip: Also Visiting Glasgow? Try the tasty woodfired pizza at Shilling Brewing Company!
#20 Best Burgers in Edinburgh
Burgers are now commonplace worldwide, so it’s not surprising to find them on menus in restaurants all around Edinburgh. Gourmet burgers, however, are harder to come by – but there are a few exceptional gourmet burger joints in Edinburgh.
The award-winning Lioness of Leith (map) is one of the best places to sink your teeth into a superb 100% Scotch beef burger. The only problem is choosing which burger to get (we recommend The Future!).
Bread Meats Bread (map) is a family-run burger chain in Scotland that features local ingredients and a big selection of unique burgers and tasty fries. Try the signature Wolf Burger, which is topped with pulled pork, and side a poutine.
Best Desserts in Edinburgh
Looking for Scottish desserts to satisfy a sweet tooth craving? We are highlighting a few of the best Edinburgh desserts – and where to eat them!
Cranachan is an iconic Scottish dessert made of raspberries, cream, whisky and oatmeal. Popular in June when raspberries are in season, the parfait dessert is a divinely sweet treat. Try it at Whiski Bar and Restaurant (map).
The humble scone – pronounced scon in Scotland – may be English, but it is derived from Scottish Bannock (an oat-based flatbread).
There are several cafes that produce spectacularly good scones in the city, but our top recommendations for the best Edinburgh scones are Café Portrait (map) located within the National Scottish Portrait Gallery and Mimi’s Little Bakehouse (map) right on the Royal Mile.
#23 Sticky Toffee Pudding
It’s heavily debated where sticky toffee pudding originates – Scotland or England. All the same, the British dessert has seen a quick rise to fame, as it is a relatively new creation. The basics of sticky toffee pudding – or STP – is sponge cake with dates, covered in toffee sauce and served with ice cream.
The Doric Tavern (map) – a historic gastropub that dates to the 17th century – is famous for their indulgent sticky toffee pudding.
#24 Scottish Shortbread
Shortbread biscuits – also called fingers or shorties – are Scotland’s most well-known sweet treat. The cookie is said to have been created by none other than Mary, Queen of Scots in the 16th century.
It’s not difficult to find the buttery, melt-in-your-mouth goodness – just pop into any market or shop and buy a complete box! However, we recommend seeking out a box from the family-run baking dynasty, Shortbread House of Edinburgh.
#25 Tea and Cakes
Many cafes in Edinburgh serve tea and cake – but none as famous as The Elephant House (map). A true treat for Harry Potter fans, The Elephant House claims to be the ‘birthplace’ of Harry Potter. JK Rowling was a frequent customer and would often write while eating cake.
#26 Ice Cream
If you are lucky enough to visit Edinburgh on a sunny day (and even if you’re not), an afternoon ice cream treat is likely in order. Without a doubt, the best place for ice cream in Edinburgh is Mary’s Milk Bar (map), where they make gelato and chocolate fresh daily.
Edinburgh is home to numerous markets – most of which are open on either Saturday or Sunday. The Edinburgh Farmers Market – a top spot for local Scottish produce – is a Saturday morning event located on the castle terrace.
Other area pop up produce markets are the Leith Market (Saturdays 10-4), the Grassmarket Market (Saturdays 10-5) and the Stockbridge Market (Sundays 10-4).
The Pitt Market (map), located in Leith, is a small cluster of food trucks churning out delicious eats in a jovial atmosphere. Visitors simply snag a picnic table and order online from any of the vendors via the QR code. Our favorite vendor at The Pitt is The Buffalo Truck where they make insanely good buttermilk chicken sandwiches.
The Neighbourgood Market (map) in Stockbridge is a fun summertime food event that is ideal for warm afternoons. Bring a blanket to lay on the lawn and graze on the fare from the many food trucks while listening to live music.
What To Drink in Edinburgh
We’ve covered what to eat in Edinburgh, but what about drinking in Edinburgh? We are sharing a few of the must-try drinks an where to drink them!
Irn-Bru – or Iron Brew, as it was originally called – is a Scottish soft drink that is wildly popular with locals. The carbonated drink was created in 1901 – and still currently outsells Coca-Cola in Scotland. Bright orange in color, the taste is distinct…and difficult to describe, so it’s best to just try it for yourself!
Whisky is the national drink of Scotland – and there are more than 130 distilleries currently producing whisky in the country. All Scotch whisky is made from malted barley, and it must be matured for at least 3 years in oak barrels.
Novices just dipping their toes into the wonderful world of Scotch whisky have ample opportunities to learn about – and taste – whisky in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh Whisky Tastings
The Scotch Whisky Experience is a fun, whirlwind introduction of whisky, where visitors are whisked away in a whisky barrel and on to the tasting room. Book it in advance!
Whisky and Folklore is a guided whisky tasting experience in a family-run pub. While sampling multiple tastings from a variety of whisky-producing regions, the guide entertains guests with classic Scottish storytelling. Find out more!
Visitors who want a stylish whisky tasting experience from a major brand can go to Johnnie Walker Princes Street, where they offer complete tours.
At Holyrood Distillery, where they produce both gin and whisky, visitors get a behind-the-scenes look at the production…and have the chance to taste both products, as well. Sign up for the tour!
Travelers can also get a tailored whisky tasting experience in Edinburgh at The Black Cat (map). The New Town bar offers set whisky flights – or you can let the bartender know what you like and how much you want to spend and they will create a flight to your taste. They even take the time to sit with you and share information about each whisky in your set.
Pro Tip: Looking for more gin distilleries in Edinburgh? Try the Edinburgh Gin Distillery, the Summerhall Distillery or the Lind and Lime Distillery.
Edinburgh Craft Beer
Beer has been brewed in Edinburgh for centuries – but the recent influx of modern craft brewers has really expanded the offerings. Visitors can enjoy craft beer in many pubs and bars in Edinburgh – but we are sharing a few of the best places to drink fresh craft beer straight from the source.
Okay, so BrewDog is not actually brewed in Edinburgh, but the recognizable brand hails from Scotland (their state-of-the-art facilities are located in Ellon) and they have 3 taprooms in the city center. The first BrewDog Edinburgh pub opened in 2011 on Cowgate (map) – where they pour their own beers alongside guest brews from 28 taps.
Cold Town House
Tucked right below the Edinburgh Castle in the bar laden Grassmarket district, Cold Town House Brewery (map) makes beer on site using local ingredients. The microbrewery also offers tours (limited space, so book in advance) and features a fantastic rooftop deck with castle views.
Campervan Brewery Taproom
Low-key and relaxed, Campervan Brewery in Edinburgh (map) is an absolute gem! Situated within a business park in the Leith neighborhood, the inconspicuous brewery makes a range of excellent beers – and offers cans for sale from other local brewers, too.
The Campervan Taproom is only open on Friday and Saturday, but fans of Campervan brews can get a taste at their Lost in Leith (map) taproom 7 days a week.
Innis and Gunn Brewery Taproom
Currently brewing in Perth, UK (but building an even larger Edinburgh brewery), Innis and Gunn (map) features an impressive list of beers, from their popular lager to cask matured brews to fruity IPAs. Their 2 tap rooms in Edinburgh (one on Lothian Road and one in Leith) are a relaxing space to enjoy a pint – and they serve great food, as well.
Moonwake Beer Co
At Moonwake Beer Company (map), they create a fun line up of beers that can be enjoyed inside their bright and colorful brewery or outside in the Taproom Yard. While what they serve is limited to beer, rotating food trucks are on hand for nosh.
A microbrewery hidden in a residential district, Bellfield Brewery (map) specializes in making gluten-free beers. Brewing on-site, visitors can sample the range of brews both inside or outdoors in the beer garden.
Cocktails in Edinburgh
Travelers that fancy a cocktail will not be disappointed! There are several bars in Edinburgh that serve hand-crafted cocktails is chic settings.
The Devil’s Advocate (map) on Advocate’s Close is a top pick for whisky cocktails. At Bramble (map) their cocktail list is slightly eccentric and absolutely fabulous. Panda and Sons (map) – a speakeasy posing as a barbershop – creates cocktails that are quirky and delish!
Map of Edinburgh: What To Eat and Where
Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive version of our Things To Eat in Edinburgh Map.
Tips about Eating in Edinburgh, Scotland
Now that you know what and where to eat in Edinburgh, we have a few final tips for your visit to Scotland.
Tipping in Edinburgh
For restaurants and pubs that provide table service, it is customary to leave a 10% tip. In many Edinburgh restaurants, a service charge is already included, so check your bill or ask your server.
Table Reservations in Edinburgh
Bookings are essential – especially in the summertime. Some of the most popular restaurants are booked out weeks in advance and even neighborhood pubs completely fill up for dinner. Don’t saunter into a restaurant at 7pm without a reservation and expect to be seated; book in advance to ensure you get a table. Also, many kitchens close by 9pm (or earlier) so if you’re visiting Edinburgh in the summer, don’t let the long days fool you into missing dinner all together!
Edinburgh Food Tours
Joining a food tour in Edinburgh is a fantastic way to get a taste of the best food in the city – and learn about the history of Scotland. Local guides lead the way to the best restaurants and share tales about both the cuisine and region.
Secret Food Tour
On the Secret Food Tour participants get to taste local dishes – including haggis – while touring Edinburgh sights. Reserve your space!
Food and Drink Tour
The local guide of the Food and Drink Tour leads guests through the Old Town and New Town to 5 establishments – 3 of which include a local drink pairing. Book it here!
Edinburgh Travel Tips
Finding the best things to eat in Edinburgh is just one step in planning your trip. Travelers also need to make a plan for attractions and sights – as well as travel details, like where to stay and how to get there. We share our top advice on what to see and do and other travel tips in our 3-Day Edinburgh Itinerary.
That said, travelers heading to Europe for the first time – or the first time in a long time – should start with our guide to Planning a Trip to Europe.
To stay on top of your travel planning details, we recommend using a planner – like our printable Travel Planner!
We Want To Know: What is on your list of Best Places to Eat in Edinburgh? What is on your list of Food to Eat in Edinburgh? Tell us in the comments!
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