Edinburgh Food Guide, a City Tasting Tour
It was described by the poet Sir John Betjemen as “the most beautiful of all the capitals of Europe,” while the locals affectionately call it Auld Reekie. With its imposing castle, gothic architecture, medieval old town and elegant Georgian new town, Edinburgh is a treat for the eyes. It’s also a treat for the taste buds: looking for great places to eat in Edinburgh? Take a stroll through its narrow, winding streets and you’ll find vibrant markets, genteel tea rooms, surprising street food and welcoming traditional pubs, not to mention some fine local ingredients, a distinctive local cuisine and a wee dram or two.
POLICE BOX PIT STOPS
Fans of Doctor Who might wonder whether the celebrated time traveller has a sideline in street food. Some of Edinburgh’s old police boxes have been turned into coffee shops and snack bars. Originally used as telephone kiosks to contact police stations, the mobile age has seen some boxes undergo some very creative conversions. Tupiniquim is a colourful Brazilian juice bar and creperie run by Fernando and Gerdenia Miranda. For something a little spicy try Bollywood The Coffee Box for hot soup, freshly cooked curry dishes and coffee; while the freshly made ice cream is a highlight at The Meadow Box.
Edinburgh has enough markets to wear your shoe leather thin. In the shadow of the castle, Edinburgh Farmers’ Market is packed with local producers selling anything from Scottish venison and free range eggs, to organic beer and chutneys. Stockbridge Market features fresh produce from Scotland’s hill farms, as well as seafood from Caithness Smokehouse and a nice Scottish cuppa from the Leith Tea Company. Underneath the glass roof at Edinburgh’s main railway station, you can snack on burgers, cupcakes, handmade scotch eggs and Edinburgh gin while you browse for arts and crafts at Waverley Market.
WHISKY AND BEER
The true spirit of Scotland can be found in a bottle, as you’ll discover at The Scotch Whisky Experience. There you’ll learn about the history of whisky and the processes involved in distilling it; you can even take a whisky course and match your tastes to the perfect single malt. There’s more whisky to be tasted at the Whiski Rooms where you can match a malt to cheese or chocolate. But the best place to drink whisky is in a traditional pub like The Bow Bar, which boasts some 260 malts and up to eight real ales, such as Happy Chappy pale ale by the Cromarty Brewing Co. up in the Highlands. Alternatively, head over to the historic West Port, and The Blue Blazer, find a comfy leather bench and peruse the fine selection of ales and malts.
If you love the heady fragrance and rich flavour of real bread, but don’t want to pay too much dough, then Breadshare is worth sniffing out. This community bakery makes artisanal, organic bread with 100 percent natural ingredients and no artificial additives. But what makes it extra special is the price. A community support project, Breadshare is a not-for-profit company dedicated to providing high-quality, nutritious and delicious bread that’s affordable for everybody. It’s based in the Scottish Borders, but makes regular deliveries by electric vehicle to gourmet food shops and markets all over Edinburgh, including The New Leaf Co-op, Natural Foods, Etc. and Real Foods Stores.
Afternoon tea is an Edinburgh institution, and just the thing when you’ve been out and about investigating the city’s food scene. For a most civilised experience, treat yourself to the splendid afternoon tea at the legendary Caledonian Hotel. Its Peacock Alley tea room was once the concourse and ticket office of an old railway station, but now dispenses a variety of loose leaf tea, finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. For something a little less formal, The Elephant House is famous for its brunch room views of Edinburgh Castle, and its association with Harry Potter author JK Rowling who wrote some of her early work here. If you like classical scenery with a modern twist One Square offers stunning views of the castle and Usher Hall, but in a contemporary setting. Just the place to enjoy a Bloom Gin Afternoon Tea with a choice of loose leaf tea or a refreshing cocktail.