When it comes to eating out in Edinburgh many people opt for pubs and with good reason. If you pick well, the food is usually hearty and affordable. Of course, it also allows diners to indulge in Scotland’s national dish — haggis.
No trip to Scotland would be truly complete without at least trying haggis which is made up of a sheep’s intestine combined with onion, oatmeal, spices and salt. It is traditionally boiled in the sheep’s stomach but today many other casings are used. While it sounds horrible, it tastes incredible when served with “neeps and tatties”, which is usually yellow turnips and potatoes. It has become so popular that a vegetarian option is often available, but seeing how the haggis is very much a meat dish, it’s hard to believe the vegetarian option is anything like the real thing.
When searching for good food, try the Grassmarket which is south of Edinburgh Castle. With a selection of good pubs to choose from, the area also has Italian, French, Mexican and seafood restaurants to choose from.
Judging by the number of pubs littered throughout Edinburgh’s streets, the Scots love a drink. Your best bet is to find the pubs with quiet little alcoves which would make it impossible to swing a cat. The Grassmarket is once again the pick of the city centre. Its centuries-old history means it has quite a few pubs with plenty of history. One of the best is The Last Drop where, legend has it, criminals were taken for their final meal and a glass of whisky before being walked across the road to be hung in the market square. Things aren’t quite that grim anymore, but the pub retains an old charm which makes it a wonderful place to spend a few hours.
There are plenty of options to choose from when drinking in British pubs and bars. The local brew Tennents dominates behind most bars, but Heineken, Carling, Fosters and Guiness are readily available. Of course, being a nation of whisky-drinkers, Scotland’s national drop is always at hand. Be warned though, you’ll get some funny looks if you ask for any kind of mixer with your whisky. The locals wouldn’t dream of contaminating their aged whisky with any perceived impurities.
The water from the tap is fine to drink in Edinburgh.