As part of any traveling experience, discovering a region’s food and drink scene are important to understanding a culture. I had found Scottish food to be very hearty and caloric rich, as well as down right delectable. The heaviness of the dishes can be attributed to the country’s history, what was available, and the brisk weather to keep the body content. Traditional dishes in Scotland are great especially for those who like to feast without shame, like me!
There are a lot of crossover dishes from England, which makes sense since Scotland is just north of England. Meals like fish and chips, a full breakfast, and scones do blur the lines between both regions of the United Kingdom. It is all still so delicious though!
Scotland is stunning, and a beautiful location to visit while traveling through Great Britain. I loved it so much that I have been back three times, and still plan on returning for more- food!
From Fishy Pie to Haggis Bon-Bons, What I ate in SCOTLAND – A Food Journal
Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow
For those who are familiar with my blogs and reviews, you know that I have a high interest in authenticity, places that are the oldest or the first, architecture, design, culture and dining experiences. So, a visit to the original Willow Tea Room located at 217 Sauchiehall Street, which was designed by Scotland’s famous architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, was a must for me.
Over the last century, the Willow Tea Rooms have changed ownership several times and the building was deteriorating. In 2014 – 2018, the building went through complete renovations using Mackintosh’s original designs. It was re-opened in July 2018, under the new name of “Mackintosh at the Willow”, due to a trademark dispute with the former operators.
When I had visited the original tea room, it was still under the name of The Willow Tearooms, and I will admit that made me happy. Although I would not mind returning to 217 Sauchiehall Street, and having tea at the Mackintosh at the Willow, as I love a good tea room!
For tearoom information, please visit – Mackintosh at the Willow website
Afternoon Tea at Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh
As a solo traveler, partaking in Afternoon Tea is quite a big deal, and you have to be fine with enjoying your own company. I never felt alone having tea at the Balmoral, the servers and staff were all lovely and kind. The Palm Court itself is gorgeous and refined, with a live harpist who sets an elegant tone for the room.
I do enjoy afternoon tea, and the one offered at the Balmoral in Edinburgh has remained one of my top favorites. For my complete reviews, please read:
For Palm Court Afternoon Tea information, please visit their official site- The Balmoral Hotel Palm Court
This was my first try at haggis, and it was during afternoon tea at the Balmoral in Edinburgh. I was told by others that I did not actually have the full haggis experience by eating a “posh bon-bon” during afternoon tea. I beg to differ, this was Haggis.
To be truthful, I am hesitant to order a whole dish of traditional haggis. I do understand what it is, and its ingredients intimidate me. I have asked myself, What if I do not like it and waste a whole dish of haggis? If someone would offer me a bite, then I may try haggis in its traditional form.
Deep Fried Mars Bar in Edinburgh
Never say never! The first time I heard about deep fried Mars Bars was back in the 90s, and was appalled by the thought of it. I convinced myself that I would never eat such a greasy thing. Well fast forward 25+ years later, I am in Edinburgh destroying a gooey deep fried candy bar.
Would I eat one ever again? Probably not, but at least I tried it. This gooey and greasy deep fried Mars Bar was devoured at the Clamshell in Edinburgh.
Fish and Chips
Although I’ve eaten amazing fish and chips in England, once I got into Scotland it was not the same amazing experience. I am just saying! I am not ruling out Scotland as having good fish and chips, and I am determined to find a great chipy there. It just might have been the places I went to.
The Fish and Chips that I tried in Scotland were very greasy and heavy. I could barely eat them, but I was hungry and did it anyways. I did have a decent haddock fish and chips in Inverness but it was from the UK chain, Wetherspoons.
One of my favorite things when I visit the United Kingdom is waking up to a full breakfast. Whether it is be Scottish or English, their breakfasts are a very important, and impressive way to start the day.
A full plate of rashers, sausages, mushroom, eggs, grilled tomatoes, beans, and a lot of toast will either weigh you down, or give you a good morning boost. Typically a Scottish breakfast also contains Lorne (square) sausage, tattie scones, and black and white pudding.
Traditional Scottish Cullen Skink
It took me three visits to Scotland to locate a bowl of Cullen Skink, and I found it in the city of Inverness. This creamy and chunky chowder is delicious, especially if you enjoy seafood since it is a smoked haddock soup.
This thick and hearty bowl of Cullen Skink, with a side of fresh bread was enjoyed at Black Isle Bar in Inverness, Scotland.
Split Hot Dog
I took one look and said, “I need one”. True story and it was noted in my Yelp review. This was one huge grilled hot dog, that was served in a proper bread roll. There was not anything fancy to this meal, it was just straight up delicious.
Whisky Tasting at Edinburgh Castle
Throughout Edinburgh, and especially along the Royal Mile, you will find places to taste Scotch Whiskey. If you enjoy whisky or Scotch, I do recommend spending some time exploring the different distillery brands. One of my favorites that I tried was this local whisky, Bruadar, meaning “Dream”.
Bruadar is a Scottish malt whisky liqueur with the flavors of sloe berries, and a smooth taste of honey. I enjoyed it because it went down very nicely, and had a good finish. I bought a medium sized bottle, and several small ones to bring home. I am sad that I drank it all, so I guess I will go back to Scotland for more!
Highland Cow Cupcake
I remember the first time I saw photos of a Highland Cow, and I was in love! I had that giddy feeling of “OH I want that cupcake” when I saw this at Ashers Bakery in Inverness. The cup cake was adorable and pretty tasty too.
Ashers Bakery also looked as if there were many other delicious baked treats inside, and it is certainly worth the visit if you are in Inverness.
For more information and location, please visit – Ashers Bakery
I was told by locals that the best things to eat in Orkney were both the ice cream and the cheese, due to the great dairy production on these islands. So I ate both! The best I could find on short notice that would travel well, was the pre-packaged cheese rounds.
There are other dairy brands, as well as different types of Orkney cheeses that I would like to try out in the near future. This particular one, Smoked Cheddar – Highland Whiskey, was very sharp and savory. I enjoy bold flavors, and this worked flavor worked well for me. The consistency was spreadable, and tasted nice with crackers.
Pizza at Black Isle Bar
Yes, sometimes we all need a pizza! In my travels, I have tasted a variety of pizza in various countries. I have found that they are all similar, but a bit different from each other. As for Black Isle Bar in Inverness, I found the pizzas to be very good, and quite similar to those you find back in the States.
We ordered the goat cheese, red onion, and rocket (arugula) pizza, as well as the mushroom pizza. Both were great tasting and at reasonable prices. My favorite though was the goat cheese!
Orkney Ice Cream
While I was traveling up to the Orkney Islands, I was told that I must try the ice cream and the cheese. Apparently the dairy sources up in this part of Scotland are top-notch, which intrigued me to try out their ice cream. Who am I kidding? I do not need a reason to eat ice cream- I love ice cream!
I wish I was hungrier and would have tried a couple of different flavors. It was a tough decision, and I chose ‘Honeycomb’- it was very good! The consistency was rich and creamy, plus you could taste the freshness in the dairy. I loved the honeycomb flavor because it was not overpowering, but light and sweet.
Banoffee Caramel Chocolate Bar
No lies, whenever I see the word “Banoffee” I get a little happy! For those who love banana AND toffee, then this is a word that you should know, BAN-OFFEE.
I found this sweet number at Mr. Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in Inverness. It was very delicious bar of chocolate mixed with banana flavors, and toffee chips. Mr. Simms offered many other chocolate bars, but this looked to be my favorite in the store.
For store information- Mr. Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe
Tunnocks Tea Cakes
This was the very moment that I met Tunnocks! Not sure what my problem was, but it took me three visits to Scotland to be introduced to Tunnocks Tea Cakes and Caramel Wafers. My first try was of all places, a bus from Edinburgh to Inverness and back. These sweet little tea cakes reminded me of American S’mores, sorry Scotland.
Tunnock’s Tea Cakes are little shortbread biscuits that are covered with a dome of Italian meringue. Then topped with a whipped egg white concoction, which is similar to a lighter marshmallow. It is Finished off by being dipped in milk chocolate. See… it’s like a Scottish S’mores- sorry, not sorry!
Fishy Pie and Harry Potter
I have tried Fish Pie in the UK and Ireland, and it is one of my favorites. Think fish (typically smoked), mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, and a few other ingredients- it is very flavorsome and hearty dish.
I had this delicious cheesy fishy pie at The Elephant House in Edinburgh, which is known as the birthplace of Harry Potter.
For more information on the restaurant and menu, please visit their official website – The Elephant House
I cannot tell you how excited I was to find this dessert. You would think this traditional Scottish dessert, Cranachan, would be easy to find but it really is not. This hearty sweet dessert is primarily prepared with whiskey, berries, cream, and oats.
I found this heavenly slice of cranachan at the Elephant House in Edinburgh. It is a lovely café where JK Rowling wrote parts of Harry Potter, and is known as the Birth Place of HP.
For more information on the restaurant and menu, please visit their official website – The Elephant House
Coronation Chicken Sandwich
So simple but so delicious! Coronation Chicken is one of my favorite simple sandwiches to eat while in the UK, especially on brown bread. What is so special about this sandwich? It is a mayo chicken salad sandwich, that is made with a kick of yellow curry powder. This is a common sandwich in the UK, and I recommend that you try it if you see it on the menu.
Spicy Pasta in Edinburgh
There are many Italian restaurants in Scotland, and they are a great alternative if you want something different. On our last visit to Scotland, we had dinner at Bella Italia in Edinburgh, and everything was delizioso!
I enjoyed my Gamberoni Arrabiata, which was spaghetti pasta, king prawns, and green chili in a spicy spaghetti sauce. It was bold and flavorful, with just the right amount of heat.
Starbucks and Carrot Cake
I know, Starbucks is very American and I have learned to visit other cafes while traveling. I do rarely go into a Starbucks in America, and only if friends want to go or if I need something drive-thru. I am not trying to make excuses here, but I really did enjoy this certain Starbucks in Edinburgh.
I will say though that trying the pastries and sandwiches at a global Starbucks is quite fun. At the Starbucks in Edinburgh, I ordered this tasty slice of carrot cake with my black Americano. I am a big fan of carrot cake, and will eat it anywhere I can find it.
Guesthouse Room Snacks
Sometimes it is the little things that make a your day when traveling. Our Guesthouse in Inverness had set out a variety of drinks and snacks in our room daily. It was nice to try out different ‘everyday snacks’ from Scotland, while laying around in our room after a long day.
Our Guesthouse in Inverness, Scotland was Riverbank House. It was average accomodations, but it was very comfortable and clean. Our stay reminded me as if I were visiting a favorite relative’s house.
Bacon Wrapped Sausage Breakfast Sandwich
Right?!? I could not believe it when I read what was in this breakfast sandwich at the airport. It was very early in the morning and I needed food. I think during the early morning times, making rational decisions is not my strongest suit.
I will admit, this was very good breakfast sandwich, and the heavier roll held all those bacon wrapped sausages quite well.
Breakfast sandwich from Eat at the Edinburgh Airport.
Came for the food. Stayed for the food.
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