Merm Ley’s Edinburgh Food Guide
Food is definitely the best part of traveling to a different city. I love researching and finding little healthy restaurants and trying out the local food. Here’s everything I ate from classic Scottish food like Haggis to turmeric lattes to afternoon tea with the most mouthwatering scones and cream/jam!
Hula Juice Bar and Cafe
This was the first meal I had when I arrived in Edinburgh in the morning. I got a Scottish Smoked Salmon toast with cream cheese and cucumbers with a little side salad, and a turmeric latte. The latte was delish, they also had a matcha one with dried rosehips on top that I would have loved to try, but didn’t get the chance to.
What they called “cream cheese” was more like fresh ricotta cheese. Everything was super fresh and this little juice bar/cafe was super cute – on Victoria St. the same street that was the inspiration for Diagon Alley.
Authentic Street Food
After a lot of walking and touring the Edinburgh Castle, I stopped by a little street food fair on
Grassmarket, right near my hostel. They had everything from fresh pastries to french macarons to Japanese cooking to a fusion between South African and Scottish food, which is where I stopped. This is a South African type food with Haggis stuffed inside. If you don’t know, haggis is like a meat pudding made of a sheep’s heart, lung, and liver. I was disgusted when I heard about this, but I like to eat like the locals, so I tried it. It wasn’t bad, the flavor was quite nice. Every single pub/tavern I went to was serving “haggis with neeps and tatties” on the menu, which is this meat pudding with turnips and potatoes. I laughed at that – what a funny phrase!
The Kenilworth Pub
For dinner on my first night, I wanted to have a truly authentic Scottish pub experience – so I stopped at this place called The Kenilworth. It was very crowded and they don’t do tableside service. Instead, you order your food and drinks at the bar and they bring it out to you. I ordered an Elderflower cider which was amazing – it’s made right there in Scotland and infused with real elderflower. For food, I had a steak and ale mushroom pie, which is a Scottish classic (served in a puff pastry type outer casing) with mash (mashed potatoes) and veggies. They also give you gravy to pour on top which was a nice addition to the potatoes and the pie!
Georgian Tea Room at the Dome
This tea room experience was the highlight of my entire trip! I booked a reservation for “afternoon” tea at 11 am because that was their only availability. I thought it was funny to have afternoon tea as my first meal of the day, but I don’t regret it one bit. I had researched this place online and it looked gorgeous and it was . There were chandeliers everywhere and it was very upscale. I was the first person there because it had just opened, but it soon quickly filled up.
They give you a choice of unlimited tea. All of these looked so delicious that I wanted to try all of them. I only had the stomach and time for two whole pots, so I started with Lemon Ginger and ended with Mr. Grey, which was basically Earl Grey.
I’ve literally been dreaming of doing afternoon tea like this with the classic three tiers of sandwiches, scones, and desserts for years and I’m so glad it finally became a reality in Edinburgh.
I started with the sandwiches first. It came with an egg salad sandwich, ham and mustard, and roast beef with beetroot. The bottom tier also had this savory smoked salmon and cream cheese pastry which was delicious.
On the next tier, were the scones served with clotted cream and jam. This is the first time I’ve had true scones and the moment that I put this buttery scone with clotted cream on top, was truly ORGASMIC. Seriously the best I’ve ever had. My mouth is WATERING just thinking about it. Like seriously, wow best moment of my life.
The final top tier were the desserts! These were chef’s selection, so they varied from person to person. I got a chocolate macaron, a chocolate mousse cake, some kind of fruity mousse cake, and another mini cake.
As you can see, it’s a lot of food and I had to go super slow because I wanted to enjoy everything and didn’t want to get too full too fast. I stayed here for almost 2 hours, which is a long time for me.
I loved this ritual of drinking tea, eating finger sandwiches and desserts forced me to stop and slow down and truly take time to enjoy. It was the first time in my travels that I really slowed down and it was SO worth it. I highly recommend this tea room! It was a great price for such an amazing quality of food and fancy atmosphere, I truly felt like a queen 🙂
The Beach House
After tea, I was quite full so I took a couple buses to go to Edinburgh’s seaside to the town of Portobello. The Beach House was recommended to me as a healthy place to go overlooking the sea and since those are two of my favorite things, I of course had to go. I was still so full from my afternoon tea, that all I got was a croissant and a “Wild and Scottish Sea Buckthorn shot”. I’ve never had sea buckthorn before, but it’s essentially the juice made from a berry that has a lot of Vitamin C. It was extremely sour! I felt like I was doing one of those sour challenges.
The Beach House itself was lovely and it would be the perfect place to go during the summertime since they have a variety of fresh salad, soups, and gelato!
Deacon Brodie’s Tavern
Dinner that night called for another authentically Scottish experience. I ventured to a tavern called Deacon Brodie’s located on the Royal Mile, which I later found out is named after this guy who was a cabinet maker by day and master thief by night. His story is so fascinating that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde after him!
I got the Balmoral chicken, which seemed to be one of the classic dishes since it was on a lot of menus. It’s bacon wrapped chicken stuffed with haggis inside, on top of mash and gravy.
The bacon, haggis, and chicken together was a little too much meat for me, but those flavors paired with a cider on tap made me feel very Scottish and it was a great meal.
Hula Juice Bar
I went back to Hula on Monday morning, my final day in Edinburgh for an acai bowl. As you can see, it is very decadently decorated and seemed like something I would find in LA. This cafe was definitely a very cute and trendy spot!
After going to a couple different museums, I stopped at Wellington Coffee because I was craving more scones with clotted cream! The cream here did not compare at all to the cream at the Georgian. This cream was sticky and definitely seemed like the cheap version, instead of the creamy and light version I had the day before. I also got an oat milk Chai latte which was delicious. It was raining outside, and I felt super cool sitting in this cute coffee shop writing in my journal and drinking an oat milk chai with a scone. I heard that the coffee here is delicious, so if you’re a coffee drinker, definitely check this place, but maybe skip out on the scone with cream ;)
Eteaket Tea Lounge
After Wellington’s I took a yoga class, and then had about half an hour to eat something quick before heading to the airport. I had researched Eteaket and wanted to go, but didn’t have time to, but as I was searching for my airport bus I came across it! Since I wasn’t satisfied with my scones at Wellington, I ordered afternoon tea again just to get it haha. This time, it didn’t come with the three tiers, but instead came with a delicious chicken and pesto sandwich, scone with cream and jam (which was much better than Wellington but still not as good as the Georgian) and a rose hip tea!
I’m seriously obsessed now with the culture of afternoon tea. I’m not sure why more people don’t do it in America. I already researched places that do it in NYC, but it’s very expensive ranging from $70-$100 bucks per person, whereas my “fancy” tea experience at the Georgian was about $20 and this plate above with the tea, scones, sandwich, and petit four was all about $10!
I hope you enjoyed this little food guide of what I ate in Edinburgh! There were still a bunch of healthy places that I had researched but didn’t get to go to including Henderson’s Vegan Restaurant, Pumpkin Brown, and Harmonium Kitchen.
All in all, a very delicious and wonderful trip.