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Feb 22, 2013 07:59 PM

Edinburgh and Aberdeen


I'm going to EDI and ABZ for a girls week in May. We're looking for a mix of restaurants and pubs. We want to cover the full spectrum of price, but good food and fun are a must. Any recs are much appreciated.

We also plan on going on some scotch tastings and are looking for recs on what to try or if there's a great distillery tour around Edinburgh or Aberdeen.

Also, if there's something in particular that will be in season and we should eat, please let me know.


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  1. I do not believe there are any whisky distilleries within 15-20 miles of either Edinburgh or Aberdeen.

    While in Edinburgh, I would recommend visiting the Cadenhead Whisky shop. They may be able to recommend a distillery you can visit while traveling from EDI to ABZ.

    3 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      Upon further review, the Glenkinchie Distillery is located in East Lothian and is easily accessible from central Edinburgh. It looks like they welcome visitors.

      1. re: DavidT

        Thanks! Have you ever been to Glenkinchie? What did you think?

        1. re: lee80

          No, I have not. If you are looking to tour a distillery convenient to Edinburgh, I am sure this one will fill the bill.

    2. I've been there (although quite a while ago), and recommend fish and chips, and the Arbroath Smokie (or similar).

      maybe an Irn Bru... or...

      1. I spent a couple of days in Edinburgh last October. We had an incredible dinner with extended family at David Bann, a vegetarian restaurant. The food was amazing and the service impeccable.

        1. Hi - yesterday I posted twice and both attempts failed so I am sorry I am going to be a bit briefer this time!!

          Glenkinchie is accessible by bus and the whisky is good it is lowland so not peaty - quite easy drinking - don't know what the tour is like.

          You should be able to get distillery tours quite easily from Aberdeen because Aberdeenshire is home to loads of distilleries. Though the area is huge

          You might be able to get a tour which leaves from the centre of the city if you are not hiring a car.

          I would recommend going to the Scotch whisky experience on the royal mile - not a distillery, but gives a short tour of the distillation process and then a short tutorial about how to taste whisky and a we dram at the end. There is also a huge bar with hundreds of whiskies to buy - they are not overly marked up in price.

          Where are you coming from? If not from the UK then you need to try haggis and a good fish supper.

          I don't know Aberdeen at all for food but here are my reccs for Edinburgh

          Michelin star
          Castle Terrace - great value for lunch esp with wine paring
          Have not been but really want to go to Martin Wishart and Mark Greenaway - don't think you would go far wrong with any of the Michelin starred restos in Ed. They are really all deserving of the stars so I believe.

          Union of Genius - soup cafe
          Peter's Yard - swedish bakery
          oink - take out hog roast
          BrewLab - coffee and cakes
          Freeman's - exellent
          Artisan Roast - any branch
          Wellington coffee/press coffee/kilimanjaro- same people - coffee good, scones can range from fabulous to quite mediocre
          Mosque kitchen - great curry
          hula juice bar - lunch, juice salads sandwiches
          Urban Angel - brunch/lunch
          Toast - brunch/lunch/coffee and cake
          Freeman's brunch/lunch/coffee and cake
          Whisky rooms - had surprisingly good lunch here - serve haggis
          Hewats -dinner - scottish
          Sweet Melinda's - scottish - fish
          Calistoga - californian
          Caley Sample rooms - bar/dinner poss lunch - really good - home of a local ale
          Ecco Vino - wine bar with good pasta and antipasti
          Bon vivante - cocktails and wine

          hope this helps

          1. Thanks everyone. This is exactly what I'm looking for. I expect that the trip will be moving from rest. to pub to some food/drink shop with the occasional sight thrown in ;).

            Besides shortbread (or is that a bad American assumption), what other desserts/sweets should I make sure we don't miss.

            Are the michelin star restaurants as formal there as they are in the rest of the world? The websites seem a tad more casual, but would hate to show up under dressed.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lee80

              Shortbread -you will find shortbread loads of places. I would say that homemade - or housemade is definitely better than the commercial stuff but the commercial stuff can be good too. Walkers and Patterson's being the most common brands..

              Kilimanjaro does quite a good shortbread - can't think where else offhand, but to be honest, since homemade is often best you should just make your own!!!

              Deserts - cranachan - raspberry, oats, whisky, cream is the only desert that I can think of that is totally Scottish, you wont get it elsewhere. But I don't know where you would be sure to get it if you were eating out . We do crumbles; during the summer local raspberries are good- but you will probably be too early for these. Steamed puddings are quite traditional - clootie dumpling if you are being really traditional, but againm I don't know where you would get that out. We tend to just have traditional puddings such as sticky toffee, apple pie etc. Though I would say we don't use nearly as much cinnamon as in the States and our pies are different - can't put my finger on it, but they are!

              Scottish sweet things tend to be more baking based - to have with coffee, rather than deserts - such scones which more like a US biscuit but which are most often sweet (though I do love a cheese one!)

              I think that scottish food is more produce driven rather than dish driven if you know what i mean. We make a range of dishes, but good places will pride themselves on local produce and quality ingredients.

              Definitely try haggis - macsween's is a very popular brand, but everyone has their favourite. Crombies is a great butcher - lots of places cook with their sausages and haggis.

              You should also try Irn Bru - none of my US friends like it, but it is traditional, and you can't get the original version in the states - think they banned the colouring.

              If you are at all inclined - go up Arthur's seat for a great view of Edinburgh - will help you work up an appetite/work off all the eating!!

              1. re: lee80

                We loved the Gardener's Cottage and the Grain Store for relatively casual surroundings and Scottish ingredients.

                The whiskey experience on the Royal Mile is really fun and interesting. Do the silver tour and taste four whiskies at the end and they'll talk you through them all. One lowland, one highland, one Speyside and one Islay.

                I'd say the Michelin star restaurants are still quite formal - Martin Wishart is quite hushed and The Kitchin a little less formal but I'd probably just go with jeans and a shirt in each, certainly no need for jackets/ties etc.

                My Edinburgh review is here