There is one thing all foodies, food-lovers, and generally the adventurous will have to try when coming to Edinburgh. As mentioned in one of our previous posts, it is no news that Edinburgh loves food – from the deep-fried to the gourmet. But there is one particular food item which – mildly put – causes opinions to differ. Bluntly put, you either love it or you hate it.
If you haven’t guessed it already, we are talking about the famous Scottish dish haggis, neeps and tatties. Little kids (and sometimes foreigners) are told that haggis comes from wild hairy animals living in the Scottish Highlands, which have two legs shorter than the rest in order to run quickly around the steep hills we have up North. It has only been sighted by locals so far… but that doesn’t prove that it doesn’t exist. We all still believe in Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, don’t we?! But since the haggis animal is so rare, we instead eat a more common haggis – haggis made from the innards of the sheep. We shall not get into detail about what innards we mean here, but let’s just say that most of the sheep is used to make haggis. Besides the sheep’s bits and bobs, there is also oatmeal, suet, spices, and onion in there. And all of that good stuff is then put into an animal’s stomach which creates the iconic round shape of the haggis. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
To be fair it might not sound too appealing, but we have to say that it is a treat and definitely worth a try. Typically served with mashed swede (Scottish: neeps) and mashed potatoes (Scottish: tatties), this representative Scottish dish is available in many places, but we don’t want you to just stumble into any place and to just have any haggis, neeps and tatties. We want you to have the best. So we have personally picked a selection of five places in Edinburgh where you can try the renowned haggis, neeps and tatties. We hope you enjoy and, please, let us know on Twitter or Facebook which place you recommend to get your ‘Scottish fix’.
The World’s End is a cosy pub tucked away towards the end of the Royal Mile which couldn’t be any cosier. With dark interior, hidden alcoves, and dimmed lights, you feel like you’re stepping back in time when entering The World’s End. In fact, the pub’s name is deeply rooted in history, since the city walls used to run right after it, and as far as the citizens of Edinburgh were concerned, it was the last pub before the end of the world. And of course, haggis, neeps and tatties are served in this institution. They come with a home-made whisky sauce and provide the perfect comfort food after a busy day sightseeing up and down the Royal Mile. To accompany your food, ask for their whisky menu and have a wee dram (43ml) of the fine liquor.
Address: 2-8 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TB
If you feel like trying the national dish after a little shopping spree in the New Town, we recommend Ryan’s Bar and Restaurant on the West End of Princess Street. A busy restaurant and bar, Ryan’s serves haggis, neeps and tatties with a delicious onion and rosemary gravy, which will warm you up from the inside. With lots of alternatives on the menu, everyone will find a tasty bite to eat even if one prefers to not try haggis (how dare they?!).
Address: 2-4 Hope Street, Edinburgh EH2 4DB
© Ryan’s Bar and Restaurant
It is understandable that some people might not like trying a whole lot of sheep intestines thrown together in an animal’s stomach, and that is why vegetarian haggis has been created. Also incredibly delicious, vegetarian haggis is even available in supermarkets next to the ‘meaty’ haggis. But we have a way better option than supermarket vegetarian haggis for you: have it prepared by professionals at Henderson’s Restaurant. Their haggis is vegan and consists mainly of lentils, kidney beans, mushrooms, and spices and is served with mashed potatoes and swede (of course). All other options on the menu are also vegetarian, or even vegan, making Henderson’s Restaurant a real treasure for the meat shunners.
Address: 94 Hanover Street, Edinburgh EH2 1DR
Fourthly, we suggest you to try the leaning tower of haggis, neeps and tatties from the Whiski Bar and Restaurant (119 High Street). Also situated on the Royal Mile, this award-winning institution has a welcoming atmosphere and wows tourists seven days a week not only with exquisite food but also with live music from 10 p.m. The haggis is original Macsween, served with a typical whisky sauce and can be ordered as a vegetarian version as well.
Address: 119 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1SG
© Whiski Rooms
Finally, for visitors with a limited budget, we have something up our sleeve. MUMS Great Comfort Food (4A Forrest Road), which has long been serving hearty meals to Edinburgh students, under their slogan “top nosh at half the cost”. And that is what you get – amazing food at amazing prices. The haggis (also available as vegetarian) is something we particularly recommend if you just feel like having a filling meal cooked up by your maw (Scottish for ‘mum’).
Address: 4A Forrest Road, Edinburgh EH1 2QN
Extra tip: If you want to dive into the Scottish culture a little deeper, try an Irn-Bru with your haggis, neeps and tatties. It is a terrifyingly orange fizzy drink nobody else but the Scottish adores. It tastes like a mix of cough medicine and sugar syrup, but has to be tried. And don’t be surprised if you get the Scottish nationality handed on a silver plate if you indeed like the drink.
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