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Quick Eats in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city full of life and activity. Given the many attractions and activities available, it can sometimes feel as though there just are not enough hours in the day to take full advantage of ones time in this beautiful city. A resolution to this problem comes from the bevy of options for accessible food choices and quick eats in Edinburgh.

Most visitors to Edinburgh have heard of Scotland’s most famous meal: haggis. What might not be common knowledge is how easily one can find haggis throughout the city. Like many British cities, Edinburgh boasts a number of ‘chippies’ or ‘chip shops.’ These tiny shops offer no seating and simply provide food for those on the go. Chip shops sell French fries, fish (often cod or haddock) and other treats, all of which come deep-fried and almost always instantly available. Alongside these choices is deep-fried haggis. The sheep’s innards are easily carried about in a paper bag and eaten by hand as a filling snack.

Most chippies tend to be located in Old Town though there are certainly options in New Town as well. A popular choice is actually named Chippie and is located on Rose Street between Castle and Frederick Streets, mostly catering to the bar crowds on the well known bar street. Another option is La Campagnola at 11 Durmsheugh Place. This chippie combines the best of Scottish fried fare with small Italian pizzas and other quick dishes.

baked potato shopAnother fascination of the Scottish capital comes in the form of giant baked potatoes. More than a few shops offer a dizzying array of toppings to join the oversized potatoes at very low prices. From cheddar cheese and haggis to vegan options, potato shops provide anyone on or near the Royal Mile a massive treat. Two shops in particular cater to the Royal Mile masses: The Baked Potato Shop at 55 Cockburn Street and Tempting Tattie at 18 Jeffrey Street. Just steps from the most famous Edinburgh sites, these shops do not offer much by way of seating but do give the hungry tourist more than enough to hold them over until the next meal.

There are even more low-key options for quick food throughout town in the dozens of newspaper stands that dot the city. Grabbing a copy of the Scottish version of the Metro and a muffin can serve as a quick bite and a chance to catch up the local news and some celebrity gossip. Omnipresent in these newspaper shops of Edinburgh are cans and bottles of a strange, bright orange soft drink. Irn-Bru is the drink and it is a famous, Scottish beverage with supposed hangover-curing qualities. The drink is loaded with sugar and has a distinct taste that is either loved or hated. Consuming an Irn-Bru is an activity that can be enjoyed (or at least experienced) much more freely than the other famous Scottish beverages of scotch and ale. Without alcohol it can be carried anywhere and serves as an energy boost to the weary traveler or tourist.

While there are plenty of options for sit-down meals, beers and other dining varieties, it can be very useful to know where to find a quick bite in or near the city’s many interesting places. Most Edinburgh quick-eat locations do not have seating but there are, especially in Old Town, many public parks, squares and benches available. So grab a deep-fried haggis or baked potato, find a seat, crack open an Irn-Bru and watch the city go by with a uniquely Scottish meal.

Written by Michael Orr for

The Best Places to Eat (and Drink) in Edinburgh

Monday 21st of July 2014

[…] with fillings, a pastie or a good, old-fashioned sausage roll, the chip shop is a right of passage. The Baked Potato Shop on Cockburn Street and the Tempting Tattie on Jeffrey Street are two favorites serving up loaded […]


Thursday 29th of July 2010

Thanks Jools, those are great suggestions. Particularly working up a nice appetite up at the crags! Obviously there are plenty of good chippies around for travelers and locals alike to enjoy.

Jools Stone

Wednesday 28th of July 2010

For chippes, this Edinburgh resident recommends Globetrotter in Bruntsfield, a very pleasant, bijou suburb about a mile south of the centre, and the Clam Shell, closer to the action on the Royal Mile, two minutes down from the Castle. If you want to work up an appetite first with a walk along the spectaculour crags then the Sheep Heid, Scotland's oldest pub, in Duddingston is well worth a visit.

You should try smoked sausage and note that when asked if you want 'salt and sauce', this means (often quite runny and vinegary, but tasty). brown sauce. Jools

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