Scotland trip report! This was a quick 4 days, as part of a larger trip that included Denmark and Spain. Still, we did some interesting things and had a few wonderful meals. Let’s start with lunches.
Wandering the Royal Mile, following our daughter around, she kept taking us to pubs that didn’t have real food service. Finally, we were hungry enough to say, first place, that’s where we eat! That place was Zuhus!
29-30 South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1LL, Scotland
We were a group of eight. They have a nice selection of starters and burgers (all lamb), etc. Enjoyed the lamb & chicken burgers, they were different and tasty. Service was a tad slow, but with our group, and a full house besides, they were probably somewhat overwhelmed. Just wish they served beer, but they don't....
Later in the trip, my wife and I needed a quick bite. This place was just down the road from where we were staying, so it was a natural.
Mercat Bar and Grill
10 Whitecraig Road, Musselburgh EH21 8PG, Scotland
Stopped in for a quick bite of lunch. Saw right away the place was good with the locals. All age groups, retired folks to young families with little kids. Lots of people in for lunch. We just wanted something light, so we had a beer, the daily soup and the pate of the day. Soup (squash?) was fine. Wife wasn't happy with the pate, not a lot of flavor to her tastes. Had an American IPA beer with it, by accident. We wanted a local one, but had trouble with the accent of our waiter and communication was a bit rough. (They say they speak English up there…) Could be worse, though. No complaints, but don’t drive out from downtown just to try this place.
We had one casual dinner. Same big group, actually more, more like 12 of us. Wandered the streets near our daughters AirBnB and ended up here.
49-51 London Street, Edinburgh EH3 6LX, Scotland (Formerly Bellevue Bar)
Walked in at 8:30 on a Sunday night after wandering a while looking for something. Kitchen closes at 9. Other than a warning to get the food order in quickly, they didn't bat an eye, took care of everyone with good service and tasty pub food from a decently sized menu (nice variety). Decent beer list and wine list too. We were happy because we’d called another place which had told us they'd rather we didn't come in that late…thus the street wandering. Perhaps the lesson there is don’t call, just do it!
Two fancy dinners rounded out the trip. Both Michelin one-stars.
Number One at The Balmoral
1 Princes Street, The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, Scotland
This was just my wife and I. Really enjoyed this meal. We ordered the 10 course chef's menu. Great food. Nice size portions ( a bit larger than I'd assumed they would be). Everything worked, nice combinations making tasty dishes. Service was pretty good. It did seem the time between courses was a little long occasionally and our wine glasses weren't always topped off quickly when they ran dry, but overall a lovely experience. The wine list was a tad small compared to comparable places I've been to, but it was quite usable. Those giant lists are usually 100's of wines nobody can afford unless you are Bill Gates. As far as price goes, considering other restaurants serving this kind of food are often much more expensive, this is a great value too!
Restaurant Martin Wishart
54 Shore, Edinburgh EH6 6RA, Scotland
Took our daughter and son-in-law out with a few of their friends for a last night in Scotland dinner. This place did not disappoint. Service was exquisite, food was very tasty and the price was reasonable for what you got. I really loved that you didn't have to order the menus for the table, that you could mix and match whatever. We had 4 people order ala carte, 1 person ordered the vegetarian tasting menu and 2 ordered the standard tasting menu. And we could exchange things we didn't want with others from the ala carte menu. Very nice! Always hate it when restaurants dictate what you can order.
Wine list has a decent selection, though not huge it is quite approachable. They didn’t have mains based on the familiar pork, chicken or beef ingredients, but everybody found something they liked among the squab ravioli, roast grouse, braised hare and numerous fish dishes. Quite a treat for the whole family!
By the way, if you prefer a nice place to stay that is outside of the city, highly recommend Carberry Tower in the nearby area of Musselburgh. Only about 20-30 minutes from downtown, depending on traffic.
Also, while there we did the Scotch Whisky experience (on the Royal Mile). It was a little silly, but if you can get past that it is full of good info. Also, with the gold ticket, you get five shots of whisky, which is good to try side by side, but more than we needed to drink on a Saturday morning.
On a different day we did the Glenkinchie distillery tour, which wasn’t that far from Carberry Tower. It was also fun and informative. Warning: when presented with the opportunity to sniff the fermenting wort in the big tanks, be careful! Breathing in a lungful of alcohol fumes burns the nasal passages!