5 Bites of Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh is home to an up-and-coming food scene seeking to revitalize Scottish pub food. While fish and chips, beer, pudding, and haggis are still among the capital's culinary staples, expect to find a modern gourmet twist on many of these traditional dishes.
Work up an appetite by touring the National Gallery, walking the Royal Mile, or photographing the Edinburgh skyline from the majestic fortress of Edinburgh Castle. Behind this hauntingly beautiful backdrop of medieval architecture and winding cobblestone streets, you'll discover that this city offers up a heaped spoonful of delectable cuisine served with a side of vibrant culture and national Scottish pride.
Breakfast: Nothing awakens the senses like a searing mug of hickory smoked brew from Black Medicine Coffee. This coffee cove has an log cabin feel, showcasing an eclectic decor of wobbly wooden chairs with tribal carved moldings. For those needing a quick meal on-the-go, order a black americano which comes with a complimentary chocolate chip cookie. If you have time to spare, the toasted bagel with goat cheese, caramelized onions, and cashews is a savory treat to enjoy while reading the morning paper.
Lunch: Take a break from sight-seeing and grab a bite at The Elephant House located near the Royal Mile. This quaint gourmet lunch spot is the self-proclaimed 'Birthplace of Harry Potter,' where author J.K. Rowling scrolled the first few chapters of her seven-volume phenomenon on a tea napkin. Beside providing an obvious fix for Harry Potter devotees, there is a stellar view of Edinburgh Castle and a menu that serves a wide range of tasty treats, such as spanakopita, cajun chicken wings, bruschetta, and homemade pizza.
Afternoon Tea: Afternoon tea is a beloved culinary tradition in the United Kingdom dating back to the heyday of the British Empire. At the Balmoral Hotel, this tradition is celebrated in all its splendor, From 12 - 5:30 pm patrons can sample a wide ranges of spiced teas, flaky pastries, and creamy finger sandwiches in the ornate Drawing Room. A glass or two of champagne is not unusual and even encouraged, so put on your Sunday best and feel what it's like to snack like a royal.
Dinner: While Scotland is known for its succulent seafood and beef, Edinburgh boasts an impressive number of vegetarian restaurants that are equally crowd-pleasing. David Bann offers a menu of gourmet veggie delights that will make tastebuds swoon, such as beetroot, apple, and Dunsyre blue cheese pudding or their smoked mushroom and basil ravioli. For diehard carnivores, make a reservation at The Witchery, where you can partake in an opulent Elizabethan-style feast of steak tartare, roasted pork belly with cider-glazed parsnips, or venison with bramble puree.
Drinks: In the land of whiskey distilleries and home-brewed beers, Edinburgh locals have a sky-scraping tolerance for alcohol and a thirst for the finest liquors. Bar Kohl offers an innovative cocktail menu of over 400 flavored vodkas and wacky concoctions, such as a vanilla vodka milkshake or the Burning Cucaracha which is served aflame.