9 Spots to have the Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh
Updated On: January 02, 2023
Perfectly seasoned and fried potato chips and crunchy outside with succulent and melting fish from the inside compose one of the nation’s favourite dishes in the UK. Fish and Chips is a signature dish in England and a must-try if you ever visit. Fish and Chips in Edinburgh have their own range of diners that have specialized in mastering this loveable dish over the years, and they’ve kept the dish going strong as a top must-try to complete your English visit experience.
Today, we learn a bit about how fish and chips started and a few secrets to the ultimate fish and chips recipe before exploring the wonderful city of Edinburgh to bring you the best Fish and Chips spots that you need to head to during your visit.
How Fish and Chips Started
There’s been some debate about the origin of Fish and Chips in the UK, but the debate settled on a combination of two events. When Jewish immigrants came to the UK from Portugal and Spain at the turn of the 15th century, they used to make fried fish in a similar way to the Spanish recipe of Pescado Frito, or fish fried in a light flour coating. A Jewish immigrant, Joseph Malin, also opened one of the first known Fish and Chips shops in London.
The other event is that the traditional Fish and Chips recipe is older than the Jewish immigrants’ recipe by more than 50 years. Until then, fried fish and fried chips existed separately and could’ve been put together at any given time. What is for sure is the dish became so popular among the working class ever since the first known account of a Fish and Chips shop in the 19th century.
When the 20th century started, there were more than 35,000 Fish and Chips shops all around the UK, an indication of how popular the dish became. Since then, the number has dropped, but mainly due to regulatory measures by the government, the good old Fish and Chips still holds its place as one of the UK’s favourite dishes.
To solidify this argument, the first Friday of June is considered Fish and Chips’ National Day. This celebration started in 2015 to draw attention to the fishing industry as well as help raise funds for the hard-working fishermen who bring in the delicious catch to make this dish. Furthermore, it’s been a long-standing tradition to have Fish and Chips on Friday across the UK; even schools choose to serve fish-based meals that day. Although many say the origin of this tradition stems from the belief that Roman Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays, so they choose fish instead.
Fish and Chips were traditionally served on a newspaper page, adding to the meal’s charm. Over time, newspapers were substituted with plain paper to avoid the danger of printed ink. Also, a place that serves Fish and Chips is traditionally called a chippy, so when you’re craving this dish, you head to your local chippy to fill up on it.
A Few Secrets about Fish and Chips
You’re right to think it’s an interesting combination, but you won’t get it until you’ve tried it. The recipe for Fish and Chips seems simple, but the secret is to perfect this simplicity; we all know how perfecting the right crispy yet soft chips is hard enough. Truth be told, there are a couple more secrets, and they’re all about the fish.
The star of the dish is the fish, and for the perfect fish, apart from the fillet itself, is the batter on which you coat the fish. More precisely, the beer you use to make the batter. The mixture itself has few ingredients, but if you choose the right beer or stout, this will make all the difference, and this is one of the best-kept secrets popular Fish and Chips shops keep. You can always use plain soda, but you’ll need to add a bit of taste to the seasonings.
The basic batter for the fish is made using water, flour, baking soda and a bit of vinegar to make the batter fluffy. Using beer or stout will add extra lightness to the batter and tinge the fish a little bit of the beer’s original taste.
Another secret is seasoning the fish before dropping it into the batter. The majority of recipes will use the plain fillet and dunk it in the batter. Still, a little secret I saw on The Big Family Cooking Showdown, which is a great and inspirational cooking show, one of the contestants seasoned the fish fillet before putting it into the batter. It seemed basic, but the judges thought there was a nice surprise as they bit into the fried fish to find a spicy surprise waiting at the end.
The Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh
Now that I’ve got you all excited for this utterly delicious meal, here are the best places to have Fish and Chips in Edinburgh; I promise you, it’s so good you’ll be licking your fingers.
The Fish Market
The Fish Market in Newhaven is the most recommended place to have the best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh. If you think about it, the Fish Market is the place with the freshest fish in town, so it comes from the sea and right over to you. The market was established through a partnership between the Welch Fishmongers and Ondine, one of the best seafood restaurants in the area.
Opening Times: Every day from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm.
A few steps away from Edinburgh University is Doctors; the name gives away the restaurant’s strong relationship with Medical College at the EU and the Old Royal Infirmary, which used to stand across the way. Doctors indeed serves a hearty and soul-filling dish of Fish and Chips; it’s one of the top places travel guides recommend when asked about Fish and Chips. The place is also a bar, with plenty of beverage options and more options from the local cuisine.
Opening Times: Sunday to Thursday, 11:00 am to 11:00 pm; Friday and Saturday, 12:00 pm to 11:59 pm.
Bertie’s Restaurant & Bar
Bertie’s might be one of the top Fish and Chips shops in Edinburgh, but a great number of visitors praise the restaurant for offering gluten-free options while keeping the food quality on point. The place is spacious and welcoming; however, it fills up very quickly. Additionally, you can choose whether you like your fish battered or breaded.
Opening Times: Every day, 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Sunday, 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
The World’s End
The Flodden Wall, which makes the exterior walls of this restaurant, are part of a historic 16th-century wall that once protected the people of Edinburgh from the outside world. The name of the restaurant takes after the people’s belief that beyond that wall, life belonged to other species. Back to the present, though, The World’s End will offer you great vegan and gluten-free options, but most importantly, one of the city’s tastiest Fish and chips.
Opening Times: Every day, 11:00 am to 1:00 am, Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am to 1:00 am.
The Piper’s Rest Public House
This cosy chippy will make a good and comforting impression on you; you will definitely come to visit again. With many authentic dishes on the menu, the Fish and Chips are heavenly, and the best part is that the portions are generous for a good price too. So, if you’d like a homey experience, listen to some bagpipe while you eat. The Piper’s Rest offers you that and some vegan options too.
Opening Times: Every day, 10:00 am to 12:00 am.
The Balerno Inn Restaurant
With your choice of sitting outside in a fragrant garden or right at the bar inside, this restaurant definitely offers you a special atmosphere to enjoy your Fish and Chips. There are other menus available for you to check out after you’ve filled your heart with our favourite dish. Either way, you’re bound for an exciting experience.
Opening Times: Sunday to Thursday, 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Friday and Saturday, 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
If you choose to dine in, get a takeaway or order to eat in the comfort of your place, Bijou will bring you a delightful platter of Fish and Chips. While not originally a chippy, their battered Haddock and Skinny Chips were described as outstanding.
Opening Times: Every day except Tuesday, 10:00 am to 8:30 pm.
The Shore specialises in serving the best seafood you can taste in Edinburgh. We all know that you can’t do seafood well unless you master Fish and Chips as well. Enjoy the quirky atmosphere of the place and the wide selection of drinks in this classic-looking British bistro.
Opening Times: Monday to Saturday, 12:00 pm to 1:00 am; Sunday, 12:30 pm to 1:00 am.
The Abbey Bar
Our last selection on the list brings you a fantastic experience with beer-battered Haddock and chips, so you can experience the difference in taste when using beer in the batter rather than the bicarbonate of soda.
Opening Times: Every day, 9:00 am to 10:00 pm.
I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into Fish and Chips and that the recommended restaurants meet your expectations. If you’ve never had traditional Fish and Chips, I hope these recommendations will make your experience memorable.
We are fans of fish as a meal and share some excellent videos on creating the perfect fish in case you are tempted to make fish and chips at home or something different!
I hope you enjoyed our article on Fish and Chips in general and our focus on where to find the best Fish and Chips in Edingburgh. If you have any more recommendations – do let us know in the comments below.