9 Spots to have the Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh

Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh things to know about England

Updated On: December 04, 2023 by   Aya RadwanAya Radwan

Perfectly seasoned and fried potato chips paired with succulent fish that has a crunchy outside and melting inside compose one of the UK’s favourite dishes. Fish and chips is a signature dish across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – and a must-try if you ever visit.

In the quest to discover the finest fish and chips, Edinburgh emerges as a city that not only embraces this quintessentially British dish but elevates it to an art form. Renowned for its rich history and vibrant culture, Edinburgh also boasts a diverse and thriving food scene, within which fish and chips hold a special place.

9 Spots to have the Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh
Fish and Chips in Edinburgh | The dish has become an iconic staple of UK cuisine.

Over the years, a plethora of diners, bars, pubs, and restaurants have specialised in mastering the lovable dish of fish and chips in Edinburgh. They have kept the dish going strong as one of the most iconic nationally loved meals.

No matter where you’re visiting in Scotland, great fish and chips will complete your visiting experience. However, there’s just nothing like having fish and chips in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital.

In this article, we are delving into the history of how fish and chips came to be one of the most adored dishes in the UK and how it has become an international symbol of the nation. Join us as we explore the wonderful city of Edinburgh and showcase 9 of the best fish and chips spots that you need to try during your visit.

Scroll down to read through the article, or click on one of the highlighted sections below to jump ahead!

9 Spots to have the Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh
Fish and Chips in Edinburgh | The dish is a classic throughout the UK.

The Origins of Fish and Chips in the United Kingdom

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, 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 immensely 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 meal of fish and chips still holds its place as one of the UK’s favourite dishes.

9 Spots to have the Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK.

To solidify this argument, the first Friday of June is considered National Fish and Chips 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 Fridays across the UK; even schools choose to serve fish-based meals that day. Many people say the origin of this tradition stems from the belief that Roman Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays and choose to eat 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.

The Key Secrets to Great 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. Being able to get the perfect chips that are crispy yet soft and fluffy is difficult enough. However, truth be told, there are a couple more secrets, and they’re all about the fish.

The star of the dish is the fish. The key to 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.

9 Spots to have the Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh
Fish and Chips in Edinburgh | An important part of any fish batter is the beer or stout used.

This is one of the best-kept secrets popular fish and chips shops keep – they never tell which beers they choose to use in their batters. You can always use plain soda, but you’ll need to add a bit of taste to the seasonings to make up for it.

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 with 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, here’s 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 it was a nice surprise as they bit into the fried fish to find a spicy surprise waiting underneath the crispy outer coating.

Edinburgh has many noteworthy tourist attractions.

Where to Find the Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh

Now that we’ve got you all excited for this utterly delicious meal, here are 9 of the best places to have fish and chips in Edinburgh. We promise you, it’s so good you’ll be licking your fingers!

1. 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; it comes from the sea and right over to you. How could there be a more perfect place?!

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

2. Doctors

A few steps away from Edinburgh University is Doctors. The name gives away the restaurant’s strong relationship with the 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 where to eat fish and chips in Edinburgh. This restaurant is also a bar, with plenty of beverage options and more in addition to 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

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most popular tourist spots in Scotland.

3. Bertie’s Restaurant & Bar

Bertie’s might be one of the top fish and chips shops in Edinburgh, but what really makes the restaurant stand out is its offering of gluten-free options while keeping the food quality on point. Additionally, you can choose whether you like your fish battered or breaded.

Bertie’s Restaurant & Bar is spacious and welcoming; however, it fills up very quickly. If you want to stop in for fish and chips, make sure to arrive early or call ahead!

Opening Times: Monday-Friday, 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Sunday, 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm

4. The World’s End

The Flodden Wall, which makes the exterior walls of this restaurant, is part of a historic 16th-century wall that once protected the people of Edinburgh from the outside world. The name of this 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 is known for providing great vegan and gluten-free options, but most importantly, one of the city’s tastiest fish and chips.

Opening Times: Monday-Friday, 11:00 am to 1:00 am, Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am to 1:00 am

9 Spots to have the Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh
Fish and Chips in Edinburgh | Many bars and pubs serve the iconic dish.

5. The Piper’s Rest Public House

This cosy chippy will leave a good and comforting impression on you, and you will definitely want to come visit again. With many authentic dishes on the menu, The Piper’s Rest Public House is easily one of the best restaurants in Edinburgh. The fish and chips are heavenly, and the best part is that the portions are generous for a good price.

So, if you’d like a homey experience, stop by and listen to some bagpipes while you eat. The Piper’s Rest Public House is the perfect place to experience Scottish culture.

Opening Times: Every day, 10:00 am to 12:00 am

6. The Balerno Inn Restaurant

With your choice of sitting outside in a fragrant garden or right at the bar inside, The Balerno Inn Restaurant definitely offers guests a special atmosphere to enjoy their fish and chips. After you’ve enjoyed one of the UK’s most favourite dishes, make sure to check out their other menus as well!

Opening Times: Sunday-Thursday, 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm; Friday and Saturday, 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm

7. Bijou

Whether you choose to dine in, get a takeaway, or order your food to be delivered to your home, Bijou will bring you a delightful platter of fish and chips. While the restaurant was not originally a chippy, their battered haddock and skinny chips are known to be outstanding.

Opening Times: Every day except Tuesday, 10:00 am to 8:30 pm

9 Spots to have the Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a beautiful city with many great restaurants.

8. The Shore

The Shore specialises in serving some of the best seafood you can get in Edinburgh. Anyone in the UK can tell you that you can’t do seafood well unless you master fish and chips as well. With this in mind, The Shore is certain to provide guests with a delicious meal of fish and chips.

Guests can enjoy the quirky atmosphere of the restaurant as they dine, socialise, and absorb the Scottish culture around them. Additionally, this classic British bistro offers a wide selection of drinks and other menu items.

Opening Times: Monday-Saturday, 12:00 pm to 1:00 am; Sunday, 12:30 pm to 1:00 am

9. The Abbey Bar

Our last selection on the list of best places for fish and chips in Edinburgh is The Abbey Bar. This pub promises to provide guests with a fantastic culinary experience with their beer-battered haddock and chips.

As we mentioned earlier, one of the keys to a great plate of fish and chips is the batter. More specifically, the beer or stout is used in the batter. At The Abbey Bar, you will notice the unique flavours that beer adds to the fish in comparison to batters that use bicarbonate of soda.

Opening Times: Every day, 9:00 am to 10:00 pm

The Reputation of Fish and Chips Around the World

The humble dish of fish and chips, a staple of UK cuisine, has transcended beyond the shores of the United Kingdom to become a globally recognized symbol of the culinary traditions of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

9 Spots to have the Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh
The dish is extremely popular across Commonwealth countries.

Fish and chips was first introduced around the world by British emigration and the expansion of the British Empire. As British expatriates and soldiers travelled and settled around the world, they took their culinary preferences with them, introducing fish and chips to different continents and cultures.

In the modern day, fish and chips maintains its popularity and reputation around the world thanks to its inclusion in British media. British films, television shows, and literature commonly feature the dish, introducing it to a global audience and piquing viewers’ interest.

In the USA, many people were introduced to fish and chips by the Derry Girls character Fionnula, who owns the local chippy in the show. The dish has since become a common menu item at restaurants serving fish and seafood, from fast food to gourmet restaurants.

In Commonwealth countries, such as countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, fish and chips has become specifically popular. These nations have preserved the traditional British way of serving fish and chips but have also infused local flavours and ingredients to add their own spin to the classic dish.

Although fish and chips is not as popular in other countries around the world, it is still recognised as one of the most iconic dishes from the UK. From the panko-crusted versions in Japan to the spice-laden variations in India, global adaptations of fish and chips reflect local tastes and ingredients while retaining the dish’s fundamental characteristics.

9 Spots to have the Best Fish and Chips in Edinburgh
Fish and chips was traditionally served wrapped in newspaper.

Fish and Chips in Edinburgh is a Staple Meal for Locals and Tourists

The quest for the best fish and chips in Edinburgh is a journey through a rich tapestry of culinary craftsmanship and tradition. From the classic, no-frills charm of Bijou to the modern, sustainable approach of The Fishmarket, each restaurant and pub offers a unique experience that goes beyond taste.

The variety and quality found in the fish and chips reflect not only the city’s commitment to preserving this beloved British tradition but also its ability to innovate and adapt to contemporary tastes and ethical considerations.

The defining qualities of Edinburgh’s best fish and chips lie in the attention to detail, the quality of ingredients, and the passion of those who prepare it. These restaurants and bars do more than just serve a dish; they offer a piece of Edinburgh’s culinary soul, a taste of history, and a window into Scottish culture.

We hope you enjoyed our article on where to find the best fish and chips in Edinburgh! If you’ve never had traditional fish and chips, we hope these recommendations will make your experience memorable! If you have any more recommendations, or we missed your favourite chippy, let us know in the comments below!

Besides amazing fish and chips, there are tons of other attractions across Edinburgh. Check out our other blogs on the city: Visiting Edinburgh | Ultimate Travel Guide | The Best Places to Explore in Edinburgh, Scotland | Edinburgh Castle: Historical Stories and Folklore | Things to Do in Edinburgh: 13 Excellent Attractions | Edinburgh: 9 Spots Revealing The Secrets Behind Europe’s Most Haunted City | The Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh: Where Scotland Proudly Exhibits Its Artistic Side | 11 Incredible Facts About Edinburgh Zoo UK | Exploring the Magic of Edinburgh in November: Festivals, Attractions, and More

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