The Best Fish and Chips in Scotland

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The grease seeped tantalizingly through the paper wrapper as I unwrapped my precious bundle like a child on Christmas morning.  I had been waiting for months, trying to hold back my excitement and now the moment was finally here.

Fish and Chips

Greasy, wonderful fish and chips!

I impatiently bit into the too hot piece of fish, sinking my teeth into the firm white meat that is so unlike the mushy, unappetizing fish that one often gets when ordering fish and chips in the US.  We gorged on huge pieces of flaky fish and a massive pile of greasy fries like people who hadn’t seen food in days.

When we were finished, we sat contented, watching the world go by while enjoying that wondrous feeling of a belly full of greasy goodness.

Crisp batter covering firm haddock, seeping with grease and a unique, satisfied, slightly over full feeling at the end.   These are the hallmarks of a great fish and chip experience.



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I have been lucky to have had a number of these moments of epiphany, and I want to share with you some places in Scotland that we have enjoyed the very finest examples of this UK pub staple.

If you know of a chippy that you think is better, please post it in the comments. In the name of good journalism, I am willing to sacrifice my money and my waistline and visit as many fish and chips shops as I possibly can in search of the truth. It’s a hard job, but somebody has to do it.

 

Stuarts Fish and Chips on Quay Brae, Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Our first (and possible favorite) fish and chip shop, located in Portree on the isle of Skye. Photo © Copyright John Allan and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence

Stuarts Fish and Chips; Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland:  Located on Quay Street in Portree on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.  Firm, freshly caught haddock battered and fried in pure beef fat served in massive portions.  Perhaps this place holds a special place in my heart, as I was a fish and chip virgin when I went in.

The restaurant is located in a picturesque location in Portree right next to the harbor, so the fish don’t have to travel very far to get to your plate.  I am convinced that fresh fish is the foundation of good fish and chips (Haddock is my favorite!)  Fresh fish, an ideal location, and a perfect stop for lunch on the Isle of Skye.  Who could ask for more?

 The Real Food Cafe, Tyndrum, Loch Lomond, Scotland:  Another solid choice for fish and chips and other great, home made goodness while wandering around in the Scottish highlands.  The portions were plentiful and prices were extremely reasonable (the afternoon fish tea on their menu looks particularly reasonable at 6.95 pounds for a half haddock, chips, tea and a piece of cake.  Yum!)

The Real Food Cafe makes a point of sourcing  their ingredients as much as possible from the local area, which is important to me from an ecological perspective and also as food lover, as fresh food generally tastes better.

The friendly service at the Real Food Cafe was the icing on the cake.  The employees here made a point of taking the time to get to know us and to find out about our trip making this an outstanding place to stop on your tour of the highlands!

1st Plaice Fish and Chips, Inverness, Scotland:  We had very little time to spend in Inverness, but I was on a mission.  I knew that in this city in northern Scotland  so near to the ocean we would find some awesome fish and chips.

I asked a local where to find the best fish and chips in town.  He directed us (in that lovely, hard to understand Scottish accent that almost sounds like another language when spoken by those that live deep in the highlands) on a roundabout path to a place that he assured me was the very best.

We drove, and drove, and drove.  Lost and about to give up, we came upon our goal in an unassuming looking strip mall sandwiched in a residential area of Inverness.

We sat on a plain wooden picnic table in the parking lot and ate our treasure, feeling like our wild goose chase had indeed been worthwhile.  The portions were plentiful and the steady stream of locals coming to pick up their fish and chip dinners attest to the goodness of this place.

The only qualm that I had was that it is setup to be a takeout place, and they assume that you will be taking the fish home to eat.  They sprinkled on a little vinegar at the counter, but I like to sprinkle on a little more as the batter and potatoes soak it up.  Overall, though, the fish and chips were stellar and the excursion extremely worthwhile.


For more travel inspiration from Scotland, continue on to these fine features:

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The Best Fish and Chips in Scotland

24 Responses

  1. Whenever I’m asked about fish and chips, I always give the same answer: Iceland. There was a place — I forget the name — in the center of Reykjavik, where I had the best fish and chips of my life.

    However, I heard the place burned down a few months after I ate there. When I pull up the location on Google Maps, all I see is a vacant lot.

    It sounds like you did pretty well for yourself in Scotland, though! My wife would be with you on the haddock, but I’m more of a cod guy myself. Perhaps that’s why I was so fond of Iceland.

    As far as the U.S. goes, I grew up in Massachusetts, close to the coast, and I wouldn’t underestimate the excellent fried fish there. Where I live now, in Phoenix, not so much.

    Curt May 30, 2012 at 10:20 pm #
  2. mmmm now I want to make a special trip to the UK, just for some fish & chips! I was barely able to slide it in as one of my last meals last time I was in England.

    Erica May 30, 2012 at 10:23 pm #
  3. I have never had fish and chips in Scotland but it’s my favourite take away meal in Australia!

    Andrea June 1, 2012 at 8:46 am #
    • Yup…so good yet sooooo bad for you! I haven’t found any place in Minnesota that has great fish and chips (which is strange for a state with so much water and so many lakes)…

      Shanna Schultz June 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm #
  4. Sounds delicious! I really want to go to Scotland, and my in-laws were just there for two weeks, so now I’m even more tempted. I have at least eaten fish and chips in London.

    Ali June 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm #
    • England also has some great fish and chips! I loved the pubs there…they all felt so welcoming and offered budget friendly food for hungry travelers.

      Shanna Schultz June 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm #
  5. Sounds like you should be opening a fish-and-chippery in Minnesota. Plenty of ice fishinginthe winter. Can you rec any places in Edinburgh?

    Cheers,

    Michael

    Changes In Longitude June 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm #
    • Hmmmm, another hat to wear? Sounds like fun! Too bad I have never gotten a taste for fishing (I know, this is sacriledge in Minnesota, but I was always happier just sitting in the boat reading a book 🙂

      Shanna Schultz June 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm #
    • Sorry, I missed the last part of your question the first time I read it. I cannot personally recommend any fish and chips spots, in Edinburgh but I am sure that there are some good ones. I am going to turn the question over to Cole and Adela at Four Jandals Travel Blog (http://www.fourjandals.com/)…they live in Edinburgh and those lucky dogs get to have great fish and chips all the time!

      Shanna Schultz June 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm #
  6. You have made me so hungry for fish and chips now!! My older daughter is going to Scotland for three weeks this summer and I’m so jealous that she’s going to be eating good fish and chips while I’m not!

    Lisa Goodmurphy June 2, 2012 at 11:22 pm #
    • Too bad she can’t bring some back for you (I don’t imagine that they travel very well).

      Shanna Schultz June 3, 2012 at 7:24 pm #
  7. Your pictures made me drool! I’m travelling to Manchester, England this summer, so hope to taste some fish & chips for myself.

    Juliann June 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm #
    • I have never been near Manchester…do let me know if you find and great fish and chips there! I could justify a trip to Manchester for that 😉

      Shanna Schultz June 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm #
  8. Oh wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve had fish and chips, good or otherwise. I’m in the UK for a month this summer, so I think I’m going to have to head to the coast and find me some good examples of the genre. Like you say, it’s a sacrifice that just has to be made from time to time. For the greater good, you understand …

    Katja June 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm #
    • ALWAYS for the greater good 😉 What a noble sacrifice you are making for a good cause (namely, the cause of reporting back about some great fish and chips for the rest of us!)

      Shanna Schultz June 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm #
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