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.
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.
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; 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: