Before we left for Scotland, we heard many warnings about the horrors of Scottish and British food. People seem very keen on laughing at haggis and detailing horrible meals they’ve had or heard about in the UK (Spotted Dick anyone?). Well, I'm here to tell you that Scotland has some truly wonderful food. But, like anywhere else, it' usually found in restaurants and inns that are run by discerning folk who like to purchase quality ingredients, often locally.
Although restaurants that offer well-prepared dishes from organic and/or local ingredients can be difficult to find once you leave your home turf, there are a few wonderful online sites that will do some of the groundwork for you. I spent some time on both TripAdvisor and Chowhound before we left town, and it paid off. The reviews on TripAdvisor led me to some great country inns with fantastic food, and Chowhound helped me find a restaurant or two in Edinburgh that we really loved. We also had the benefit of getting some sound advice from friends in the know -- which is always the best option if you have it.
So here are some of the excellent places we found with the help of our fellow posters at TripAdvisor and Chowhound, as well as our beloved friends. We were even lucky enough to stumble upon one by ourselves. These culinary gems are definitely worth looking up if you’re traveling to Scotland. I would also love to hear about other sites people use to find great restaurants or inns while traveling.
The Barley Bree Restaurant with Rooms, just outside Crieff and about an hour north of Edinburgh. (Found using TripAdvisor) -- This lovely inn has comfortable beds and a very nice host, Fabrice, who also happens to be a French chef. Fabrice makes everything from scratch, including the bread, and seeks out fresh local produce and meats. For dinner, he served one of the loveliest butternut squash soups I have ever had. It was velvety and creamy without being overly so. He also added slivers of some pickled ginger, which added a bit of spiciness. It was truly great.
This inn also offered the finest breakfast we had in Scotland. It was a sort of Scottish Breakfast/French petit dejeuner that started with yogurts, homemade stewed prunes, grapefruit slices, nuts and porridge, and finished with eggs, homemade sausage, back bacon, haggis (a lovely version created specially for the inn by a local butcher), roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. If you’re going to The Trossachs, this is definitely a great place to stay.