My boyfriend and I are going to be in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh this March 2008. We would really appreciate recommendations for great places to eat that are local (not chains/tourist traps, please!) We want to eat local cuisine, Indian food, and any general recs for good pubs.Any recs for afternoon tea also appreciated. Also, we want to find a great whisky tasting shop in Edinburgh--any recs for the real thing-nothing touristy PLEASE.
I can't speak to London or Glasgow, but I have a couple of suggestions for Edinburgh. We had a great meal at Stac Polly in new town. It's Scottish food. I really had wonderful fish at Fishers also in new town. They actually served Arbroath Smokies (not in August during the festival though as I found out on a later trip.) Creelers in old town has been a favorite for fish as well. Also, in Leith we had more seafood at The Shore. Edinburgh is very touristy and whisky tasting, like wine tasting in Napa Valley is inherently touristy. It looks like Glenkinchie is in Edinburgh, but you'll want to check out some web sites. There's a great book on whisky tasting by Iain Banks called Raw Spirit. Check it out.
Your budget is a key part of your question.
as far as our budget goes, we do not not to spend ridiculous amounts of money, but do want to get some really great meals. i have found that many times good meals are not necessarily in the most expensive restaurants, but we really just want some places that people have tried, liked/loved and would eat at again. basically we are open to a range of things and mostly want great food!
hope this helps!
Places I visit regularly in London include
San Francesco, 19 Catherine Street. Good and traditional feeling Italian between Covent Garden and the Aldwych. The food is excellent, it isn't too pricey, and the waiters speak to you in Italian even if you don't know any!
While in the covent garden area I'd recommend the Lamb and Flag as somewhere for a drink / lunch. You do get some tourists here but it hasn't changed much in the 30 years I've been going. Some details at
Nearby and more upmarket is the Gay Hussar. Much beloved of older politicians
Or, in the same area, my favourite: Jimmy's, which is perhaps an acquired taste
The Tayyabs in Whitechapel. To get authentic indian food it is best to head out to east London and this is a good choice. Some details and directions here
A great place in Edinburgh is Dudh Prais in the Old Town. It is expensive and very small [ only 8 tables-I would reserve] but the finest meal I have had while traveling. I had the Haggis in Whisky Cream Sauce for
starter and just loved it!
I told my waiter how much I enjoyed it and he went and spoke to James [ the chef/owner] who invited me back into the kitchen to meet him and shake hands!
I went back the next night and James prepared for me
a special meal of Wild Mushrooms and Duck Breast in a Blackberry Sauce [ not on the menu for anyone else-how cool is that ?]
It was the highlight of my trip!
My can't miss eating advice is to ask a local. Tell them exactly what you are looking for and follow their recommendation.
In London, I asked a couple of Bobbies for a place to get some "basic pub-grub, nothing fancy." They sent me a couple of blocks to an excellent and cheap pub meal devoid of tourists.
In Oxford, I went into a "closed" school to ask the gate guard for a recommendation. He gave me directions to the "Whit-sh**" (I asked him to repeat it several times). The Wheat Sheaf pub was off an alley and again excellent, affordable and no tourists.
Some touristy places have good food. IMO, however, tourists and cheap food don't go together.
Two restaurants that we liked in Edinburgh were in Rick's book. One along the Royal Mile was called "Always Sunday Food Company." The other was in the Dalkeith Road area called "Blonde Restaurant." Both had great food and a fun atmosphere.
Check out the responses on the Graffiti wall under Delious Britian and Ireland. I'd recommend Top of the Town in China Town, London and The Farmerhouse Table in the Covent Garden/Neal St. area. Around Picadilly we like Adam's Ribs. The Pubs memtioned above are good too.