Take Me Away
If there is anything which can generate a heated debate in Scotland, what would you think it was? Independence? Football? Religion? Not so! There is one thing that provokes more competition and one-upmanship than all of the above and it is the question of where are the best fish and chips in Scotland to be had! It’s a heated debate with entrenched positions on every side so, after careful consideration, here is a shortlist of what we consider to be the best of the best takeaways.
St Andrews is famous for many things, including its beach, university and golf course but it is now home to award winning fish and chips. Cromars was recently voted best in Scotland in the national fish and chip awards, it’s a great blend of traditional and modern with classic fish and chips made with locally caught fish and potatoes grown in Fife. Balfour House is just a short walk away so without having to worry about driving you could wash it down with some locally brewed ales for a true taste of the town.
If ever there was a bitter rivalry in the deep fried takeaway world then it must centre along the Fife coast, as when Cromars was declared victorious in 2016 it drew a lot of attention from the Anstruther Fish Bar, only 10 miles away and a previous winner. Anstruther has a long standing reputation and has over the years hosted international politicians and movie stars with its specialties being herring coated in oatmeal and locally caught lobster. It is right on the Fife Coastal Path so you could go for a stroll with your ‘catch’ and see where it was swimming only hours previously. The Secret Cottage is right by the waters’ edge in Anstruther convenient not just for takeaways but also for the Michelin starred The Cellar and some of the finest pubs on the coast.
Nestled in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway, Moore’s is a family-run take away that has been operating for over 35 years. This Castle Douglas institution is unashamedly old fashioned but still places an emphasis on sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. Over the years it has garnered numerous accolades but has escaped the fame of other illustrious competitors due to its location in this remote corner of Scotland. It is definitely worth a visit if you are staying at Craigie Knowes, just up the coast.
Achnacloich is a grand baronial house which comes with its own brown trout fishing, boat and boathouse. If you are having no luck catching your supper then fortunately it is just a short drive to Oban, the self-styled seafood capital of Scotland. Rick Stein once claimed to have had the best fish and chips he had ever tasted in this town but the only problem is that no less than three of the local restaurants have claimed to be responsible. The most famous place not to have served Rick Stein is the unassuming green shack on the pier. Don’t let appearances deceive you though, this is the internationally renowned Seafood Hut. As the queues will testify, this is the most popular place in town serving all manner of shellfish, unloaded straight off the fishing boats into the kitchen. As you might expect, it is simple, unsophisticated and rustic. If you want to stand on a pier and eat with your fingers there is simply nowhere better.
Scotland has in recent years embraced fine dining and now has a total of 14 Michelin starred restaurants, but there is still a place for the humble ‘fish supper’. It seems that people are rediscovering this most versatile of meals and there is a growing appreciation that Scotland has some of the finest natural ingredients you can find anywhere. For years the best quality seafood was sent to the continent and takeaways served up from frozen, low grade, imported fish. That has now almost completely changed so when you are on holiday this summer, treat yourself. There has never been a better time to get reacquainted with this old friend.