Anthony Bourdain in Scotland:
The Complete Country Guide

When I say Scotland, what comes to mind? Windswept highlands, a bagpiper, and maybe an iconic scene from one of your favorite movies or television shows? Sure, Scotland has those things – and so much more. You can also find bustling cities, top-line restaurants, and traditional flavors in many forms. Maybe that’s why Anthony Bourdain loved Scotland so much and visited it in the course of filming almost all of his shows.

Anthony Bourdain visited Scotland three times: in season one of A Cook’s Tour, in season 4 of No Reservations, and in season five of Parts Unknown; these are the only three times he visited Scotland on-screen, though I’m guessing he visited other times as well based on stories he referenced in these episodes. While we can’t know the full list of places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Scotland, there are plenty we do know and that you can easily visit.

Anthony Bourdain in Scotland Hero

Best of all, Scotland is also easy to visit from other parts of the United Kingdom and Europe; there are regular flights into both Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as trains connecting both to London for easier land-based travel.

So if you’re curious to discover the magic of Scotland and see if it casts its spell on you as it did Bourdain, this guide will help you plan your trip. Below you’ll find it organized by each city or area Tony visited, as well as all the restaurants and bars visited by Anthony Bourdain in Glasgow that are still open today for you to enjoy.

Edinburgh

Anthony Bourdain in Scotland - Edinburgh

Of all the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Edinburgh, there’s only one still open today: The Oxford Bar. This watering hole is famous from author Ian Rankin’s detective thriller series, and in fact Bourdain meets Rankin there to discuss Edinburgh’s non-touristy side and explore after a pint of Guinness.

The only other place he visited on screen, Dubh Prais Restaurant, is now closed. However, you could seek out the same meal he ate there elsewhere; he digs into traditionally-made haggis with neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes). The Scotsman has a decent list of places that offer similar meals.

Leith

Anthony Bourdain in Scotland - Leith

One might be tempted to lump Leith in with Edinburgh as the two cities are adjacent – but knowing several people from Leith, I know better than to say this independent community is the same as the capital city.

Bourdain actually explores and eats more in Leith than in Edinburgh. He makes two stops, first digging into the Scottish culinary tradition of fried foods at The Mermaid Fish & Chip Shop, which closed during the pandemic. (There he tries deep-fried haggis, the “king rib” of unknown mystery meat, and chips.)

Then he heads to The Kitchin, a long-time one-star Michelin restaurant. This restaurant focuses on showing off Scottish food made to French cuisine standards, and Tony greatly enjoys his meal here. That meal includes sea urchin soup with razor clams, grouse with seasonal mushrooms and azu, haggis with neeps and tatties and pan-seared foie gras, and langoustine with pig’s head crispy ear salad and sea diver scallops.

Glasgow

Anthony Bourdain in Glasgow Hero

I was a little surprised to discover that Glasgow – not Edinburgh – was the place most visited by Anthony Bourdain, and where he visited the most places within any given city. Then again, he does describe it as his favorite city in Scotland, and one of his favorite cities in the world!

With such high praise, Glasgow is well worth a visit if you’re planning to explore Scotland and follow Bourdain’s advice. Here are the places he visited in Glasgow.

Be sure to read my complete guide to the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Glasgow if you want to know what he ate and other details.

The Highlands

Anthony Bourdain in Scotland - Highlands

Finally, Bourdain spends some time in the Scottish Highlands, though these experiences are admittedly not ones you can easily replicate.

During A Cook’s Tour, he visits Drynachan Lodge for a hunting holiday; the chef there makes locally-oriented dishes like nettle soup, poached salmon with whiskey cream, and Poacher’s Stew of wine-marinated rabbit, venison, mushrooms, leeks, cabbage, and herbs.

Tony goes even more high-end on his second visit to the Highlands during Parts Unknown, booking time at Letterewe Estate. This private rental comes with full staff, and Tony and the staff enjoy some incredible meals here – including from the stag he takes and field dresses on a Highlands hunt.

Have any questions about these places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Scotland, and where he ate in each destination? Let me know in the comments!

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