Edinburgh’s Best Fish & Chips, The Tailend Restaurant & Fish Bar

My mouth watered when I heard Colin Cromar was to open the Tailend restaurant and fish bar in Edinburgh. Cromar and business partners were behind the amazingly successful and delicious Anstruther Fish Bar, which has won a whole host of awards. I’d always felt Edinburgh lacked a truly great fish and chip shop, so the opening of the Tailend on Albert Place (just off Leith Walk) seemed just what the city needed. After my midweek visit to their sit-in restaurant I am positively glowing in praise for what was an outstanding serving of fish, chips and mushy peas - just the way I like it!

Haddock at the Tailend fish restaurant and fish bar, Edinburgh Chips for two at Edinburgh's The Tailend Fish Restaurant and fish bar

The kitchen, with Cromar applying his trade to both takeaway and sit-in orders is clearly visible from the sit-in section of the Tailend. The interior is modern, yet simple: marbled table tops with numbers, wooden chairs, black and white photographs along the walls and a light bright decor. A specials chalkboard hangs by the kitchen hatch. Specials varied from a starter of king scallops with roast hazelnut and herb butter (£5.50) to a main of swordfish steak and chips (£11.85).

The Tailend’s restaurant prices can’t be described as cheap, though I think good fish and chips everywhere stopped being cheap a long time ago. On our visit we both opted for Tailend’s Traditional Fish Tea (¬£9.50). The fish tea consisted of haddock served with lemon, tartare sauce, chips (or ‘chipped potatoes’ as the Tailend prefers), bread and butter, and mushy peas.

Mushy peas at the Tailend Fish Restaurant and Fish Bar, Albert Place, Edinburgh Specials board and kitchen at The Tailend Fish Restaurant and Fish Bar, Edinburgh

Thankfully the Tailend has not messed with the simple and winning formula for fish and chips; although the presentation has been well thought out. Our chips arrived in a large bowl, the fish was served on a separate plate and the mushy peas had their own small bowl. It was clear from the drinking glasses that someone had been shopping at Ikea!

The fish was absolutely delicious - lovely flaky white fish encased in a light yet crispy batter. Perfect. The freshness of the haddock demonstrated that the Tailend receives fish daily. The chips were among the best I have tasted - nice and chunky, crispy on the outside and enticingly fluffy inside. The mushy peas, which I think no fish and chips should be without, rounded the fish tea off well. Though on a slightly negative point, the tartare source didn’t taste as homemade as it should.

All the fish is Scottish sourced and filleted/smoked in the supplier’s fish house in Arbroath. There is a choice of having fish served in the Tailend’s tasty batter, breaded (50p extra) or grilled with olive oil. The grilled option means the health conscious diner can, if you exclude the chips, enjoy the Tailend’s menu.

It’s likely most diners will, at least for their first visit, stick to the traditional fish tea. This could be disappointing for Cromar and crew who have created a menu of langoustine tails, salmon and pickled herring starters, Arbroath smokie, sole and a solid selection of enticing specials. Non fish-eaters are catered for with the Tailend burger and griddled chicken fillet.

Eventually the Tailend will have a drinks licence, and serve wine and bottled beer. In the absence of a licence our waitress was happy for us to ‘bring our own booze’, so I had a quick walk to Tesco and bought a few cans. A pot of tea costs ¬£1.80. Service was delightfully friendly and welcoming from the young lady serving us. This was a real plus point.

Our fish tea was substantial in size and there was ample fish and chips for the two of us. However the Tailend have a St Luca ice-cream counter by the door. I couldn’t resist and, with a gun to my tummy, forced down two scoops of delicious mint choc chip and strawberry ice cream (¬£2.95).

The takeaway section of the Tailend fish bar sells a fish supper (haddock or cod) for £5.50. Many of the more adventurous fish dishes are also available e.g. sole/prawns. Standard chip shop fare e.g. burgers, steak pie, haggis and chicken are also on the menu.

The perfect fish and chip restaurant?! Well it’s certainly very good and definitely a clearer number one choice for fish and chips in Edinburgh.

Definitely try the Tailend restaurant for a sit-in meal or the Tailend fish bar for takeaway. It’s a welcome and quality addition to Edinburgh and put very simply: a fish and chip shop Edinburgh needed.

The Tailend is a great establishment and I’ll certainly be visiting on many more occasions this year.

The Tailend Fish Restaurant & Fish Bar is located at 14-15 Albert Place, Leith Walk, Edinburgh, EH7 5HN.

55 Responses to “Edinburgh’s Best Fish & Chips, The Tailend Restaurant & Fish Bar”

  1. When I moved to Leith Walk last year I was gutted at the lack of a good chippie. I had driven past this place a few times since they started work on it but it is not clear it was a takeaway as well. Saw an anticle in the papers about it being the same people that used to run the Anstruther Fish Bar and I was off my seat and straight there for a carry-out!!

    Was not dissappointed by the Haddock supper. Staff were a bit slow and the French girl was having a bit of trouble with all the Leither’s accents but I am sure they will work this out in time.

    The food was more than worth the wait and will be going back for a sit-down meal soon!!

  2. Hi - I am trying to find a contact number for this place but can’t find it anywhere online or directory enquries - can anyone help?

  3. Their number is 0131 555 3577
    14-15 Albert Place, Leith Walk, Edinburgh (where Sugo used to be)

  4. James Morrison on May 5th, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    I’m afraid the pictures do not corroborate the words. The chips look a little undercooked and the fish looks quite skinny and unsubstantial. Surely everything is going to get cold, really quickly, served up separately in dinky glass bowls like that.

  5. We tried the Tailend for a sit-in fish tea on Sunday. Absolutely wonderful!
    Tasty, succulent haddock in a light crispy batter. Yes the chips are light in colour but try them! They are perfectly cooked, crisp on the outside and light and dry inside ( with lots of lovely crispy small ones!) and the tastiest mushy peas (yes they do stay hot).
    Good, cheerful service. We’ll be back.

  6. Visited the Tailend fish restaurant and takeaway on two occassions so far, once for a sit down meal and again to have a carry out and I will certainly be back for more. Colin and colleagues are top of their game and it is evident in the quality of the food and service. It is definately the best fish and chips that I have had, and would recommend it to anyone. The fish is really fresh and there is more choice than your average chip shop, you even have a choice how the fish is cooked. The resaurant is a calm relaxing retreat from busy Leith Walk and is decorated in a simple stylish way. The service is polite and efficient in delivery. The Tailend is a brilliant new addition to Edinburgh’s food spots and if you like good fish and chips, it’s certianly worth checking it out for yourself - you won’t be disappointed!

  7. We were in Edinburgh 10 days ago on business, and the Tailend was recommended by a colleague. We tried it that evening (sit-down). The fish & chips were nothing short of heaven. The mushy peas…divine. 2 days later we ordered carry-out, and it was just as good. Even better while strolling in the evening air. We will definately be back in October when we will be in your lovely city again.

  8. Does anyone know the opening hours for the Tailend? I can’t find them online and they’re not answering the phone. :-)

  9. The basic fish take-away supper is ¬£5.50 and others chippies in the same area can be ¬£6.50, this is a bargain when you see that every piece of fish is cooked to order, no stacks of pre-cooked fish under the heat lamps for hours, even the chips are straight out of the fryer. You wait a few minutes longer for this but it’s worth it.

    I hope this plaice stays for a long time!

  10. I visited the Tailend last weekend (21 June) - recommended by people from work - and I heartily endorse you view of the place - really excellent fish and chips!

  11. The Tailend is by far the best chippy in Edinburgh. The Skate and Monkfish portions are huge and the staff are really friendly. Well done guys!

  12. The Tailend is amazing! I live accross the road and have been eating there since it opened. I have tried most specials but the Lemon Sole in batter is by far my favourite. The chips have a real home-made taste too, which is a nice change. Thanks very much to the friendly staff also, they will be on my xmas card list this year :)

  13. I’ve been a few timea and always for sit in. The place is a a wow!

    They seem to have tha aircon right as one could eat and leave without fear of stinking of fish and chips. My partner didn’t stink of chips.

    Food is excellent, staff are friendly but a little haphazard, which I like. It still doesn’t have its license yet (08/07/2008) so you can take your own wine or beer (small corkage charge). I’ve had fish tea, scallops and shrimp all of which were excellent. I agree with tha comments about the chips, they can be peely wally and could do with cooking just a little longer.

    I’m going there tonight with a visitor to the city, touroids love it.

  14. After reading the reviews on here, and being almost 8 months pregnant and utterly craving decent fish and chips, I decided to visit this place.

    All I can say is…oh wow! Until I moved to Edinburgh, I lived near a seaside village in the North East of England, and I have to say the chip shop there was excellent. The Tailend is as good, if not better - fantastically fresh, hot fish and chips served by friendly staff and tasting wonderful. I had the arbroath smokie pate with toast to start (I was hungry!), followed by the traditional fish tea. There was so much food that I ended up regretting my decision to have a starter, tasty though it was, and ended up leaving a little of the main course. A travesty really, as it was so good.

    To the poster above who felt the photos didn’t back up the claims that this place is great - you’re right. The photos don’t do justice to how the food actually tastes. However, I didn’t have any problem with the food getting cold before I’d eaten it as it was all steaming hot and freshly prepared, and my fish was perfectly moist and not too thin. The chips, though pale-ish, were crisp and non-greasy, and I’m pretty sure they must put some addictive drug into their mushy peas - they’re that good. ;-)

    Definitely recommending Tailend to my friends.

  15. My Dad goes here practically every week without fail.
    Didn’t realise it was owned by award winners. The chips could do with a bit of longer in the frier but still delicious none the less.
    I have only had fish takeaways, quite fancy some musy peas now

  16. Really really fab. Fresh fish in a clean relaxed setting. The menu is great and healthy options too!

  17. i’d have to disagree with the folk who say edinburgh lacks a good chippie-you guys aren’t looking hard enough-check out l’alba doro in henderson row,gioavnni’s at piershill,the gold sea on ferry road

    still not tried the tailend though but hope to soon

  18. went tonight after reading these recommendations and have to say it was as good highlighted above. went for a take away and the fish was cooked in front of us…. as were the chips. both remained hot and crisp until we got them home and remained so whilst eating… it is good to find a fish and chip shop, which is close to home, in edinburgh at last.

  19. FANTASTIC - WOW - We had the great pleasure of feeding our young family in the Tail End, the children’s menu was so very refreshing to find that it was all just as fresh as the adults menu - Not like many other restaurants who simply take something out of the freezer and re-heat it. The standard of the food was the best I have tasted - The service was excellent, we even had the pleasure of speaking to the owners who made us and our two little children feel so welcome, they now have a full drinks license, so even better for the next time we visit Edinburgh. I would only describe the Tail End as a must place to visit for exceptional Food & Service - Well done to the whole team there.

    Don - Leeds

  20. After reading the wonderful reviews. Four of us went and sat-in. Three of us ordered the cod (about £9 each). Proclaimed fresh on their menu. It was cooked from frozen fish. All identical triangular shaped. Really MUSHY. Really GREASY. Really DISAPPOINTING. Chips were good though. If you are looking for a great fish supper try the Montgomery at the bottom of Elm Row. Massive fish, great batter, excellent.

  21. Tailend obsessive on September 24th, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    “Proclaimed fresh on their menu. It was cooked from frozen fish. All identical triangular shaped.”

    Sorry, mate, BS - the TAILEND always represents HARD with the freshest fish available.

    I think you might have stepped into one of the numerous dopplegangers that have sprung up on the walk :-O

    THE TAILEND, btw, THE F***ING TAILEND is the BEST ! Get the HAKE, then take it home and eat whilst watching your favourite episode of THE SHIELD - surely this is one of the best things ANYONE could EVER do ???

    TAILEND FTW

  22. EC - in addition, when in Scotland, eat Haddock. Cod is an Englaish affectation ;)

  23. The address is wrong, the Tailend is on Leith Walk, not Albert Place.

  24. filipe

    it is called albert place

    leith walk is actaully divided up into various small sections/streets-to help posties i presume

    can’t remember them all but sure you could find them on the net

  25. Born and bred in Edinburgh but haven’t lived there for the last 25 yrs but I’m coming to play tourist at the weekend and am desperate for a chippie but it has to have SALT n SAUCE and only chip shop sauce will do! Please tell me this place does it?!?

  26. EC Aug 30th - you’re a liar. There is absolutely no way the Tailend would serve frozen cod portions. If he didn’t have fresh he would just take it off the menu.

    As for recommending the Montgomery over the Tailend - that is simply ridiculous. There is no comparison whatsoever. I think you’re lying through your teeth.

  27. I have visited the tailend fish bar on a number of occasions since it opened and never have a bad word to say about it. The haddock is fantastic as are the chips and also the sausages. I find myself craving food from here quite often!

  28. Hmm! I think The Tailend may be trying hard to ‘cash in’ here on the reputation of the REAL owners of the Anstruther Fish Bar. We regularly drive from Edinburgh to Anstruther for amazing fish & chips and as far as we can see, the string of awards and all the celebrity and royal visitors have occurred over the last 6 years - long after it was sold in 2003.

  29. Bobby - I first heard of the legendary Anstruther Fish Bar when I moved up to Scotland in 1987. Not sure what it’s like now, but in those days there were bus trips to the place. Can’t say for sure that Colin Cromar was in charge way back then, maybe it’s just built over ley lines or something. Here endeth the history lesson.
    I personally think the Tailend is fab though!

  30. Visited many times when in town and will be nominating for best Fish & Chip shop 2009 awards and sugesst you all do the same after tasting their qaulity food. Good luck in winning Don & Marcella - Leeds

  31. I am a local Edinburgh guy who visited the Tailend for the first time on Saturday 18th July 2009 at lunch time.

    I was very disappointed at the paltry size of the portions, which consisted of a tiny jar of mushy peas, an average sized piece of fish and a slice of white bread and butter. A pot of tea was extra. The total cost was £11.75 which I thought was very poor value.

    And was it really necessary to have music blaring at an ear splitting level from a radio situated on the serving hatch.

    I shall not be going back.

  32. THE F***ING TAILEND.

    THE F***ING BEST \m/

  33. I travel from Aberdeen to edinburgh whenever I can just to eat at Tailend…. that’s how good it is… if only Colin would open up a branch in Aberdeen instead of St Andrews… it would have saved me lots of fuel money… excellent place, fresh fish all the time (the crabs are good too, and try the seabass when they have it in stock) and an down to earth, honest owner… top notch!

  34. The best! I tried many a restaurant in Edinburgh, and there was only one that I went back to the last night before leaving and that is Tailend! where do I start? The Cullen & Skink soup, heaven of a smoky flavour, the baked Hake with coriander crust, hello happiness and last, but NEVER least, the one and only Sticky Toffee Pudding with cream… now do I have enough space to express my love? yes it was love from first sight, bite, oh heaven…

    So I went the next time and had what I couldn’t last time… The amazing Arbroath Smokie…. as a starter the gorgeous grilled fresh Scallops, and for dessert.. mmm well.. *Shhhh Sticky Toffee Pudding again with loads of cream!

  35. As I live in Leith, I have noticed that the nearby fish and chips shops are generally empty since the Tailend opened. There is no competition. Most other shops in the area offer rather dried up fish taken from frozen or chips that have the dry taste of being kept heated for too long. The Tailend has none of that. Your food is cooked as you wait to order and it’s all 100% fresh. You’d think twice about adding exra sauce or salt because it tasytes so much better without.I’d never consider going back to any other fish and chip shop. It is melt in the mouth stuff and the basic supper price is equivalent to a typical Indian or Chinese take-a-way.

  36. My family and I have been to the Tailend on a number of occassions first time being my birthday last year.My husband said you can’t go for a chippy on your birthday. It’s my birthday and that’s where I want to go I replied and boy were thay glad I chose the Tail End. In fact I’m just off the phone as it’s my birthday today and I’ve just booked a table for tonight.

  37. Looks like Colin Cromer is selling the Tailend as he wants to be closer to home so is opening a place in St Andrews.

    BBBBOOOOOOOO!!!

  38. Is this true! I will be truely gutted if this is more than a rumour! Does anyone know when it is to happen? Very upset at the loss if the best chippie in Edinburgh!

  39. I have to say that the best chippie in Edinburgh by a mile is Giovanni’s at Piershill but can never be given awards as it does not have a sit-in available.

  40. The place in St Andrews is open and the hours at the Edinburgh shop have changed as a result, but it doesn’t look like there’s any sign of it closing to me!
    I was there just last week and it was just the same as it always is - it’s the best chippie in Edinburgh by a long way, where else can you get a sea bass supper?

  41. Mark Paterson on May 22nd, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Well I must say that when I saw a few months back that the tail end was opening up in St Andrews I was very pleased as I knew Colin from old when he and his businness partner ran the world famous Anstruther Fish Bar. However after visiting on the 22nd of May 2010 I can only say two words to sum up this take away “Complete Rip-off” After placing an order and standing for 45 minutes in a sweltering shop I was charged ¬£6.30 for one very small piece of cod and a few chips. To say I was bitterly dissapointed was an understatement. The fish and chips was at best “average” certainly nothing special and most definitely not what you could ever call value for money! There are so many better chip shops in Fife, Valentes or Rinaldis in Kirkcaldy to name two, and the Waterfront in Anstruther if you want good fish and chips in the East Neuk. My advice is avoid this place unless you want to pay over the top prices for pretty mundane food!

  42. listen this tail end if far to overpriced, i think if youre looking for true value i think the mermaid on leith walk surely has to be up there? the fish and chips are always delicous and staff very friendly. they also do kebabs and home made italian pizzas, worth a try folks

  43. yes u do get a good fish supper at the tail end, but 2 put people straight colin cromar and gordon spink were not the succsess behind anstruther fish bar. it was owned by a guy called ian whyte who started the business from scratch and made it a very big success

  44. Amazed at the negative comments since may 2010 as we have been there twice in June and July with friends, and everyone loved the Tailend restaurant. The traditional fish and chips, and the grilled haddock with chips, are always perfect. My problem is I want to try the different fish - but one meal is more than enough for anyone. (I have never been given a small portion of fish or chips in a carryout, either!) Staff are always cheery and great, and the bill’s reasonable. Don’t listen to the moaners!
    Tailend - please don’t close down!

  45. +BLACK METAL+ on July 28th, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    TAILEND IS ABSOLUTE WIN. TAILEND IST KRIEG !

  46. I agree with Mrs Joy about ‘perfect’ -especially the chips. I often think chip shop chips haven’t been cooked enough - too pale and not fluffy inside, but these were incredibly moreish -crisp and golden and fluffy inside. And a bowl of Luca’s ice cream is just ‘perfect’ to finish off when you have only a little bit of room left for pud.

  47. As for all you folks who agree with the fish being dry,the chippy being overpriced.
    Just because you dont want to taste QUALITY it dosent mean you have to take it out on the Tailend
    In the new tailend in St Andrews, the fish is fresh from fishmerchants in Arbroath(Spinks)The fish is brilliant, and a plus, the food is cooked to order not left warming for ages.Like many other chippies i could mention,The staff are frindly and helpful,many other chipshops dont have these qualities

  48. As a chip shop connoisseur and after reading these comments , I shall be rushing down to sample the delights of the tailend

    Might even try the skate !

  49. Superb and worth a visit every time we are up shopping in Edinburgh.

  50. following the comment made by ‘chips’ on July 19th… Ian Whyte along with his wife Anne and son Stuart (who now works with us in edinburgh and St Andrews) and Colin Cromar were all partners at Anstruther and built up their reputation over a twenty year period. My father Gordon, now partners with Colin, supplied Anstruther with all their seafood; however was not a business partner there. In response to ‘Cat’ on April 2nd… We have decided to take the shop off the market and look forward to continuing the business on Leith Walk… Thanks to all the positive comments made, very rewarding and reassuring….Darren @ Tailend

  51. Might be worth advertising that it is still the same owners after all the press coverage when it was to be sold

  52. I notice the other reviews are old…so here’s a new one.

    The Traditional Fish Special @ £10.35.
    At that price, I wondered why it wasn’t accompanied with fireworks and an accompanying violinist).

    It’s been 14 hours since I ate this and I’m still trying to figure out where the word “Special” applied to the meal.
    I feel a bit like when I bought my new car, thought I’d got a bargain and spent the next week trying to figure out how and when the salesman had fleeced me.

    Fish (battered) - OK, standard akin to that from a chippy - so it was good enough. Quickly determined as not the source of the 2special” tag. Not a huge fillet, but enough.
    Chips - OK but a wee bit waxy. Tasted like they’d been in stand-by mode for a while though i.e. underfresh.
    Mushy peas - from a tin? Apologies if not, but they tasted like from a tin. Came in a small ramekin (portion control).
    Bread and butter - (this is where I think the “special” was meant to apply) - small dimensioned white loaf straight from the plastic packet and cut, expertly and precisely on the diagonal. Two halves per person. Served with airplane packets of butter.
    Additional expenses : Pot of tea for two - which was really a pot suitable for one (held only two cupfulls) accompanied by two cups which were one step up from expresso cups and apologetically trying to make the teapot look bigger.

    Now I’m old enough realise that applying the word “restaurant” may allow an increase in price…and I realise that the menu is more expansive than just fish and chips…but, as you can tell, I wasn’t too impressed with the “special” which I am told is the signature dish.

    I notice many of the previous reviews mention Anstruther, Anstruther, etc etc perhaps now it’s time to stop lauding the elsewhere and the past and judge on the hear and now?

    G

  53. I, and my wife, had an awesome fish supper tonight which I had to share with everyone. We went to Gino’s chipper near the bottom end of Dalry road, and we had had great fish suppers from there previously, but we were surprised when we still got the same thing 6 months later. They literally have enormous haddock portions. And all are resh I can assure you by taste. Only ¬£5.80 and even the hugriest of blokes wont be dissapointed. Really fantastic and worth a try. Nice couple who run the place as well.

  54. Visited the Tailend for the first time on Tues 2 November, 2011 and was delighted with their battered fish and chips - crisply fried fish with golden chips - absolutely delicious.
    So unlike the Peacock Inn at Newhaven whose fish was greasy.

  55. Best fish and chips we have tasted in a long long time would recommend to all, especially‚Äč those who are totally fed up eating turkey lol

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