A Guide To Scotland's West Coast Seafood Trail

Loch Restil, Cowal Peninsula, Scotland
Loch Restil, Cowal Peninsula, Scotland | © Sean Afnan/Unsplash
Photo of Tori Chalmers
1 February 2018

Awash with romantic swelling seas and more lochs than you can count, Scotland has long been a goldmine of sublime natural scenery and premium quality seafood. Many areas take great pride in the age-old classic that is Scottish salmon, and quite rightly so, but the west coast holds the key to crustacea and mollusks worth seeking out. In what can only be described as a gastronomic daydream for seafoodies, Scotland’s Seafood Trail is the way to go when it comes to sampling the country’s finest crabs, lobsters, langoustines, oysters and scallops.

The perfect balance of food, culture and adventure, The Seafood Trail is a flexible self-drive tour showcasing some of Scotland’s finest hotels, seafood restaurants, scenery, historic sights and people. Starting from Glasgow, this culinary expedition is a one-of-a-kind platform for foodies to embrace the freshest flavours and seafood sourced straight from local lochs and waters.

Seafood Platter | The Finnieston, Glasgow | Courtesy Of The Finnieston

Whether mouth-watering crab rolls paired with mayonnaise whipped up from scratch, pristine langoustines served with slow-cooked pork belly or hand-dived scallops caught that very same afternoon, the freshness of the food and purity of flavours cannot be outdone.

One of the first stops on the tour is the one and only Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, an institution of a seafood spot with a legendary reputation. After first exploring the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, a trip here will ensure a spot in the memory for all eternity, thanks to the faultless food – think crispy oysters with horseradish, Tarbet crab and smoked haddock chowder. The seasonal menu, which champions local produce and suppliers, features daily specials concocted from the latest catches.

Oysters | © Paula Borowska/Flickr

After venturing through spellbinding scenery strewn with glacial lochs and snow-capped mountains common to the Cowal Peninsula, food enthusiasts can make way for Oban via ferry to witness the wild waves blanketing the underwater wonderland of sea creatures that Scotland holds so dearly. From there, a number of superior seafood eateries reign supreme.

The beauty of the tour is the contact with the people who make Scotland’s seafood scene so spectacular from the fishermen and scallop divers to the artisan chefs who do the produce justice. If you time it just right, many of the restaurant’s chefs will put on a cooking demonstration to show just how the magic happens.

Oban At Nightfall | © Fred Veenkamp/Flickr

One of the many stand-out hotels along the trail is the critically acclaimed Pierhouse Hotel in Port Appin, a small haven with big tastes. Here, the seafood platters include mussels, scallops, langoustines, smoked salmon and so much more.

Another significant talking point is the sightseeing on Skye. From boat tours set in the backdrop of the noble Cuillin Mountains and Dunvegan Castle, to the sensational flavours found within every restaurant, you start to realise that Scotland and seafood go way back. And yes, the catch of the day involves gorgeous white fish, as well as shellfish galore.

Seafood Galore, Isle Of Skye | © Christian Kadluba/Flickr

As fresh as can be and enlightened with flavour, Scotland’s seafood scene is highly coveted. Many leading restaurants across parts of Europe, particularly in Spain, take advantage of the daily catches from Scotland’s hidden maze of lochs and waters, and have them shipped straight to their doors.

The beauty, of course, in this unique gastronomic adventure is the freedom to pick and choose as you please, while eating your way through some of the finest Scottish seafood spots. Once more, there is nothing like falling in love with the taste of fresh lobster and scallops while gazing out at the waters they just sprang from. And remember, the fun is never ending – once the west coast has been checked off that bucket list, the pristine waters of the east coast await!

Late Evening Over The Isle Of Kererra (As Seen From Oban) | © Ray in Manila/Flickr

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