Oban is a popular tourist destination as well as being an important historical site. Modern Oban grew up around the distillery, and it now has a range of restaurants to match its illustrious history of single malt whiskey –using fresh local Scottish produce. We list some of the best to try.
Located on the second floor of a converted seafarer’s mission, the Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant has a fantastic view over the bay. Customers can watch the boats as they eat, and the sunset if they dine in the evening. The décor is classy but low-key, so all of the focus is on the stunning views and fantastic food. Mains cost £12-20, and the menu serves a wide selection of seafood dishes as well as a selection of oyster-based meals, and a non-seafood selection.
Passionate about using fresh, seasonal and local produce, Hawthorn Restaurant is an absolute treasure. From the outside it looks like a small white cottage, but the interior is chic and modern, with a bare stone wall and wooden furniture. The menu has a huge variety. Start off with home hot-smoked salmon with maple crème fraiche, cucumber and caper relish, follow with slow-cooked pork belly with isle of mull scallops, rosti potato, salsa verde and finish with vanilla and peanut butter cheesecake for a really fantastic meal.
Maatchiis an Indian restaurant that has recently opened in Oban. Taking inspiration from both the North and South of India, the restaurant brings the best of Indian cuisine to Oban. They have a good selection for vegetarians and their menu displays clearly how hot the various curries are, and the staff are also very helpful. There is a great selection to choose from, including traditional Indian desserts such as gulab jamun – deep fried dough balls made from milk solids, then soaked in fragrant syrup. Meals cost between £8 and £16.
Having won the Scottish Curry Awards in 2014, Coriander provides fantastic meals with a lot of character. The food is Indian with a Scottish twist. Prices and portion sizes are very reasonable and the staff are very helpful and happy to give detailed information about the dishes. There is something for everybody in this incredible mixture of cultures. On Soroba Road, Coriander is easily accessible and close to the train station.
A simple shack-like building with a wooden roof, this tiny restaurant is listed as the number one place to dine in Oban. Situated right on the pier, the seafood sold at Oban Seafood Hut is as fresh as it gets. It is cheap with large portions and has an international fanbase; people from across the globe have travelled to sample the goods in this little hut.
Originally a garden centre with only a small café, this business has bloomed into a quirky restaurant by the sea. The sea and garden centre combined makes Poppies Garden Centre & Tea Room a peaceful and relaxing place to go for lunch. Their meringues are award-winning and the staff are remarkably friendly. Cakes are all home-made, and after a browse around the garden centre jungle, you’ll be leaving with full tummies and a few pot plants too.
Modest from the outside, this beloved restaurant has a wall of windows which faces the harbour through which you can watch the boats and see the sunset. Multiple visitors claim that it has the best views in Oban. The food is incredibly fresh as it is brought in from the harbour, and the sumptuous scallops and gorgeous ginger cake are especially good. The seafood platter for two is really well put together, not to mention large enough for even three peckish diners. The crab claw platter with lime mayonnaise is also particularly special.
A favourite among locals, Coast Restaurant serves some of the best food in Oban. Located in a former bank building, it has a certain regal aspect from the outside. There is fantastic attention to detail and inside the mahogany tables and white chairs exude an air of class. Coast restaurant sells modern Scottish food, but they have their own twists and there are some things on the menu you will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
Pronounced ‘iasg’ which is Scottish Gaelic for ‘fish’, Ee-Usk sells local seafood which is delivered alive to the restaurant. Their menu is expansive and visitors are spoiled for choice. The owners, believe that the fresh seafood they use is some of the finest in the world, and so to retain their natural great taste they are cooked as simply as possible. The restaurant is bright and open with walls of glass windows and light yellow paint with matching chairs and light brown tables.
Oban has its fair share of international restaurants too. Piazza is an Italian restaurant housed in the same pier building as Ee-Usk, specialising in pizza and pasta cooked using traditional methods. The huge menu contains tasty starters, mains and desserts.