Nestled in the heart of Scotland on the boundary between the Lowlands and Highlands, both Stirling and Dunblane are beautiful cities brimming with local history and culture. As well as extraordinary architecture, art and heritage, the towns also feature a thriving culinary scene, with an abundance of local restaurants. Here we profile the 10 best restaurants in the Stirling and Dunblane area.
The Birds and Bees
The Birds and Bees is one of the most popular eateries in Stirling for locals and visitors alike. The exterior is a charming, white-washed cottage, while the interior is beautifully decorated, with strikingly patterned curtains and cushions, plush leather couches, stone walls and fireplaces, creating a contemporary yet cosy ambiance. The menu has an excellent range of both British and international dishes, such as their chicken ecosse served on a bed of haggis with a whiskey and bacon sauce, as well as an impressive variety of real ales and craft beers.
A small, welcoming space in the centre of Stirling, Gabe’s Diner is the place to come for a relaxing meal in casual surroundings. The inside is simple and homely, with chalkboards listing the day’s menu and paper lanterns illuminating the clustered tables and chairs. The menu reflects the restaurant’s atmosphere, with plenty of comforting, home-cooked options. Highlights include the herby macaroni cheese, or the Thai veg stew with aromatic coconut, ginger, and a mix of delicious spices. Gabe’s Diner is also the perfect place to come for a lazy brunch, offering delicious classics such as French toast with maple syrup or eggs and soldiers.
Green Gates Indian Restaurant
The Green Gates Indian Restaurant is located inside a beautifully renovated Georgian town house in Stirling, and is the perfect spot to taste authentic Indian cuisine in rich, elegant surroundings. The interior is tastefully decorated, with wood panelling, black and white photographs and carved tables and chairs creating a sophisticated atmosphere. The menu offers all the favourite classics of Indian cuisine, such as pakoras, biryanis and tandoori chicken, as well as some more unique options: try the haddock cooked in coconut milk and tamarind, or the chilli and garlic chicken stuffed in rice for a truly flavoursome and authentic dining experience.
Located in the Dunblane Double Tree Hotel, The Kailyard is an award-winning fine-dining restaurant with a menu designed by Nick Nairn, Scotland’s youngest Michelin star winner. The space brims over with elegance, and is contemporary with a nod to its Scottish heritage: sleek seating with touches of muted tartan, intimate lighting and large windows with views of the hotel’s extensive grounds create a beautiful atmosphere. The menu, meanwhile, is filled with many of Nairn’s signature dishes, such as the pan fried halibut with a herb mash, wilted spinach and caviar butter sauce; or the chilli glazed confit of duck with a tomato and butterbean stew with Toulouse sausage.
Loving Food Truck
Serving Stirling with freshly made food from an adorable vintage Citroën van, the Loving Food Truck is the perfect place to grab a quick yet delicious bite to eat. The food truck sets up Mondays to Fridays in Stirling city centre, and offers an eclectic, mouthwatering menu, with plenty of twists on old street food classics: try the meatloaf flatbread served with a sweet onion marmalade, or the veggie haggis taco with pico de gallo salsa. Not only is Loving Food Truck’s menu infused with the local cuisine, their ingredients are sourced where possible from local suppliers, making them the perfect spot for a taste of Stirling.
The River House
Merely a stone’s throw away from Stirling Castle, The River House benefits from its hugely atmospheric setting, both inside and out. The restaurant is set on the edge of a small lake, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing astonishing views of the scenery outside. The interior is chic and contemporary: bright blue walls, sleek leather seats and candles set in wine bottles create a quirky yet elegant atmosphere. The menu represents a cross between fine-dining and gourmet British classics, with all the heartiness of a pub dinner mixed with elegant presentation. Try the wild boar sausages with apple mashed potatoes, or the king scallops with a chorizo and butternut purée.
A charming pub located on the picturesque River Allan, The Riverside is an idyllic place to grab a bite to eat or linger over a drink. The restaurant mixes a rustic and contemporary aesthetic, with a bright, airy space, stone walls and floors, and sleek, modern furniture. Facing the river is a wide balcony, perfect for relaxing on a balmy summer’s evening. The food is as unique as the menu, offering a delicious range of twists on classic pub food favourites: highlights include the pan-seared king scallops with ale pulled pork or the tender slow braised beef cheek with a horseradish mash.
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