The Best Restaurants in the Scottish Highlands

Lochinver | © Steve Bittinger/Flickr

With such a wealth of excellent locally-sourced ingredients, it is little wonder there are many fine places to eat and drink in the Scottish Highlands. From cheery inns and cosy cafés, to these restaurants serving some of the tastiest dishes to be found anywhere — for being such a remote area of Europe the Highlands really do prove their culinary worth. Here are six wonderful restaurants, featuring dishes to rival any to be found in a big city, at a fraction of the price.

1. Lochinver Larder

Bistro, Cafe, Restaurant, British, Seafood

This wee restaurant is located in the tiny west coast village of Lochinver, on the route of the North Coast 500, backed by incredible peaks and surrounded with stunning views on all sides. The menu is diverse and interesting, but it is their legendary pies that perhaps draws in the most custom. There are good veggie and sweet options, as well as several classic and creative meaty pies and it is even possible to get them delivered by post! Lochinver Larder can get busy at peak times, but the staff keep smiling and customers keep returning for more.

2. The Pier

Restaurant, Healthy

With an ever-changing menu, depending on what is fresh and in season locally, The Pier is often referred to as a hidden gem. Quality is the foundation of this café and restaurant, with excellent service and a surprising view over the loch behind. The wine list is another pleasant surprise. There are vegetarian and vegan options and the cakes deserve a special mention! Situated in the heart of the Highlands it could be easy to overlook The Pier; if you visit the nearby Falls of Shin, or are heading to the north coast, a visit here is well worth it.

3. The Seafood Shack

Restaurant, Seafood

A restaurant with a difference. Frequented by star chefs and cooks, The Seafood Shack is wonderful food cooked simply. The menu changes from day to day, depending on what is in season and what has been caught. With an outdoor seating area right on the seafront with beautiful harbour views, if you are a seafood lover this experience will be hard to top.

4. Plockton Shores Restaurant

Restaurant, British, Seafood, European

The geography of the Highlands is such that settlements principally developed along the coast and in a few of the glens. Plockton is no exception to this rule, nestled on the west coast among stunning scenery, and is additionally blessed with this restaurant. Featuring locally sourced produce, from both sea and land, all cooked to maximise the freshness of the flavours, Plockton Shores is deservedly popular with both locals and visitors. For this reason it is best to book a table, knowing you are in for a treat.

5. Gille Brighde

Restaurant, British, Vegetarian

Sitting on the shores of the fantastic Loch Torridon in the tiny settlement of Diabeg, Gille Brighde (Gaelic for oystercatcher) is well worth driving the twisting mountain pass down to sea level. The passion for excellent ingredients and the respect for the location is evident. There is a daytime menu and an evening menu, with vegetarian and gluten-free options available. As with all small restaurants in the Highlands, it is well worth calling to reserve a table.

6. SALT Seafood Kitchen

Restaurant, Seafood

The waters surrounding the Highlands produce some of the best seafood on the planet. Although it is a major export for the region, some of it passes from boat to restaurant to plate with rapid speed. This is certainly the case with SALT, where sustainability and perfect ingredients go hand in hand. The restaurant overlooks Loch Broom and the Summer Isles, where the food is gathered. This is yet another of those enviable views you’ll be hard-pressed to tear your gaze from. You can bring your own wine if you want (corkage fee applies), and the menu changes daily, depending on the catch and season. With options like full lobster, a hearty seafood platter, dressed crab, or lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, you may find selecting a dish the hardest part of your visit.

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