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Top 5 restaurants on the West Coast of Scotland

Visitors to Scotland’s West Coast will discover that this region has a rich local larder to offer which includes a wealth of seafood. With the Atlantic on the doorstep, the West Coast is renowned for the unrivalled quality of its seafood, from lobsters, langoustines, prawns and scallops to salmon, halibut and a range of shellfish. While some of the best seafood “shacks” (offering local seafood) are great for satisfying your appetite when you are out and about during the day, there is nothing that can beat a fine dining experience in the evening in a carefully chosen restaurant. Scottish farmers take pride in growing fresh, seasonal local produce, so it comes as no surprise that head chefs of award-winning restaurants either have their own kitchen garden or buy at one of the many farmers markets which are held regularly across the country. Most of us have already heard expressions like “from farm to fork” or “from park to plate” and many similar phrases which highlight the freshness and local origin of our food. Since dining in Scotland is simply a food-lover’s dream and maybe your waistline still allows for some extra culinary delights, let me share with you my top five restaurants on the West Coast of Scotland. 1887 Restaurant, The Torridon Hotel (3 AA Rosettes) The Torridon is very proud of their location with its surrounding mountains and lochs on the Northwest coast, however, the owners Dan and Rohaise are even prouder of the Torridon farm, where they rear their own livestock and a bounty of produce. Lower and Upper Loch Torridon provides lobsters, langoustines and crabs as well as fish. Their extensive two-acre kitchen garden allows the head chef to work with the seasons. The result are menus which complement their strong belief in “field to fork”. The 1887 Restaurant got its name from the year when the hotel was built as a shooting lodge for the Earl of Lovelace. Following a redesign in February 2020, the restaurant now exemplifies contemporary elegance. The Scots pine-panelled dining room and conservatory is the perfect place to enjoy exquisite food, an intimate dining experience in a stunning location. The chef believes in keeping it simple and letting the flavour and provenance of the food do the talking. Inverlochy Castle Restaurant (3 AA Rosettes) The area around Inverlochy Castle is rich in breath-taking landscape such as the Steall Falls in Glen Nevis, the Glenfinnan Monument in Glen Shiel and Glencoe, a remote and beautiful glen. I have read that during a trip in 1873 to Balmoral, her summer home, Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy sketching and painting. She wrote in her diary: “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot”. Nestling in the foothills of the mighty Ben Nevis, Inverlochy Castle offers the holiday of a lifetime in one of Scotland’s finest castle hotels. Each of the three dining rooms at Inverlochy Castle are decorated with elaborate period furniture gifted to the Castle by the King of Norway. There is a unique atmosphere in these beautiful surroundings. Dining at “Michel Roux Jr. at Inverlochy Castle” is a culinary experience to look forward to and simply enjoy. The late Albert Roux’s son, successor of this French culinary dynasty, is at the helm in the kitchen. The menus, which of course include vegetarian and vegan options, feature modern cuisine with French influences which were awarded AA 3 Red Rosettes. Gentlemen are asked to wear a jacket in the dining room and ladies are welcome to dress up! Isle of Eriska Restaurant (1 Michelin Star) The Isle of Eriska Hotel is surrounded by the magnificent Morvern Mountains with several Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet) and offers stunning views of Loch Linnhe. You get a real sense of peace and quiet when strolling around this private island which is accessible only by a narrow bridge. The Isle of Eriska is at the mouth of Loch Creran in the heart of West Argyll on Scotland’s West Coast, approximately 12 miles north of Oban and 40 miles south of Fort William. The hotel’s dining room actually comprises four rooms: the morning room with its views over the lawns to the south, the business room which catches the morning sun, the butler’s pantry in between the other two and the conservatory which was added in 2002. The Michelin restaurant at Isle of Eriska is open to non-residents to enjoy a fine dining experience. It’s advisable, therefore, to book your table in advance each morning so you can try a different dish every day. The Airds Restaurant (3 AA Rosettes) For foodies and nature lovers the Airds Hotel is the perfect romantic getaway. A charmingly converted 18th-century ferry inn situated in Port Appin just north of Oban, the Airds boasts a beautiful waterside location with dramatic views of mountains and lochs. Seafood is usually the dish of the day, because the hotel has an abundance of fish and prawns on its doorstep. Meals are beautifully prepared by the experienced chef and served to you in the Airds Restaurant which has been awarded 3 AA Rosettes. The seasonal dinner menu offers a different choice every day. The Airds achieved recommendations in the esteemed Michelin Guide in 2021 and a Gold Award with Eat Scotland. It has also appeared in the Good Food Guide for 43 years! The Restaurant also offers a tasting menu which is extremely popular. The distinctive style of the Restaurant is emphasized by crisp white table linen, fresh flowers and a romantic candle-lit atmosphere as well as an à la carte menu presenting the very best of fresh local seafood and renowned Scottish meat and game. Lock 16, Crinan Hotel (roof top restaurant) For over 300 years there has been an inn on the site of the Crinan Hotel at the end of the Crinan Canal in Argyll on Scotland’s beautiful West Coast. Today it is a magnificently eccentric hotel sitting above the 16th and last lock of the Canal, on the waterfront of Loch Crinan, just 6.5 miles from Lochgilphead. It has also become a magnet for many of Scotland’s top artists who stay, paint and exhibit regularly. Frances Macdonald, who exhibits at the Portland Gallery in London and the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh, is the resident artist and the proprietor of the Hotel. Jumbo prawns (langoustines) are landed 22 yards from the hotel kitchen at 5pm, just in time for dinner. While the Westward Restaurant (Michelin Recommended in 2018) serves delicious fare like lobsters and Colonsay oysters and locally sourced organic produce, the Crinan Seafood Bar is a more informal choice, but still with wonderful food. “Lock 16” is the most famous seafood restaurant which has won many accolades including best seafood restaurant in the UK. Because of its unique location on the roof of the hotel with incredible views towards the Atlantic it is open only during the summer on Friday and Saturday evenings for dinner. For private parties, however, it’s open at any time. Some of the hotels I have described can be easily combined in an extraordinary foodie tour of Scotland. For example, guests can fly into Glasgow or Edinburgh and start with a waterside stay at the Crinan Hotel, better known as a »Gallery with Rooms« because it’s owned by a well-known artist. When travelling further north along the coast of the Western Highlands, visitors can choose between the Airds Hotel & Restaurant with its 3 AA Rosettes, the Michelin Star restaurant at the Isle of Eriska Hotel on its own private island, or the Michel Roux Jr. Restaurant at Inverlochy Castle near Fort William. The final destination of this culinary holiday could be the 1887 Restaurant at the Torridon Hotel, before guests catch their return flight from Inverness International Airport. While touring Scotland in style from Glasgow or Edinburgh along the West Coast from Crinan to Torridon in a chauffeur-driven limousine, travellers can also enjoy the following attractions and additional activities:
  • Crinan: boat trips to the Isle of Jura (gin and whisky distilleries) and the Gulf of Corryvreckan (the second largest natural whirlpool in the world), classic yacht charters and art masterclasses, prehistoric standing stones and carved rocks at Kilmartin Glen
  • Oban/Fort William area: Oban Distillery Secrets Tour, scenic flights over the West Coast from Oban Airport at North Connel, day cruises to Mull, Iona and Staffa, Glencoe as a film location for Bond’s “Skyfall”, steam train journey across the Glenfinnan Viaduct (seen in Harry Potter films)
  • Torridon: Hebridean Whale Cruises, Inverewe Gardens, Corrieshalloch Gorge, Beinn Eighe Nature Reserve, Bealach na Bà (winding single track mountain pass on the Applecross peninsula with spectacular views of the Isle of Skye)
Dorothy Welsh is the CEO of Luxury Scotland. Luxury Scotland offers true Scottish hospitality, culinary delights and unique experiences. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. There are two things you’re almost certainly guaranteed when you dine in the best restaurants on the West of Scotland – fantastic views and fantastic sea food.

    1. To John: It sounds like you have already enjoyed fantastic views and sea food on the West Coast pf Scotland … this is just a selection of fine restaurants, but there are even more when you travel further down South along the Scottish West Coast like the restaurants in the Machrie Hotel on Islay, Glenapp Castle in Ayrshire and Knockinaam Lodge in Dumfries & Galloway.

  2. In the picture that chef looks happy. It must be a great place to work away from the crowds. Awesome views and high quality local ingredients. Personally, if I were a chef I’d prefer to work somewhere like West Scotland than in the crowds of a busy town.

  3. To Fred: The name of the happy head chef at the 1887 Restaurant is Paul Green. If you want to say hello to him and find out more about his culinary philosophy, the Torridon Hotel is on the Northwest coast of Scotland between Ullapool and the Isle of Skye and less than 70 miles from Inverness Airport.

  4. I’ve probably had fancier meals elsewhere in the world but when I factor in the views and setting, then I’ve probably had some of my most enjoyable meals along the west Scottish coast. Compared to some of the extortionate city restaurants where I’ve dined they are good value too.

    1. To Roger: I couldn’t agree more with you. When I dine in Scotland, I am not looking for fancy exotic fish and steaks from South America, if fresh prawns are landed not far from the doorstep of the restaurant kitchen and Aberdeen Angus steaks are part of the local larder. And best of all – both meals are very good value for money with an extremely low carbon footprint.

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