Eating out in the Highlands is something you want to get right and there are plenty places to choose from. Our favourites are located on the NC500, the Black Isle and in Inverness.
The Rocpool, Inverness £££
A family run restaurant with a very reasonable and delicious set menu for lunch, a larger a la carte menu is also available. The menu often shows a gentle nod to more Asian flavours of coriander, sesame and chilli. Service is slick and efficient, with owner and Maitre’d Stephen running the show. Gin and tonics are served Spanish style in big goblets. Reservations are necessary and easy to do online. Firm favourites of ours are the oriental chicken salad, scallops, crab and sweetcorn soup and pigeon. We go for Birthdays, special occasions and pre-theatre.
+44(0)1463 717274 https://www.rocpoolrestaurant.com/
The Seafood Shack, Ullapool £
A local seafood takeaway perfect distance for a fresh seafood lunch. It is outdoor dining so good weather is imperative. Run impeccably by two local ladies and their team, you walk off the high street into a little seafood oasis with fresh food cooked in front of you. The menu is small and changes daily, we highly recommend the half lobster with dilled potatoes, crab linguine and the tempura haddock wrap.
07876 142623 http://www.seafoodshack.co.uk/
Kylesku Hotel, Kylesku ££
A firm favourite of ours, quite a drive from Beauly but we always make the effort with friends because the langoustine are incredible. Served on a medieval looking spit, they come hot or cold with chips and lashings of garlic butter or mayonnaise (served seasonally so best to check before setting off). The setting is stunning, recently refurbished the Kylesku has a more modern feel to it with floor to ceiling windows with views onto the pier – where your lunch was landed from only hours before. Favourites are the Ullapool oysters, langoustine on a stick and scallops with kedgeree.
01971 502 231 https://www.kyleskuhotel.co.uk
IV10 Café Bar Deli, Fortrose ££
Newly opened and worth a drive on the Black Isle for coffee, lunch or dinner as the atmosphere is fantastic, a strong design element is at play here and it feels very comfortable. We went recently for John’s Birthday and it was jam packed which was great fun. The wine menu is extensive and carefully put together by the owner who was able to tell us much about each bottle we picked. The menu has plenty to choose from and changes from day to night and on a Sunday. We often struggle to decide as everything sounds great but the Rib eye went down very well. Reservations are necessary. IV10 is also a deli so there are lots of delicious things to purchase and take away with you.
01381 620690 http://iv10.net
Sutor Creek, Cromarty ££
A firm favourite of ours for when friends are visiting, a 45 minute drive along the Black Isle with plenty places to stop for a dog walk including the beach in Rosemarkie or the Fairy Glen. Sutor Creek has a wood fired pizza oven and they make delicious thin pizzas. The Black Isler is a meaty favourite. They also have a daily specials board packed with local seafood. I usually order the mussels with a side of chips and they are delicious, served in a broth with fennel and parsley. Excellent puddings too and all of the staff are charming. Reservations are necessary.
01381 600 855 www.sutorcreek.co.uk
Luigis, Dornoch ££
Luigis is run by a charming couple who have been experts in their field for many years. Book in because it seems everyone in the area goes here, particularly at the weekend. There is a regular menu – the chorizo and prawn linguine is a winner on this menu. But also, a daily special board with treats like lobster thermidor and cheese souffle available. They are very child friendly here and have tolerated many a messy toddler in my time.
01862 810 893 www.luigidornoch.com
Mac & Wild, Falls of Shin, ££
The recent addition to the Mac & Wild Group with two restaurants in London sourcing all of their game from the Highlands, the team have opened at the Shin Falls and are offering a great array of delicious cakes, sandwiches and their full menu including the award winning VeniMoo burger. The site is very child friendly with a great play park and woodland walk right there, as well as the main draw – watching the salmon leaping up the Falls. Recent visits have been with family and we have enjoyed the VeniMoo burger, Wild Bowl and there is a Wee Bairn Happy Meal for £5.
01549 402 888 www.macandwild.com