What and where to eat on the North Coast of Scotland

Scottish food is mostly a mix of hits and misses. As much as I love the landscape, there is definite room for improvement in this department all over the country. But sometimes, you stumble on a place which surprises you. I have therefore decided to highlight the hits here since you can find the misses easily yourself. So here we go.

On our first day of the NC500 we stopped for tea at the Shieldaig Lodge Hotel. The hotel is charming and exactly the way you expect. Fortunately for my budget though, we only stayed for tea. Which was lovely and came with shortbread. What more can you ask for on a cold day.

tea and shortbread @Shieldaig Lodge Hotel

The Seafood Shack: On our second day we made it up to Ullapool and stopped here for lunch. We got there on the last possible day of the year, the next one they were closing down for the winter season. I guess it’s true what the say about ‘When angels travel’. The shack is exactly what the name implies, a a shack with outdoor seating. I have to be honest, it was a bit nippy on this day, we had already seen snow. Nonetheless I ordered a crab on couscous, with a side of fresh salad, and was more than happy with my lunch.

The Seafood Shack @Ullapool

outdoor seating at The Seafood Shack @Ullapool

crab salad with couscous @The Seafood Shack

In case you arrive here in winter when The Seafood shack is closed, just head next door to the North West Outdoors shop. Upstairs you’ll find Margo’s Café which is an excellent place to warm up. I had a lovely tea and scone there, and could not have been more pleased. Don’t miss out on this place!

Pete’s restaurant in Lochinver served delicious food. Thankfully we had reserved a table as instructed by our land lady. It was also the only open restaurant in the village. At the end of October you have to take what you get. In any case I can recommend Pete’s restaurant for all seasons. They have a good selections of gins as well.

lamb shank with mashed potatoes @Pete’s restaurant

The River Bothy Berriedale turned out to be a hidden gem. We found it by chance on the way down from John o’Groats with the help of maps.me. Turning around because we missed it the exit the first time, we were in heaven. That’s exactly the kind of place where you want to have lunch, or dinner, or brunch. Besides excellent sandwiches and soup, the tea shop also serves a wide selection of cakes. And, best of all, it has a shop included which sells all kinds of knickknacks. I got my Christmas Cards for this year here.

the cake bar @The River Bothy Berriedale

soup and sandwich combo @The River Bothy Berriedale

Inverness is quite a big city compared to all the villages around the NC500. We therefore got recommendations from our hotel and settled on Number 27 Bar & Kitchen. I had the best pan-fried scallops there. So tender and juicy, simply delicious.

scallops @Number 27 Bar & Kitchen

Overall, Scotland really surprised me this year with quite a lot of places with great food. That has not always been the case, although Shetland also delivered food wise. I was more than happy on this trip and can’t wait to go back again to try some new sandwiches and also order some haggis. Yours, Pollybert

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