Rediscover Scotland with a post lockdown visit to one of our best coastal restaurants and cafes
Here are a few of our favourite seaside venues, for when the pandemic has got in the sea
Scotland doesn’t have a shortage of seaside restaurants.
There are so many goodies, strung along our coastline, from Skipness Seafood Cabin and Starfish, both in Tarbert, to Tobermory’s Cafe Fish, the Seafood Bothy in Stonehaven, The Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant in Port Appin, Cullen’s Rockpool Cafe, The Creel Inn in Catterline, Da Haaf in Scalloway and Edinburgh’s Fishmarket.
According to our Twitter friends @scots2travel “the seafood platter is epic” at the Cullen Bay Hotel, and @bambigoesforth recommends The Trawler in Golspie and La Mirage in Helmsdale, as “they both do good fish and chips”.
When restrictions allow, we plan on rediscovering all this fresh seafood, ice-cream, sand, oxygenated air and epic views.
In no particular order, here are a few of our most loved and recommended.
Due to reopen on April 27, this lovely wee restaurant, whose name is Gaelic for the sea, is at Corrie on the Isle of Arran. The focus is on seafood, with options like crab bisque or fillet of ling in a Goan curry, and they offer bread from Blackwaterfoot Bakehouse, as well as the best coffee on the island. Look out for the friendly resident Westie.
Takeaway from this vendor on Longniddry Bents, and eat your fish and chips while watching the kite surfers and their white knuckle stunts. There’s also ice-cream, or you can swap your fish for something fancier, like battered king prawns. If you’re in North Berwick, they also have a gelateria on Quality Street.
Visit Hopeman, where wet-suited teens leap off the pier in the summertime. This place, just beside West Beach Caravan Park, has sheltered picnic tables under tarpaulin, and you can queue for crab and lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, a Bootlegger burger or seafood platter, The Creel Deal. Follow them on Facebook.
LOCH FYNE OYSTERS
This Cairndow restaurant’s takeaway opened at the beginning of April, and the Oyster Bar will be welcoming diners from April 26. They’ll be back to shucking their signature shellfish with shallot vinegar, grilled with garlic and herb breadcrumb, or crispy and Panko coated with horseradish mayo.
OBAN SEAFOOD HUT
Rachel Flynn, the PR for Worldwide Cancer Research, says “Less of a restaurant, more of a shack, but the Oban Seafood Hut is just the BEST I’ve come across! Street-food-esque and sharing platters galore”. This green shack is situated on Railway Pier and is hoping to reopen at the end of April. Follow them on Facebook for updates. Also in Oban is the more formal Ee-Usk – glass-fronted and featuring an equally magnificent view.
The views are hard to beat from this upcycled shipping container, overlooking Canty Bay and the Bass Rock. While we wait for the main venue to open on April 26, get yourself a takeaway bridie or Danish pastry from their trailer next door.
This is an iconic venue, with its views over St Andrews’ Chariots of Fire sands. We recommend visiting during the day, when you can take full advantage of the views and try their Reopening Lunch Menu, available from April 26, and including Shetland cod Kiev and Anstruther lobster agnolotti.
Add this idyllically situated place, on the Isle of Gigha, to your post pandemic bucket list. It’s reopening on April 28, with bookings open on their website. They’ll be serving Gigha Halibut, their oysters and whole lobster with garlic butter, new potatoes and samphire.
Amy Elles, who appeared on the Great British Menu, set up this shack by Elie harbour. Although we’ve enjoyed their takeaway options, with nationwide delivery, we’re looking forward to a walk on the beach followed by their dressed crab with homemade fries.
The island’s only hotel, with views across the bay to Mull, Staffa and the Treshnish Isles, has refined its menu of creel caught lobster, langoustine, crab and squat lobster, so that it supports local producers as much as possible. “Being able to buy the shellfish straight from the fishing boats every day is one of life’s great pleasures” says their chef, Graham Griffiths.
The owners of this takeaway, Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick, work magic with the local seafood, which you can eat at their sheltered spot with views of Ullapool’s harbour. They’ll be reopening on April 26, but if you can’t wait, pick up their eponymous recipe book, The Seafood Shack: Food & Tales from Ullapool (Kitchen Press) which is available through their website.
St Monans isn’t exactly hoaching with restaurants, but it does have this pearl, which has a terrace that looks out to the harbour. It won’t be reopening until May 19, though it has been doing takeaway if you live locally. Make sure to also visit the East Pier Smokehouse if you’re in the village, or walk along to Pittenweem and visit their fish and chip bar on the High Street or The Dory Bistro & Gallery.
“The finest fish and chips in town”, says the website of this Eyemouth venue, which is also known for its ice-cream. Its fans agree. “Unquestionably Giacoapazzi’s, carried out to the beach. With views like these, and food like that, there’s no comparison. Hope to be there in the summer”, says Dr Valentina Bold of Food Heritage Scotland.