Take a tour of island delicacies
Scotland's west coast is a feast of foodie delights. You'll find Michelin star gourmet restaurants, legendary local cafes, the freshest seafood and vegan havens - all serving up dishes that will linger long in the memory and the palate. Check out our blog for some of the best island eateries.
Scotland holidays for foodies
Visiting Scotland's west coast is a sensory experience. The beautiful sight of the sun catching the hills, the sound of contented chatter in a quiet bar, the cool breeze on your skin, the smell of a single malt settling in a glass. But the taste of Scotland is something else entirely - a smorgasbord of culinary delights designed to tempt your tastebuds. Let's take a trip into the nation's larder.
Scotland's islands are home to a network of high-end culinary experiences. Splurge-worthy restaurants that take the art of dining to another level - both in terms of the standard of the cooking and the environment in which it's served. Many of these establishments have placed local produce at the heart of their menu, taking advantage of Scotland's rich natural resources to create dishes as unique as they are fresh.
No blog about Scotland's island restaurants is complete without a nod to Skye's Three Chimneys. The iconic restaurant and hotel is situated in the most dramatic of locations - looking out to Loch Dunvegan from a rocky outcrop - and the food more than lives up to the beautiful surroundings. On the small island of Gigha, just off the coast of Kintyre, you'll find a 300-year-old building housing some of the finest seafood on the west coast of Scotland. The Boathouse Restaurant sits neatly in the beautiful Ardminish Bay and is a must visit when in the area. The Ninth Wave is a destination restaurant situated on the wild moors of Mull. Combining seafood, organic meats and local produce to create a unique tasting menu. It promises 'hedonism on a plate' - an apt description of Scotland's fine foodie experiences.
It's not all about the stars and rosettes though, some of Scotland's best cuisine can be found in our historic inns and taverns. The hearty, and sometimes surprising, grub served up in island pubs is an authentic expression of Scottish culture. These establishments are home to unique foodie experiences, often with a modern twist.
The fantastic Pierhead Tavern on the magical Isle of Arran is a great example of the traditional and the modern intermingling. With a menu incorporating many pub classics (fish and chips) alongside some more esoteric modern options (shallot and coriander bhajis, anyone?) it's a great choice for a varied lunch or dinner group - and the breath-taking views from the terrace aren't bad either. If you'd like a side of history with your meal then look no further than Am Politician on Eriskay. The highly rated bar and restaurant is named after the SS Politician, the stricken ship that inspired the hit film Whisky Galore! You can find some recovered artefacts from the ship displayed here as well as a stunning view from the conservatory.
Over in historic Dunoon you'll find a wealth of options to quell your appetite, chief amongst them the Lorne Bar. This unassuming watering hole hides an extensive menu of seafood, steaks and pub favourites that's a hit with locals and travellers alike. Similarly, you'll be spoiled for choice in Oban, home to CalMac's main port. The buzzy Cuan Mor serves meals in a beautiful timber-lined space and pairs seafood platters straight from the harbour with more experimental fare such as their hugely popular jackfruit wings. Well worth a visit before boarding your vessel for an island adventure.
But save room to experience some gastronomy on the waves as part of your CalMac journey. We believe that your holiday should start the second you board one of our vessels, and that extends to our food and drink options.
You will find a Mariners Café aboard most of our vessels, offering an eclectic menu of locally sourced produce to suit all tastes and dietary requirements. Travellers can sit down to a freshly prepared meal with an extraordinary view of the water from our crossings, a unique culinary experience. We have a menu overflowing with choice, from lunchtime light bites to full meals - with a range of teas, coffees, soft and alcoholic drinks to wash it down with.
The iconic 'CalMac n Cheese', made using cheddar from Lockerbie is a classic on the menu, its cheesy goodness has been a favourite of travellers for years and continues to impress. Lighter bites include cakes from Cobbs Bakery, Loch Ness and freshly made sandwiches from local suppliers. We also pride ourselves in having a menu accessible to everyone, with dishes to suit all dietary requirements alongside our kids' menu so the wee ones don't get left out. Our new gourmet plant-based burger is a must for the vegans and vegetarians amongst us. Look out also for our specials. This constantly changing menu features limited edition dishes using the best of Scotland's seasonal ingredients. Check out our online menu for all the details of our ever-evolving offerings and get excited about what you're going to munch on as we take you to your destination.