Eating & Drinking inScotland

Head north from Scotland’s border to its mainland tip and you may be surprised to find that it’s as far as going south from that same point to Land’s End in Cornwall. Add in hundreds of islands – some closer to Norway than they are to London – and some true wilderness, and you realise that a foodie tour of Scotland can quickly become an epic adventure.

Scotland’s geography is a part of its food. Sinuous coastlines harbour the finest shellfish, remote uplands offer native game and hardy grazing, while balmier lowlands are famed for soft fruits and flavoursome beef. It also means localism is as much a necessity as the latest food fad. Chef of the Year Pam Brunton of Inver on the shores of Loch Fyne lives and breathes this ethos. Using doorstep ingredients, she creates inspired menus rooted in her surroundings but with global influences – the sunsets are priceless too. Less remote but charmingly rural is newcomer, The Hoebridge near Melrose where Scottish provenance and hospitality get a stylish transatlantic makeover.

City life brings a different feel. Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city, yet with only 600,000 inhabitants can still feel like a collection of neighbourhoods. What better spot for the tiny Number 16 to be awarded Best Local Restaurant regional winner in recognition of years of happy returning customers. Across the ‘great divide’, Edinburgh openings continue apace, keeping the established names on their toes. Check out The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage, offering confident cooking and jaw-dropping views.

Scotland’s size, remoteness and dispersed population can bring idiosyncrasies when eating out, but the best restaurants unfailingly combine great ingredients with a genuine sense of place and identity.

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