We arrived rather late on a Friday, so a pub dinner was not a good option with Minifrosch in tow. As a result, we tried the restaurant called The Filling Station a short distance from the train station. After we sat down, we discovered it was an "American Restaurant," which seemed to be kind of a cross between a diner and TGI Friday's. We decided to sit outdoors and enjoy the evening. Our server was foreign (Russian, I think), and the combination of her accent on top of a Scottish brogue made communication quite difficult. I ordered a Scottish Ale and got a pint of cider instead. The food was decent, if unremarkable, but the prices were quite high. We ended paying 60 pounds for two appetizers, a burger, a sandwich, a cocktail, and a pint of cider. We certainly wish we'd chosen Indian take-away instead. Oh well.
Favorite Dish: One interesting appetizer is their "Haggis Bites," fried haggis served with a Thai-style sweet-spicy dipping sauce. Quite tasty, actually.
I had drinks and dinner in the Castle Tavern one Saturday night in October 11. It was good.
They have a good selection of local (craft) beers, so I tried a couple. Dinner was venison steak - delicious, and cooked rare, just as I asked.
I had a dessert too - some kind of summer fruit pudding. Also yummy.
The place has a restaurant upstairs as well as serving food in the bar. Then you can sit outside for a drink (and smoke) - gas heaters for October.
Location is great - town centre right by the castle (strange, that).
Favorite Dish: The venison - really good.
What can I cay... if you're a foodie and in Inverness, I guess The Kitchen is *one* restaurant that you just have to give a try. There is such a buzz about this place ever since it opened, and the quirky glass facade & architecture of the building just makes you want to find out more about what's on offer inside.
To the locals this is slightly "posh" dining... to us, compared to Dubai's long list of extortionate & mediocre restaurants, The Kitchen was a dream-come-true for a gourmet on a budget!
As we were staying in a self-catering apartment right behind The Kitchen (see my separate Hotels & Accommodation tip for details) we found ourselves having an early dinner here one evening with my in-laws, John's sister and his 2 nieces.
Reservations here are pretty much essential, even for lunch (we were turned-away on two occasions before we finally made reservations ourselves!)
Favorite Dish: Opening Hours:
Open 7 Days a week.
Lunch is served from 12:00midday-03:00pm.
Dinner is served from 05:00pm-10:00pm.
They have fantastic lunch offers (2 courses for £5.95) and also a very reasonable early-evening offer - from 5-7pm you can enjoy 2 courses for only £10.95 per person, incl. a glass of house wine.
Their menu is every-changing with a choice of seafood, game, vegetarian & Scottish beef dishes - utilising the best & freshest ingredients of the season.
We ordered (incl. early evening menu offers):
Prawn cocktail on smoked salmon & salad.
Crispy Chilli Chicken starter.
Sirloin Steak, traditional with chunky chips & vegetables.
Lemon Sole with tender asparagus.
Wild Mushroom & red wine risotto.
Kids portion of steak & chips.
Kids portion of Fish 'n' Chips.
Every dish was absolutely delicious, the staff (most Polish) were very friendly & also knowledgeable about their menu.
I think the buzz & hype about this place is quite justified... I'd probably have to visit again & spend a longer evening here again.
Unfortunately, none of us had any space for dessert... oh well, there's always next time! And we will definitely be back to The Kitchen again.
One of the best restaurants I have eaten in this year. All food is fresh with many local organic dishes. The menu is seasonal and changes weekly. Wine list small, however excellent.
Downside you need a reservation.
Favorite Dish: We had a combination of meat and seafood between the three different menu items we choose. Not one dish disppointed.
For years I've been hearing from my Scotsman, his family and some of my English friends say that "you have to try a British curry!" So, after a few days of relatively bland meals (well, bland compared to our usual Arabic and Asian dishes we eat at home) what better place to have my first British curry than in the oldest Indian restaurant in the Scottish Highlands?
Rajah's is located in the centre of Inverness and is officially the very first Indian restaurant to open in the Highlands - in 1982 to be exact.
Once inside a steep staircase takes you into the lower-level restaurant, full with opulent & rich Subcontinental decoration in red and gold. There's a small bar and lounge area for those enjoying a drink before their dinner, and a surprisingly large dining area.
The staff were all exceptionally helpful and friendly, and service was quick and efficient at all times. Don't be shy about asking the staff to make recommendations - they'll be glad to help!
Favorite Dish: I only really started discovering the joys of Indian food in 2006 when I travelled to Goa, but since then I've been sampling many of the fantastic dishes.
We ordered our drinks (oh yes, this Indian restaurant serves Kingfisher beer, my favourite curry-accompaniment) and promptly received a basket of complimentary poppadums and the traditional small bowls with mint-sauce, chutney and chilly dip. For starters, don't miss the juicy & crispy Onion Bhajis (£2.95, shredded onion, dipped in batter & fried, mildly spiced).
The menu for main courses is extensive, clearly seperated into vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes (as most Asian restaurants do) and marked with a "spiciness-index" so you are aware of what you're letting yourself in for before you order!
All the favourites are available: Saag Paneer (paneer cheese with spinach), butter chicken, lamb tikka (grilled on skewers), Vindaloo and of course - plenty of squidgy, gorgeous Naan bread.
However, this restaurant's speciality are Balti, a curry dish that originated centuries ago and is cooked & serve in a wok-like bowl. Various sauce-variations and ingredients (chicken, beef or lamb £8.95, prawn £13.95 or vegetables £6.95, etc,) are available. One Balti dish would have been enough for 2 persons to share and it was well-cooked, well-seasoned and exceptionally good. Well, I'm not a huge fan of Balti (I found out this day... it's simply too "creamy" & sweet for my liking) but all others in our group were very, very happy with their choices.
The restaurant also offers take-away (10% discount) and was busy with many Indian families on the day we visited - a good sign that this restaurant serves authentic cuisine!
I would definitely eat here again, as there was absolutely nothing to find fault with at the Rajah: great food, great atmosphere, great hospitality & wonderful staff.
This is a very elegant restaurant, but with a laid-back atmosphere, quite posh decor and a good view up and down market street. The service is pretty good, and the food is lovely, and quite affordable, considering their stock offer is steak :p They also offer delicacies such as Springbok, Kangaroo, and Ostrich steaks, though only when available.
Favorite Dish: I had the Rump steak, while Asia had the Surf 'n Turf. Both meals were excellent, and filling.
The Café Victoria & Old Town Whisky Store has existed here since 1870.
This rather "twee" little eatery is located inside the Victorian market itself and serves wonderfully traditional cakes, biscuits and snacks. We've been here quite a number of times, enjoying their afternoon teas and home baking.
There is upstairs and downstairs seating (but do be careful on those stairs; they're rather steep!).
On the ground level they also have a small store selling fine Malt whiskies, cashmere scarves, Skye pottery & gorgeous Scottish preserves.
Favorite Dish: The coffees here are aromatic and tasty, I enjoyed their scones and John loved their sweetly nostalgic millionaire's shortbread.
This cafe seems popular and can get quite busy at lunch time.
I'm not 100% sure about their opening hours but I do believe they close quite early (around 5pm)
This little gem can be found on Huntly Street, right by the River Ness. The food is superb, freshly cooked and is well worth the wait. The staff were very friendly.
Inside the decor is dusky coral with dark wood floors and wall panelling lit by bronzed candelabras. With real ales on tap and a tasty bar food menu (all reasonably priced), this roomy pub attracts a diverse clientele.
We visited here twice and were impressed by their seasonal dining options and menu specials. But somehow The Waterfront appears more inviting to me on a cold, grey winter's day... in the summertime, you'll want to head somewhere more "al fresco" :-)
Favorite Dish: Opening Hours:
Open 7 days a week.
Bar: 11.30am (12.30 Sunday) to 11.00pm (12.00 Friday & Saturday).
Lunch: 12noon (12.30 Sunday) to 02.15pm.
Dinner: 05:00pm to 09.00pm.
In need of a giant coffee? Or a hearty sandwich? Or just a cold drink & a place to put-up your feet for a few minutes and do some people watching?
My aunt & other family members (who had travelled to Scotland for our wedding) discovered O'Briens one day and it quickly became our regular meeting point... "shall we meet later for a coffee?" "Sure, where do you wanna go?" "Eerrr, let's just do the usual, O'Briens!"
Amusingly, Subway's is located right opposite but doesn't appear to do as brisk a business as O'Briens does with their wonderful sandwich creations.
Their prices are very reasonable (only £2.65 for a *giant* mug of cappuccino! Gosh... I must have had dozens of those during our 3 week stay, haha!) and food portions tend to be BIG (many healthy options also available) so it's best to share if you're not very hungry. John ordered a triple-decker grilled sandwich filled with ham, cheese and crispy lettuce - it came in 4 generous chunks with some potato crisps on the side, and after 3 pieces he had to admit defeat!
O'Briens also wants to ensure a Fair, Ethical and Honest approach to trade and sources their coffee beans from fair-trade farmers around the world.
Favorite Dish: Opening Hours:
Most of you know that I absolutely despise the evil regime of Starbucks & boycott them to my heart's content... O'Briens may also be a franchise, but it's one of the few that completely change my usual & otherwise negative opinion of such chain outlets, because it's so good!
They certainly offer much better value for money and I would definitely come here again and again on our repeat trips to Inverness.
UPDATE 2010: During our holiday in summer 2010 we visited O'Briens on various occasions: coffee is still fantastic; we also tried some of their baked goods (millionaire shortbread, brownie, etc.) and they were all very tasty and fresh.
One evening we didn't feel like cooking, didn't feel like going out and so a take-away seemed like the perfect choice. 1st pizza direct / 1st plaice fish bar was just a 3min walk from our self-catering apartment and so we decided to give it a try.
Their website declares that they're "the biggest & best in Inverness", and apparently their pizza has been named the best in Northern Scotland by Moray Firth Radio. You can even place your order online (as well as create your own pizza) and then have the choice of either picking your order up yourself or having it delivered.
Apart from pizzas and fish 'n' chips they also offer Indian-style curries, sandwiches, hot dogs and burgers, and all kinds of other delicious and unhealthy delights! ( you can view their menu on the website.)
Favorite Dish: As we hadn't had lunch and had spent the day trekking all across Inverness (let me tell you that walking up the castle street & the old Edinburgh road is very steep indeed... phew!) both John and I ordered the Jumbo Haddock Fish Supper (if you're not very hungry this would be plenty enough for 2 to share!). John opted for regular chips and I choose mine soaked in gravy... yum! The fillet alone is priced at £4,65.- and for a "fish supper" (i.e. including chips) the price is £6,00.- A regular portion of chips with either gravy, cheese or beans cost £1,95.-
Most of the staff are teenage girls who were friendly, swift and efficient. We couldn't have chosen our timing better: just as we had placed our order, suddenly more and more people started streaming into the small waiting area. I guess the trick is to definitely place your order before the time that most people have finished work and are heading home!
The fish fillet wasn't too greasy at all, well-cooked and wonderfully crispy. The chips were chunky and soft and on a cold winter's evening this was superb "comfort food" to warm us up once we got back to the apartment.
We didn't try their pizza but I'd be quite glad to do so on our next trip!
--> UPDATE 2010: We had a take-away from here again in the summer of 2010 and quality, price and flavour are still great.
NOTE: This restaurant is located slightly outside of Inverness, approx. 10-15min by car.
The Clansman Hotel & Restaurant is home to the award winning Cobbs Restaurant and Cobbs Coffee House. The restaurant is renowed for their fabulous food - which is why we decided to make a dinner reservation and give it a try!
On our 1st visit we were welcomed by Rory Cameron (the director) on a quiet evening with only a handful of diners in the restaurant. Rory explained that as it was a weekday and also "off season" (March) the restaurant is pretty empty apart from weekends, which suited us fine as we just needed a quiet, relaxing and romantic evening together.
The chef at Cobbs serves generous portions of the finest local produce with a contemporary twist, and they hold an extensive range of fine wines and whiskies to suit all palates and all budgets. The main feature of the restaurant is their gigantic "mirrored wall", which gives all diners the opportunity to keep an eye on any unusual happenings on Loch Ness whilst enjoying their meal... ;-)
Favorite Dish: *
Starters: Soup of the Day (Lentil) with crusty bread £3,25.- and Seafood Chowder with crusty bread £5.25.-
Mains: 10oz prime Scottish Ribeye Steak w/ brandy & peppercorn sauce £14.95.- and Cajun style Salmon fillet with grilled vegetables £12,95.-
Desserts: Rasberry Pavlova £4,95.- and Cobbs famous Bread & Butter Pudding with whisky sauce & cream £5.25.-
By the way, the Cobbs seafood chowder is the BEST I've ever tasted in my life! John said his steak was cooked to a perfect medium, and I was pleased to find that my salmon fillet hadn't been overcooked (a mistake so many restaurants make!) John absolutely loved his dessert and I felt like I was having a naughty affair with mine... it was just so good! Unfortunately though it was also a very rich and heavy bread & butter pudding so I was unable to finish it.
Rory was a perfect host, visiting our table often enough to ensure that all our wishes were catered for, but not too often (as it happens in so many restaurants) as to not become annoyingly attentive. He answered some of our questions about the hotel and the local area and was genuinly interested and glad to help.
We'll definitely be returning to the Clansman whenever we are back in Inverness-shire and the surrounding Highlands.
I can highly recommend this restaurant for a special evening or business dinners.
--> Cobbs did the catering for our wedding at Urquhart Castle in July 2009 at the food & service were all absolutely fantastic! Thanks again, Jane & Rory!
--> UPDATE 2010: We returned for dinner in August 2010 and once again had a fantastic dinner. I actually remembered to take some photos this time & have uploaded them here :-)
Of the several places to eat in Invereness, we enjoyed the Mustard Seed the most. The food was well prepared and good quality, and the atmosphere classy without being at all stuffy. We asked for and were offered a table on the upper floor, which gave us a nice view of the street below.
March 2010 update - I just saw a good review for this restaurant in a well regarded US travel magazine. I'm glad to heat that it is still a choice place to eat.
On a slightly drizzly day we walked around town, did some window-shopping and by lunch time we had definitely worked up an appetite. We thought we'd give the famous "The Kitchen" restaurant a try, but unfortunately we hadn't made any reservation and we would have had to wait for an hour to get a table. Therefore, we carried on walking down along Huntly Street and stumbled upon the River House.
We entered this cozy little eatery and were promptly seated and our drinks order was taken. At the bar, 2 locals who were obviously regulars were enjoying a pint of beer and chatting and joking with the bartender. This restaurant confused us for the first few minutes: the standard of service and the menu give the impression of a snobby, posh establishment. But the regulars at the bar, the heart-felt laughter and interiors show that this isn't a pretencious, unatainable venue - but simply a lovely little neighbourhood restaurant that serves above-regular standard food... and boy, did we enjoy their food!
Favorite Dish: We enjoyed their lunch special which gives you 2 courses at £11,95. A glass of the house white wine was £5,25.-
John ordered the soup of the day (cauliflower & courgette) as a starter, and the organic grilled chicken with lemon-infused couscous and grilled vegetables for mains.
I enjoyed a warm bruchetta with smoked salmon for starters, followed by a fantastic bowl of penne pasta with an incredibly flavourful wild mushroom & walnut cream sauce.
Their bread-basked consists of fresh, home-baked breads and was so tempting that we had to be careful to not fill-up on bread before the food arrived!
Service is very warm & welcoming, and the owner chef Allan "Alfie" Little is a hospitable man with a great sense of humour.
This quaint little Victorian-style restaurant seats around 35 persons and is a wonderful eatery to sample some delightful local produce from the area, prepared with both traditional and also more modern methods. We definitely enjoyed our time in the Riverhouse... and I can't wait to return for those gorgeous wild mushrooms!
Stumbled on this place while we were out walking, and made a booking on the spur of the moment. Later it was recommended by our B&B owner.
Turned out to be a very smart choice. It's located overlooking the river, on 3 floors. We were on the 1st floor and had a good view (although dark and foggy).
A good menu which had me wishing I could have 3 or 4 things from each section! Everything the 2 of us had was top class, and we each had 3 courses (all different) plus coffee. Service was good too.
Cost £65 (included 1 large house red plus a bottle of beer), so not too tough on the pocket either.
Favorite Dish: My starter - seared scallops wrapped in ham.
Sunday lunchtime in January 2006. Town's dead.
This is a chain restaurant, so expected the worst.
BUT it was excellent - food and service.
PS - I've been back since this was written; same story
Favorite Dish: Lime flavoured San Pellegrino!