If you love Scottish seafood then you’ll love Argyll and the Isles. An incredible array of fish and shellfish is hauled fresh from the surrounding waters, from langoustines to lobsters, mussels to mackerel. And you’ll find a host of hotels, restaurants and seafood shacks serving up this delicious local seafood in breathtakingly beautiful coastal locations. In some places you can even head to the harbour to pick up your shellfish as it’s landed. With so much seafood on offer in Argyll, the difficulty is deciding where to start. This Argyll seafood trail will reel you in!
Loch Lomond and Clyde Sea Lochs
The Luss Seafood Bar sits at the heart of the village of Luss and serves up the finest selection of Scottish seafood alongside fresh seasonal produce. The menu features beech-smoked salmon produced in the village by Luss Smokehouse. You can pop up to the smokehouse to watch the fish smoking in action and buy smoked salmon and trout from the shop.
Over in Helensburgh the seafood highlight has to be Cattle & Creel, where you can tuck into the best Scottish steak and seafood right on the seafront of Helensburgh. Dive into a seafood platter for two featuring a lobster, Tarbert-landed langoustines, Isle of Mull king scallops and Loch Fyne oysters. Or take a seat at the bar and enjoy freshly caught seafood on ice with a glass of champagne. Head up to Sugar Boat on Colquhoun Square in the heart of Helensburgh for the best bouillabaisse. For every bowl of this delicious fish soup sold, Sugar Boat donates 50p to the Helensburgh RNLI.
For seafood fresh from the loch, you simply can’t beat the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar & Restaurant. Sitting at the head of Loch Fyne, this is the place to sample local seafood, from oysters straight out of the clear water of Loch Fyne to Loch Fyne kippers. The company started out in the 1970s, farming oysters in the waters of Loch Fyne and selling them direct to the public in a nearby lay-by. Today Loch Fyne Oysters still produces seafood in the loch, as well as smoking fish on site, all of which is served up in the beautiful restaurant. The Creggans Inn is another Loch Fyne dining delight with plenty of local seafood on the menu.
For world-class dining a trip to Inver on Lachlan Bay is a must. Voted among the ‘Top 5 seafood restaurants on the UK coast’ by Condé Nast Traveller, you’ll find stunning dishes on the menu, featuring lots of local seafood, meat and game. Enjoy a simple lunch of fresh seafood and home-made sourdough bread for lunch. For dinner it’s a fixed, four course menu of modern, creative Scottish cooking. Further south along the same road is the The Oystercatcher at Otter Ferry, serving up delicious seafood in an unbeatable seaside setting. Tuck into local oysters, mussels and crab washed down with a locally brewed Fyne Ale. Portavadie, Loch Fyne is another stunning lochside setting where you can enjoy fresh seafood cooked to perfection. You might spot the chef picking up his box of fresh shellfish from the Portavadie Tarbert ferry.
Botanica Restaurant in Tighnabruaich is a fabulous place to eat local seafood. You’ll find all sorts of local, seasonal seafood on the menu including langoustines from Tarbert and fish landed locally. The Royal An Lochan is another Tighnabruaich seafood favourite. Enjoy fine views over the West Kyle to the Isle of Bute while you dine on langoustine, mussels and scallops. Over in Colintraive, the Colintraive Hotel is a great eatery with some wonderful sea views. Local seafood features on the menu, including fresh langoustines caught in the sea in front of the hotel and hand-dived scallops. Try the famous seafood linguine.
Kintyre and Gigha
Kintyre has a diverse coastline, with the Atlantic to the west, Kilbrannan Sound to the east and West Loch Tarbert and Loch Fyne to the north. No wonder there’s so much great seafood on offer!
Tarbert, the gateway to Kintyre, is home to a fishing fleet which lands high quality fish and shellfish. From quayside to kitchen is just a matter of metres! Starfish Restaurant is one on the most popular seafood restaurants in Tarbert, with delicious fish and shellfish on the menu. Or if you fancy buying some seafood for later, you can get fresh scallops, mussels, lobsters, crabs, langoustines and clams from Prentice Seafoods next to the Tarbert Ferry slip.
During the summer, you can tuck into fresh seafood at the Skipness Seafood Cabin. This is a casual affair, with fabulous seafood platters, bowls of mussels and plates of smoked salmon served up in the garden next to Skipness Castle. Just next to the castle is the new Skipness Smokehouse and Shop where you can buy smoked fish and seafood.
For fresh seafood it really doesn’t get much better than The Boathouse Café Bar at Ardminish Bay on the island of Gigha. This restaurant sits right on a sandy beach and serves up exceptional local seafood. Try the Gigha clam chowder, Gigha Halibut, which is organically reared on the island, and Gigha Oysters, which are grown in the clean waters around the island.
Heart of Argyll
The Georgian town of Inveraray is home to one of Scotland’s best seafood restaurants, Samphire. Here chef Andrew Maclugas creates simple dishes using locally sourced sustainable fish and shellfish. Try the grilled queen scallops or the steamed west coast mussels. Follow the road around Loch Fyne to Lochgilphead where you’ll find Murray Smoked Products. The smokehouse is based in Ford at the south end of Loch Awe, but the team has a fresh fish shop in Lochgilphead where you can buy their smoked products, as well as fresh, local seafood.
The Crinan Hotel at the northern end of the Crinan Canal is a fantastic spot to enjoy local seafood. The hotel’s Westward Restaurant offers a five-course menu with the added benefit of glorious sunset views. Or try the bistro-style Seafood Bar, which has al fresco dining on fine days. You might even see your prawns being landed on the quay in time for dinner! At the weekends from June to September you can book a table in Lock 16, a seafood restaurant enclosed on the roof of the hotel with views looking over towards the Gulf of Corryvreckan, Jura and Scarba.
The Tayvallich Inn overlooks the beautiful natural harbour of Tayvallich Bay on Loch Sween. It specialises in fresh, locally caught seafood, much of which is landed on their doorstep from the waters of the sound of Jura. If it’s sunny, sit out on the deck with a Sound of Jura dressed crab served with local langoustines.
Oban and Lorn
The fishing port of Oban is known as ‘Scotland’s Seafood Capital,’ You could spend many a happy day sampling all the great seafood on offer in this bustling town.
Across on Oban’s South Pier you’ll find one of the town’s top fish restaurants. Housed on the top floor of a converted seamen’s mission, the Waterfront Fishouse serves up fish and shellfish landed at the quay just a few metres away. Treat yourself to a plate of oysters from the sparkling waters of Loch Creran, try some Isle of Mull scallops or a seafood taster platter. Over on Oban’s North Pier is the multi-award-winning seafood restaurant, Eeusk. Tuck into a sensational seafood platter while you savour the views across the island.
For more fresh seafood head to Oban’s famous Green Shack on the CalMac Pier. It’s an al fresco dining and takeaway-only shack which serves enormous seafood platters and possibly the best crab sandwiches you’ll ever taste.
From Oban, you’ll have been enjoying the views to the island of Kerrera. It’s home to the Waypoint Bar & Grill at Oban Marina on Ardentrive Bay. There’s a delicious pre-order fish menu, which includes Loch Creran Oysters, local langoustines, whole dressed crab and lobster.
Head north of Oban to the Pierhouse Hotel at Port Appin for even more great seafood. The hotel has an award-winning seafood restaurant. The lobsters and crab are kept mouth-wateringly fresh in creels at the end of the pier. Head south to the Loch Melfort Hotel at Arduaine. The hotel’s 2 AA Rosette Asknish Bay Restaurant and the Chartroom II Bistro both offer local seafood in stunning surroundings. The view over Asknish Bay and out to Shuna and Jura is simply breathtaking.
Islay and Jura
Islay is famed for its smoky, single malt whiskies, over-wintering geese and miles of sandy beaches. It’s also seafood heaven. Scallops, lobsters, oysters, crab, langoustines and prawns are all caught locally by the Islay fishing fleet.
Head to the Rhinns of Islay to the Port Charlotte Hotel, a beach-front hotel with stunning views and cracking seafood. How does pan-fried seabass and scallops in garlic and chilli sound?
Down at the south of the island is the famous Ardbeg distillery where you can sample a peaty dram and eat at Ardbeg’s Old Kiln Café. The Ardbeg cask strength cured Scottish salmon Gravadlax is delicious.
The Port Askaig Hotel situated on the shores of the Sound of Islay, overlooking the pier, is another fabulous spot for local seafood. This old drover’s inn has a brilliant beer garden and fabulous views of the Paps of Jura. From here you can hop across the water on the passenger ferry to the Isle of Jura to enjoy even more greats seafood at the Jura Hotel. You’ll find plenty on the menu including fresh langoustines, brought in daily by the bucket-load in the summer and local crab. If you fancy lobster, you’ll need to request it a day or two in advance.
Mull and Iona
Mull is amazing for seafood. Local boats land a huge range of fish, while oysters and mussels are harvested off its shores. Head to Tobermory Harbour to watch the boats land the catch of the day at Fishermen’s Pier. Mull is famous for its juicy, plump scallops. For smoked fish, head to the Tobermory Fish Company, situated just above the Tobermory Bay.
Award-winning Café Fish is one of the best places on Mull to try the local seafood. Tuck into langoustines, lobster and squat lobster - landed that day by the restaurant’s own fishing boat - while enjoying spectacular views to the Sound of Mull. The Creel is another fabulous place for feasting on fresh fish. This small seafood bar by the ferry terminal at Fionnphort on the Ross of Mull serves up the most delicious seafood, most of which is caught by the owner or brought in by local divers and suppliers. It’s landed at the pier just next to the café – you don’t get much fresher than that!
For fine dining, book yourself a table at Pennygate Lodge. The restaurant just opened up in March this year, but it – and chef Jordan Clark – has been scooping up national awards already.
Visit The Boathouse on the tiny island of Ulva for even more great seafood. The ferry runs on demand – you summon it by uncovering the red panel at the ferry station. The Boathouse specialises in fresh local shellfish landed from the family fishing boat.
On the island of Iona you can pick up freshly caught seafood from Iona Seafood, including langoustine, crab, lobster and fish.
Coll and Tiree
Far out in the Atlantic, Coll and Tiree, the most westerly of the Inner Hebrides, offer up some excellent opportunities to eat seafood. Tiree Lobster and Crab in Scarinish sells just-landed lobster and crab from the family boat, as well as other seafood such as oysters and scallops when they’re available, throughout the year. Try the lobster roll! The Beachcomber Craft Café in Crossapol is another place where you’ll find seafood on the menu. The Tiree crab roll – piled high with crab – is delicious
For a unique location and fabulous food on Tiree head west to Ceabhar. Dine on delicious food while looking out over the machair to the Atlantic beyond. The menu changes regularly to reflect the availability of local produce.
The Coll Hotel has built up a reputation for serving up delicious, freshly caught seafood. Locally caught lobsters, crabs, langoustines, squat lobsters and hand-dived scallops are delivered daily to the kitchen door along with locally grown seasonal vegetables and salads. How does creel-caught Coll crab and hand-made spaghetti sound?
There are lots more great places to eat seafood across Argyll and the Isles. Go on your own journey of discovery and see what you stumble upon!