Looking for the best places to eat on the North Coast 500? Here are my favourite North Coast 500 restaurants from Inverness to Lochinver and the Bealach Na Ba. Let’s start your foodie journey around the North Coast 500 in Scotland.
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Planning your North Coast 500 adventure?
- The complete guide to the North Coast 500
- A 7 day North Coast 500 itinerary
- Where to stay on the North Coast 500
- Download my north coast 500 map to your smartphone – click on the link above via your phone and it will open in the google maps app so you can follow it. All the stops in this guide are marked on the map.
The best restaurants in Inverness, Scotland
The capital of the Scottish Highlands and the starting point of the NC500, Inverness is one of Scotlands 7 cities – so there are lots of places to eat and drink. Looking for the best places to eat in Inverness before you start the North Coast 500? Here are the best restaurants in Inverness.
> Read more: things to do in Inverness
Like real ale? Black Isle Brewery Bar – one of my favourite places to eat in Inverness, the Black Isle Brewery Bar serves up organic beers accompanied by delicious pizzas. Make sure you visit the Black Isle Brewery itself as you head north. The Castle Tavern is a traditional pub restaurant with a huge range of real ales and beers overlooking the River Ness.
Looking for modern dining? The Bruach Bistro & Booze at Ness Walk is inside the 5-star Ness Hotel* or try Rocpool Restaurant a stylish restaurant offering a diverse menu, including Scottish seafood and steaks in the Rocpool Reserve Hotel*. The Contrast Brasserie is inside the Glenmoriston Townhouse* and is known for its contemporary Scottish dishes and extensive wine list.
For brasserie food, the Mustard Seed is a popular restaurant in Inverness and is located in a converted church, this restaurant serves a modern Scottish food. Or head to the the Kitchen Brasserie which offers a range of dishes using locally sourced produce, including fresh seafood. Café 1 is a popular restaurant known for its contemporary Scottish cuisine and commitment to local sourcing.
North Coast 500 restaurants – East Coast
You are on your way! Most people start the North Coast 500 by driving up the east coast of Scotland to the very top of the UK, spotting dolphins at Channory Point on the Black Isle Peninsula and visiting amazing castles along the way. Looking for places to stop for food on the east coast of Scotland? Here are my favourite North Coast 500 restaurants – east coast.
- Evanton – Just outside Inverness, the Storehouse of Foulis offers a range of dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, including Scottish venison and seafood. They also have a farm shop and food hall for locally sourced Scottish supplies for your NC500 journey.
- Tain – Platform 1864 is located at the Tain railway station and serves breakfast, lunches and dinners in the pretty town of Tain – don’t miss picking up some Tain cheese!
- Dornoch – you are spoilt for choice with the best places to eat in Dornoch! Try the Dornoch Castle Whisky Bar & Bistro, Italian food at Luigi, Greens Restaurant, or Highland Larder, street food cart at Dornoch Beach or Mara Restaurant at Links House.
- Golspie – if you are visiting Dunrobin Castle stop at MacGregor’s at the Ben Bhraggie Hotel Golspie.
- Clynelish Distillery – visit the Jonnie Walker Clynelish distillery which has a great modern restaurant on site.
- In Brora – The Curing Yard Restaurant is a hotel restaurant located in the lovely Royal Marine Hotel, Brora. In Helmsdale, stop for a takeaway at Thyme and Plaice. In Dunbeath don’t miss the wood fired pizzas and burgers at The Bay Dunbeath or shellfish to go at Tasty Toes.
- Wick – Mackays Hotel Restaurant – located in the Mackays Hotel, it offers a range of traditional Scottish dishes or try The Printers Rest, or for fish and chips the Harbour Chip Shop.
North Coast 500 cafes and restaurants – North Coast
It is time to drive the far north coast of Scotland, visit the John O’Groats sign and the incredible Duncansby Head Stacks and the most northerly tip of the UK. Then onwards to the harbours and seafood suppers at Scrabster and Thurso before exploring the huge Smoo Cave. Here is where to eat on the north coast of Scotland.
- John o’ Groats – once you have take your photo with the John o’Groats sign, grab lunch at Stacks Coffee House and Bistro, or the Seaview Hotel, or head to The Cabin for fish & chips or breakfast roll.
- Thurso – the most northerly town in mainland Scotland and a popular stop on the North Coast 500, or before a trip to Orkney. My favourite restaurants in Thurso are the Olive coffee shop and Y Not Bar & Grill.
- Scrabster – After you have walk from Scrabster Harbour to Holborn Head for views of Orkney, cliffs, puffins, orcas, blowholes and Clett Rock grab lunch or dinner The Captain’s Galley, this restaurant in Scrabster is known for its sustainable seafood and dedication to using local, seasonal ingredients or try Capilla Tapas bar or grab a drink at Popeyes Pub.
- In Lybster , the Waterlines Cafe is a cafe attached to the Lybster Harbour Museum. In Halladale –stop at The Halladale Inn, or for wood fired pizza at The Melvich Hotel. In Bettyhill, fine dining at Côte Du Nord, the Farr Bay Inn, or the Store Cafe. In Tongue there is Norse Bakehouse, or the Brass Tap Bar at the Tongue Hotel.
- Durness – Smoo Cave Hotel Restaurant is a cosy spot serving seafood and local dishes or book into Sango Sands Oasis Restaurant a casual restaurant at Sango Sawith views of the beach and a diverse menu. Don’t miss Cheese N Toasted at Smoo Cave. Cocoa Mountain is famous for its hot chocolate and chocolate treats, making it a sweet stop on your journey.
North Coast 500 cafes and restaurants – West Coast
Turning south, your NC500 journey will take you through the otherworldly mountain landscapes of Lochinver and Assynt and then the west coast of Scotland coastline pepper-potted with incredible white sand beaches with turquoise blue seas to Wester Ross.
In Kinlochbervie, stop at The Old School Restaurant & Rooms. In Kylesku, the famous Kylesku Hotel Restaurant offers beautiful views of the loch and is known for its seafood dishes. Or for a casual stop, don’t miss Surf and Turf a takeaway hut beside the Kylesku bridge. In Tarbert, stop at The Shorehouse Restaurant a seafood restaurant beside the ferry to Handa Island.
Lochinver is well known as a foodie destination and the pies sold at Lochinver Larder on the village’s main street which are spoken about in hushed tones across Scotland. Lochinver Larder also has an outdoor cafe serving lunches and drinks. Make sure you take a detour down to the Summer Isles, the Am Fuaran Bar is a locals bar serving seafood.
Where to eat in Ullapool
Sitting on the shores of beautiful Loch Broom, beneath the 9 munros of the Fannich mountains and on the famous North Coast 500 road trip route is the pretty highland village of Ullapool. Here is where to eat in Ullapool:
- The Arch Inn is a traditional pub serving seafood and other Scottish dishes. Grab a pint and sit on the wall overlooking the waterfront and ferries departing to the Outer Hebrides.
- If you’re a fan of seafood, then the Seafood Shack in Ullapool is a must-visit serving up fish and chips, langoustines, crab claws, scallops, and more
- The Ceilidh Place is a combination of a hotel, bookshop, and restaurant. It offers a cosy atmosphere, live music, and a menu featuring locally sourced produce.
- The Ferry Boat Inn is lively locals bar.
- The West Coast Deli is a great place to grab all your local produce for your journey on the NC500.
> Read more: things to do in Ullapool
Where to eat in Wester Ross
It is now time to drive through the huge Torridon mountains, past fiord-like lochs to the beautiful Applecross Peninsula where you end your trip driving the famous Bealach na Bà mountain pass – completing the Scotland Route 66.
> Read more: things to do in Wester Ross
Here is where to eat in Wester Ross:
In Kinlochewe, the Kinlochewe Hotel Restaurant is offers traditional Scottish fare in a picturesque setting. The Whistle Stop Cafe in Kinlochlewe is also a popular place for lunch, as is the Bridge Cafe in Poolewe.
In Torridon, the Torridon Hotel and the Inn next door, offer fine dining and pub food with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. It is worth taking a detour to the tiny village of Diabaig, where the Gille Brighde restaurant sites on the shore of Loch Torridon; if the amazing views along the way aren’t enough, the food is pretty excellent too.
On the Applecross Penisula, The Applecross Inn attracts people across the world for its incredible seafood – try the Applecross prawns which are really huge langoustines! The Applecross walled garden serves specialities either straight off the owner’s boat or grown in their own garden.
After driving the Bealach Na Ba stop for coffee and a great lunch at the Bealach Cafe in Tornapress. In Strathcarron, fresh seafood can be found at one of the best waterfront settings in Scotland at the Kishorn Seafood Bar.
Let’s go! Plan your North Coast 500 journey.
Love from Scotland x
I’m Kate – a travel writer and photographer living in Scotland. Love, From Scotland is the Scotland travel guide that shows you where to stay and how to get outside in Scotland.