Scotland - last minute recs anyone?! (before 8/25/09)
My father-in-law and his wife will be arriving in Scotland Wednesday (8/26) for two weeks and I just got their itinerary, so sorry for the last minute request.... have sent them one thread I found which may be helpful but looking for any more good ideas.
Any chowy spots of particular interest in these towns? They like all types of food and particularly love to meet locals and go off the beaten path (they will have a car).
Stirling (2 nights)
Oban (2 nights)
Fort William (2 nights)
Isle of Skye (2 nights)
Inverness (2 nights)
Aberdeen (1 night)
Aberdeenshire (1 night)
Edenburgh (1 night)
Glasgow (1 night - last night)
It has been 6 years or so since I have been in Scotland and I was on a budget. So - I don't have any reliable knowledge of specific restaurants. Also, we tended to stay away from high end restaurants. Having said that - our experience over a month was that every meal we had in a good pub was better that any meal we had in a mid-range restaurant. The best meals we had were in pubs that brewed there own ale. I suggest asking the staff at the hotels or B&Bs fro local recommendations. Many pubs actually serve "real meals" as opposed to the bar food we generally think of. I had lots of excellent fresh salmon, marvelous beef and lamb.
Shortly into our trip we decided that stopping for a sit down luch was taking too much time so we got into the habit of shopping at a local store - even supermarkets had wonderful and huge cheese sections. We would get some cheese, bread, ale (frequently local) and find a spot by a stream, a loch or other lovely view. We also used this opportunity to do some Scotch sampling. Most liquor stores sell a large variety of airline sized bottles of Scotch. Many of the varieties are not generally available in the US. Those picnics were lovely experiences.
Both the picnics and pubs were also good occassions to meet locals.
I hope this is helpful - I felt bad that you got no recs at all. Sorry I don't have more specific information. In any case - they will have a great time!
For Oban, try the Summer Isles Hotel (and they should take the ferry over to the isles themselves too, Tanara Mor is beautiful).
For Stirling, the Ardeonaig Hotel gets good reviews, though I haven't been.
For Skye, the Three Chimneys is well regarded, and beautifully remote.
In Edinburgh, they could look at Martin Wishart and Skippers in Leith, though I haven't been back for 5 years (shame on me, I'm from there!) so there may well be some other good new places. And they MUST go to Valvona and Crolla, Italian deli come eaterie, bit of an institution. Oh, and the Witchery. Very gothic place on the Royal Mile which serves surprisingly contemporary food. And if they want the real deal Scottish 'fish supper' experience, then the Rose Street Fryer on Rose St. You can get deep fried mars bars and pizza but they can stick to cod and chips...as long as they ask for their chips with 'salt and sauce'.
Fort William - Inverlochy Castle gets good reviews, or Crannog.
Hope they have a great time!
I've eaten in all the main restaurants in Oban, and while they are all of a similar standard, the seafood temple is extremely good value, the portions are huge, for £15.95 we had two fillets of haddock and one of lemon sole and were told if I wanted more sole to just ask. It has beautiful views ( I was luck enough to be there to watch the sunsetting over Kerrera) and lovely informal atmosphere. Not open all the time and I would highly recommend reservations.
If they have a spare day in Oban I would suggest a day trip to Mull, the west side is beautiful. Drive to Ulva and take the ferry across and have lunch at the boathouse.
If not, Kerrera is a really easy trip to make. There's a nice little cafe place that does soup and lunches near the castle.