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Eating Itinerary, May 2012

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I'm a Seattle-based CH traveling to the UK & Ireland for a three week honeymoon in May. We've done our research and scoured the boards. Do our plans make sense? Are we overlooking a fine experience or missing an opportunity? Also, we'd love to have lunch recommendations -- we'll be on the road a lot so it was hard to make plans.

5/2 Dublin (jet lag) lunch ideas near Nat’l Museum & Nat’l Gallery? Dinner: The Pig's Ear
5/3 Dublin (Newgrange during the day; Traditional Music pub crawl) Dinner: The Tea Room
5/4 Dublin lunch ideas near Trinity College? Dinner: Pearl Brasserie (then transfer to Hilton airport)

5/5 fly to Edinburgh, drive to Hadrian’s Wall, staying at The Green (Cotehill) -- dining recs???
5/6 Dumfries to Cameron House on Loch Lomond – snacks in car, Martin Wishart
5/7 Loch Lomond, dinner recs???
5/8 Isle of Skye, Three Chimneys
5/9 Isle of Skye to Edinburgh, recs along the way???; dinner: Ondine
5/10 Edinburgh lunch recs???, dinner: The Kitchin OR Rhubarb -- which to choose?

5/11 Edinburgh to Dublin; lunch near Rock of Cashel -- ???; dinner in Kinsale -- Crackpots
5/12 Kinsale to Kenmare; lunch recs??? dinner recs???
5/13 Kenmare to Dingle; lunch recs in Killareny???; dinner in Dingle at Doyle's
5/14 Dingle Peninsula day trip; Dinner at Global Village
5/15 Dingle to Doolin; lunch in Limerick lunch recs???; dinner at Roadford House
5/16 Doolin to Galway; lunch recs???; dinner: Bar No 8

5/17 Galway lunch recs???; Dinner: Dunguaire Castle (cheesy, yes, but it looks like a lot of fun)
5/18 Galway; lunch recs???; dinner at Artisan
5/19 Galway to Sligo; lunch recs???; dinner in Sligo recs???
5/20 Sligo to Belfast; dinner recs???
5/21 Belfast to Dublin; lunch recs???; Dinner at The Winding Stair

Any and all advice welcomed!

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  1. Other than Martin Wishart (which was one of our best meals last year - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796961), Loch Lomond is very disappointing. We stayed a couple of nights in Balloch, where the eating options were a couple of pubs and a very touristy place at the "Loch Lomond Shores" devlopment. We went to the touristy place. It was OK and will do at a pinch but I hope you can research somewhere better.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796920

    5 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      Hi I agree with Harters if you have transport better to eat in Glasgow, than Loch Lomond (other than at Martin Wishart).
      As for Edinburgh if you can get a reservation have lunch at Kitchin rather than Rhubarb, myself and some friends had lunch there in October and although the setting was lovely, the food wasn't anything special.

      1. re: curiouseater

        Lunch at Kitchin, dinner at Rhubarb it is!

        thanks!

        1. re: lmcsherr

          I would definitely fit in a trip to The Kitchin but couldn't recommend Rhubarb. It's a lovely setting but is pricey for what is mediocre food.

          As others have said, the food around LL is poor generally. Depending on your plans for the day the only other suggestion that I'd make is the Drovers Inn. It's at the top end of Loch Lomond so would take you half an hour to 45 mins to get to from Cameron House and the food is also nothing too exciting, just basic pub grub. However, I'd be pretty confident that you'd find it an interesting location to at least get a drink and something quite distinct to Scotland. Their website should give you a taste.

      2. re: Harters

        OK, I'm sold. Looks like Cameron House (where we're staying) has a couple of places on site, we'll stick with that, hopefully I'll be able to report a welcome option in that area when we're finished.

        thanks!

        1. re: lmcsherr

          Yep -just had a look at the hotel's "in house" restaurants. Definitely better than anything else I know in the immediate area.

      3. For Belfast, have a look at Ginger Bistro, Mourne Seafood Bar or James Street South. All quite different but all worth a look. Mourne is especially good if you like fish and seafood. If you have time/cash, do have a drink at the beautiful Merchant Hotel bar.

        3 Replies
        1. re: PigsOnTour

          Ginger Bistro looks great -- and a welcome change of pace from all of the seafood meals we'll have had by then.

          thanks!

          1. re: lmcsherr

            hello, sorry just re read your post properly! I really like Martin Wishart so that would be my first choice for Edinburgh, and also a meal at Kitchin. Castle terrace is also getting good reviews although I have not managed to eat there. No 1 at the Balmoral is good also. For small plates with good vibe try the Dogs and the Bon Vivant round the corner does good old school cocktails. I didnt like 21212 and thought a rhubarb was ok.
            Doh, you are eating at Martin Wishart at loch Lomond so might not want to give him all your money, same goes for Kitchin and Castle Terrace as both affiliated to Tom Kitchin...

            1. re: curiouseater

              The Dogs looks great -- and if its better than Rhubarb, we'll be pleased.

              thanks!

        2. Adding on from my previous reply and assuming that you've still got some thoughts on that.

          On 5/8 I'd be tempted to just find a location for lunch that takes your fancy based on the view. The food is poor round Loch Ness if you decide to detour that way. I'd be inclined to stop off at Kintail Lodge on Loch Duich for ease of route and view. If you have the time, then the detour to Elgol on Skye is worthwhile if the weather's good. The views over to the Cuillins are fantastic and the cafe at the end of the road does nice tea and cakes. The Slighan hotel also has great views onto the Cuillins (not looking over the water though and only seeing from one end on). The food is decent enough but mainly worth noting due to it's location of the route up to the top end of Skye.

          On 5/9 the best formal type places for lunch are probably Killiecrankie House hotel at Pitlochry or 63 Tay Street in Perth however you may just want to get down to Edinburgh as it's a long drive you're doing up to Skye and back.

          On 5/10 I'd have thought that for lunch you'd want a break from sitting down after the drives and the sit down meals! Grab a slow cooked pig roll from Oink or take out a baked potato from the baked potato shop and you can stroll the Royal Mile at will.

          4 Replies
          1. re: AWaiting

            This is so helpful!

            1. re: lmcsherr

              the dogs a a very different vibe from Rhubarb, it's informal and kitsch whereas Rhubarb is formal. I think the dogs and some cocktails might be a nice change of pace..

            2. re: AWaiting

              Killiecrankie's main dining room is only open in the evening ( a none too shabby country house hotel meal, FWIW). Lunch would have to be taken in the conservatory and is much more basic than dinner. Not, IMO, worth making a detour for.

              Perhaps the surprise lunch in the area was the cafe at the House of Bruar retail stores. We had an excellent mixed seafood salad for around fifteen quid. Yes, I know it's all bloody expensive Highland crap on sale in the shops but it really was a decent meal - and the food shopping area was pretty good as well.

              1. re: AWaiting

                If you do end up in Perth, 63 Tay Street is wonderful.

              2. I think parts of your itinerary look like a nightmare of driving long distances for very short stays. You run the risk of not seeing the beautiful countryside as you are rushing from meal to meal. I agree with others on here that Loch Lomond is disappointing - both for food and for scenery when compared to other parts of the West coast.

                I think it's madness to drive from there to the northern-most point of Skye for one night and then drive back to Edinburgh. That is at least a 9-10 hour round trip (without stops). We drove to Skye for two nights a few years ago, and everything took longer than we thought - the island is bigger than you think and the roads are only small.

                In your position, I would only spend one night at Loch Lomond (well, I wouldn't even spend one night there, but it looks like you are booked in for a meal there already) and then have two in Skye or one en route to Skye. You could take the slower drive up there via Oban, and have your lunch there at Ee Usk or Coast. The drive north from Oban up the coast is special, and there are other good eating options in and around Port Appin (Airds and the Port House Hotel). I haven't been to either, but they are places which get good recommendations and look like they are worth the stop,

                Going south again, if you find yourself in Fort William at lunch time, try Crannog for good food - this is a very out of date recommendation, but it was great when we went there a few years back.

                Carrying on south, do go via the A82 over Rannoch Moor, it's eerily beautiful.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Theresa

                  There is not much choice at all in Fort William but a dinner there last summer was very disappointing. I would take the view that Crannog is only so busy because there's nowhere else (except, of course, the ludicrously archaic Inverlochy Castle)

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796868

                  1. re: Theresa

                    I would agree, you've got so little time and so much lovely unique lovely scenery to experience (not that I'm biased) loch lomand is not the best Scotland has to offer in terms of scenery - would it possible to stop at loch lomand for lunch and stop overnight somewhere prettier, past fort william for example - or to take the above recommendations around Port Appin? I find restaurants in Oban poor value for money, lunch for me would be spent given the weather on the benches next to the seafood shack on the pier (the green one) and eating whatever takes your fancy from there - hot smoked salmons, crab legs, crayfish tails etc. Or fish and chips!

                    If you take the recommendation of going home over rannoch moor, a nice stop is Balqhuidder at the Mhor tea room, it can be a bit of a fight for service as its teeny and a gorgeous location, meaning it can get busy,

                    http://mhor.net/tea/

                    I would agree with the don't bother about Rhubarb, you're paying for the special occasion vibe not the food. Make dinner the Kitchen and lunch - well depends your mood.

                    I would add my voice to the roads, there are bits that are rather wyndy and hard to overtake which can be exhausting in itself if you're stuck behind a bus or a slow driver who speeds up on the fast bits.

                    Have a wonderful time.

                    1. re: orchidalbion

                      thanks!

                    2. re: Theresa

                      Thanks for the feedback!

                    3. There is a great place at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel north of Loch Lomond. We were there for lunch.

                      Also a neat place is The Drovers Inn, just north of Lock Lomond ( closer than Orchy) , authentic Scottish pub in the middle of a spooky stretch of road. Super rustic. The pub dining room furniture was all 200 yrs old. Timeless sense while you are there.

                      Too bad you are not going to Glasgow - both Number 16 and the ubiquitous chip were great.

                      You are going to want to stay longer on the islands, hopefully your plans are flexible.
                      I concur, roads are small and take time to drive.

                      Lastly, I am excited for you. I looooove Scotland and can't wait to go back. Have fun.
                      Bring goretex. :)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MiniMonster

                        Bridge of Orchy is a good lunch stop:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796865

                        1. re: MiniMonster

                          Thanks -- Glasgow will be on the next trip's itinerary. :-)

                        2. By way of background: our original trip was 100% in Ireland for 3 weeks. Then I discovered that Charles Jencks' Garden of Cosmic Speculation was for its one day of the year open on the 6th -- so we added a trip to Scotland. Three Chimneys and Martin Wishart Loch Lomond (Cameron House has a Hawking tour that sweetie has requested for a bday gift) presented themselves as food destinations . . . and lo, 1-2 day trip became a week.

                          I had actually begun to wonder if we didn't want to stay longer at the House Over By, OR eliminating it altogether and adding a day in Edinburgh and giving us an additional day of touring more of Scotland.

                          That said, we know we'll be returning for a Scotland-focused trip at some point in the future.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: lmcsherr

                            A tip for Garden of Cosmic Speculation is that there's long queues to get in depending when you get there, so make sure you get a toilet break in beforehand otherwise its portaloos! And you park in a field, so in case its wet, make sure you've got shoes you don't mind getting muddy in.

                            1. re: orchidalbion

                              Thanks! We're planning on arriving ~11am and I've got waterproof shoes to muck about in. :-)