It’s been a struggle to pick 10 favourite eating places in Inverness as I could easily have suggested another 10. Admittedly a couple are just outside Inverness but well worth the journey and clearly we are spoilt for choice.
1. Rocpool Restaurant – it remains my favourite of all since it never disappoints. It’s a modern Inverness brasserie on the banks of the River Ness with a lively atmosphere, exceptional food and attentive service. Reservations are recommended.
2. Dores Inn – 10 miles outside Inverness on the banks of Loch Ness, the setting for this delightful pub is stunning. Whatever time of year you go the scenery is wonderful. This traditional inn with slate floor and wood-burning stove is comfortable and welcoming and the choice of local food and drink is extensive.
3. Mustard Seed - a very well-known Inverness restaurant with a lively atmosphere. The building on the riverside was originally a church and then a book shop and has been transformed into a modern restaurant serving a European menu with Highland influences and in-season ingredients.
4. The Kitchen - in the same theme the Kitchen is owned by the same group as the Mustard Seed and has a similar menu and equally good standards. It is set in a modern glass fronted building on the other side of the river. It has a brasserie style and includes a pasta and pizza section.
5. Castle Tavern - my favourite pub in Inverness. This traditional tavern overlooks Inverness Castle and features a beer garden, friendly banter and a great atmosphere. It’s a small well-run hostelry and has a varied menu from snacks to full meals and an extensive choice of beers and whiskys.
6. Girvans Restaurant and Patisserie – an old-fashioned cafe style restaurant in the heart of the city centre. Sometimes there is a queue to get a table in Girvans at peak times but it’s not for long and it’s worth the wait. It has an extensive menu offering good value and it’s open all day. Perfect for a coffee and a strawberry tart while you take a break from retail therapy.
7. Little Italy - with a choice of 2 restaurants only 2 doors apart run by the same family, Little Italy is a small, traditional trattoria serving delicious Italian food. Recently they have opened the Little Italy Prosecco and Tapas Bar nearby offering a relaxed informal setting for a taste of the Mediterranean.
8. Riva Restaurant - an Italian restaurant serving fine food and drink. With superb fresh ingredients this is a great restaurant in a handy location with views of the castle.
9. McGonagalls - this is a city centre steakhouse with a wide choice of cooked to order Highland produce. It offers friendly service and delicious food – I recommend the Orkney fudge cheesecake!
10. Oakwood Restaurant – about 4 miles outside Inverness on the road to Loch Ness and Fort William. This friendly restaurant with a delicious menu also has a gift shop. It does not have an alcohol licence but they are happy for you to bring your own bottle and do not charge corkage.