From ancient inns offering pub food and myriad whiskies, to acclaimed fine dining experiences, there’s a restaurant to suit every weary traveller on Skye
Seamas’ Bar is a whisky cathedral. A huge cabin with a vaulter ceiling, there’s a dazzling collection of malts – over 400 bottle in total from every corner of Scotland. We are between the Red and Black Cuillins, mountains shaped 60 million years ago by fire and rice, the remnants of a huge volcano that was sculpted by glaciers. It is a dramatic setting for a dram.
The Black Cuillin ridge contains 11 Munros and 16 other summits, the most challenging mountain range in the country. Climbers have been glad of the informal hospitality at Seamas’ since it opened in 1987, an extension to the Sligachan Hotel that has sat at this crossroads since 1830.
Whisky flights present the easiest way to navigate your way around the packed gantry of bottles. The introduction to malts starts with Auchentoshan and jumps to a Balvenie Doublewood via Cragganmore and Glenkinchie. The island hopper selection goes from Arran to Orkney with Highland Park, then Jura before returning to Skye with a Talisker 10 Year Old. Enjoy with a locally sourced cheese board, oatcakes and chutney.
Actor Jack Lowden says Scorrybreac is his favourite restaurant in Scotland. “In came this plate of fish that the maître D’ had caught himself that day and the brilliant chef had done daft with it with oranges and sprinkled Douglas Fir through it. The whole thing just worked” he explained in an interview this summer.
The maître D’ is the quietly charismatic Will Humphries, a Welshman with an enthusiasm for provenance. He does most of the heavy lifting in the dining room, both conveying plates and the story behind the ingredients. Ask him questions about wine and local produce before he glides off to a nearby table.
The brilliant chef is owner Calum Munro, son of Runrig singer Donnie. Brough up on Skye, Calum trained in the kitchens on the mainland before moving to Paris. He returned home and started cooking dishes on the family Aga.
The Stein Inn
It started as a holiday daydream. Charlie Haddock and her partner, chef Paul Rankin, had been to a festival at Mhor 84 in Balquihidder. Feeling a little jaded afterwards they headed off in a campervan to Skye to visit their friend Michael Smith at the Lochbay restaurant and recuperate. They visited the pub next door.
“We joked to each other, “wouldn’t it be great to own a place like this?” Charlie explains. “Then suddenly we were in Catalonia with my son on holiday a couple of years later, and Michael calls to say the pub has come up for sale. We put in an offer, and it became a reality. Since then, the family have embraced island life, adding their own story to the pub with rooms, the oldest inn on Skye.