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Where to eat on the North Coast 500


The north of Scotland is renowned for its local produce and the best cafés and restaurants around the North Coast 500 take full advantage of what’s available from the waters and fields nearby.

From roadside snack vans to fine dining restaurants, and everything in between, you’ll find it here.

We’ve chosen a few of our favourite places to eat. In the current situation, you should check in advance with all the establishments to get the most up-to-date information on their opening times and menus.

Kishorn, Strathcarron, Ross-shire IV54 8XA
01520 733 240

This unpretentious, blue-painted, wooden hut is a seafood lover’s paradise.

With views over the sea to Skye, it specialises in locally caught shellfish; with prawns, crab and squat lobster from Loch Kishorn, mussels and oysters from Skye and king scallops, lobster and salmon also obtained nearby.

The restaurant is open plan, allowing diners to watch view their food being cooked.

The “must-have” dishes include garlic scallops with croissant and the award-winning seafood platter.

Shore Street, Applecross, Wester Ross IV54 8LR
01520 744262

Located on the shore in the tiny village of Applecross, a short walk from the campsite, this is a hugely popular pub, serving up hearty food throughout the day.

Given the seafront location, it’s not surprising that the house speciality is local seafood including langoustines, crab, lobster, oysters, salmon and white fish.

But the menu is varied and there are plenty of meat and vegetarian options too.

The pub offers occasional live entertainment throughout the year.

In good weather you can sit outdoors, but be prepared for a wait – in fact it’s perhaps best to avoid the busy lunch and dinner times altogether.

Loch Torridon Community Hall, Torridon, Wester Ross IV22 2EZ
01445 791361

Despite the name, the Wee Whistlestop Café is no greasy spoon. Instead it’s a friendly, cosy bistro with loch views and a menu that includes all sorts of dishes from sandwiches, soup to steak and much more.

Or if you just want to refuel, there’s a good range of cakes on offer too.

After the old location in Kinlochewe closed, it moved to a new premises in Torridon in 2019 and remains as popular as ever.

The service is friendly and it makes for a great lunch stop as you weave your way along the NC500.

We haven’t tried it yet, but the Mexican-style breakfast, with spicy beans and chickpeas in a tomato sauce with baked eggs, sounds amazing!

Harbourside, Culag Road, Lochinver IV27 4LE
01571 844085

Peet’s promises four things: a friendly welcome, fine food, great value and a relaxing atmosphere. You can’t really ask for much more from a restaurant.

Hearty food, with emphasis on local produce, is the key thing here, which is why the place is so popular for lunch and dinner.

Given its position on the harbourside at Lochewe, it’s no surprise that seafood features heavily on the menu.

Sango Bay, Durness, Sutherland IV27 4PZ

A couple of minutes’ walk from the campsite of the same name, the restaurant and bar are friendly, and serve up a selection of basic but hearty pub grub at reasonable prices.

The restaurant has a decent wine list and children’s portions are available. The bar has seating for more than 80 people and there’s a sun room with magnificent views over the sea.

The bar has a  lively local atmosphere with pool, darts and TV, although there’s a quieter family room if you prefer. You can also order takeaway food at the bar if you’d rather eat back on the campsite.

John o' Groats, Caithness KW1 4YR
0844 384 3166

John o’ Groats is a bit grim in general and isn’t renowned for fine dining, but this is a cut above the other eating options in the village.

A modern, clean café/diner that offers coffee, a decent range of cakes and a good brunch and lunch menu – including vegan options.

Not surprisingly for a tourist trap village like this, it’s a bit pricy but it’s by far the best option in the vicinity and it enjoys a great location with views out to sea.

7-9 Dunrobin Street, Helmsdale, Sutherland KW8 6JA
01431 821615

Quirky is probably the best way to describe La Mirage, which claims to be “the North’s premier restaurant”.

The décor was apparently inspired by the original owner’s good friend, Dame Barbara Cartland, so you get the idea. Interior design apart, this restaurant is worth a visit for the huge portions of fish and chips, not to mention the chance of spotting a C-list celebrity or two.

Over the years famous names like Colin Jackson, Michael Portillo, Victoria Wood, Nick Hancock, Paul Young and Edwyn Collins (who lives nearby) have all dined here.

Finished reading?

Want more great information about the North Coast 500? Our guide to Britain's favourite road trip is full of great information and camping advice.

  The camping guide to the North Coast 500

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