With its breathtaking mountain scenery, rugged country walks and sprawling lochs all ripe for exploring, it’s no wonder that Glencoe is seen by many as the gateway to Scotland’s great outdoors. Every year, the area draws in countless adventurous travellers, from those looking dust off their canoes to the keen beans, raring to tackle the mountain trails. Naturally, all that fresh air and physical activities brings with it some hungry bellies! Thankfully, Glencoe is blessed with some of the country’s finest restaurants and watering holes. Today, I’m going to talk you through some of my faves, because if there’s one thing I love, it’s a tasty meal in a beautiful setting!
Whether you’re in need of some nourishment after a strenuous climb or just looking for somewhere to rest those piggies with a view that’ll have you sinking to the point of no return in your chair, here’s a handy wee guide to some of Glencoe’s best bars, restaurants and cafes:
For coffee & cake…
“Because sometimes you just need something wee to munch while plotting your next adventure!”
The Glencoe Cafe
Perfectly placed in the heart of Glencoe village, a warm welcome awaits at the Glencoe Cafe, along with homebakes, locally-roasted coffee and even a collection of maps, for those in need of help finding their way!
Crafts & Things Coffee Shop
This quirky wee art cafe is an absolute treasure trove, selling everything from beautiful local artwork to knitwear and hiking gear. Their menu is equally varied, so whether you’re looking for a cosy hot chocolate to warm up with or you’re in need of a light meal before you set off for the hills, this is a fab wee pit stop.
Quarry Cafe @ The Ballachulish Visitor Centre
I had no idea until my most recent visit that Ballachulish was once known for its slate production! You can even check out the former (and surprisingly picturesque) quarry in Ballachulish, which conveniently enough, sits right across the road from its lovely visitor centre. Grab yourself a cup of something warm before plotting your next move with the lovely staff who’ll be on hand to help you make the most out of your time in the area.
“I don’t know about you, but I feel like every hike needs rewarding with a beautiful meal and a crisp pint! Here’s a few suggestions for perfectly-placed refuelling stops.”
Ben Nevis Inn & Bunkhouse
A little further afield, I know, but for many hillclimbers, a visit to Glencoe will likely be combined with a trip to Britain’s highest mountain. The base of Ben Nevis sits less than one hour’s drive from Glencoe, just above the coastal town of Fort William. It’s an easy (and scenic) drive between the two, and certainly makes for a day well spent. Better still, the gorgeous Ben Nevis Inn sits right at the base. On a clear day, it offers unbeatable views of the summit. Even on the murkiest days, however, the restaurant is packed full of character and serves gorgeous pub food, often with the added benefit of folk music in the background! Whether you’re just visiting Ben Nevis or returning from the summit, make sure to stop off at this lovely pub and take in the views.
Glencoe Mountain Resort Cafe
Situated in the beautiful Rannoch Moor, the Glencoe Mountain resort is the perfect place to head if you’re looking to take in the stunning views of the iconic Buachaille Etive Mor. During the summer, the centre offers chairlift rides up the mountain, as well as biking, tubing, hill-walking, climbing and photography sessions. In the winter, it tends to be flooded with ski enthusiasts; not surprising, given that the resort has both the longest and the steepest ski run in Scotland! There’s lots happening at this busy hub, but even if you’re just looking for a quiet spot to soak in the surroundings, you won’t go wrong with a visit to the panoramic log cabin cafe.
The Green Welly Stop @ Tyndrum
This busy wee town of Tyndrum is a beautiful place in and of itself, but it’s particularly known as a convenient crossroads between those arriving from the Trossachs National Park and those heading towards the mountains of Glencoe. You’ll find a plethora of restaurants waiting to feed hungry travellers and hillwalkers, but if you’ve only time to explore one, I’d make it the iconic Green Welly Stop! Their cafeteria-style restaurant serves up hearty meals, but their adjoining shops are also full of all sorts of weird and wonderful knick-knacks to help you to enjoy the surrounding wilderness.
“Scotland’s West Coast and the surrounding lochs are teeming with life, and provide some of the country’s most delicious seafood! Freshly-caught, local produce are the name of the game in these Glencoe gems.”
Loch Leven Seafood Cafe
Established back in 2006, this much-loved restaurant started life after great demand, when the owners’ shellfish business gained such popularity that the local community begged them to start serving meals too! This tells you something about the level of skill and authenticity which goes into the food here. Everything is locally caught, including their daily-supplied and self-caught shellfish. Expect everything from oysters and razor clams to diver-harvested scallops and local Loch Linnhe langoustines, served with lemon & herb butter. This is serious stuff, for serious seafood lovers.
The Glencoe Gathering
This lovely local bistro is as much known for its lively nightlife as it is for its food. You’ll find all sorts of seasonal produce here, but they’ve a particularly good reputation for serving up a classy fish & chips. Some will even argue that it’s amongst the best fish suppers you’ll find in the Highlands! Them’s fighting words!
This list would not be complete without a humble chippy! Only in the case of Quarrier’s Kitchen, I’m not sure that the word humble quite cuts it. This is a brilliant takeaway, offering up some of the most delicious fish & chips in the country. If the weather’s on your side, then it’s hard to imagine a better way to spend an evening than with a pitstop here before finding yourself a scenic spot by the loch to enjoy your meal. Sometimes the simple things in life are simply the best.
For dinner with a view…
“Let’s face it; it would be hard to own an establishment in this neck of the woods that didn’t come with a view! These restaurants, however, are particularly special, and certainly worth booking ahead if you’re looking for somewhere spectacular to wind down after a busy day.”
Loch Leven Hotel
Having eaten here several times, I can safely list the Loch Leven Hotel as one of my favourite restaurants in Scotland, let alone the Glencoe area! Set on the banks of the eponymous loch, just across from the hamlet of Ballachulish, this restaurant wins on so many levels. Friendly staff? Tick! Cosy bar? Yup. View? You bet ya! Dog friendly? Very much so! And that’s before I begin telling you about the food…
Lochside Restaurant @ The Isles of Glencoe
“Think lochside dining, sun disappearing behind the mountains as the water laps up on the shore. This is your reward for boulders clambered, gorges crossed and peaks conquered.” This is the welcome message you’ll receive from the beautiful Isles of Glencoe hotel. Couldn’t have said it better myself! This gorgeous establishment sits right on the shore of Loch Leven, offering what some would argue is hands down the best view in the village. The food is equally impressive, inspired by the land and the sea, and full of colourful creations like haggis gnocchi and a surf ‘n turf platter, served Scottish-style!
The Holly Tree Hotel
For a different loch view, take a short drive over to the lovely Holly Tree Hotel, which overlooks the impressive coastal Loch Linnhe. If the view isn’t enough to capture your heart, the food certainly will, with an ever-changing and exciting menu focusing only on seasonal, local produce. The hotel is also home to the lively Captain’s Bar, if you fancy taking in the same setting but with a more informal vibe.
For cosy vibes…
“Becomes sometimes the right atmosphere can make everything taste just that little bit sweeter…”
The Clachaig Inn
If the Clachaig had to be described in one word, it would almost certainly be ‘characterful’! This historic pub is packed to the gunnels with charm, legend and interesting stories, having provided accommodation to travellers for over 300 years. Today, the inn attracts a lively and outdoorsy crowd, drawn by the warm vibes and regular folk music that give this place its personality. Thankfully, it serves up some pretty tasty nosh too, and offers a seriously impressive ale and whisky collection to sample your way through.
The Laroch’s restaurant is run by Michelin star chef, so if you’re looking for quality grub, this place should absolutely make its way onto your itinerary. What makes the Laroch special, however, is that it avoids any feel of pretentiousness, instead retaining the feel of a comfortable country pub, with oodles of historic charm and a welcoming team that’ll have you feeling right at home.
The Bothy Bar
If it’s a barry boozer you’re after, you won’t go wrong with a visit to the Bothy Bar in Glencoe village. Offering incredible views out towards the Pap of Glencoe, this is a cracking place to take in the sunset. What better than washing down those views than with a cold, crisp pint, or an unfussy yet delicious pub meal? The added extras of pool tables, board games and tellies showing football make this a perfect spot for families and pals to unwind and kickback amidst the laidback nature and beautiful setting.