Isle of Islay

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Islay - Lossit Bay Atlantic Coast
Islay - Lighthouse Port Ellen

Where to Eat and Drink on Islay

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As the island finds itself on the outer edge of Western Europe the prevailing westerly winds send unpolluted mild air from the Atlantic to the island. That, combined with a fertile soil, the presence of peat, rich clean seas and plenty of rain, is the reason why Islay produces top quality whiskies.

These same perfect conditions apply for Islay's many farmers and estates so they can produce the best Islay beef, lamb and game while the fishermen are responsible for the top quality sea food. The waters around Islay and Jura produce some of the best shellfish in Scotland.

And of course the many restaurants on Islay are keen to have these quality foods on their menu. Freshly landed langoustines, hand-dived scallops

or home grown oysters are regularly served up. All that combined with an Ale from the local Brewery or a dram from one of the eight distilleries on Islay and you are in for a treat.

Overview of Restaurants on Islay:

An Tigh Seinnse Portnahaven


An Tigh Seinnse - This wee pub/restaurant is located on the southern tip of Islay in the picturesque village of Portnahaven. The welcoming staff serve a great variety of Scottish and other dishes including Pizza. An Tigh Seinnse is a bit far off the centre of Islay but well worth a visit. Tel: 01496 860224. More info

Ballygrant Inn & Restaurant


Ballygrant Inn - The Inn enjoys an excellent reputation for high quality food, which we hope you will sample during your stay. A variety of dishes created from Islay beef, Islay lamb, Islay venison, Islay pork and local fish and shellfish feature regularly on our menu's as do the finest fresh vegetables and fruit. The food at the Inn is all prepared in our own kitchen and is based on the philosophy of The Natural Cooking of Scotland, which encourages the use of fresh local and Scottish produce. Visit website

Bowmore Hotel


Bowmore Hotel - Bowmore Hotel is situated in the island's 'capital', Bowmore, in Jamieson Street and close to all the village amenities. It is a family run hotel with twelve bedrooms and is open all year round. The Hotel cooking makes excellent use of Islay's local produce including beef, lamb and seafood all of which is served in the beautifully appointed dining room. Visit Website

Bridgend Hotel


Bridgend Hotel - Bridgend Hotel are passionate about promoting their amazing local produce. Whether it's vegetables from the garden, game from Islay Estates or ingredients from the local suppliers / producers of beef, lamb, shell fish and delicious local oysters. We welcome guests to our Lounge Bar, Dining Room and Katie's Bar ensuring that they have a memorable dining experience. Visit Website

Harbour Inn Hotel Bowmore


Harbour Inn - Serving the finest of local produce, our award winning restaurant has introduced a newly updated and inspired menu that spans time honoured favourites and incorporates bold new flavours. Our dinner and lunch menus frequently change to reflect seasonal ingredients, ensuring the highest levels of flavours and freshness. Fresh ingredients, unique preparation and professional service, surrounded by a warm and welcoming atmosphere, are the hallmarks of The Harbour Inn and Restaurant. Visit website

Lochindaal Hotel


Lochindaal Hotel - Our small cosy restaurant in the Lochindaal Hotel serves local fresh food; the speciality dish being the large fresh Seafood Platters; a combination of Lobster, Langoustine, Scallops, Oysters, Crab and Mussels. 24 hours notice is required for the Seafood Platter. Other dishes can be prepared using only the freshest of ingredients, 'our freezers are empty - but our fridges are full!' Meals (including seafood platters) can also be delivered locally within the village of Port Charlotte. Visit Website

Loch Side Hotel Bowmore


Lochside Hotel - From full Scottish breakfasts to dinners of Islay scallops washed down with a bottle of sauvignon blanc, the Lochside kitchen is open all day. Local crab, langoustines, scallops, mussels and oysters all feature regularly on the Lochside's summer menus, alongside halibut from the neighbouring island of Gigha, prime sirloin steaks, racks and shanks of lamb, as well as old favourites like fish and chips and Steak and Islay Ale pie. Visit Website

Port Askaig Hotel


Port Askaig Hotel - Port Askaig Hotel is a picturesque, family run Highland Inn on the shores of the Sound of Islay. Our 'Starboard' Restaurant is are open all year to non residents with group bookings for mixed or purely seafood buffets and Malt Whisky parties catered for. 30 covers maximum in the Bistro but food can also be served in either bar or our harbourside beer garden. Visit Website

Port Charlotte Hotel


Port Charlotte Hotel - The food is certainly among the best on the island, a lot of people say its the best on Islay. If you're eating in the restaurant and manage to get a table on the sea side you also get a beautiful view with your meal. Local produce, freshly prepared to order and served in elegant surroundings is the central theme of the restaurant. Apart from its world-renowned single malt whiskies, Islay exports some of the best seafood in Britain. Visit Website

Port Mor Port Charlotte


Port Mor Port Charlotte - The cafe is run by Fiona Cunningham and Islay Bell and is open from Easter till October. Summer opening times: Mon - Sat 9.00am - 8.00pm (Sunday 10.00am - 8.00pm) Serving breakfasts, lunches and evening meals. Also teas, coffees, home baking, Porelli ice cream, snacks and takeaways. Visit Website


SeaSalt Bistro - Located in the village centre of Port Ellen, only a stones throw away from the harbour, SeaSalt is a welcoming restaurant to take delight in fresh local caught Seafood, Argyll sourced Meat, Pizza's, Pasta's and a lot more. SeaSalt also offers takeaways. Visit Website

Taj Mahal Bowmore


Taj Mahal - Indian Restaurant and take-away in Shore Street Bowmore. Opening hours 12noon - 2pm lunch, 5pm - 11pm Evening meals. Open seven days a week (including public and bank holidays) from 9th of july 07 to 10th of september 07. Closed on every Monday afterwards until further notice.


Yan's Kitchen - formerly known as the 'Croft Kitchen' is located opposite the Museum of Islay Life, just before you enter the pretty village of Port Charlotte. Yan's Kitchen is a great place to take delight in fresh local caught Seafood, Argyll sourced Meat and Tapas Dishes. The service is friendly and the views are magnificent. Visit Website


The Islay Hotel - Our widely acclaimed restaurant in Port Ellen provides excellent local food, simply prepared and sensibly priced, with breakfast served daily from 7.30am, lunches from 12 noon to 2.30pm and dinners from 6pm to 9pm. We also have fresh coffee, tea and home baking during the day, every day. And it all comes with friendly, attentive service. Visit Website


The Old Kiln Cafe - An excellent lunch restaurant in the former peat kiln of the Ardbeg distillery located within the reception area of the distillery. The Old Kiln is famous for their excellent lunches which are always very well attended. Open 10am - 4pm Monday to Friday all year round. Open weekends from end of May to end August. Tel: +44 (0)1496 302244

White Heart Hotel Port Ellen


White Hart Hotel - The White Hart Hotel is set in the beautiful scenery of Port Ellen. Offering a more formal setting for dining out, our restaurant provides good food complemented with the house wine list. Visit Website

Tearooms, Lunchrooms and Cafes on Islay
Dotted over the island are quite a few other places where you can have a coffee and home baking and/or a (light) lunch and enjoy genuine island hospitality, see the list below. Do check for opening times please, especially in the winter season.

  • Burnside Lodge in Port Wemyss more info
  • Cottage Restaurant in Main Street Bowmore
  • The Celtic Coffee House (Roys Bowmore) more info
  • Cyber Bistro in Port Ellen more info
  • Debbies Minimarket in Bruichladdich more info
  • The Drome Cafe at Islay Airport
  • Gaelic Centre in Bowmore more info
  • Kilchoman Distillery Cafe more info
  • Labels in Ballygrant in the former Post Office
  • Outback Art Gallery Sanaigmore Bay more info
  • Persabus Ceramics Cafe near Port Askaig more info
  • Taste in Bowmore next to the Distillery more info

Pubs and Bars on Islay
Most Pubs and Bars on Islay can be found in the Hotels and Inns listed above. Some of them have regular traditional Scottish and Irish live music and most of them serve bar meals.

  • An Tigh Seinnse Portnahaven More info
  • Ardview Inn in Port Ellen
  • Ballygrant Inn Whisky Bar
  • Bowmore Hotel Bowmore
  • Duffie's Bar in the Lochside Hotel
  • Katie's Bar at Bridgend Hotel
  • Harbour Inn Bowmore
  • Lochindaal Hotel Port Charlotte
  • Port Charlotte Hotel Bar
  • The Port Bar at Port Askaig Hotel

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Books from Amazon

Norman Newton - Islay guide

Buy Islay Pevensy Guide from Amazon A small book, loaded with gorgeous colour pictures of this beautiful Island in the Hebrides. Has a useful Information and Places to visit Guide. Includes a map, distillery info and lots more.

Margaret Storrie - Biography of an Island

Buy Margaret Storries Book from Amazon Dr Margaret Storrie gives a compreh account about the past and present of Islay. Anyone wishing to learn and understand the history of Islay will find this book fascinating.

Gilbert Carmichael - Old Islay

Buy Old Islay from Amazon A lovely book with many pictures from The Old Days on Islay including the distilleries, peat cutting and steamers at Port Ellen

George Robertson - Islay and Jura

Buy this book from Amazon George Robertson (Lord Robertson of Port Ellen), has produced an intriguing and, dare I say it, eccentric collection of photographs of his favourite islands Islay and Jura.

Hamish Haswell Smith - The Scottish Islands

Fascinating book dealing with all the beautiful islands Scotland has to offer. A must for the Island Hopper.