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 such as freshly landed langoustines and hand-dived scallops as well as home grown oysters. 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.
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 - 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 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 and Restaurant - 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 - 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 - 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
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
Peatzeria Bowmore - Peatzeria is a Pizza restaurant for families, serving lots of other dishes as well, in Shore Street Bowmore. The restaurant is open from 12 noon to 10pm serving meals all day and cater for those who are coming in for a coffee or an ice cream.More Info
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 - 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 Community Cafe - The cafe is run by Ranga, former chef of several Islay Restaurants, and is open every day during the season (March to October). Opening times are Monday - Sunday 8am - 9.00pm Serving breakfasts, lunches and evening meals. Also teas, coffees, home baking and ice creams. Kids have a playpark next door. 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 - 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.
The Cottage Restaurant - The Cottage Restaurant can be found in Main Street Bowmore next to the Islay Shop. The Cottage is Multi-Cuisine and they serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and coffee. They also do takeaway and cater for groups or parties. They are open 7 days a week from 10am to 7pm. For more info visit this page
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
18 Restaurand and Bar - The Machrie - Overlooking the 18th green of the famous Links course and the ocean beyond, 18 is the beautifully decorated restaurant & bar of The Machrie Hotel. Located on the first floor of the hotel, the impressive restaurant has a vaulted glass ceiling and an outdoor terrace. Open daily Breakfast: 07:30 -10:30, Lunch: 12:00 – 15:00, Dinner: 19:00 – 22:00. 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
Braehouse Gallery in Portnahaven 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
Gate 1 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
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