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12 of the best gastropubs in Scotland

In years gone by, the food that you could expect at your local wouldn’t have been much more than a packet of crisps and some nuts.

Published: May 30, 2019
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But today there are plenty of great gastropubs to choose from across the country, offering delicious comfort food and cosy surroundings. Here's our pick of the best.

The Scran & Scallie, Edinburgh

(1 Comely Bank Road, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH4 1DR)

Tom Kitchin's Scran & Scallie

The Scran & Scallie, which claims to be “Edinburgh’s best gastropub” is Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin's more casual offering.

With rustic, homely interiors and a menu of modern Scottish cuisine, it’s no surprise this gastropub has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand, which recognises restaurants that serve high-quality food at a reasonable price.

Stravaigin, Glasgow

(28 Gibson Street, Glasgow G12 8NX)

Stravaigin has become a Glasgow institution for its adventurous dishes, which combine local ingredients with global flavours.

It has featured delicacies like grey squirrel, hedgerow herbs and sea urchins previously and continues to surprise guests with its ‘exotically Scottish’ menu. There's also an eclectic wine and beer list.

The Tinsmith, Dundee

(11-13 Old Hawkhill, Dundee DD1 5EU)

The Tinsmith's sandwiches, served with crisps.

Those who like their pub food in its original format should head to The Tinsmith in Dundee.

Gastropub favourites include bangers and mash, burgers and mac and cheese, and a ‘pick a pie’ option where you can choose from a range of homemade pies. Make sure to try the deep-fried Mars Bar with Irn-Bru ice cream for dessert.

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Brandon's - One Canonmills

(1 Canonmills, Edinburgh EH3 5HA)

12 of the best gastropubs in Scotland

Picture: Brandon's - One Canonmills

Brandon's is the go-to place for a blood-orange Margarita on a Friday night. At the back of the pub are cosy booths where you can eat delicious fare at unpretentious gastropub prices.

The menu features a sophisticated twist on comfort food classics with 'plates' such as truffled mac and cheese, double cooked fried chicken and venison and black pudding Scotch egg. The pub also has its own vinyl collection.

The Ship Inn, Elie

(The Toft, Elie, Fife KY9 1DT)

Lunch at the Ship Inn. Picture: Ship Inn

Finding a seat in this seaside gastropub’s bustling beer garden in summer is tricky but you will be rewarded with stunning views over Elie and Earlsferry beach.

With bare stone, tartan and leather interiors, The Ship Inn serves up an excellent array of locally sourced fish and seafood. If you’ve got room for dessert, the cranachan is a real treat.

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The Dores Inn, Loch Ness

(The Dores Inn, Dores, By Loch Ness, IV2 6TR)

The Dores Inn by the shores of Loch Ness

The Dores Inn is right on the banks of Loch Ness and there are buses to transport you to and from Inverness so you can enjoy the drinks freely.

Some of the menu highlights are steak from the Highlands, an aubergine and mushroom burger and sticky toffee pudding - as well as plenty of gluten-free options. One of the beer gardens has picturesque views over the loch.

McGinty’s Meal and Ale, Aderdeen

(504 Union Street, Aberdeen AB10 1TT)

One of the last independent pubs in Aberdeen, McGinty's has an extensive menu of comforting meals and a wide selection of cask ales.

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You can also choose from more than 100 whiskies, rums and gins. The haggis bon bons are a treat.

The Old Smiddy Inn, Thrumster

(6 Stewart Crescent, Thrumster, Wick, Caithness)

The Old Smiddy Inn, Thrumster

Nestled in the tiny hamlet of Thrumster near Wick, you’ll find The Old Smiddy Inn -  the epitome of a traditional Scottish pub. With friendly staff, and a coal fire that roars all-year-round, this one has it all.

From the menu of comfort food classics, we’d recommend the highly regarded steak pie and homemade chips. The pub also has live folk music and ceilidhs.

The Pitcairngreen Inn, Perth

(Pitcairngreen, Perth PH1 3LP)

The Pitcairngreen Inn prides itself on being Perthshire's hidden gem. Head Chef Calum Macleod shows off his passion for the area's produce at this lovely country pub with an array of meals made with seasonal ingredients.

The pub’s handmade chips with the skin on are not to be missed.

The Cross Keys, Kippen

(Main Street, Kippen, Stirling FK8 3DN)

They Cross Keys pub, Kippen

Built in 1703, The Cross Keys is the oldest inn of its kind in Stirlingshire. With a real fire, a beer garden and local ales, it offers everything you would expect from a traditional pub.

The food is excellent and has won several industry awards, with dishes such as slow cooked oxtail, braised pigs cheeks, pork belly and roasted Perthshire chicken featuring on the menu. It's haute cuisine meets down to earth dining.

Chinaski’s, Glasgow

(239 North Street, Glasgow G3 7DL)

The food at Chinaski's, Glasgow

Chinaski's is hidden among the bustle of Glasgow's Charing Cross but locals know and love it for its great food, beer and live music.

The compact, candle-lit venue celebrates German-American poet Charles Bukowski and has a beer garden which feels miles from the city. There are burgers, steaks and pizza, or you can choose from the vegan menu. Make sure to try one of the many bourbons on offer.   

The Sorn Inn, Ayrshire

(35 Main Street, Sorn, East Ayrshire KA5 6HU)

The Sorn Inn

With wooden beams and a decadent menu, this may be the only pub in the village of Sorn, Ayrshire, but it has all you need in a traditional pub.

Chef Craig Grant has won many accolades and his fine dining and brasserie menu features seasoned cuts of aged Scotch beef and daily blackboard specials. The Sunday roast is top notch.

Claire Daly is a freelance journalist based in Edinburgh. She writes for The Scotsman, Scottish Woman and Made magazine. She comes from a family of chefs and especially enjoys puddings, unusual drinks and locally sourced produce.

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