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These are our favourite restaurants in Scotland to visit in autumn

Whether you’re looking for a log fire or the cosiest dining room, here are our top recommendations

Published: September 16, 2021
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There are good things about autumn, and Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spiced Latte is definitely not one of them. Instead, we’re celebrating the bars and restaurants that come into their own as soon as it’s nearly time for the clocks to fall back.

If they have an open fire, a view of copper-leaved trees, a hearty rib-sticking menu and a bit of twinkly atmosphere, count us in.

As well as the ones on our shortlist, our foodie friends have also recommended Cringletie House HotelFonab Castle (beautiful views), Loch Lomond Arms, The Pierhouse Hotel, The Sheep’s Heid Inn and Inverness’ Foyers Lodge, with its backdrop of pine trees.

The Copper Dog

The Copper Dog

Along with Edinburgh’s Grain Store on Cockburn Street, this pub and restaurant, part of a four-star whisky hotel, is photographer Alexander Baxter’s favourite hang out.

“It’s MADE for autumn”, he says. They’ve got lots of exciting plans this year (watch this space), and have recently had chefs from London restaurants, Nobu and Scott’s, over to operate a sushi pop-up.

If raw fish doesn’t seem right for autumn, maybe you’ll prefer their truffled macaroni cheese with a black pudding crust.

Find them: The Craigellachie Hotel, Craigellachie, Aberlour

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The Dreel Tavern

This tavern dates back to the 18th century, and is full of atmosphere (and probably a few ghosts).

However, it’s not just the indoors that’s cosy. Vikki Wood, co-owner of The Wee Restaurant in Fife says; “It’s a favourite of ours for outdoor dining, with blankets, hot water bottles and patio heaters. It kept us going in the dark winter days. Very friendly service too”.

The menu is hearty, with dishes including Shetland mussels, crab linguine and duck breast with celeriac puree, roasted shallots, raspberries and jus. (Maybe it should be renamed The Drool Tavern).

Find them: The Dreel Tavern, 16 High Street West, Anstruther

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The Grandtully Hotel by Ballintaggart

Apparently, it’s pretty tricky to get a room at this place, especially at this time of year, when Grantully is looking especially bonnie.

However, you don’t have to stay over to enjoy their menu, which includes an 8oz rib eye with Balnaguard chanterelles and foraged salsa verde, or a pork chop with dahl, pickled shallot and mustard seeds.

If you’re brave enough to sit outside, there’s a wood-burning stove to keep you warm. After lunch, go next door for a hot chocolate at Iain Burnett, The Highland Chocolatier.

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Find them: Grandtully Hotel, Grandtully, Strathtay

Timberyard

“I always enjoy it when the stove is on,” says owner of the Electric Spirit Co, James Porteous.

“I say ‘always’ because it makes it sound like a go all the time. I wish”.

Of course, this restaurant is fab in the summer, but the magic really happens at this time of year, when it gets very hygge, thanks to the textural furnishings, high ceilings and candles.

They have exciting things in the pipeline, with a new chef, James Murray, at the helm. Expect to see his influence on the menu now, with lots of smoking, interesting cuts of meat, fermenting and pickling.

Find them: Timberyard, 10 Lady Lawson Street, Edinburgh

The Flying Stag

Get some insulation on your bones with dinner at the bar in The Fife Arms, which just won Independent Hotel of the Year at The Cateys. 

It features a ‘flying’ taxidermy stag with ptarmigan’s wings by artist, James Prosek.

As well as a pudding of sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce, there are main courses of haggis, neeps and tatties with Lochnagar whisky sauce and skirlie, or wood-fired Wark Farm hogget gigot chop with roast tomato, slow cooked peas and green sauce. 

And they’ve got a darts board, so you can play autumn’s number one indoor sport.

Find them: The Fife Arms, Mar Road, Braemar, 

The Duke’s Umbrella

Gastropubs were made for autumn, especially when it comes to this new venue, with executive chef, John Molloy, also of nearby pizza restaurant Nonna Said, at the helm.

“It’s got candles, big leather seats and fab comforting food,” says creative director of Hollicom, Heather Suttie.

They also claim to offer the best fish and chips in Scotland, with a take that features cod dusted in vinegar powder and served alongside tarragon mayo. You can also visit them for a hefty Sunday roast.

Find them; Duke's Umbrella, 363 Argyle Street, Glasgow

Greywalls

“Ask to dine by the fire in the lounge, not the dining room,” says whisky consultant Blair Bowman.

We didn’t know you could do that at this upmarket hotel, with its Chez Roux restaurant, but we love the idea of eating in their plush lounge, where there’s always a fire on the go, and huge sofas that are almost impossible to prise yourself from.

If you’re eating in here, you can order from their Bar Menu (from noon until 10pm), which includes an Aberdeen Angus Burger and lemon tart for pudding, or the RouXpress Four Course Tasting Plate (available 12-3pm).

Find them: Greywalls, Muirfield, Gullane

Kinneuchar Inn

We can’t be the only masochists who enjoy a walk on a beach in the colder months.

If you’re visiting nearby Elie, to have your hair whipped about and sand blown into your eyes, warm up afterwards at this incredible place.

They have a small lounge area, with a fire, but the dining room is also very couthy (in a stylish sort of way) and they offer cockle-warming dishes including rabbit, smoked bacon and chanterelle pie. If their rice pudding is ever on the menu, we urge you to order it.

Find them: Kinneuchar Inn, Kilconquhar, Fife

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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