Haggis, whiskey, and music, oh my! A guide to eating in Inverness, Scotland
One of my friend and I's favorite things in the city was the distinctly Scottish food that we had the chance to try while there. During the winter, with nothing much to do, the food was absolutely a highlight. This little guide will go in order of best to worst, so that you can get right to the good stuff.
This restaurant is an Inverness must. My friend had been before and brought me there the first night. It was one of the highlights of our entire trip to Scotland.
Haggis might be on your “no way no how” food list, and it was for me too. Who even knows whats in Haggis? Even though it might be a strange assortment of meat and whatnot, here at Hootananny, Haggis is flavorful, exciting, and so very Scottish. It’s on the appetizers menu here so it’s not very expensive and you can even split it among your table.
The first night, I ordered a steak and ale something (I feel really bad that I don’t remember exactly what it was called, but the picture is below) and my friend ordered a seafood soup. Both were spectacular and you can’t go wrong with either.
There’s also an extensive whiskey (technically Scotch, but it’s just called whiskey in Scotland) and alcohol menu featuring some brilliant local whiskeys. I’m not a fan of alcohol, but I certainly didn't mind this.
Maybe, just don’t order a burger from Hootananny’s. It’s not bad, it just wasn’t wonderful so don’t waste your time on it. Instead, stay focused on the amazing Scottish cuisine.
If you stay past 9 or 9:30 (check the restaurant for the exact time), you’re in for a treat of live music. They can been seen in the window of that first photo. A local group of violinists, drummers, guitarists, and accordion players all come together to play lively Scottish and Irish music late into the night.
And if you get enough whiskey in your friend, you might just be able to convince her to do some of that Irish dancing she’s so good at.
This was recommended to us after we discovered that our planned dinner location didn’t actually serve dinner at all but was only a bar.
Very similar to Hootananny, this is a restaurant specializing in Scottish cuisine. Though it can’t beat where we went the first night, Number 27 was also excellent. I persuaded my friend into trying something different for our second night in town.
The haggis at Number 27 was also fantastic, though nothing can surpass that first bite of surprisingly excellent haggis. It’s not to be missed. One of us ordered the steak pie that night and it was wonderful.
We split dessert that night between there and Hootananny’s so that we could see the live music, but the dessert that we shared at Number 27 made our experience complete. We just couldn’t pass up a good cheesecake.
The Rendezvous Cafe
The day that we were stuck in the city due to gray skies and cloudy forecast, we went searching for a coffee pick up. Instead, we found the cutest little cafe.
The shop has a film theme, and we sat there feeling brighter now that we were surrounded by smiling faces and bright blue instead of the cloudy sky. It all created an adorable atmosphere, lined with black and white pictures of old Hollywood stars and film reels.
And the coffee was great, too. I don’t drink coffee regularly, but that was the perfect thing to keep me going that dreary day.
The only reason this is lower on the list is just because it’s not technically in Inverness. This cafe is along the shores of Loch Ness just by Falls of Foyers. We stopped in after our hike to wait for the bus to take us back to Inverness.
It was quiet and homey, with just a few people but couches near the fireplace. We warmed up, feeling incredibly content with ourselves. It was one of my favorite moments the entire trip.
The tomato and rice soup hit the spot after the cold hike. Hot chocolate was just what we needed. And the pastries and desserts offered were tremendous. The cafe alone was worth the trip out an hour on the bus.
And we also bought meringues which were baked when we ordered them. They were then brought out to us with little cups full of caramel sauce to drizzle on. It was heavenly.
One of the funniest moments of the trip occurred just a few minutes later when we saw the bus pull up; I yelled and ran out to door to stop it while my friend gathered our things. Just as I began to slip on the wet patio, someone from inside called out to me saying that the bus would be coming back. We had to wait another 15 minutes to go back into the city. I managed to right myself to avoid falling flat on my butt. So, maybe I wouldn’t repeat everything of that day, but it was a laugh.
Buonissimo Italian Street Food
I hate to leave a bad review, so I won’t say much. I doubt loads of people are going to read this anyways. I don't have any photos either.
We stopped here on the dreary day when we just needed some food in us before we continued on with the day. We bought some white hot chocolate and a piece of pizza each. The white hot chocolate wasn’t worth it, believe me.
Walking around in the cold for 15 minutes didn’t improve the taste of the pizza, I’m sure, so it was awful by the time we finally got around to eating it.
It was a valiant attempt at Italian food, but I think I’ve been spoiled by food in Italy. My advice is to stick to known Scottish restaurants, bars, grocery stores, or known chains in this northern city.
Let me know if you've tried any of these restaurants and what your thoughts are! Or if there are any you think should be added to the list!
And check out my other Inverness guides starting right here!