Discover Your Backyard: Where to Eat in Speyside, From Aberlour to Rothes


Speyside has come to be known as the whisky capital of the world, with its many iconic distilleries. However, the area has quietly been developing its culinary skills too. There may not be the choice of restaurants compared to the likes of Edinburgh or Glasgow, but the quality of options in the small area between the Speyside towns of Aberlour and Rothes is hard to beat. Maybe it’s the exemplary quality of the local produce that is used or maybe it’s just the uplifting scenic surroundings, but every meal that we have had during our travels in this area has been to die for.


Read on to discover our favourite places to eat from Aberlour to Rothes.


Don’t forget that at Tailor-Made Itineraries we delight in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting Speyside appeals to you, reach out to us by email. We would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the attractions of Speyside, or indeed, any other part of Scotland.



‘57’, Dowans Hotel


The Dowans Hotel, built in 1888, is perched above the main road running west out of Aberlour. This exquisite hotel boasts an excellent restaurant called ‘57’ and you can choose to eat inside or, as we did, out on the Glenfiddich Terrace. The views over the Spey Valley were the perfect complement to the excellent meal we enjoyed. The menu is seasonal, with ingredients sourced locally and sustainably, with venison and game from the Ballindalloch Estate, fresh fish from Portsoy or fresh lobster from Lossiemouth often featuring on the menu.


Tailor-Made Top Tip: The restaurant’s name comes from the fact that the Dowans sits 57 degrees parallel north of the earth’s equator.




The Mash Tun


For tasty food and a family atmosphere, we’d always recommend a visit to The Mash Tun. Just off the main street in Aberlour, this small hotel, bar and restaurant prides itself on serving a treasure trove of local flavours.


Tailor-Made Top Tip: The Mash Tun has a limited number of tables available therefore booking in advance is highly recommended.



Copper Dog


In the heart of the Craigellachie Hotel, the Copper Dog serves amazing food and drink in a friendly atmosphere. Locally sourced ingredients are used to create perfect traditional Scottish dishes, with a flourish of world influences. Not only was the tomato soup and steak done to perfection, but they also serve a selection of amazing local beers that complement the food perfectly.


Tailor-Made Top Tip: Live music is played every Friday and Saturday night.




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Highlander Inn


Well known in Craigellachie for their homemade soups and meats supplied by Gordon McIntosh of Dufftown, an award-winning local butcher, the Highlander Inn provides hearty pub grub in friendly environment. The menu changes regularly, but if you see the haggis fritters as a starter option, you can be assured of a very tasty treat. The risotto also hit the spot!


Tailor-Made Top Tip: The Highlander Inn boasts an unsurpassed collection of Japanese whiskies, which make a perfect after-meal digestif!



Elchies Estates Farm Shop


This working goat & sheep farm operates an innovative 24/7 vending machine farm shop, retailing local products from local farms and producers, such as cuts of meats, eggs, and bread. So if you are staying self-catering, maybe try cooking your own Speyside meal!




Elchie’s Brasserie, The Macallan Estate


Part of the impressive Macallan Distillery visitor centre, Elchie’s Brasserie is another restaurant that prides itself in sourcing the finest local ingredients. The varied menu takes inspiration from Scotland’s natural larder and dishes are created with seasonal, local produce at the heart. The food is matched by the unique view – the mash tuns of the iconic Macallan Distillery. The delightful lunch can then be followed by a delightful dram of their whisky, served in their glorious bar.


Tailor-Made Top Tip: The brasserie is only open for lunches, on a Saturday and Sunday, and reservations are required.



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Toot's Cafe Bar, The Station Hotel


A fixture in Rothes since 1901, The Station Hotel received a spectacular makeover in 2016. The hotel boasts a well-stocked whisky room, Pagoda’s restaurant and Toot’s Café Bar. Since it was lunchtime, my visit was to Toot’s and found it to be a very relaxing, informal room. The menu was honestly one of the best I’ve seen, but after a lot of consideration, I went with the braised buffalo shoulder, followed by the Golspie clootie dumpling. Another visit will have to be made soon so as to try the rest of the menu!


Tailor-Made Top Tip: An ancestor of the hotel owners, Ernest Forsyth, was known universally as Toot, hence the name of the café. Toot ran the A. Forsyth and Son copperworks business which is famous for making the copper stills for the whisky industry.




Accommodation Suggestions


A wonderful day trip can be enjoyed in Speyside, but to genuinely appreciate this region and its attractions, we would always recommend spending at least two nights in the area. We have been lucky enough to stay at two great self-catering properties in Speyside and can highly recommend them:

**Disclosure: We have been guests of both properties. Regardless of this, please be advised that our recommendation is genuine and authentically our own.**



Conclusion


Speyside is quickly becoming a culinary destination in its own right, with excellent local produce, cooked to perfection. Make a trip to Speyside soon, before this area's secret gets out!


Comment below and let us know what your favourite Speyside restaurant is.


Don’t forget that at Tailor-Made Itineraries we delight in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting Speyside appeals to you, reach out to us by email. We would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the attractions of Speyside, or indeed, any other part of Scotland.


Join us next time on our family adventures when we enjoy the best whisky-themed attractions in Moray Speyside… that do not involve a trip to a distillery. We post every two weeks, and you can subscribe to our latest blog and newsletter here. Until then, happy reading and safe travels.


Barry


Contact Us: tailoritineraries@gmail.com


Tailor-Made Itineraries creates one-of-a-kind bespoke self-guided travel itineraries for adventurous and curious travelers.


Our self-guided tours deliver a personalised and exciting holiday experience that takes the effort out of trip planning.






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