Eating out in Ayrshire and Arran is a real treat, these are regions famed for their delectable cuisine. From succulent locally-farmed meats, cherished cheeses and the freshest seafood Scotland’s west coast has to offer, they offer a wide and varied range of gastronomic delights to tantalize the tastebuds. The majority of eateries use locally-sourced ingredients, showcasing the best seasonal produce available.
Boasting world-class eating establishments, from fine dining to gastropubs and tearooms, Ayrshire and Arran have firmly established themselves as a foodies’ paradise. There’s certainly no shortage of eating out options to suit every appetite and budget. You can choose from gourmet evenings or informal seafood platters eaten al fresco as the sun sets over the sea. There are also specialist award-winning eateries for the most discerning of palates, as well as romantic getaways for that candlelit table for two. For less formal dining options, you can pop into one of the many pubs and bars, where you’ll find not only tasty menus but also Arran Ale and whisky. You’re also sure to meet some of the local characters, as well as enjoy live entertainment with your meal on music nights.
Ayrshire Braidwoods in the village of Dalry is undoubtedly Ayrshire’s culinary crown in the jewel. A Michelin-starred restaurant, it has achieved the coveted award for a 19th consecutive year, making it the longest standing Michelin-starred restaurant in Scotland. Also a former “Best Restaurant in Scotland” winner, the eatery is headed up by the husband and wife chef team of Keith and Nicola Braidwood. Menus consistently feature the finest local produce, from hand-dived West Coast scallops to Cairnhill Farm beef, and each dish is created with passion, flare and devotion to every ingredient.
Set in Trump Turnberry golfing resort, the 1906 restaurant is always above par, consistently offering some of the finest dining in the region – all against the backdrop of the stunning coastline course. Classic dishes are given a modern twist, with inspiration coming from the land, sea and dramatic skies of Ayrshire. With those breathtaking coastal views, dining at 1906 is a special treat not to be missed.
Boasting world-class eating establishments, from fine dining to gastropubs and tearooms, Ayrshire and Arran have firmly established themselves as a foodies’ paradise
Set in the heart of the local fishing community, McCallums of Troon boasts two establishments: The Oyster Bar and The Wee Hurrie, which is a former Best Takeaway Restaurant of the Year winner. The Oyster Bar serves up fresh seafood, from luscious langoustines to mouthwatering moules, while The Wee Hurrie is a masterclass in the humble fish supper. The best bit? Enjoying fresh fish while overlooking the harbour where it was landed! The Catch At Fins Restaurant, in the village of Fairlie, is a delight and specialises in “farm-to-table” produce. With the Fencebay farm shop and smokehouse attached, diners can be sure the produce is as fresh and local as it comes. Chef Richard Finlay creates innovative dishes and can cater to just about every appetite, so it’s little surprise that advanced booking is essential.
In the seaside town of Largs, new kid on the block The Fish Works is quickly becoming a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. It was established in 2017 by husband and wife team Ross and Tiffany Irvin and they have taken their 40-plus years of experience in the food industry to create a relaxed dining experience that offers affordable, no-nonsense cuisine. Five quid squid, langoustine scampi and black pudding fritters are just some of the unique dishes on offer. With a strong community ethos and a commitment to sustainability, The Fish Works is already winning plaudits among food critics.
Slightly inland from the coast in the village of Maybole, The Minishant Inn and Restaurant is a family-run eatery that consistently earns sterling reviews. Following extensive renovations in 2012, owners the Beattie family have made it their mission to provide exemplary cuisine and outstanding customer service. The extensive menu caters to every taste, featuring traditional Scottish fare, as well as curries, steaks, burgers and a too tempting selection of desserts. Vegetarian and gluten-free diners are also catered for. Also in Maybole is the Kirkmichael Arms, a chocolate box-cute establishment that offers hearty pub food made with real gusto. The stand-out dish must be the Bad Boy Burger, which is brimming with toppings, ensuring diners are left full and satisfied.
In the seaside town of Largs, new kid on the block The Fish Works is quickly becoming a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. Five quid squid, langoustine scampi and black pudding fritters are just some of the unique dishes on offer
The Black Bull in South Ayrshire town Tarbolton is another fantastic choice, with an eclectic menu offering up both classic and more unusual fare, including pigeon. As well as offering an extensive drinks selection, the staff are knowledgeable and a warm welcome is always extended. Buckley’s Cafe Bistro, in the heart of Prestwick, offers diners simple and affordable cuisine in a laidback setting. Headed up by a team of passionate food enthusiasts, its innovative approach continues to attract new customers. As well as the Bistro, which serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and light-bites, the team also offer outside catering for private and commercial clients, and host monthly pop-up events, where diners can enjoy more unique dishes. Pulled pork, goats cheesecake and buttermilk pancakes are just some of the tempting treats available.
There are plenty of options around the region for visitors out on a day trip, and perhaps not looking for a full sit-down meal. Bhaile Bakery and coffee shop in the heart of Ayr is one of those places where you can enjoy freshly-made bread, bakes, sweet and savoury treats for breakfast, brunch or lunch. You can also pop in for takeaway options, at any time of the day. In addition to the myriad of Scottish and seafood restaurants in the region, locals and visitors can also experience a wide range of more exotic cuisines, including Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai and American.
Motherland Spice in Saltcoats is always popular, serving up an authentic taste of the sub-continent at very affordable rates. They will even create bespoke dishes for you that aren’t normally on the menu. The Torranyard Tandoori in Kilwinning, owned by Harry Singh and his sons, is famed for its delicious lamb bhoona – with none other than Hollywood A-lister Hugh Grant proclaiming his love for the dish on a previous visit. Pizza and pasta lovers are spoiled for choice in Ayrshire, with a variety of top-notch Italian restaurants dotted throughout the area. Adesso in Irvine, Vito’s Italian in Ayr and Quei Bravi Ragazzi in Troon are just three of the many places to sample la dolce vita.
The iconic Nardini’s Cafe in Largs remains the top choice for gelato fans, who come from far and wide to sample the famous ice cream. An institution since 1935, Nardini’s art deco interior evokes a real sense of nostalgia. Oriental food lovers can tuck into Chinese and Thai food at several locations throughout the area. Thai restaurant At Home in Ayr is a hidden gem well worth seeking out, while the Dragon Royale in Kilmarnock never fails to disappoint. The trend for American-style burger joints is also growing, with some fantastically-themed classic diners popping up. Oceans 11 American Bar and Diner is festooned with memorabilia, making it a great place to visit for food or a quick drink. In Kilbirnie the retro-styled Galaxy Cafe harks back to 1950s America – think harlequin checkered floors and red lacquer furniture. Chicken wings, burgers and the thickest of milkshakes make for a truly authentic American diner experience.
In addition to the myriad of Scottish and seafood restaurants in the region, locals and visitors can also experience a wide range of more exotic cuisines, including Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai and American