Places that offer something just a bit better, a bit different, a bit special...
Note: Creelers is being refurbished at present. Should be open again by July 2018
Fun, friendly, original, unusual, inventive, passionate, relaxed, informal and delicious - Creelers is a phenomenon to be found just off the main road in Broadford, at NG648231. In the season, they are open from noon till late evening, from Monday to Saturday, serving wonderful food from their eclectic menu. It's Scottish/mediteranean/cajun in style (!) with a genuine emphasis on local produce. It's a seafood restaurant, a gumbo shack, a tapas bar and an art gallery, all crammed into an unpreposessing small building.
Duisdale House Hotel, Sleat
Duisdale House (NG701137) is one of two hotels on the Sleat peninsula that are run by Anne Gracie and Ken Gunn. The other is the nearby Toravaig House. The pair have been putting their mark on Duisdale for a few years now, and the place seems to be thriving.
Duisdale House itself is a fine Victorian lodge, dating from 1867. It sits in lovely gardens on the site of an ancient nunnery, with big views over the Sound of Sleat to the mainland mountains above Loch Hourn. I expect this would be a great place to stay for a few days, and I can certainly recommend it as somewhere to enjoy dinner.
Dulse & Brose, Portree
In recent years there has been a lot of development of eating places on Skye. In the summer, demand is still outstripping supply - especially in Portree. One of the best of the newer restaurants is Dulse & Brose at the Bosville Hotel on Bosville Terrace.
The Edinbane Inn is probably the best pub on Skye. It's run with style and real passion for getting things right, from the atmosphere in the bar to the food on your plate. The food is very much better than you would usually find in a pub in this part of the world, but it's not too pricey. It's beautifully cooked, presented and served - and all in a very attractive dining area.
Ella's Café, Uig
Ella's Café is a gem of a place just off the main drag in Uig. You'll find it just behind the petrol station in the big building on the left called 'The Shieling'. The building looks a bit shabby, but it houses a real treasure of local craft products, old books, clothing and gifts. To the right on entering is the cafe where Ella cooks and bakes some really wonderful stuff.
Jann's Cakes, Dunvegan
Hotel Eilean Iarmain, Sleat
I've never experienced dinner at Eilean Iarmain, but it's a favourite lunch stop when I'm in the area. The people there are nice, the service is good, the location is stunning, and eating in the restaurant is a treat. Not quite up to the standards of the very best on Skye, but pretty good nonetheless. You can eat less formally in the 'An Praban' bar, a particulary nice spot on a cold winter day when the open fire is blazing. A wee bit expensive for bar food perhaps, but decent enough value when you see the portion sizes!
The Skeabost Hotel has had an up and down history. A former MacDonald hunting lodge at the mouth of the salmon river at Snizort, the hotel and its 9 hole golf course are beautifully situated. And today the place is on the up.
Since 2015, when it was acquired by the owners of Skye's Toravaig House and Duisdale House hotels, a lot of investment has been made and the place has been much improved on its former self. The environment and the service are very good indeed, and the kitchen is producing simple food with great flair and precision. It's well worth a visit for lunch or for dinner.
On a fine day, find yourselves a window table: the views over Loch Snizort Beag from the dining room are superb.
Ullinish Country Lodge, Struan
Ullinish Lodge is a fine old building in Bracadale, on the west coast of Skye. Dr Samuel Johnson stayed there on his famous Tour of the Hebrides with James Boswell in 1773, and one of the guest rooms bears his name. I'm sure it would be a nice place to stay, but we live too close by to justify trying it out. The restaurant I can recommend highly though. It is one of the great eating experiences on Skye.