Cafes and chippies, pubs and restaurants – the best places to eat around the Trossachs
The Trossachs have made a real name for themselves in foodie circles, with amazing produce – venison, lamb, award-winning yoghurts and cheeses – and some really fabulous cafes and restaurants. Here are some of our favourite places for a taste of the Trossachs, all within about a half-hour drive of our chalets.
MHOR Bread, Callander
This fab, wee artisan bakery and cafe has a touch of Glasgow’s West End about it, run by the same infectiously upbeat Lewis clan who run the cracking MHOR Fish upmarket chippy just along the high street. Fantastic flat whites, notorious giant meringues, stonking haggis pies.
Deli Ecosse, Callander
This cracking deli is run by the super-friendly Julie Carmichael and her Mum. It’s in a lovely airy, converted 19th century church hall, with great coffee, dangerously delicious cakes, a lovely wood-burning stove, and daily homemade breakfast and lunch.
Courtyard Cafe, Fintry
A gorgeous cafe in a beautiful converted farmhouse high up in the Fintry hills, the Courtyard Cafe is run by award-winning dairy queen, Katy Rodger. “Our pastures, our herd, our milk, our dairy, naturally…” runs the tagline for her line of stunning yoghurts, crème fraiche, crowdie and ice creams – no wonder they won Scotland Food & Drink’s Product of the Year in 2012. Luckily the landscaped lawns of Culcreuch Castle are right next door to help you walk it all off, with breathtaking views over the Trossachs.
Woodhouse Cafe, Kippen
Hugely popular, this light, airy cafe is run by the lovely eco-minded Lamb family (cushions are made from recycled family jumpers, coffee grounds are turned into compost etc), who opened here in 2012. Nice outdoor decking for sunny days, fab quiches and tarts, with a great deli and gift shop attached (Chris’s wood is on sale here).
The Wee Blether Tearoom, Kinlochard
The Wee Blether is reached from Lochend via one of the best drives in Scotland, dipping and twisting along Loch Ard with mighty views of Ben Lomond. The cafe has an amazing setting with decking literally just a pebble toss from Loch Ard, plus great soups, cakes the size of your heed (!), and loads of walks and cycle trails on Forestry tracks for afters.
The Pier Cafe, Stronachlachar
We love this wee cafe by the pier on Loch Katrine as much for how you get here as for its food! Serving lovely scones and sandwiches overlooking the loch (with walks to Rob Roy’s childhood home for afters), the Pier Cafe is reached either by a spectacular drive, a breathtaking 14-mile lochside cycle, or by steamer from Loch Katrine pier.
Brig o’ Turk Tearoom, Brig o’ Turk
Traditional Scottish fare gets a fun East European twist just back from Loch Venachar at Brig O Turk Tearoom, where Hungarian owners Veronica and Csaba Brunner have rescued a cute, disused 1920s tearoom built as a meeting point for Glasgow’s cyclists who would hit these quiet backroads at the weekend. Great atmosphere, cute, bothy-chic interior, best goulash this side of Budapest.
The Cross Keys, Kippen
Run by our good mates, Brian and Debby, this cosy country pub has a just-right hint of city buzz, drawing a good gang of locals with its roaring fires, excellent real ales, panoramic beer garden, and its amazing food. The only pub mentioned in the Sunday Times Travel Section’s Hot 100 hotels list in 2015, it was also winner of the Scottish Bar & Pub Awards’ Gastro Pub of 2015.
Lion & Unicorn, Thornhill
Good pub grub (steaks are notoriously good), rotating real ales, friendly staff – The Lion & Unicorn is a great place to meet locals, especially if you like shouting at the football on the big screen.
Black Bull, Gartmore
Any excuse to visit this lovely hilltop village is OK by us. There are easy forest walks here, and the Black Bull – run by the famously dynamic Liz MacGregor – is a friendly place for a blether with the locals and for reasonably priced food and drink.
Lake of Menteith Hotel, Port of Menteith
A lovely 25-minute stroll along the lake from our log cabins and chalets, the Lake of Menteith Hotel has an amazing setting (nearly as good as ours!) with fantastic views over the loch from the bar, conservatory dining room and lawns. Start with haggis bonbons and drinks on the lawn watching ospreys dive for trout; order the pan-roast hake on chorizo and four-bean stew, and you may never leave.
Venachar Lochside, Loch Venachar
All but dipping a toe in Loch Venachar, this panoramic cafe has vast picture windows out over the water. A great menu full of Scottish produce – or just come for tea and cake on lovely lawns beside the loch.
MHOR 84 & Monachyle MHOR, Balquhidder
Both are utterly brilliant, mixing great food with upbeat, informal service in quirky, West End Glasow-meets-country house hotel surrounds. Both restaurants are run by the Lewises, mates from way back, who also run MHOR Bread artisan bakery/cafe and MHOR Fish upmarket chippy in Callander. Four miles from Rob Roy’s grave up a beautiful, big-mountain glen with red deer and Highland Cows, Monachyle MHOR is the outstanding foodie choice in the Trossachs, but we love the mismatched, boutique decor at MHOR 84 – and amazing Eggs Benedict brunch if you’re up here for a walk or a cycle from Callander on National Route 7.
Roman Camp, Callander
A beautiful country house hotel with fine-dining by the banks of the River Teith, Roman Camp – so-called because of the earthworks in the meadows south of the gardens, thought to be Roman remains – is where we’ve gone for many a family celebration.
Cromlix House, Dunblane
Opened to great fanfare in 2014, Andy Murray’s country house hotel has a modern, hip conservatory dining room overseen by Albert Roux, with a headchef who previously headed up Andrew Fairlie’s restaurant at Gleneagles. It should be wildly pricey, but Andy’s mum, Judy, who calls a lot of the shots, has kept prices low to encourage a local crowd. So 3-course lunch costs £28.50, 3-course dinner £31.50. Amazing value.
The Kailyard by Nick Nairn, Dunblane
Fine-dining at Dunblane Hydro, with Nick’s stamp – delicate, unfussy fare, letting the produce speak for itself – all over it.
OK, it’s a wee bit more than 30 minutes from Lochend, probably more like 40, but so worth the extra 10 minutes to eat at Scotland’s only two-Michelin-star restaurant. Amazing, magical dining room in the Gleneagles resort, taster menu with wine pairings that