AS well as showcasing some of the most stunning landscapes Scotland has to offer, the NC500 also provides a wealth of opportunities to taste some of the country’s finest food.

From fare you might expect from Scottish restaurants – like pies and seafood – to what you might not – Caribbean food on the west coast? – the NC500 really has something for everyone.

These are the five best food spots that we stopped at on our tour of the NC500.

They should be in order for someone travelling the route anti-clockwise, starting from Inverness.

READ MORE: I drove the NC500 – these are the ten best stops you must not miss

Black Isle Brewery Bar


Inverness is most people’s starting point for a trip on the NC500, and a visit to the Black Isle Brewery Bar is sure to get the journey off on the right foot.

Located in the centre of the city, the bar is connected to the organic brewery and farm about 10 minutes north.

As well as an enviable selection of beers and other tipples, the bar serves up wood-fired pizzas topped with local and seasonal ingredients, often sourced from that aforementioned farm.

If you miss your chance to visit the Black Isle’s location in Inverness, they do have another in Fort William (which is not on the NC500) if you’re heading that way.

Puldagon Farm Shop and Restaurant

One of the undisputed iconic symbols of Scotland is the Highland Coo. These hairy beasts feature in many a tourist’s holiday snaps – but here they play a different role altogether.

People stopping at Puldagon Farm Shop – outside Wick – will have the chance to order a Highland Coo burger, made from meat reared right there on the farm.

Beef from Highland cattle is meant to be lower in cholesterol and fat, and higher in protein, than other cows. If you haven’t tried it, there is surely no better place to do so.

Although, apparently there’s been some kind of stooshie with Highland Council about putting a sign for this place on the actual NC500 route (it’s very slightly off it), so be sure to set your SatNav.

Lochinver Larder

There are few joys greater than a truly perfect pie, and Lochinver Larder – unsurprisingly found in Assynt’s Lochinver – has them in droves.

Their offerings include sweet and savoury, veggie and carnivore options. We took ours (a venison and cranberry and a broccoli and cheese) to the nearby Culag Woods and its bordering beaches, but there is no need to stray as far for a scenic spot to snack.

It seems the pies have become so popular that they are now delivered to “anywhere in the UK mainland”.

That is not something I realised until double-checking details for this article, and the intervening time feels wasted.

The Seafood Shack

One of the principal stops on the NC500, Ullapool isn’t lacking in places offering seafood from the west coast waters. Though I can’t claim to have tried them all, it is hard to imagine many doing anything better than the minimally named Seafood Shack.

The shack’s ever-changing menu ensures that plates are always stacked high with whatever the local fishermen have landed that day. And there are often other stalls offering local produce in the same yard.

We had langoustines with bread and butter, simple stuff that let the seafood do the talking, and some creamy mussels as well. It was the best seafood we had on the NC500.

Black Pearl Creole Kitchen

Gairloch has a food offering completely different to anything else we tried – or even spotted – on the NC500: the Black Pearl Creole Kitchen.

Serving up authentic Caribbean fare like jerk chicken and chickpea curries, this restaurant brings something really different to this traditional fishing village.

It was pretty quiet when we visited, but can apparently get very busy, which is understandable once you’ve tried it.

Honestly, this was the food stop on the NC500 that we didn’t even know we needed.

Extra mention: Kishorn Seafood Bar

This one is different to the others, but as perhaps one of the most famous seafood stops on the NC500, it’s worth a mention. Unfortunately, that’s because I cannot recommend Kishorn’s Seafood Bar. 

Now, I don’t mind paying a little more here and there, but you expect to get a little more for your money.

If you’re charging £15 for six oysters, you expect them to be shucked by someone who knows what they’re doing. To have shell in every one without fail just smacks of an amateur. 

That price – £15 – was also what they were charging for three langoustines. Three. Ullapool’s Seafood Shack offers six for 50p less. And they manage to spell the word correctly.

We also ordered a “vegan chilli bean burger” which seemed to have come from the freezer section of the local supermarket. £10 that was. 

Kishorn Seafood Bar seemed to us to be trading off its reputation rather than its food.