1. Best Seafood & Fish: River House Restaurant
2. Best High-End Dining: Rocpool Restaurant
3. Best Neapolitan Pizza: Cheese & Tomatin
4. Best Coffee: Perk Coffee & Doughnuts
5. Best Pub: MacGregor’s
6. Best Brewery: Black Isle Brewery Bar
7. Best Burgers: Coyote’s
8. Best Cocktails: The Wee Bar
9. Best Breakfast and Brunch: Girvans Restaurant
10. Best Wine Bar: The Walrus & Corkscrew
Best Seafood & Fish
Located on Scotland’s northeast coast, where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth, you’re guaranteed seriously fresh seafood in Inverness, and River House Restaurant does the best in town.
Starters include pan seared Shetland scallops and seafood crumpet, whilst the main menu promises River House fish stew, halibut, hake and sea bass.
There’s also a dedicated oyster menu and mussel menu, cooked in different styles based on your preference.
I can’t recommend highly enough the Oyster Hour at River House, offering oysters from around the coast of Scotland at £1 a shuck, every day between 4:30pm – 6pm.
Paired with a glass of champagne, you’ll have the most leisurely afternoon of your life.
Best High-End Restaurant
If you want a special evening in Inverness, you can’t go wrong with Rocpool Restaurant.
A bit of an institution when it comes to premium dining, Rocpool has been trading for 20 years and is an integral part of the city’s food scene.
Found on the banks of the river with views over to the castle, the contemporary brasserie offers modern European dishes using a wealth of local produce from the Highlands region.
How does sea trout gravadlax with pickled beetroot & whipped mascarpone sound for starters? Followed by Scotch fillet of beef carved pink with braised puy lentils.
The wine list is brilliant, and the knowledgeable staff are more than happy to suggest drink pairings for your food.
If you want a cheap evening dinner option instead, then Fig & Thistle is a great little casual European restaurant with very reasonable prices.
Alternatively, Café One offers a fusion of European and Asian influences and a dedicated vegan menu.
Best Neapolitan Pizza
Cheese & Tomatin is hands down the best pizza spot in Inverness.
Offering traditional Neapolitan style pizza straight from their wood-fired oven, both locals and tourists are mad for this place.
Homemade sourdough bases are made with Italian ‘00’ grade flour, topped with secret Napoli sauce and sprinkled with mozzarella, locally grown organic vegetables or meats.
The ‘Scotch’ with Stornoway black pudding & Cockburns haggis topped with Orkney smoked cheese is something special, as is the vegan Miss Genova with Left Coast Culture vegan cheese and pesto.
Cheese & Tomatin also have a restaurant in Aviemore (Cairngorms National Park) – it’s a great spot to refuel after some winter snow sports or summer hiking.
You’ll find the best coffee in Inverness at Perk Coffee and Doughnuts.
Coffee culture isn’t massive in the Highlands, so I was very excited to find Perk in the centre of Inverness, brewing up coffee to rival that of Glasgow’s West End.
Using beans roasted in Glasgow by the team at Dear Green, Perk’s oat flat white was pretty flawless.
The famous doughnuts are freshly made on site and often sell out by about 1pm – arrive early so you don’t miss out.
The doughnut menu rotates constantly and the ‘doughnut of the day’ is something to be admired (don’t worry vegans, there’s always a plant-based choice or two on the menu).
Perk often do a whisky and doughnut collaboration with The Malt Room, a great little Inverness whisky bar, where drams are paired with the perfect doughnut.
MacGregor’s Gastro Pub is the best pub in Inverness.
From the pictures of local Highlanders hanging on the walls, to the Scottish menu championing local ingredients, MacGregor’s pub really captures the essence of this region and makes you feel right at home.
With whisky tasting, craft beer and Scotland’s finest traditional musicians playing a tune or two, you’ll always be entertained at MacGregor’s.
Another great pub is The Castle Tavern.
Built in the 1700’s and sat beneath Inverness Castle, the real ale pub serves local brews, as well as an excellent traditional cullen skink and homemade venison pate.
Black Isle Bar is the tap room of Black Isle Brewing Co, the best brewery in the Inverness area.
The brewery itself is located 7 miles north of the city on the Black Isle Peninsula, but the flagship bar downtown showcases all of the best beers on offer, as well as excellent homemade wood-fired pizza.
Their Spider Monkey IPA was the best beer we tried, but they also do some great blondes and porters.
Black Isle Brewery is 100% organic and the team genuinely care about sustainability.
On their farm, the herd of Hebridean sheep are fed on the spent grain from the brewery, and they grow the organic veggies for the pizzas and salads.
You’ll also find another Black Isle Bar in Fort William inside a renovated church, it’s probably the liveliest spot in town for a swallie or two.
Coyote’s is the best burger spot in Inverness.
If big dirty double-patty burgers with excessive toppings is your vibe, then you won’t be disappointed.
From premium beef burgers piled high with smoked streaky bacon and Monterey Jack cheese to the vegan cheese burger with homemade plant-based burger sauce, all burger lovers will find something they need to eat on the menu.
Dirty fries and milkshakes are optional, but highly recommended.
Genuinely brilliant cocktails can be found at The Wee Bar.
Don’t bother scanning for a mojito or a margarita on the menu here, as The Wee Bar offers a unique list of crafted cocktails you won’t find anywhere else in Scotland (or in the world for that matter).
My personal favourite is the ‘Brexit Through the Gift Shop’ with rhubarb and ginger gin, strawberry liqueur, pear cognac, pressed apple, citrus, sugar, whites and bitters.
The ‘Buckfast Negroni’ and ‘Highland Spritz’ with Irn-Bru reduction are also great.
Best Breakfast and Brunch
Head to Girvans for the best brunch in Inverness.
Operating as a restaurant and pâtisserie, Girvans are famous for their homemade stuffed breakfast croissants filled with the likes of creamy mushrooms or brie and bacon.
The French toast and eggs benedict are also great, as is the barista coffee.
Best Wine Bar
The Walrus and Corkscrew is undoubtedly the best wine bar in Inverness.
The cosy spot offers an extensive wine list to suit all price ranges, and the wine tasting room upstairs can be booked for private tastings and grazing boards.
I hope you enjoyed my guide to the best food & drink in Inverness. Don’t miss my guide to the best luxury shipping container stays in the UK & Ireland here!