Aw, shacks: The best seafood stalls, shacks and takeaways on the west coast
- Caroline Rye
- 11 August 2020
Celebrate the joy of no-frills coastal dining with an unparalleled view of the sea and the hills at these seafood spots
There's something about seafood delivered fresh off the boat, cooked simply and eaten outdoors with a view of the sea and the hills. Caroline Rye celebrates the joy of no-frills coastal dining with a roundup of the west coast's finest seafood shacks, stalls and takeaways
Piles of creel-caught langoustines or oysters from the cold, clear waters of Scotland's west coast aren't just for fancy restaurants or upscale hotels. Some of the best seafood can be enjoyed from the simplest of operations, no reservation required (though do remember that openings can be seasonal). Think juicy lobster in a cardboard tray, dripping with butter mopped up with a paper napkin, eaten perched on a bench at the end of the harbour or, perhaps more realistically, as you take shelter in your car or camper van.
For those getting on or off the boat at Oban, or even just visiting for the day, the Oban Seafood Hut serves everything from lobsters, cooked fresh to order, to stuffed seafood sandwiches. Grab a table beside its cheery green hut on the pier behind the CalMac terminal. Down the coast, The Oyster Bar and Restaurant at Ellenabeich on the Isle of Seil does feature four walls and a roof, but offers takeaway and outdoor seating to enjoy a plate of oysters with a view of the Atlantic.
Further south on the Kintyre peninsula, the Skipness Seafood Cabin serves filled rolls, locally caught shellfish and salmon from the Skipness Smokehouse. Enjoy outdoor seating in its pretty garden or huddle under the handy awning if the rain rolls in. Nip over on the ferry to Lochranza, meanwhile, and down the east coast of Arran at Corrie you'll find Mara Fish Bar & Deli serving up the local catch.
If you're rolling off the ferry from Oban on to Mull, veer southwest to discover another wooden cabin, the Creel Seafood Bar at Fionnphort. Nestled on the pier for the crossing to Iona, you don't need to be making the pilgrimage across to enjoy Isle of Mull scallops fried in garlic butter or bowls of cullen skink. If you like your seafood early doors, they also offer a fishy breakfast menu. Or head north to Tobermory, where the Fishermen's Pier Fish Van serves all manner of local seafood to accompany a stroll around the famous harbour.
Venturing out to the community-owned island of Ulva, don't miss The Boathouse for its homegrown oysters and local potted crab. On Islay, SeaSalt Bistro & Takeaway, while not strictly a shack, does offer seafood to go, with lobster burgers and seafood and chips on the menu, offering an alternative to pizza and kebabs. Heading north across the waves to Lewis, the family-run Uig Scallop Shack is another unpretentious spot; try a fat, white bread roll piled high with scallops and Stornoway black pudding.
On the island of Grimsay, just below North Uist, the unprepossessing venue of a marine supplies shop also hosts the Namara Seafood Café, selling lobster, crab and mussels, including takeaway options. Returning to the mainland, whether you're travelling via Ullapool or just visiting the area and its spectacular scenery, The Seafood Shack serves up locally landed seafood from a trailer near the ferry terminal. Dishes such as langoustines in garlic butter, crab cakes or haddock tempura fly out the serving hatch in eco-friendly takeaway packaging.
As the road winds south, Nanny's at Sheildaig, Torridon, offers squat lobster sandwiches, locally-smoked salmon and a child-friendly menu. Or for a slightly fancier affair, venture down to the head of Loch Kishorn, where the pastel blue cabin of Kishorn Seafood Bar serves everything from a fish finger sandwich to a super-sized seafood platter. At Kyle of Lochalsh, seek out Buth Bheag's Fisherman's Kitchen for cullen skink, seafood salads and even more langoustines, served from a timber-clad shop. Whether you travel by bridge or ferry to the Isle of Skye, The Oyster Shed at Carbost is handily located for a visit to the nearby Talisker distillery. Selling a wide selection of local fish and shellfish, including platters and unshucked oysters if you fancy the challenge, it's testament to Skye's popularity that this is open all year round.