Every year, dining establishments across the UK are awarded accolades by the AA Rosette scheme.
Established in 1956, the purpose of the rosettes are to assess the quality of food served by restaurants and hotels.
A number in the Highlands have received commendations and here we are focusing on those given 2 or more rosettes.
According to the AA Restaurant Guide, success or failure in achieving rosettes is based on one or more visits by an AA inspector to a hotel or restaurant.
Around 10% of restaurants nationwide are of a standard that is worthy of one Rosette and above. Two rosettes are deemed excellent and three outstanding. Four and five are the pinnacle.
Edinbane Lodge on the Isle of Sky is the only restaurant on our list to have four AA Rosettes, and is the first in the Highlands to achieve the feat.
The honour is even more remarkable considering there are just six four-Rosette restaurants in all of Scotland, and 54 in the UK.
The accolade is testament to the hard work of chef patron Calum Montgomery and his staff at Edinbane, which opened in August 2018. Calum has even been able to fit in an appearance on this year’s Great British Menu around his busy schedule.
Fine dining restaurant Edinbane offers a four, six and 10-course tasting menu, which celebrates the Isle of Skye’s larder.
Courses vary from £55 to £115, with an option to add wine pairings for an additional charge. The menu focuses on the seasonal ingredients on Skye.
The Dipping Lugger
The Dipping Lugger, located in the picturesque harbour town of Ullapool, only opened its doors around 12 months ago and has already made quite the impact.
The restaurant with rooms is the first of its kind in the country to have interiors by renowned designer Eve Cullen-Cornes and the owners, Helen Chalmers and Robert Hicks, work with local craftspeople to incorporate unique decorative pieces inside.
They include Highland Stoneware, Simon Eltringham and Charlotte Watters.
Not only that, but the establishment houses an 18-cover restaurant where diners can tuck into a selection of innovative, eye-catching and delicious dishes.
Address: 4 West Shore Street, Ullapool, IV26 2UR
One of three venues in the north to boast 3 AA Rosettes, you’ll be spoiled for choice at The Cross at Kinguissie.
With two evening menus, including a three-course one and a signature tasting menu. The six-course tasting version offers guests the opportunity to match each course with carefully selected paired wines and features a range of seasonal produce showcasing Scotland’s bounty.
Address: Kingussie, Tweedmill Brae, Ardbroilach Road, Kingussie, PH21 1LB
Station Road Restaurant at The Lovat
Since 2011, head chef Sean Kelly has continued to develop the offering at the restaurant and has been hugely successful in gaining numerous accolades all at the same time.
He is passionate about food and has gained the hotel’s Instagram page 89K followers as a result of his stunningly artistic dishes.
Leading his team, the brigade works to put as much effort into every plate meaning quality is at the heart of everything they do.
Address: A82, Fort Augustus, PH32 4DU
1887 Restaurant at The Torridon
Last but not least is 1887 Restaurant at The Torridon. This venue is situated in the glens of Wester Ross and benefits from a wonderful scenic surrounding.
Named after the year the hotel was built, the restaurant is contemporary and the team is headed up by head chef Paul Green. Together they serve up delightful British cuisine using fresh produce from The Torridon Farm, its kitchen garden and surrounding land and lochs.
Did we mention the whisky bar has more than 365 malts?
Address: Annat, By Achnasheen, Wester Ross, IV22 2EY
The Three Chimneys
This restaurant is one of Scotland’s most beloved venues when it comes to serving up excellent food. It is world-renowned and has welcomed many a famous face in its time.
Head chef, Scott Davies, make the most of the Isle of Skye’s rich bounty and cook seasonally to ensure only the best produce is used on their plates.
Blending ancient Nordic techniques with Scottish provenance, the team serves up memorable plate after memorable plate here.
Address: Colbost, Dunvegan, Colbost, Isle of Skye IV55 8ZT
Seasgair by Michel Roux Jr
Esteemed chef Michel Roux Jr opened Seasgair to the public earlier this year in April. Serving up the same five-course menu across three dining areas in the venue, diners can expect to be served some dishes by the chefs who make them, creating a unique dining experience.
The set menu also helps the venue reduce food waste and ensures quality across the offering.
Address: Inverlochy Castle, Torlundy, Fort William PH33 6SN
Loch Bay Restaurant
Owned by chef Michael Smith, this restaurant pays homage to the Isle of Skye’s seafood by putting an elegant French twist on it.
Indulge in a multi-course menu which highlights the very best of Skye’s shellfish and fish from the surrounding waters.
From scallops to mussels, not to mention lobster, hake, prawns and much more from time-to-time, you’re guaranteed a meal like no other.
Address: 1 Macleods Terrace, Stein, Isle of Skye IV55 8GA
Kilcamb Lodge Hotel
Located on the shores of Loch Sunart, experience loch-side dining like never before.
The beautiful surroundings make the hotel one of the most gorgeous spots in Scotland, and, you’ll be served up some of the best dishes in the country, too.
From the fine dining restaurant to the more casual brasserie, be sure to dine in both for a true flavour of Kilcamb Lodge Hotel.
Address: A861, Strontian, Acharacle PH36 4HY
Duisdale House Hotel
Whether you’d prefer to dine al fresco, enjoy a dram by the fireplace, or indulge in a delicious experience in the dining room by candlelight, Duisdale House Hotel has it all.
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can experience it all at the venue, although dinner most certainly seems to be the main highlight for many of its visitors.
From partridge to crab, to halibut, monkfish and duck, not to mention the dessert options of Rassay whisky smoked marshmallow, apple tart tatin and more, there’s plenty to devour.
Address: Aird of Sleat, Isle of Skye IV43 8QW
Toravaig House Hotel
This small boutique house is located on the enchanting Isle of Skye and enjoys incredible views due to its locaion on the Sleat peninsula.
During the day you can enjoy cream teas and charcuterie boards, however, in the evening guests dine at the venue’s sister hotel, Duisdale, where they are treated to a small but varied menu.
Address: Manse Of Sleat, Isle of Skye IV44 8RE
The Prince’s House
The cooking style here is French classic and while this charming former coaching inn was constructed in the 17th century, the food is modern and fresh.
Offering both a bistro where casual, handmade meals are constructed, there is also a fine dining restaurant where the food is based on a classic Highland offering.
Committed to using local ingredients when possible, the venue’s aim is to support the economic growth of those growers and farmers around them.
Address: Glenfinnan PH37 4LT
Built within the walls of a 1th century castle, this venue’s location is like no other.
With its breathtaking views and unique offering, there is nothing quite like Mingary Castle.
Chef patron Colin Nicholson promises a meal that will showcase the west coast of Scotland beautifully, with local and seasonal ingredients used throughout his cooking.
Dinner service is from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, daily. A selection of tables are reserved for non- residents throughout the season
Address: Mingary Castle, Kilchoan PH36 4LH
Chez Roux Restaurant at the Rocpool Reserve Hotel
Indulge in five-star luxury at Rocpool Reserve Hotel in the Highland capital where quality is very much at the heart of the offering.
The menu in the restaurant comprises four starters, mains and desserts, keeping the menus short and concise.
Guests can also enjoy afternoon tea or can sample the R Bar menu which features lighter bites and snacks.
Address: Culduthel Road, Inverness, IV2 4AG
Bunchrew House Hotel
This four star hotel near Inverness has its own unique character and sense of style.
Dining in the restaurant, which boasts stunning views of the Black Isle, is a real experience and the venue has retained its two rosettes for the past 20 years.
Sourcing ingredients locally, the head chef works closely with the team to transform the local larder into a masterpiece on every plate.
Address: Inverness, IV3 8TA
Serving up delicious food inspired by flavours from across the globe, Rocpool has been a popular haunt in Inverness for many years.
The contemporary brasserie has stunning glass frontage showcasing delightful views of the river and the ancient castle.
The food alone is second to none and features a range of local produce which is lovingly served up by a first class team.
Address: 1 Ness Walk, Inverness, IV3 5NE
The boutique hotel is situated just moment from Glenmorangie’s whisky distillery and benefits from views of the Moray Firth coast.
Using the same passion for their whiskies, the team design the most elegant dishes to impress guests staying at the hotel.
While the restaurant isn’t open to non-residents, an escape here is well worth investing in, if not just for the food alone.
Address: Fearn by Tain, Tain, IV20 1XP
The Inch Hotel
Steeped in history, this iconic hotel offers up exceptional dining with some of the country’s top chef talent in the kitchen.
Specialising in highlighting the very best of Scottish cuisine, guests can indulge in dishes drawing on the country’s heritage and devour a range of starters, mains and desserts in the comfortable surroundings.
The firm states that 90% of what is served comes direct from Scotland so they can trace each ingredient back to how it was grown, raised or made.
Address: Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire, PH32 4BL
Links House at Royal Dornoch
Experience extraordinary food at Links House at Royal Dornoch’s restaurant Mara which opened around nine months ago in April 2021.
Featuring an array of sustainable dishes that are made with local produce no more than 20 to 50 miles away, this restaurant means business when it comes to serving up good food made well.
Address: Golf Road, Dornoch, IV25 3LW
Forss House Hotel
Using local produce from neighbouring estates and the seas that surround Scotland, the kitchen team at Forss House Hotel use high quality products to craft each and every dish at the venue.
Said to be the only 2 AA Rosette restaurant in the Caithness area, diners can be wowed by the talents both back and front of house.
The dinner menu is smaller with just four starters, mains and desserts featuring, however there is something to suit all tastes.
Address: Forss, Thurso, KW14 7XY
Russell’s Restaurant at Smiddy House
Open for dinner only Russell’s Restaurant in the village of Spean Bridge offers an outstanding choice of dishes which beautifully showcase Scotland’s bountiful larder.
Proud to focus primarily on using local produce, diners will find ingredients including scallops from the Island of Mull, Arisiag prawns and Loch Duart salmon on the menu, including lots more.
The meat on the menu is sourced from Yorkes of Dundee and everything is traceable meaning the chefs and diners know the animals have been reared well and treated with care.
Address: Roy Bridge Road, Spean Bridge, PH34 4EU