• The Tower (Edinburgh; tel. 0131/225-3003): The town's hot dining ticket lies on the top floor of the Museum of Scotland, an unlikely venue for one of Edinburgh's best restaurants. Featuring fresh seafood and an innovative modern British cuisine, The Tower serves some of the city's tastiest fare, made with the freshest ingredients.

 

  • Martin Wishart (Edinburgh; tel. 0131/553-3557): Many food critics hail this dining room as the best restaurant in Scotland. If it's not that, it ranks among the top five. Out in Leith, Greater Edinburgh's port-bordering town, it serves a modern French cuisine -- dishes composed with quality products and filled with flavor.
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  • Aizle, Edinburgh: The name rhymes with hazel and is the old Scots word for spark, or glowing ember. You’ll be shown a list of seasonal ingredients, but you have no say in what’s going to arrive at your table in the stylishly simple dining room. You’re in the capable hands of Chef Stuart Ralston, who will create an imaginative five-course tasting menu for you.

 

  • Timberyard, Edinburgh: A giant red door opens into what was once a costume and props warehouse, now all rough-hewn floors and metal columns, with a stove and tartan rugs for warmth and a bit of softness. The menu is as eclectic as the surroundings, vaguely Nordic and decidedly modern Scottish, with lots of seafood, beef, game, and local produce, all enjoyed in the sunny southfacing Yard on a fine day.
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  • Stravaigin, Glasgow: Haggis—you have to try it sooner or later, and no better place to do so than this attractive, straightforward room with plain wood tables and straight-backed chairs where the menu focuses on all things Scottish, with some exotic global flourishes thrown in.

  • Ubiquitous Chip, Glasgow: The name is a snide reference to what at one time passed as haute cuisine in Glasgow, but the kitchen’s superb, straightforward Scottish cuisine, as in Aberdeen beef and Orkney salmon, shows just how far the city has come. The plant-filled, stonewalled nooks and crannies of a former undertaker’s stables give off an easygoing vibe that make good on the premise’s claim that “we’re so solidly good we don’t have to put on airs.”
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  • Ostlers Close (Cupar, near St. Andrews; tel. 01334/655-574): Chef Jimmy Graham is one of the finest in the St. Andrews area, and he's known to pick his own wild mushrooms. Golfers with discriminating palates flock to this modestly appointed place, which makes the best use of fish and seafood from the Fife Coast, as well as ducks from a local free-range supplier. Everything is delectable.

 

  • The Cross (Kingussie; tel. 01540/661-166; www.thecross.co.uk): Housed in a cleverly converted 19th-century tweed mill, The Cross is a lot more chic than you'd imagine. The menu items are a celebration of Scottish ingredients, prepared with modern international palates in mind. An example is the west coast seafood salad with ultrafresh monkfish, scallops, prawns, and asparagus.
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  • Inverlochy Castle (near Fort William; tel. 01397/702-177; www.inverlochycastlehotel.com): Cherubs cavort across frescoed ceilings, and chandeliers drip with Venetian crystal in a dining room created in the 1870s for a mogul. A Relais & Châteaux member, Inverlochy's cuisine focuses on flavorful and natural interpretations of Scottish delicacies.

  • The Ninth Wave, Fionnphort, Isle of Mull: Your waiter may be John Lamont, who spends part of the day in his little fishing boat landing the catch that’s appears on your table in imaginative innovations like smoked crab cheesecake and soups made with dandelion leaves and nettles from the cottage garden, served on set menus. The name is from mythology, and a meal in this handsomely decorated cottage will indeed transport you to otherworldly realms.
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.