Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Looking for some locations to enjoy a hearty festive meal? Why not try these fantastic eateries
As we get older, the festive season means less about receiving gifts and more about those special get-togethers with friends and loved ones. At the centre of those heart-warming moments is delicious food and drink that smacks of indulgence, ceremony and nostalgia. Across Scotland there’s an abundance of locations to enjoy a festive feast and we’ve rounded up a few of our top picks to sink your teeth into over the holiday season.
Even the name instils an immediate sense of magic. Located on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile only a hop skip and a jump from the castle, the rich baroque surroundings of the original 16th century oak-panelled dining room or the candlelit secret garden room offer an incredible setting for dining this December. Created by head chef Douglas Ross, the à la carte
menu champions the season, serving everything from roast loin of red deer to baked hand dived Isle of Mull scallops. Steeped in 400 years of history, the red leather seats, original tapestries, antique candlesticks and stone walls transport diners to Christmases of the past while offering a decadent 21st century menu accompanied with an award-winning wine list.
Castlehill, The Royal Mile, EH1 2NF
Meldrum House Hotel & Golf Course
A glorious blend of old and new: Meldrum House in Aberdeenshire dates to the 13th century. The snug and atmospheric Cave Bar with its stone walls and candlelight, is part of the original manor house and is a cosy spot to enjoy a more casual dining experience and any number of drams from the hotel’s extensive whisky collection. For something a little different, dine in one of the heated domes where you can enjoy 360-degree views of the manor house, estate and Highland cows. Throughout December you can enjoy a festive afternoon tea – which includes white chocolate snowballs, meringue snowman and apple and cinnamon scones – by a roaring log fire in the manor house. For more festive fun, there are also bauble wreath -making classes that include a glass of bubbly, canapes and a three-course lunch or après ski party nights for groups.
Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire, AB51 0AE
The Dreel Tavern
Nestled in the pretty fishing village of Anstruther in the East Neuk of Fife, this 18th century tavern is the perfect antidote to the chill of the winter air. The original stone walls, romantic candlelight and cosy fireplace provide a wonderful setting to enjoy delicious locally sourced fayre. From November, the aroma of the Dreel Tavern’s own mulled wine and hot gin punch fill the air, and a selection of winter warmer drinks - including hot apple and rum, spiced caramel apple and bourbon - are available. Tuck into winter specials like roast chestnut soup and apple pie with cinnamon Crème Anglaise followed by a spiced berry mojito or a mistletoe margarita.
Anstruther, Fife, KY10 3DL
Located just three miles from Dunblane, Cromlix is a five-star luxurious country house hotel that boasts a Chez Roux restaurant. From the second week in December a special festive menu will be available featuring pâté grand-mère, cranberry chutney and homemade brioche followed by the traditional turkey or perhaps roasted North Sea hake with scallop butter risotto, ending with a mouth-watering chocolate and chestnut yule log. There are a number of Christmas and Hogmanay packages to choose from (subject to availability) in between exploring this fascinating estate dating back to the 15th century.
Kinbuck, Stirling, FK15 9JT
Indulge in your own personal fairy-tale by spending Christmas in a castle. Enjoy a decadent meal by a roaring fire in the grand dining room of this five-star luxury hotel in Ballantrae, Ayrshire. Brand-new for this year, the castle’s Azalea Glasshouse and Bothy Restaurant offer a unique dining experience. The former plant ‘hot house’ is home to an array of beautiful 100-year-old vines and fruit trees. Decorated in red, gold, and green throughout the venue you can enjoy a festive lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. The menus include sumptuous dishes like poached and roast breast of turkey with pommes fondant, parsnip puree, bacon and sausage rolls and Santa’s favourite: a reindeer macaron with white chocolate and chestnut ganache.
Ballantrae, Ayrshire, KA26 0NZ
Pronounced Glas-a-hoo, the Scottish Gaelic for Glasgow, meaning ‘dear green place’, may have only opened this year but they are gearing up for a busy winter season. Located in the heart of the city within the premises of the Western Club that dates back to 1825, the restaurant offers modern Scottish fine dining and a sophisticated bar. With both a weekend and midweek festive menu on offer, diners can enjoy dishes such as game terrine with damson jelly, roast turkey paupiette and a Christmas pudding sundae plus many more hearty and warming dishes. Head chef Dion Scott celebrates Scottish produce while taking inspiration from the many international influences bestowed upon Glasgow. An extensive wine list and slick selection of cocktails are sure to warm the cockles.
32 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, G1 3AB
The Duke’s Umbrella
The perfect place for cosy casual dining situated in the heart of Glasgow, The Duke’s Umbrella is known for its excellent gastro-pub grub and extensive range of innovative and delicious cocktails. With tinsel, stockings and crackers galore, diners can tuck into a festive lunch or dinner menu that includes dishes like charcoal grilled haunch of venison, Dukes’ hot smoked salmon or vegan options like curried cauliflower soup and lentil loaf. Why not finish with a sinfully sweet pumpkin spice crème brûlée or a spiced gingerbread trifle? To ensure 2022 does not begin on an empty stomach, diners can also book to enjoy a five-course meal finished with a dram of Glenlivet before seeing in the new year. (Subject to availability)
363 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G2 8LT
Possibly one of the most photographed buildings in Scotland during the festive season, The Dome in Edinburgh is something of a Christmas wonderland, with its jaw dropping decorations and gravity-defying tree taking centre stage as soon as you walk through its doors. A festive a la carte menu and set menu are available to be enjoyed in either the stunning Grill Room or Georgian Tea Room, although bookings are currently full from 29th November until Christmas Eve. However, the holiday spirit carries on until January 2nd and eager diners can still enjoy a festive morning tea in The Club Room indulging in gingerbread and chocolate Christmas granola, boozy bagel French toast or a pancake with cranberry syrup and winter spiced berries.
14 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PF