Last updated on October 18, 2022 by Wandering our World
Aviemore, in Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park, is popular for its winter sports and hill-walking thanks to the nearby mountains and fantastic views. But it’s also got a small but burgeoning restaurant scene, which makes Aviemore a great place for views and food!
The changes in seasons are very noticeable in the region (and Scotland as a whole), but what that means is that some of the restaurants in Aviemore tend to rotate their menu depending on what’s seasonally available. That’s great for foodies, so whether you’re relaxing in a beer garden in summer or enjoying drinks by a log fire during winter, you’ll find great dishes here.
As we know this place well, we’ve decided to share with you our 11 favourite restaurants in Aviemore. There’s something for everyone here, from fine dining to food trucks that forage for produce. Bon appetit!
The 11 Best Restaurants In Aviemore For Food & Experiences
1. The Winking Owl
This lovely meet-up has a phenomenal selection of Scottish cuisine, real ales, and craft beer. The Winking Owl is owned by The Cairngorm Brewery so in addition to their award-winning beers, there’s also a large assortment of gins, spirits, whiskies, and wine to try. Even better, they often have live Scottish music on in the evenings.
Many delicious choices await visitors of this restaurant, with tasty light bites, yummy puds, hearty meals, and a children’s menu too.
Expect a wide assortment of dishes from this spot, including the likes of beetroot cured salmon, scallops, and salted mushrooms for starters. For the main course, try the pork ribeye steak with mustard macaroni and cheese. It’s as good as it sounds.
The ground floor holds the laid-back Bothy Bar, which is where you can get hearty pub grub. Dogs are allowed in this bar too and there’s a large outside beer garden that can be enjoyed when the weather’s nice. Upstairs is a restaurant which has great views of the Cairngorm Mountains. For great beer, views, and food, The Winking Owl is a fantastic choice.
Address: 123 Grampian Road, Aviemore
2. The Old Bridge Inn
Tucked beside the banks of the pretty River Spey lies this immensely popular gastro pub. During the winter, you’ll be able to sit by a log fire inside and make your way through their vast array of single malt whiskey. Whilst in the summer, your food and drink can be taken outside to be enjoyed in one of the largest beer gardens in the entire town.
Special events are offered at the Old Bridge Inn all the time, with many live music events featuring a wide variety of genres from indie bands to DJs, and of course Scottish folk.
For mains, expect a diverse selection of scrumptious and hearty food, from bean and beef burgers, flatbreads, to sweet potato and peanut curry. Expect an assortment primarily featuring French and Scottish cuisine complete seafood and several notable options for vegetarians and vegans.
This cozy restaurant is atmospheric and often candle lit, and the wood-panelled walls and beams make this place as photo-worthy as the food. Easily one of the best restaurants in Aviemore.
Address: 23 Dalfaber Rd, Aviemore
3. Cheese and Tomatin
This newcomer has taken over the previous spot housed by the Mountain Cafe, and serves up freshly baked pizza. Their name is a play on words that probably only locals and whiskey buffs know. ‘Tomatin’ is the name of a village close by that houses a distillery of the same name.
A massive wood-fired oven is responsible for the delicious pizza you get at Cheese and Tomatin, and from this cozy restaurant you can even catch a glimpse of the oven as it bakes those pizza bases to perfection.
Explore traditional style pizza of Neapolitan design here in the Cairngorms, complete with the ultimate Napoli sauce. The base is made with supreme Italian ’00’ grade flour that is fermented slowly over the course of 3 days. You will not find any yeast added to the dough, with this restaurant exclusively focusing on salt, water, and flour as natural starters.
Finally, customers will find their pizzas are topped with only the finest locally sourced produce.
So what do we recommend? Well the Mediterranean Medley, complete with olives, feta cheese, balsamic glaze, red onion, and sundried tomatoes, is fantastic.
Like many restaurants in Aviemore, Cheese and Tomatin also have an outside area perfect for when the sun decides to come out!
Address: 111 Grampian Rd, Aviemore
4. The Balavoulin
Relatively inexpensive and cozy in its demeanor, this dog-friendly pub is a great place to snack up on fish and chips, burgers, and nachos after a hike up the UK’s biggest mountain, nearby Ben Nevis!
The Balavoulin is spacious inside and they’ve got a lovely beer garden on the main street. It can get quite busy even outside of peak season as this is a popular spot with locals. So it’s recommended to reserve a table in advance if possible.
Serving food every day after 5:00 pm, the owners have collaborated with incredible local suppliers, including the Balliefurth Farm Shop in Nethybridge, to deliver outstanding classic British food like steaks, bangers & mash and fish & chips.
A special marinade is used to complete one of our favourites, the Chicken Breast Burger. Whilst their pulled pork is slow-roasted for nearly 7 hours and drizzled with in-house barbeque sauce for superb taste. Is your mouth watering yet?
This is a popular spot to watch football and rugby thanks to their big screens, and they often have live events too. Their comprehensive whiskey selection is worth noting too. All in all, a worthy member of our list of best restaurants in Aviemore.
Address: 125 Grampian Rd, Aviemore
5. The Old Post Office
Fresh is the name of the game at this family-owned cafe located in the heart of Kincraig, a village just a few miles from Aviemore.
While not in Aviemore, this cafe set in a beautiful old Post Office building is just footsteps from Uath Lochans and Loch Insh, so it’s a mouthwatering stop-off after a day of exploring the region. The menu is populated with a series of wholesome salads, bagels, and flatbreads, and the coffee is great too. Inside, you’ll find original art from the region’s artists which are available to purchase.
Like others in the region, this restaurant offers locally and responsibly sourced food. It’s also a favourite place to stop for coffee, tea and cake due to the great selection of all three. With their log fire it’s a lovely place to warm up after a winter walk too.
Address: The Brae, Kincraig, Inverness-shire
6. Rowan Tree Hotel Restaurant
Another family-run restaurant, this welcoming location overlooks the gorgeous Loch Alvie, and is one of Aviemore’s best fine dining experiences. Rowen Tree is upscale, but in no way pretentious, and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Their menu has been created by an award-winning chef and consists of traditional Scottish fare and delicious original recipes too.
That carefully designed menu includes an assortment of meat and seafood dishes. Some of our favorites include the supreme pan roast chicken, and crispy battered haddock fillet.
You can get many classic Scottish dishes here, all served delightfully, and what better way to eat traditional Scottish fare and produce than in one of Spey Valley’s oldest inns. The building Rowan Tree resides in was built in the 1700s!
Their drinks selection is one of the best in Aviemore too. In particular their wine collection is very good and perfect for a romantic meal with a loved one. It’s not unusual to spot deer when visiting this place either, so keep your eyes peeled!
Address: Loch Alvie, Aviemore
7. Anderson’s Restaurant
Whether looking for a hearty meal after a long day hiking, or you just fancy a break from cooking, Anderson’s is a fantastic choice. The atmosphere is relaxed and the food and drink is fantastic.
Local Scottish produce is prioritized, and the menu changes depending on the season. So you will often find many different daily specials throughout the year. Every dish is prepared with love to truly make the best of the fresh ingredients available in the region.
Despite the fact that the menu is creative and can alter depending on the season, there’s also some mainstay dishes that tend to stick around as they are local favourites. The delicious steak and moules frites, chicken rigatoni, duck ragu, and Napoli pasta are just a few. Make sure to not miss out on their delicious pizzas too!
The whole family is welcome, and children are offered special dishes from the chef to meet their needs.
Address: Deshar Rd, Boat of Garten, Aviemore
8. The Cairn Hotel Restaurant
Nested in the pretty nearby village of Carrbridge, the Cairn Hotel Restaurant offers both public and private dining rooms for those who desire a more intimate space. Seating up to a party of 16, the private dining room includes a roaring log fire, a mobile dock to provide a soundtrack, and a personal waiter.
Though the menu changes seasonally, two of our favorites are the duck and venison wellington. While the former offers barbary breast on savory cabbage complete with Dauphinoise potatoes and a bramble covered in Edinburgh gin glaze, the latter includes en-croute red deer haunch with mashed potatoes served with delightful plum and port sauce. Sounds delicious right?
Set in a gorgeous Victorian-era building, this restaurant complete with cozy lounge bar and tonnes of character offers relaxed dining but with food worth raving about. Couple that with their excellent whiskey and gin collection and you can see why this is one of our favorite restaurants in the Aviemore area.
Address: Main Road, Carrbridge
9. Happy Haggis
Self-proclaimed as Aviemore’s flagship destination for fish and chips, Happy Haggis has a point as they’ve been in business since 1974! Enjoy an assortment of regular and large-sized chips in addition to your personal choice of haddock, breaded scampi, fish cakes, breaded haddock, poached haddock, salt & pepper squid, or a seafood basket. The basket contains squid rings, prawn cutlets, salt & pepper squid and scampi, and cod bites.
Housed at the south end of Aviemore’s main street, Happy Haggis also provides an ideal environment for young children, with pictures and crayons to keep them amused. Furthermore, a dedicated menu exclusive to the youngsters will keep them happy and satisfied while parents enjoy the fish.
If you’re looking for a place to grab one of the UK’s most famous dishes, then this is the Aviemore restaurant for you!
Address: 45 Grampian Rd, Aviemore
More fantastic cuisine awaits guests dining at this spot, known for some of the best burgers in town and neatly cooked sirloins. Located just off of Grampian Road, this Aviemore restaurant also has the Scottish classic haggis, neeps, and tatties.
There’s some good vegan and vegetarian options too such as the stir fry and the vegetarian sausage and mash which is composed of rosemary sausages with red onion, creamed mash potato, and red onion gravy.
Skiing-Doo has a fantastic kids menu too, and with the deserts on offer – tasty ice cream sundaes, chocolate custard, and sticky toffee pudding – it’s no surprise that this is one of the best restaurants in Aviemore for families.
Address: 9 Grampian Rd, Aviemore
11. Alvie Forest Food
Run by the former head chef of the Old Bridge Inn, this unique food truck opened during the Spring of 2020 and has been a favorite with locals ever since. It takes inspiration from the surrounding forest, creating a menu using locally foraged and seasonal ingredients.
The short rib burgers are a big favorite and can’t be sampled enough. However, definitely try some of the other amazing options. Including the buffalo buttermilk chicken burger, the shorthorn burger, double brisket smash, north sea haddock goujons and spiced sweet potato with pickled vegetables. Look out for the specials that change depending on the season too!
From 6 course tasters at a personal venue to homemade picnics, Alvie Forest Food also offers dining experiences that suit any request. This is a really unique Aviemore food experience and at very affordable prices too.
Address: Dalraddy Holiday Park, Aviemore