Food and Drink
Visitors are often surprised by the green fields of Orkney: in fact the islands have some of Scotland’s finest farmland. Crops are grown and livestock reared pretty much as they always have been, under the watchful eye of that very canny character, the Orcadian farmer.
Farms tend to be family businesses, and they’re often passed down through the generations for decades or even centuries. That encourages a certain relationship with the land: Orkney farmers don’t look for a quick and easy return. They know that growing anything here is a long negotiation with the elements. Often it seems that nature has the upper hand. But by persistence and skill the farmers always end up winning the day.
The result of their patience and dedication is some of Scotland’s most flavoursome beef and lamb: a triumph of taste. Increasingly, locally grown pork can be found too. Butchers transform these fine raw materials into prize winning haggis, sausages and pies. And to accompany? Local shops are full of fresh vegetables in season, good Orkney earth still clinging to them.
The harvest of the seas is perhaps even harder won than the lands. But the bravery and skill of the fishermen bring us the incomparable pleasure of the finest lobsters, crabs and fish. Watch out for rarities on enterprising restaurants’ menus: witch, megrim, and spoots. Spoots are razor clams, a popular delicacy, and the hunting of them (walking backwards across the sands at low tide, knife and bucket at the ready) a popular pastime. Scallops are, of course, brought up by divers, and are sweet and succulent.
As well as award-winning restaurants, cafés and bars you shouldn’t miss our tearooms and take aways. A bounteous afternoon tea complete with bannocks and rhubarb jam, or fresh fish and chips, or that traditional Orkney standby, the patty. Simply delicious!
When you have raw ingredients as good as Orkney has – often organically grown or raised – there’s no need to dress things up too much. Real quality food, cooked with real care and simplicity: a triumph of taste indeed.
If you are pleased with the goods, service, or presentation you find at an Orkney business - please tell us. Each year, Orkney Quality Food and Drink seeks to reward the businesses which have excelled in quality and customer service, so nominate your favourite restaurant or coffee shop, product or shop, in one of the categories for the Taste of Orkney Food Awards.
Ideas for Eating Out
Below is a list of bars, restaurants, cafes and tearooms were you can enjoy local produce.
Albert Hotel www.alberthotel.co.uk
Modern lounge bar offering lunches and suppers in a family environment.
Dil Se www.dilserestaurant.co.uk
Indian restaurant and take away.
Foveran Hotel www.foveranhotel.co.uk
A la carte restaurant with views over Scapa Flow.
Kirkwall Hotel www.kirkwallhotel.com
Seafront hotel serving restaurant menu and bar meals.
Lynnfield Hotel www.lynnfieldhotel.com
A la carte restaurant situated beside Highland Park distillery.
The Orkney Hotel www.orkneyhotel.co.uk
A la carte restaurant overlooking private gardens in the centre of Kirkwall.
West End Hotel www.westendkirkwall.co.uk
Lounge bar/restaurant, 5 minutes walk from town centre.
The Shore www.theshore.co.uk
Restaurant and lounge bar situated on waterfront.
Stromness Hotel www.stromnesshotel.com
Hotel overlooking waterfront serving lunches and a la carte meals.
Bayleaf Delicatessen e: email@example.com
A wide range of specialty foodstuff available, from locally baked bread, Orkney fresh fish and homemade chutneys, to pasta, ground coffee and pates
Appie’s Tea Room www.appiestearoom.co.uk
good healthy menu using fresh local produce where possible
Birsay Bay Tearoom www.birsaybaytearoom.co.uk
Outstanding coastal views and friendly atmosphere.
Merkister Hotel www.merkister.com
Breathtaking views over Harray loch, enjoy a la carte menu.
Smithfield Hotel www.smithfieldhotel.co.uk
Small, friendly, homely restaurant in Dounby.
Standing Stones Hotel www.standingstoneshotel.co.uk
Enjoy an a la carte meal overlooking the Stenness Loch.
East Mainland, Burray and South Ronaldsay
Sands Hotel www.thesandshotel.co.uk
Marine themed restaurant overlooking Watersound in Burray
Fossil Centre Community Cafe http://www.orkneyfossilcentre.co.uk/, Viewforth, Burray t: (01856) 731255
Cafe attached to Fossil Centre in Burray. Freshly prepared using local produce
The Creel www.thecreel.co.uk
Award winning restaurant located in St Margarets Hope.
Skerries Bistro www.banksoforkney.co.uk
Overlooking the Pentland Firth, open daily, bookings essential for evenings
The Bu, Hoxa, St Margaret's Hope, e. firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 01856 831366
Murray Arms Hotel www.murrayarmshotel.com
A varied menu of hot and cold meals is served daily
North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory http://www.nrbo.co.uk Breakfast, lunches, evening meals and snacks served.
Haff Yok Café www.westraak.co.uk
Light lunches and homebakes available from this friendly café located in Pierowall village in Westray
Pierowall Hotel www.pierowallhotel.co.uk
Famed for serving the best fish and chips in the isles! Located in Pierowall village in Westray.
The Taversoe, www.taversoehotel.co.uk
Food served daily, enjoy a dram at this local hotel
Jolly's Fish & Farm Produce, www.jollyfish.co.uk
Stocking fresh fish, shellfish, local organic meats, the shop is like a ‘farmers market every day.