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Cafes, pubs, restaurants

The Old Armoury (which was opposite the front of The Observatory, is now closed. The word locally is that it has now sold and is to reopen as a bed and breakfast.

Port-na-Craig 01796 472777 Reached by walking over the dam and following the river past the hotel. Five minutes walk from The Observatory and arguably Pitlochry's swishest eatery at the moment. The food is good, Scots gastro-pub fare, with a lunch-time steak and Guiness pie at £12.95 or pan-fried salmon at £15.95. The dinner menu is slightly more expensive. Booking is sometimes necessarily, but can usually be done on the day.

The Prince of India.  01796 472275 & 473770 In a major city this might be regarded as no better than a standard curry house.  For the Highlands it is exceptional: friendly service, year round opening, take always (but not, to my knowledge, deliveries) and the standard range of curried favorites.  It is perfectly possible to phone from The Observatory, walk to the curry house and be back with your meal in 20 minutes.  Take away for two, around £15, around £20 if you sit in. How to find the Prince of India

 McKay’s was once a temperance hotel – but no longer.  Several recent make overs have created a large, open pub that is generally among the younger places to hang out in Pitlochry. The catering is mass-market pub fare that is generally dependable. Steak pie £9.95, breaded scampi £12.95. Menu viewable online.

The Old Mill. Behind the Royal Bank of Scotland on Atholl Road. A recent revamp has given The Old Mill the look of a first-generation Avimore social club. Nevertheless, the beer is acceptable, if not very interesting, and the pub fayre menu is a touch above average. They admit children to one area.

Fern Cottage. Walk down Atholl Road, past Fisher's Hotel and past the war memorial. To your right, before Victoria's, is Ferry Road - it leads under the railway. Fern Cottage is on the left, before you reach the railway bridge. The restaurant still has the appearance of the tea room that it once was, but don't let that put you off. The owner/chef is Turkish and has injected a good deal of Mediterranean flavour into his menu. On my one evening venture there the food was fantastic: freshly cooked, from quality ingredients and full of delightfully flavoursome surprises. Dinner from approximately £40 for two, lunch and pre-theatre is cheaper. 01796 473840

The Spice of India. A recently-opened rival curry house is a short walk down Atholl Road, close by the Tourist Information Centre. It attracts less trade than the other Indian at the moment, but arguably the food has the edge. It is standard curry house issue, but arguably a little tastier and fresher than you would expect. There service is also friendly. They also do take aways. 01796 474400 How to find the Spice of India

The Moulin Inn.  01796 472196  About a mile’s walk – turn off Atholl Road opposite WH Smith, past the Coop.  Is a gentle climb to the older village of Moulin.  The Inn brews its own beer and does top quality pub food. The resturant is posher and has a significantly more traditional atmosphere. The food is good. Braveheart ale, brewed on site, is excellent and, if you are of a mind to do so, you will easily find someone to chat with in the small public bar. The formal resturant has a curiously traditional feel, but the food is arguably the best in Pitlochry. Dinner with wine there cost me £35 in May 2011.

The same management also run the Bothy Bar in Blair Atholl. Time your evening right and you can travel to and fro Blair Atholl for the evening by train.

The Green Park. (01796 473248) A hotel at which non-residents can dine. It occupies an exceptional site beside the loch (its on your left as you walk along the road to the boating station). On a light evening, sitting in the various sun lounges facing the water gives you an outstanding view. A set dinner menu is served for £23 for three courses, £27 for four courses, which includes complimentary sherry, coffee and shortcake. The food, when I visited, was fresh, flavoursome and immaginative and the staff were exceptionally friendly and welcoming. The average age of guests is probably some way past 60, so the ambience is more twin-set than jet set, but it has a charm that is all its own.

The House of Bruar.   01796 483236 Drive up the A9 (it is around 6 miles) to Blair Atholl and carry on until the next junction.  The House of Bruar is signposted.  The café would be excellent anywhere - you can get a hearty Sunday lunch style meal, or a wonderful plate of smoked fish for £7 - £10 a person. The cakes are good too. The Spectator called it 'the only civilized motorway service station in the UK'. There is also an extraordinary retail experience – it is an out-of-town mall. Originally devoted to country clothing, golf and gardening, its retail floorspace appears to grow every year and it now offers a clothes-shopping experience to rival the largest city-centre department stores. It also has a sensational, if pricey, food hall.  Behind the shop is a path up the side of the hill, along the banks of a steep mountain stream.  A romantically-inclined Duke of Atholl added bridges and paths from which to appreciated the profusion of waterfalls and pools.  The café is welcome upon your descent from the hill.  How to find the House of Bruar

The House of Menzies. 01887 829666 a car drive, but worth the journey.  From Aberfeldy, take the road to Tummel Bridge.  And already attractive round farm steading, beautifully converted by Edinburgh architect, Michael Gray.  The café is quality modern.  They sell interesting art and deal in Antipodean wines.  How to find The House of Menzies

Victorias Pitlochry - How to find Victorias

Tim Dawson
Telephone: 07984 165251

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