I’ve savoured seafood on six continents and hand on tartan heart Bali and Brittany are not a patch on our-world class fish and shellfish. Our cold, nutrient-rich waters offer a remarkable catch, from fresh mussels from Shetland’s voes and hand-dived Barra scallops, through to Peterhead-landed white fish and huge Wester Ross ‘prawns’ (actually langoustines in these parts). And the very news good is you can tuck in at a sweep of informal eateries that won’t unnecessarily trouble your bank manager.

1. The Seafood Shack

They don’t even need Ullapool in the name as to its devotees this is quite simply Scotland’s best seafood haunt. Each day the local fishermen drop off the catch of the day and Kirsty and Fenella work wonders with it. The menu accordingly changes daily, but is never short on culinary creation. Fresh herbs and spices abound; their haddock comes tempura style in a wrap. Or how about a Thai monkfish curry? Sit outside and enjoy boat-fresh delights as you peer out towards the water and mountains agreeing with all the chefs and TV personalities who have raved about this remarkable shack. You can take their ideas home with their cookbook too.


The Herald: Robin with a lobster in CrailRobin with a lobster in Crail (Image: free)

2. Frankie’s

Shetland’s finest has been the UK’s most northerly fish ‘n’ chip shop since setting up in 2008. Sustainable haddock tempts, including a delicious smoked haddock supper. Homemade fishcakes are delicious with both haddock and smoked haddock, while the king scallop suppers are a must; best enjoyed on a sunny day on their terrace. It’s no surprise they’ve been voted the UK’s best chippie.


3. Reilly Shellfish Crail

Stop what you are doing if you love lobster and come here. Their lobsters are as eye-catching as this picturesque East Neuk fishing village – chunky red beauties bursting with fresh from the sea flavour down by the harbour. Raymond and Graeme Reilly are continuing the family business established by their father Paddy from The Shed at Crail’s Harbour, using their boat, the Comely 455. Call or email ahead if you want to snare one of the bigger guys from the tank. They offer superb crab too.


The Herald: Oban seafood hutOban seafood hut (Image: free)

4. Oban Seafood Hut

Accept no imitation – this was the first and is still the best seafood hut down on Oban’s pier. Dynamic, always-smiling manager Tony Monaghan steers a hardworking ship that offers everything from their home-smoked salmon sandwiches, through to heaving seafood platters, with a steaming cup of mussels while you queue. The king scallops served with white bread could scarcely be more Scottish. Or better. Dodge the seagulls and sit at their communal wooden benches watching the ferries bustle in and out. I usually end up taking a sandwich with me on the ferry – you’ll see why.

5. Lobster Shack

Sweet North Sea lobster is the star here right on North Berwick’s harbour in East Lothian. For the original experience enjoy it with chips down harbourside, though there is also a second place just back from the water – the Rocketeer - that stands up even better to the elements. They do a mean fish taco too and sell Thistly Cross, a crisp local cider that goes supremely well with the seafood.


The Herald: The scenery around KishornThe scenery around Kishorn (Image: free)

Kishorn Seafood Bar

 I’ll never forget savouring a baseball-sized oyster here in Wester Ross. This is serious seafood, served simply. Their shellfish is remarkable, especially the oysters and those local ‘prawns’ - langoustines. Order the seafood platter for the full experience, best savoured on a picnic bench outside peering over Loch Kishorn. If you’ve not tried them before squat lobsters are a real joy – the pistachios of the Scottish seafood world are worth the effort. Owner Lucy Kerr strives to keep things local and sustainable.


7. Skipness Seafood Hut

 The local smokery have moved all their operations back from Edinburgh and Arran now to their home in this spectacular spot by the eponymous castle in Kintyre. You just don’t get better smoked fish, smoked right here on site overlooking the Kilbrannan Sound. The highlight is the Hut’s smoked platter with smoked, poached, and hot-smoked salmon, plus gravadlax. Divine. You’ll remember their pan-fried king scallops too and a seafood platter up there with the best in Scotland. Well worth the scenic drive.


The Herald: Anstruther Fish BarAnstruther Fish Bar (Image: free)

8. Battle of Anstruther

I’m cheating here as I’ve got two rival options for you, but forgive me as they are just yards apart and it’s a case of either or. First is the famous award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar, who sport their own boat. It’s hard to fault their famous fried fish, but the queues can be well out of the door in summer. If they’re too busy nip along to the family-owned Wee Chippy, where the fish suppers are just as good and have won awards of their own. Whichever you choose, camp out on a bench on the harbour with the squawking gulls and salute Scotland’s superb seafood in one of its most affordable incarnations.

www.anstrutherfishbar.co.uk and www.theweechippyanstruther.co.uk

Travel writer Robin McKelvie has been travelling and writing his way around Scotland for three decades.