If the rumours are true and we really are in for a scorcher in June, we can officially declare it seafood season. Whether you’re craving a fish supper to eat on a windy beach or a decadent platter piled high with fruits de mer (accompanied by a crisp white wine, of course), we’ve scoured the east and west coasts to find options for all tastes and budgets. Most of these award-winning chippies, hidden-gem seafood shacks and upmarket fish restaurants source their produce locally and sustainably, which is good, too.

The Seafood Shack, Ullapool

Everyone in Ullapool will point you in the direction of this unassuming trailer by the harbour. Open daily throughout spring and summer every year, its delicious produce is procured from the fishing boats that surround it and the menu changes daily depending on what the fishermen have dropped off that morning. Recent dishes have included haddock in tempura batter wraps and crab linguine, and we hear the shellfish is so fresh it arrives at the shack alive. There are wooden tables where you can sit and eat, or take the food away for a munch-and-stroll around the picturesque fishing town.


Loch Bay, Stein

On the pretty Waternish Peninsula on the isle of Skye, the setting of this restaurant in a crofter’s cottage is as much of a sell as the food itself. With a Michelin star tucked under its napkin, it has the gourmand’s seal of approval, but it’s far from pretentious. Chef-owner Michael Smith keeps the menu clean and unfussy with a focus on quality, locally sourced ingredients from the likes of Loch Bay Shellfish, Sconser Scallops and fishmonger Just Hooked. French-style cooking adds a little je ne sais quoi; the prawn and shrimp bisque with a crab and Mull cheddar toastie is rather special.


Oban Seafood Hut, Argyll and Bute

It doesn’t matter if you visit on the driechest of days: the sight of this jolly green hut on Oban’s bustling pier is enough to brighten anyone’s mood. And if it doesn’t, the value for money will. Utterly unpretentious, the menu runs the gamut from crab sandwiches and steaming boxes of mussels to hot smoked salmon and lobster dripping in garlicky butter, and everything is reasonably priced – think freshly shucked oysters for £1 a pop. It’s the kind of food best enjoyed messily with your hands, so bring a packet of wet wipes and have at it.


Ondine, Edinburgh

If Ondine was a fragrance it would be Chanel No 5: supremely classy and beloved by aficionados despite being an obvious choice. Chef and proprietor Roy Brett trained at the Savoy before cutting his teeth in Rick Stein’s kitchen, so expect quality at every juncture. Scottish-sourced ingredients pepper the menu – Newhaven smoked salmon, Isle of Mull scallops, Cape Wrath oysters, Loch Fyne langoustines – but the flavours dance around the globe. Try the squid tempura with Vietnamese dipping sauce, the curried mussels or fish soup with Provençal rouille for twists on tradition. Tip: every day between 5.30pm and 6.30pm it’s oyster happy hour at Ondine with a guest oyster every night. You know what to do.


Pittenweem Fish and Chip Bar, Fife

It’s not as widely recognised as some of its peers in neighbouring towns, but many locals will whisper that this is where to get the best fish and chips in the East Neuk. It’s pretty small, so don’t be surprised to be met by a queue, and is refreshingly devoid of the slick, try-hard branding that has sidled its way into many a modern chippy. The menu is traditional and all the classics are executed to perfection: thick hunks of cod in light crispy batter draped across hot golden vinegary chips. Take your supper down to the harbour to admire the boats while you eat. Few places are bonnier.

The Salt Shed, Inverness

In its previous life in the village of Achiltibuie, The Salt Shed was Salt Seafood Kitchen, Tripadvisor’s highest-rated restaurant in the Highlands for two summers in a row. But when the pandemic hit, business dried up, so the entrepreneurial owner moved to Inverness and set up The Salt Shed in the garden of The Redcliffe Hotel. It’s the same chef so you can still expect quality fare, with a menu that is built around the daily catch. We recommend going for Sunday brunch, where options include smoked haddock kedgeree and plump drunken mussels steamed in beer. Washed down with a bloody mary, of course.


The Rocketeer Restaurant, North Berwick

You have your pick of seafood restaurants in this coastal town and two of the best, The Rocketeer Restaurant and the Lobster Shack, are right on the harbour. Stirling and Jela Stewart run both establishments and source from local suppliers such as Seacliff Lobsters and Flannigan’s Shellfish. The seafood chowder is a highlight at both eateries, deliciously creamy and bobbing with haddock, salmon, prawns, potatoes and leeks. The Rocketeer is more of a sit-down affair while the Lobster Shack, as the name might suggest, is grab-and-go. Try the fish tacos or splash out on grilled North Berwick lobster in chimichurri oil with double-dipped chips.


Crabshakk, Glasgow

Undoubtedly one of the eateries responsible for transforming Finnieston into Glasgow’s hippest ’hood, Crabshakk serves the freshest seafood in the city. There are specials every day, but its core menu has barely changed since it first opened in 2009 – why mess with perfection? Perch at the bar to sup oysters on ice (and just try to stop yourself from necking the shallot vinaigrette in one go) then progress to buttery scallops with anchovies followed by catch of the day. If you’re in the mood to gorge, the fruits de mer offers a taste of everything from sweet lobster claws to fat, juicy mussels. Or keep it simple with the fish club sandwich, a top-tier comfort dish.


Skipness Seafood Cabin, Argyll and Bute

Skipness Seafood Cabin began life in 1988 as a trailer beside Skipness Castle, delighting visitors with tea, coffee and crab rolls. Now down the hill from its original location, with plenty of outdoor seating and some inside too, it still serves those generously filled sandwiches but the menu has expanded to encompass platefuls of melt-in-your-mouth gravadlax, grilled kippers, queen scallops and creel-caught langoustines. On a gorgeous day you may have to wait a while for a table, but the setting is so beautiful you won’t mind; there are views towards the mountains of Arran across the sparkling Kilbrannan Sound, not to mention the rugged ruins of one of Scotland’s oldest standing castles.


East Pier Smokehouse, St Monans

Home to the smallest of the East Neuk fishing ports is charming St Monans, which despite its diminutive size has a lot of good eating to offer. Those who can’t get enough of smoked foods will reach nirvana in this restaurant on the pier. There’s smoked fish yellow curry which balances fragrant lemongrass and coconut with punchy haddock and prawns; roasted smoked hake with samphire, capers and a bean salad; and Alder-smoked prawn tempura, among many others. If it’s chilly you can sit indoors and eat by the wood-burning stove, but do yourself a favour and time your visit with a favourable forecast so you can dine outdoors on the deck overlooking the water.


East Coast, Musselburgh

Earlier this year, East Coast was quite rightly named one of the UK’s top 50 fish and chip takeaways by Fry Magazine – but it’s so much more than a chippy. East Coast also comprises a seafood restaurant with an Italian vibe, reflecting the heritage of owners Carlo and Katia Crolla. Highlights include homemade gnocchi with clams in a black squid ink, wine and butter sauce, and fiery spaghetti gambas. Dietary requirements are well catered for, with gluten-free options available on all the delicious battered stuff that would normally be off-limits to those with an intolerance. If it’s been a while since you had a cracking fish supper or a portion of crispy calamari, you may just cry with happiness.


Sam’s Seafood Shack, near Rodel

It would be easy while exploring the remote wilderness of Harris to drive past this cheerful blue-and-white caravan, positioned between Rodel and Lingerbay, and mistake it for a tourist. This is your heads up to stop, get out of the car and make a beeline for fresh, restaurant-quality seafood at the roadside. Sam’s chalkboard menu changes daily depending on what the Hebridean waters have in store but often features homemade fish goujons, tomatoey seafood chowder, lobster mayonnaise sandwiches and roast potatoes flecked with seaweed, all served in dinky brown cardboard boxes. Occasionally the shack has to close if inclement weather draws in, and Sam will always share this information on the Facebook page.


The Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant, Stonehaven

On the harbourside in Stonehaven’s oldest building, the Michelin-recommended Tolbooth has spectacular sea views and an array of dishes centred around locally landed seafood. Flavours are imaginative: squid is paired with chorizo, pak choi and paprika mayo; Gourdon scallops with toasted quinoa, broad beans and black pudding. Lobster season runs from May until the end of September and the Tolbooth aims to have it on the menu most days depending on availability from the local fishermen. Oh, and make sure you leave room for dessert – they’re all homemade, and the Montrose strawberry panna cotta is to die for.


Inver, Strachur

Loch Fyne’s bounty is world-renowned and served at many of the restaurants surrounding its shores (and beyond). Inver is perhaps the finest. Though it doesn’t specialise solely in seafood, there are always a number of modern and inventive fish dishes on the seasonal menu as well as mainstays such as Loch Fyne’s langoustines and crab alongside oysters plucked from nearby Loch Crerar. All ingredients are of a superior quality – right down to the butter, made in-house and studded with salt crystals – and are sometimes unexpected. You won’t often spot sea robin on a menu but here it is accompanied by rhubarb, artichoke and cured gurnard. Yes, we had to Google it too. But that’s half the fun.


The Harbour Café, Elie

Chef patron of the Harbour Café, Amy Elles, was a contestant on the Great British Menu last year and runs this beachside restaurant with her husband Jack. Over lockdown they ran a luxury food delivery service sending the likes of caviar, oysters and champers to customers’ homes and are now preparing for a June reopening of their chic wooden café. With a front-row view of Elie’s sweeping sands and palm trees swishing in the breeze, it might be the closest you get this year to foreign climes, though the crab, lobster and langoustines are all locals. Lean into the continental feel by rounding off with a slice of tarta di Santiago and a strong black coffee.


Ninth Wave, Fionnphort

Ninth Wave is a remote crofter’s bothy turned destination restaurant on the isle of Mull that’s very much worth trekking across wild moors. It’s owned by husband-and-wife team Jonny and Carla Lamont, a fisherman and chef respectively, and between them they fish sustainably and handpick produce grown in the garden to create memorable dishes bursting with flavour. Try the scallop ceviche with chilled cucumber, lime and Granny Smith broth followed by the Mull octopus with tomatoes, marjoram and chorizo crumb. There’s even an on-theme cocktail in the Old Sea Dog, a blend of Isle of Harris sugar sea kelp gin, sea buckthorn syrup, seaweed powder and tonic.


The Catch at Fins Restaurant, Fairlie

Fencebay is a bit of an Ayrshire institution comprising a smokehouse, farm shop and The Catch at Fins, a restaurant serving sea-fresh fare from the west coast. You won’t find fancy foams on the menu, nor ingredients you can’t pronounce – just high-quality seafood without bells or whistles. From beer-battered haddock and chips with mushy peas to creamy shellfish linguine, it’s the kind of comforting grub required after a brisk walk on the beach. We recommend a day trip so you have time to browse the shop. The smoked salmon, marinated herring and Fencebay kippers are worth bringing home for a feast the next day.


Kishorn Seafood Bar, Strathcarron

You might not notice Kishorn right away. Its picturesque setting in Wester Ross overlooking the Applecross hills means you could be too distracted by the views of Skye to spot the painted-blue cabin by the side of the road. But if you pass by between March and October – when it’s open – it would be rude not to pop in. Rude to your stomach, specifically. The seafood is fresh off the boat and served every which way: hot rolls stuffed with scallops and black pudding, dressed crab with salad, platters groaning beneath the weight of squat lobster tails and langoustines. There’s seating inside and out, including new open-sided beach huts in the garden.


The Silver Darling, Aberdeen

In recent years, this quayside restaurant has shrugged off its reputation as a stuffy fine-dining establishment and embraced a more modern and relaxed feel. That’s not to say it doesn’t befit a special occasion, however. Elegant maritime-inspired décor and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the boats of Aberdeen harbour set the tone for a meal worth looking forward to. The menu is split into sea and land options – ideal if you’re dining with one of those odd folk who don’t ‘do’ seafood – and in the former you’ll find the likes of roasted sea bream in an orange and rosemary butter and breaded monkfish with wild garlic mayo.


The Boathouse Restaurant, isle of Gigha

One possible meaning of Gigha is ‘God’s Island’, and the food at this 300-year-old boathouse on the shore of Ardminish Bay only serves to bolster this idea. Much of the seafood at The Boathouse is landed on its doorstep and you can look to the restaurant’s ‘fresh in’ board for the daily catch, where you might see brown crab claws with lemon aioli, Thai-inspired Gigha halibut curry and sardines on toast with a red pepper marmalade. For the full experience, ask for a table on the beach or to sit at the heated decking area for views of the Kintyre Sound. You’ll have Mull of Kintyre in your head for days afterwards, but it will be worth it.