Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Dinner in Portree – Isle of Skye

Following our hotel issues or challenges and having settled in at our overnight destinations, it was time to meet for dinner.  Laurie and I drove down to Portree to meet Bonnie and Bill.

Their hotel, the Isles Inn, was right on Somerled Square, the center of Portree.  Parking was a challenge, even for mid-September, and we ended up on a side street about 4 blocks from the Square.  That handsome building at the right is the Bank of Scotland, in Gaelic “Banca Na H-alba”.

This is the former home of the Lodge of St. Kilda #881.  It was built in 1912. 

Freemasons have been a part of the Isle of Skye and Portree since 1784 when the first lodge opened.  The history of the current lodge began with a meeting of Master Masons in the Portree Hotel in 1898.  They petitioned the Grand Lodge for authorization to build this lodge and to name it the Lodge of St. Kilda.


·         St. Kilda (Hirot) is an isolated cluster of islands in the Atlantic Ocean about 40 miles west of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides.  St. Kilda is a World Heritage Site, unusual because it is so designated for both cultural and natural reasons.  Ruins from previous settlement, many sea birds and 2 rare types of sheep, one from Neolithic times and the other from the Iron Age…all add to St. Kilda’s attraction to tourists.  To learn more about the history of St. Kilda and to see some great photos, go to,_Scotland.  To learn about one of the several ways to visit this World Heritage Site, go to

 The Granary Restaurant on the Square was our first choice for dinner…but it was totally booked for the evening.  So was our second choice and this was a Tuesday night!  It turns out that this restaurant is operated by the same folks who run our eventual dining spot for the evening...

With a population of about 2,500, Portree is the largest town on the Isle of Skye.  Almost 40% of the residents speak Scottish Gaelic.  Portree has been around for a long time… Before the 16th century, the settlement’s name was Kiltaraglen (the church of St. Talarican) from Gaelic Cill Targhlain.  I noted with interest that Portree had the last manual telephone exchange in the United Kingdom.  It wasn’t closed down until 1976!

The Portree Hotel’s restaurant on Somerled Square was our 3rd choice for dinner.  We were told that they needed us to be done with dinner within an hour and a half or so…before they needed our table for a reservation. 

Somerled Square was formerly known as Jail Square.  The jail has been demolished and it’s been replaced with a new police station.  Somerled was a mid-12th century warlord who, through marital alliance and conquest, seized control of the Kingdom of the Isles.  Clan MacDougall, Clan Donald (MacDonald), Clan MacRory and Clan MacAlister can all be traced to Somerled’s descendants.

To learn more about Somerled…one tough and blood thirsty character, go to 

The first two photos are of the dining area in the Antlers Bar and Grill...and the third is a look into the West Highland Bar at the Portree Hotel. 

The Portree hotel was originally built back in 1875.  It had recently been extensively refurbished and, in addition to the restaurant and bar, it offers 24 redesigned en-suite guest rooms. 

Bonnie and Bill were ready for dinner after our ‘hotel’ adventures!

Bonnie took this photo of Laurie and yours truly… What do you think about my new tam? 

FYI…a tam o’ shanter is a name given to the traditional Scottish bonnet worn by men.  The name comes from Tam o’ Shanter, the hero of the 1790 poem by Robert Burns.

Onto the food!  This was a nice bowl of pea soup…the soup of the day. (4.00 PS/$5.20 US)

Two of us ordered these nice bowls of Haddock Chowder. (6.95 PS/$9.00 US each) It was quality comfort food!

This was the Antlers Restaurant’s version of Caesar Salad. (11.95 PS/$15.50 US) Although it wasn’t exactly a traditional Caesar salad, it was still very nice…

This was the Seared Scallops entrée. (18.95 PS/24.60 US) It came with slow cooked pork belly, sautéed potatoes, peas, lemon and butter sauce…and it was very good too!

Yes…once again one of us ordered mussels!  Bonnie ordered the Steamed West Coast Mussels with white wine, cream and garlic as her entrée. ($9.95 PS/$12.90 US) She was very happy with her choice, especially with that nice bread to mop up the sauce.

Bill decided to skip seafood for once and he ordered the 10 oz. Rib Eye Steak. (24.95 PS/$32.40 US) It was served with chips (French fries), grilled tomato, mushrooms, a small ‘rocket’ salad, onion crisps and a garlic-herb butter.  It was a good if not great steak…

FYI…rocket salad, aka Eruca sativa is commonly known as arugula.

Laurie’s entrée was this beautiful creation… This was her Cod Fillet Dinner. (15.95 PS/$20.70 US) The chargrilled cod filets were served with slow cooked pork belly, braised greens and mashed potatoes.  How can you miss having a great meal with really fresh fish is topped with pork belly!

Each couple split a dessert or ordered their own… This was the Sticky Toffee Pudding. ($6.95 PS/$9.00 US) It was very tasty, especially with the ice cream and candy like toppings…

Two of us ordered this Raspberry and Almond Tart. ($6.95 PS/$9.00 US) It was pretty and pretty darn good too!  Note the chocolate straw…

This was a very good dinner, way above the average fare, but a bit pricey too.  I haven’t mentioned the VAT tax have I?  While here in the USA, sales tax might run from 6% to 10% depending on locale, the VAT tax in the UK comes to 20% of the bill.  The good news for diners is that expected tipping is lower…about 10% in the United Kingdom so the VAT for meals is almost offset.  

In any case, we would recommend the Portree Hotel’s Antlers Bar and Grill to travelers visiting Portree on the Isle of Skye.  To learn more about this restaurant as well as the hotel, you can go to

That’s it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a little history and dinner too!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Dear Dave, I always enjoy the tours that you give and learning something new. I remember when the tam was in style here. It looks great on you.
    The food does look good, especially Laurie's dish.
    I wish you and Laurie a beautiful and very blessed Thanksgiving. Catherine

  2. David beautiful food and beauty sites, love the buildings . You look awesome with Laurie !!

    I whish you a happy Thanksgiving!! hugs!

  3. I enjoy the old European buildings. The meals very look good, especially Laurie's and I have been surprised at the meal prices for your trip. Are the dinner crowds due to locals or tourists?

  4. Omg, I so like that César salad dish to have right now, friend David ... and pay an arm and a leg 4 it ... smiles ... Love always, cat.

  5. It's always so interesting to see the pictures of your travels and the food is always so delicious.