mishdish at the mishnish

A contrast to the al fresco charms of the chippie is Mishdish, the local gastropub inside The Mishnish, a boutique Tobermory hotel. Situated as the far end of the harbor, Mishdish is fitted out in the contempo aesthetic of dark wood and crisp linens and is as inviting as it is mellifluous. It’s also as locavore a dining experience as one could hope for: locally caught, locally sourced, locally distilled, locally prepared, and locally served, the menu bursts with local pride. And rightfully so, I might add. (To save myself from excessive repetition, please assume the modifier “local” before all further nouns unless otherwise noted.) Fishcakes of salmon and haddock are lovely and light with mixed greens and a piquant splash of non-local chili. It’s about as far as you can get from the potato-laden belly bombers I remember as a child and I could easily takedown a second portion without blinking. A bowl of sweet langoustines brings out the skull-sucking carnivore in me. Split-grilled and drizzled in chive butter they come with a crusty hunk of baguette to soak up every last drop of buttery brine. My only regret is that I ordered an appetizer portion and not an entrée. There’s no getting away from Sticky Toffee Pudding, gluten be damned. Interestingly enough it’s square, not a dome, yet geometry does nothing to diminish the criminal pleasure of what is essentially a steamed piece of cake soaked through with buttery toffee and topped with vanilla ice cream. The coffee is good, too – if imported – and strong. It comes with a small chocolate bon-bon that’s as you’d expect, handmade just down the road.


chippie les routiers

Since it was first seen in Paris in 1935, the famous blue-and-red Les Routiers symbol has traditionally identified restaurants and bars of individual character – mainly owner managed – offering excellent food and good value for money. In an age of uniformity, fast food and charmless chains, the members of Les Routiers are not only passionate about what they do, they are the best of their kind, too, whether it is a small cafe serving exceptional sandwiches or a table d’hote laid out with silver and fine china in a luxe hotel or a food truck parked at the side of the road. Tobermory is lucky to have all of these options within easy reach, but it’s the last one that keeps drawing me back. Situated at the head of the pier in the exact center of town, Fisherman’s Pier chippie gets its fish and shellfish from the boats as they return each afternoon, so whatever’s the catch of the day is what you’ll find battered alongside handcut chips that evening, be it haddock, pollack, scrod, scallops or lobsters. (The cod is lovely, too, but there’s no way it’s come off a lone dayboat.) In this rare stretch of sunny Scottish weather, it’s a most pleasant meal and at 7 pounds, a fair bargain, too. Feet dangling off the end of the dock, the only thing I’d add would be a chilled glass of rose to take the edge off the setting sun.


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