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Places to eat/drink in Mallaig

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Places to eat/drink in Mallaig

My family and I are travelling on the Jacobite train journey during our holiday in the Highlands, can anyone recommend any good pubs / restaurants / cafes where we can grab a bite to eat and a drink during our stop in Mallaig. Our stay in Mallaig lasts for 1hr 45mins, that includes walking time from/to railway station, any suggestions would be much appreciated. Don't know if days & time of year may effect our options but we're doing the journey on a Sunday in September.

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Manchester, United...
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1. Re: Places to eat/drink in Mallaig

The Jacobite is a major contributor to Mallaig's economy, and there is a cluster of restaurants in Mallaig, and a couple of pubs and a fish and chip shop, all of which will be delighted to provide lunch for you. One thing is certain: you won't be alone. Everyone else off the Jacobite will be walking around looking for lunch too!

Walking time from the station will not exceed five minutes - Mallaig is just a village really, and all the eating places are in the centre.

I have to say that on the two or three occasions that I have eaten at a Mallaig restaurant over the years, I have felt that it was OK but no better, and overpriced. But I haven't done so recently, and these places do change hands. If you look at the reviews here on TA, some of them are extremely enthusiastic, so you should be OK. If it's a nice day and you are happy to picnic, there's a couple of small supermarkets where you can just buy sandwiches and a drink and eat them on the harbour wall. A whole lot cheaper!

Have a great trip!

Ireland
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2. Re: Places to eat/drink in Mallaig

I recently had a night in Mallaig, which should take several years off my time in Purgatory, and, to my amazement, at 8.45pm on a Sunday night in the first week of September, there was not a single place in this God-forsaken dump of a village that was actually serving food. This, by the way, included one bar that had a sign outside saying it was serving food until 9pm but which had closed its kitchen at 8.30pm. Having travelled from Glasgow, my last meal had been at 11.30am. After walking from one end of the village to the other in the lashing rain, I ended up back at the B&B with a cheese sandwich from the Co-op. This was my holiday. Mallaig reminded me of the old joke that "I went to Wigan and it was closed." The following morning I went into the visitor centre to be greeted by a grumpy, dour man who seemed to think that it was an enormous imposition to have to turn on the computer so I could avail of the advertised internet service. If you get the chance to go to Mallaig, don't. It is a dump, with nothing in it, where they clearly don't want tourists and where the inhabitants give the impression not merely that they don't want tourists to visit - because what tourism destination shuts all its restaurants at 8.30pm on a Sunday night? - but that they are merely biding their time while waiting to die. Mallaig is grey, dull, unfriendly, dour and dead. One night there reminded me of the John Cooper Clarke line about "spend a year in a couple of hours". Presumably the reason why the West Coast railway terminates in Mallaig is because the construction workers reached Mallaig and then either starved or simply lost the will to live.

Manchester, United...
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3. Re: Places to eat/drink in Mallaig

So as you see, the Jacobite has got a lot to answer for! A small village appears to be a tourist destination, with its own page on TA, because a private train company happens to run nice steam trains there.

It's a classic case of unrealistic expectations. If you take the Jacobite from Fort William, have lunch in Mallaig, and take the same train back to Fort Bill, it will be fine. But basically Mallaig is an ordinary little fishing and ferry port - don't expect it to be anything else, or to offer a range of excitements on a Sunday evening.

Ireland
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4. Re: Places to eat/drink in Mallaig

A range of excitements? You make it sound like I was looking for a night at the theatre with an all-star cast, followed by a five-course meal of haute cuisine and a night of partying until the small hours before watching the Rolling Stones play live as the sun comes up over Mallaig. In fact, I would have settled for a plate of fish and chips. Actually, I probably would have settled for a plate of cold fish and chips. Is that really too much to ask? In Mallaig, apparently it is. However, I am glad to see that you agree that basically there is nothing in Mallaig worth going there for. So why have a visitor centre?

Edited: 07 September 2013, 01:00
Edinburgh...
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5. Re: Places to eat/drink in Mallaig

2 reasons for tourists going to Mallaig

1) the rather nice train ride

2) the rather nice ferry taking you to a very nice Skye

... and that means there aren't an enormous number of people who stay overnight.

It's a fishing port with ambitions to tourism, but ...

If the visitor centre and food is as you say it is, write a stiff letter to http://www.visitscotland.com/ because it's their responsibility to get it right.

Stanley, Falkland...
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6. Re: Places to eat/drink in Mallaig

" the West Coast railway terminates in Mallaig is because the construction workers reached Mallaig and then either starved or simply lost the will to live."

Well, actually it terminates because there is no more land. And before the railway, it was inaccessible by land. A very remote port by any standards.

I'm not sure what you expected, but it is fairly typical of remote settlements at the edge of Europe.

People pass through and don't stop, so little incentive to run a restuarant for the odd person who doesn't realise this.

Did you do any homework?

Ireland
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7. Re: Places to eat/drink in Mallaig

Little incentive to run a restaurant? There at least six restaurants, pubs and an alleged hotel that allegedly offer food in Mallaig. I would have settled for any one of them and a bit of average bar food. As for me not doing my homework, the very decent owner of the very decent B&B (Heatherlea) was stunned when I told him every place was shut. So I don't think homework really comes into it. And it has a visitor centre, so clearly views itself as being in the tourism game.

Edited: 07 September 2013, 10:25
Ireland
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8. Re: Places to eat/drink in Mallaig

It also has 15 B&Bs and 15 holiday lets listed on this site, plus a hotel. Which, taken together with a visitor centre and heritage centre - not sure if these are the same - describes a village with a tourism infrastructure, one that is being let down by bone idle restaurateurs and publicans.

Manchester, United...
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9. Re: Places to eat/drink in Mallaig

I have some sympathy for OP, having been in the same position in Mallaig myself, and more than once! But I think he needs to understand how private enterprise works. It's not a case of being industrious or 'bone idle' - it's simply a question of providing a service when there is sufficient demand for it. Hence the fact that the cafes and restaurants in Mallaig are all open during the day, when the Jacobite day trippers are swarming the streets, and when ferry passengers are passing through en route to and from Skye and other islands. By 8.30 on a wet Sunday evening, however, these customers will have been and gone, there are no more trains or ferries, and the restaurateurs can put their feet up.

Stanley, Falkland...
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10. Re: Places to eat/drink in Mallaig

Sundays in the west Highlands and Islands can still be "traditional". I wouldn't expect anything open on a Sunday in some places.

The B&B owner should have known.

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