If a standard skinny iced chai latte or soya caramel cortado is your drink of choice, then Costa on the new Aviemore Retail Park can no doubt meet your order. But while you are here in the Cairngorms, we would strongly encourage you to explore our fine selection of local independent cafes and try something new! Here are our top 5 picks …
Mountain Cafe, Aviemore
Above Cairngorm Mountain Sports in the centre of Aviemore, with outstanding mountain views, this award-winning cafe is a simply a must for hearty breakfasts, delicious lunches and a selection of cakes like you have never seen before. Its extensive drinks menu beats the coffee chains hands down, it caters extremely well to allergies and the kids menu is fantastic. Owner and head chef KJ recently published ‘The Mountain Cafe Cookbook: A Kiwi in the Cairngorms’, which is now on its fourth print run, and shows you how to recreate her fresh, home-cooked food with a kiwi twist. Be prepared to queue for a table at this Aviemore institution – but it’s worth the wait!
The Druie Cafe Restaurant, Rothiemurchus
Located on the Rothiemurchus Estate by Coylumbridge just outside Aviemore, next to the estate’s farm shop and deli, the Druie serves great lunches incorporating fish, venison and beef from the estate, wonderful home-baking and good coffee in a relaxed, friendly environment. Dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area. You can also view selected artwork from the Loch an Eilein Gallery, which is on display around the cafe.
Carrbridge Kitchen, Carrbridge
The Carrbridge Kitchen is a fantastic Scottish fusion cafe/restaurant serving delicious breakfasts, lunches, and of course, coffee and cake. Over the summer months, it is also open some evenings for dinner but do check before you go. Great, friendly service and beautifully presented, with a wood-burning stove to warm you up on chillier days. There is a dedicated bike parking area outside. And … did we mention the cakes?!
High St Merchants, Grantown-on-Spey
Al and Ellie, the dream team behind the pop-up restaurant One Pot Borrowed at Rothiemurchus in 2013-2015, took over the running of High St Merchants last year. This gem of a cafe and gallery in Grantown-on-Spey continues to be a firm favourite with local and visitors alike. Pop in for a delicious scone, tasty lunch or pint of Two Thirsty Men beer (brewed right next door!) and do have a look at the lovely selection of local arts and crafts on display. Also open for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings. Great customer service and highly recommended!
Nethy House Cafe, Nethy Bridge
Located by the bridge in the village, this cafe opened in November 2017 and has quickly become a firm favourite with locals and visitors. It serves delicious soups and sandwiches, daily specials and a mouth-watering array of home-baking in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The broad drinks menu includes artisan coffee from specialty Highlands-based roasters Glen Lyon, and an array of teas and soft drinks. There is on-site parking at the rear and disabled access at the front of the cafe. A raised decking platform at the rear will provide a really lovely spot for customers to enjoy the sunshine in summer. Very well-behaved dogs are welcome too