Special Diets in Shetland
by Louise Thomason -
Following a special diet, whether through choice or for health reasons, is often manageable except for at one time: travelling. Whether you are vegetarian or vegan or have to avoid gluten, dairy or eggs, trying to plan where the best places to eat are becomes part of your life.
Thankfully, in Shetland there are an increasing number of eateries which cater to special diets, and there are plenty of options in the local shops for making your own meals.
If you’re staying in Shetland for some time, you might want to join the Shetland Vegans Facebook group, which has lots of updates on vegan and dairy free finds, and is a great place for advice on where to find products and for sharing recipes.
The blog Vegan Shetland has an excellent post listing local places and the vegan options they provide.
Similarly, searching Tripadvisor for gluten free options brings up a list of 14 restaurants and cafes which include gluten free options in their regular menus.
We’ve listed some of these here, as well as some other places where you can find sweet treats and other food items. However, it’s best to double check when you book to be on the safe side, and do let us know if there are any places that we’ve missed.
The Peerie Shop
This Lerwick café is a favourite amongst locals, and serves fresh homemade soups, sandwiches, toasties, paninis and daily specials. Gluten free options are always available, and while there is usually only one regular vegan option there are many vegetarian options.
Fjarå Café Bar
With spectacular views out to sea and a good cocktail menu, this café bar is a popular option. Serving homemade, locally sourced light meals and lunch options, as well as an evening menu and popular Sunday brunch, Fjarå has vegan and gluten free options on its menus (which are available to view online).
The Olive Tree
This deli is a popular lunch spot, with many of their options vegan and gluten free. Their menu includes homemade soups, sandwiches, rolls, paninis and daily specials. Try their customisable salad boxes for a healthy and tasty vegan lunch.
This bistro in the centre of town is Shetland’s first steak house, serving locally meat sourced from Hoove Farm in Kergord, Weisdale. As you might expect, there are few vegetarian options and no vegan options. They do however offer gluten free options.
Indian and Chinese
This Nepalese restaurant is a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. All of their curries are gluten free. There are a good range of vegetarian options, and because no ghee is used, any of the non-dairy curries are suitable for vegans. Naans however are not vegan.
New Golden Coach
One of two sit-in Chinese restaurants in Lerwick (though there are more takeaway options), the new Golden Coach (or Baroc) serves classic Asian dishes. Gluten free options are listed on its menu. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available.
Scalloway Hotel Restaurant
This double AA rosette winning restaurant is a firm favourite with discerning foodies in Shetland. Serving fine dining meals as well as more relaxed bar suppers, the restaurant has a dedicated vegan and vegetarian menu, and allergies and other dietary requirements are easily catered for with prior notice.
The Bay Brasserie
This restaurant, located in the Lerwick hotel, has recently undergone renovations, and offers a varied menu. There is usually one vegan option available. Gluten fee options are listed on their menus, and other diets can be catered for with prior notice.
Waterfront Bar & Grill
Located in the Shetland Hotel, the Waterfront bar and grill serves lunches and evening meals. There are gluten free options available on their menus and vegans can be accommodated with some pre-warning (best to let them know when you book).
Lerwick’s newest café bar is located in one of Commercial Street’s oldest properties. Lovingly renovated this summer, it is a relaxed space, currently serving evening meals and as well as a range of craft beers and coffees. Their menu changes regularly and always includes one vegan option, with specials sometimes being vegan too. The String holds regular events, with recent nights including a vegan evening. Gluten free options and menus are also available when they know in advance.
One of Lerwick’s newest eateries, The Dowry is a beautifully designed modern bistro with views overlooking the harbour. Serving brunch, lunch and evening meals as well as a delicious array of cakes and Belgian waffles, it offers a good selection of vegan and gluten free options from their main menu as well as their daily specials.
Outside of Lerwick
The Cornerstone BB and Restaurant
This tastefully renovated café and restaurant is located in Scalloway. Providing breakfast, lunch, light bites and evening meals, they are happy to cater for allergies and other requirements. Gluten free options are also available.
Frankies Fish & Chips
The award winning Frankies Fish & Chips in Brae have a separate gluten free menu, and a fryer specifically for their gluten free options. (There will be an added cooking time of approximately 30 minutes for these items, so if possible, it’s best to pre-warn them to save on waiting time.)
Some of their daily specials are also available gluten free, just ask a member of staff. Customers are welcome to discuss any dietary concerns with the chefs before they place orders.
Their fryers use sunflower oil, so vegetarians and vegans can be sure their chips are suitable. Outside of the chips, there are veggie burgers and baked potatoes with various fillings.
Established in the 1980s, Scoop Wholefoods is dedicated to supplying high quality specialist and fine foods, as well as a good range of local produce. There are often vegan treats to be found from local suppliers as well as a regular supply of vegan and gluten free cooking and snack items.
There are also several honesty boxes in the isles which often stock gluten, dairy and egg free and vegan options:
Emma’s Cake Corner, Sandwick
Situated in the picturesque village of Hoswick, near Sandwick in the south Mainland, Emma’s Cake Corner is hugely popular among locals and visitors alike. The cupboard is regularly stocked with cupcakes and traybakes like tiffin and caramel shortbread.
Hayfield Croft Produce, East Burrafirth
This is a small family business famed for it's roadside honesty 'cake cupboard', which is stocked daily with an array of fresh home baking including vegan treats. The cake cupboard is currently closed, but will be re-opening in May 2019, along with a brand new tea-room.
Posted in: Restaurants