Lunch in Dunblane at the Riverside

Spending a full day in Dunblane, I wanted to ensure I had a good lunch. I asked a local who was out walking her dog for a recommendation for lunch – her suggestion was The Riverside Restaurant.

As the name suggests, the restaurant is at the side of the river running through Dunblane – the Allan Water – but it was a bit too damp to sit out on their little terrace which looks over the river. I can imagine it would be a beautiful setting on a warm summer’s day (we don’t get many hot days in Scotland). You can just about make out the terrace in the photograph below. I think its ironic that I’d taken this photo when I arrived in Dunblane, hours before lunch. Regrettably it never occurred to me to take a photograph of the front of the restaurant, facing the road.

The Riverside from the bridge on Stirling Street, crossing the river

First Impressions

On opening the door to the restaurant, the bar was facing me with the check-in desk to the side. Although the lady I assumed to be the Manager was busy she did acknowledge me; but I was also struck by the friendliness of the “hello” from the person behind the bar. I also noticed this welcome was equally as warm and friendly with everyone else who arrived after me. I had arrived a little after 12, so the restaurant was still quite quiet. I worried a little that they might work on reservations, but they had a table and could accommodate me.

The Restaurant

The restaurant was clean, bright and airy and there felt as though there was plenty of space between tables; you didn’t feel like you were sitting in your neighbour’s lap.

While my lunch visit was ad hoc I was quickly aware of many groups arriving who had table reservations and the back room I could see from my table was filling up quickly.

Picture shows a restaurant dining room with tables and chairs set up ready for lunchtime
Dining room waiting for lunch guests

Despite being lunchtime, I did notice some people were calling in for drinks and the restaurant team were happy to accommodate them too. I always worry if I just want coffee etc over lunch time and have been turned away in the past elsewhere, so it was refreshing to see a restaurant which was so accommodating and irrespective of the type of service required by the customers – someone wishing drinks was treated in exactly the same way as a family coming in for lunch.

It was also about 2.30 pm when I left and they still seemed to be accepting people calling in for late lunches, so I’m not sure what their opening/closing times are, but they certainly seemed flexible.

The Staff

The restaurant had a good team of staff who were attentive and friendly. Tables did not appear to be left sitting too long waiting for service or for their food arriving from the kitchen. The staff checked to see that the food etc was acceptable, if the customers needed anything, but at the same time it didn’t feel intrusive.

The Food

It is said we should enjoy food with all of our senses and my senses were all being teased even before I got to taste anything delivered to my own table. I was sitting facing the entrance into the dining room from the kitchen so was able to see the food arriving and when some plates were carried past me to a table behind me, I could smell the delicious fresh aromas of freshly cooked battered fish. The food all appeared to be made fresh to order. I am not a fan of battered fish, but this smelled so amazing that I did kind of regret my decision – but not for long. My own order did not disappoint.

My Order

The menu offered a selection of sandwiches and full meals to choose from. I opted for a burger made with Scottish steak, along with additions of brie and sweet cured bacon. The steak was served with a portion of chips and a side serving of relish which to my mind was homemade – it had that chunky, homemade feel to it – it was delicious – a hint of bbq, but also had a chili kick.

I was surprised to be asked how I wanted my burger cooked (I remember being told at some point that minced beef should always be cooked thoroughly) but I guess if the burger is made with quality steak, it can be served rare. That said, I played it safe and had it well done. The burger, when it arrived, was huge and I had to admit defeat and eat it with a fork and knife rather than my fingers. The burger was perfectly cooked and melted in the mouth; I wasn’t sure about the brie rather than cheddar but it complemented the bacon and just made the burger taste creamy. The menu doesn’t give any indication of the size of the burger, but it was a filling meal.

Lunch plate containing a burger in a brioche bun, a small dish with red relish and a side order of chips
Yum – Lunch – which end of the plate do I start from?

Despite being filling, eating at a restaurant for me means ice cream. However, as the Riverside also had sorbet on the menu, I opted for a scoop of mango sorbet and one of blood orange. I felt like I was in heaven. The flavours were so fruity, not too sweet. The orange had a tanginess to it which worked perfectly with the mango. After my sorbet, I waited a little, wrote up some blogging notes of my visit to Dunblane and ordered a cappuccino to finish off my meal.

A perfect break for lunch on my visit to Dunblane and set me up well for my afternoon visit to the Cathedral. I suspect when I next return to Dunblane, I’ll come back to The Riverside for coffee and scones if the ones on display are an example of what they provide.

Picture shows a blackboard image of restaurants.  In front is a selection of cakes, biscuits and scones.
Scones and cakes in Dunblane

If you wish to visit the restaurant yourself, their website can be accessed here

I hope I’ve inspired you a little. If so, sign up to my blog for more inspiration and tasty treats.

31 comments

  1. I just finished my dinner here but looking at that burger I could and would eat it also! I have no Scots ancestry that I know of specifically, although the paternal side is northern Europe and heavy Danish so maybe that’s one of the reasons I would love to visit Scotland. Either that or the massive series of Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon I have read over the years.

    • I hope you had a good dinner Deb. Even without Scottish Ancestry, it’s still a good place to visit 😀 but I may be a tad biased

      • I had curry Brenda, and it was very tasty but bacon on a burger wins out every time in my opinion. The coffee looked good as well, but maybe not the best choice coming up on bedtime in a bit!

      • Oh my, if you are still up and reading this I hope you can close your eyes soon. I understand though. It’s not often but I have nights of very little sleep sometimes myself. Mostly I can’t turn my brain off. Take care and spend the day resting perhaps…

  2. These over-all seems like a decent experience.
    The restaurant is neat and clean and they are willing to serve customers whatever they like is the best thing.
    The food looks good.
    Overall I’m happy that you are happy.
    You can contact them on their Instagram and share your experience.

  3. It seems you are thoroughly enjoying your explorations Brenda😁

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful experiences 🤍🙏

  4. Ah…I felt I was there with you! Beautiful sharing, Brenda — thank you so much. And I chuckled at your ‘admit defeat’ thought — needing a knife and fork to enjoy your burger. I can see why! Thank you again for taking us along. xo! 💕

    • Youre welcome Victoria. It’s always good to share the experiences 😌 my friend was ill, so it was a solo visit – so even more precious being able to share it

      • Solo travel….oh…I feel blogging potential for you — coming from that. I’ve found it to be unexpectedly fun when the opportunity has come up to explore solo. 😉

      • Thats definitely true. Part of me wishes I’d discovered blogging during my year in France as I did so much solo exploring

      • Ah – and there we have it! Another fun Brenda/Vicki connection. I wish I’d done the same! 😉

    • I liked that part too — although the whole post was delicious! I am all of a sudden hungry for a burger. Sorry your friend couldn’t join you but glad you took us along!

  5. Hi, Brenda. At last, I’ve had time to drop in to see your blog. I’ve seen you comment on several of my blogging friends and always liked what I’ve read, so I thought I’d come and see what you write. I’m glad that I did.

    I’ve never been to Dunblane, or anywhere else much, come to that. Riverside sounds lovely and seemed to be a very friendly place – always a good thing when dealing with the public. Your meal looks delicious, although, being a vegan, I would have opted for a vegan burger and cheese instead. I do miss Brie, though, as It used to be my favourite cheese (along with Camembert.) The chips look divine, though, and I do have a weakness for them. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed your food, and it’s lovely that you took the time to email the restaurant with your compliments. That’s something I do, too. One of my favourite mottos is, ‘credit where credit is due.’

    I have a restaurant near me called The Riverside Inn. I’ve only been there once, but it wasn’t a patch on yours. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your work. X 💐

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