The Three Chimneys Skye: a review of the award-winning restaurant

the three chimneys skye

It’s the Michelin-starred restaurant that you don’t want to miss. Complete your island trip with a visit to The Three Chimneys, Skye!

The Three Chimneys, Skye, is an award-winning Scottish ‘restaurant with rooms’. It’s Michelin starred and if you’re in the know then it probably needs no introduction.

I hadn’t heard of it until I booked a trip to Skye in December 2021. The name popped up courtesy of a recommendation from someone at work. And once I’d heard it, it seemed to appear everywhere, in all the blogs, articles, and TripAdvisor reviews I read about Skye.

Don’t miss The Three Chimneys. Make sure you go to The Three Chimneys. Book a table at The Three Chimneys.

Who was I to disagree? I went against my usual fly by the seat of your pants style and booked a table immediately. And as it turned out, going to The Three Chimneys was just another part in what was a magical trip to Skye!

the three chimneys skye

Everything you need to know about The Three Chimneys, Skye

The Three Chimneys Skye history

The Three Chimneys is based in an original Skye croft house and has gained in prominence over the years, since it was first taken over in 1985.

It has won over 30 major awards and was reportedly named as one New York Food critic’s top five restaurants all the way back in 2010.

It’s now somewhere that people travel to from all over the world.

Does The Three Chimneys have a Michelin star?

Yes it does. It’s held three AA Rosettes since 2000 – this is the national scheme for assessing the quality of food and service around the UK. Restaurants are awarded between one and five rosettes, so three rosettes is a signifier of a really great restaurant.

As far as Michelin stars go, The Three Chimneys received a Michelin star back in 2014.

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Who is the chef at the Three Chimneys?

The head chef at the Three Chimneys is Scott Davies. He’s originally from Wales and went to catering college in my old stomping ground, Dundee, where he worked in restaurants in Carnoustie and St Andrews.

If you’re a fan of Masterchef then you may be interested to know he appeared in the 2013 series of Masterchef: The Professionals, where he was runner-up.

He became head chef at The Three Chimneys in 2015, at the bequest of the former owners, and has been there ever since. He’s known for his pure, clean style of cooking.

Who owns The Three Chimneys?

The Three Chimneys was sold by its previous owners, Shirley and Eddie Spear in 2019. They had owned and run The Three Chimneys for 34 years, ever since they took it over in 1985.

The establishment is now owned by Gordon Campbell Gray, a Scots-born international hotelier. It’s now part of his Scottish hotel and restaurant collection, The Wee Hotel Company, but it’s reported that he wants to run the business as it always has been.

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Can I stay at there too?

Yes, you can. The Three Chimneys is a ‘restaurant with rooms’ and so you can bed down here too. But I’m not gonna lie, staying at the Three Chimneys is definitely out of my price range. The rooms at the Three Chimneys are known as the House Over-By. I popped in some dates to get a price and it seems that £295 a night is what you’re looking at to stay.

That was for a random date in February so I imagine it would be higher in peak season. But if it does sound like a bit of you it all sounds pretty wonderful to me…

The Three Chimneys accommodation

There are six beautiful suites to choose from and it really looks so lovely. If you’re looking for a romantic retreat with tranquil, beautifully designed accommodation and some amazing culinary experiences along the way, then this ticks a lot of boxes.

The three chimneys Skye

Where is the Three Chimneys House?

The Three Chimneys is located on the north west corner of the isle of Skye. The restaurant is in Colbost, which is near Dunvegan, and is nestled on the shoreline of Loch Dunvegan.

We were staying in Waternish so it was around a thirty-minute drive from there.

Here’s a map so you can see where it is on the island…


How do I get to The Three Chimneys?

I would highly recommend having a solid Sat Nav system or at least some directions on your phone. Like I said earlier, it gets pitch black at night and when you’re driving down a single-track road in the dark it’s really hard to get a sense of your surroundings.

There are signposts but I would double up to be on the safe side!

How not to go to a Michelin-starred restuarant…

Before I start with my tips for having a great experience here, let me just share what I did. My plans for making a graceful entrance went to pot the moment we arrived.  

It was pitch black when we got there and I managed to stand in a massive muddy puddle just outside the restaurant and absolutely cover my shoe in mud! I then dropped my phone into the same pile of mud in the panic but didn’t even notice that I’d done it. 

I went into a second panic when I realised I didn’t know where my phone was. I flapped around checking my pockets before I had to retrace my steps and luckily there it was, face down in the mud next to my great big footprint. Luckily it hadn’t been completely submerged and I was able to unpick it and wipe it down before making our way inside.

I couldn’t even see how bad my shoe was until we stepped into the light in the restaurant and I was able to see that it was completely caked in mud. What a great look!

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My tips for visiting The Three Chimneys

1) Book as early as possible

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is: book early. Really early! The leaflet at our accommodation in Skye said you should book as soon as you arrive but I would book even before that. I booked in September for a trip in early December, and that meant I had peace of mind knowing that we had a spot. And that I could save up for it, of course!

2) Be aware of seasonal opening times

Be mindful of seasonal opening times. Everything is more limited in Skye during the winter months, which we found out fairly regularly during our trip! I read loads of reviews that talked about going to the Three Chimneys for lunch, but this is only something you can do in the summer months. In the winter The Three Chimneys is only open for dinner service.

3) Consider how you’ll get there

It’s probably important to think about how you’re going to get to The Three Chimneys. The restaurant is tucked down a long track near Dunvegan and so walking to it really isn’t an option – particularly in the winter when it’s pitch black and you can’t see a thing.

It’s best to either have a designated driver in place or, if you want to work your way through the award-winning wine list, book a taxi to drive you there and pick you up afterwards.

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What is the dress code for The Three Chimneys?

As someone who is most at home in my scruffs, this is always the kind of question that bothers me! Will I be too scruffy? Will they be able to tell that I’m not worthy? Do they know that I sometimes eat fish fingers and potato waffles for tea during the week?

The dress code at the Three Chimneys is smart casual. They say that vests, shorts, and flipflops aren’t going to fly but pretty much everything is OK. More information here.

I would always err on the side of caution and go a little bit smart. However, I wouldn’t say any of the other diners were particularly dressed up. Some had smart jackets, some had jeans, I even saw a baseball cap and trainers. So the dress code isn’t a real biggie.

What is the atmosphere like?

There’s nothing worse than going to somewhere that’s a little bit fancier than where you’d normally go (for me, anyway) and feeling like it’s really uptight and unwelcoming; where it’s all a bit icy and unfriendly and you feel like you don’t belong. We’ve all been there, right?

Luckily, the Three Chimneys was nothing like that. I was really pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the staff as soon as we walked through the door. The service was attentive and polite throughout as they explained the menu to us and how you could order.

We were there at 6pm and it felt relaxed and chilled. It was fairly quiet at this time, but I imagine it would have loosened up even further as the night went on!

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The Three Chimneys, Skye menu

One of the most important talking points is, of course, the menu at the Three Chimneys. As I mentioned earlier, the restaurant is known for the head chef’s pure style of cooking. It celebrates local produce, as you would expect, and is creative, playful, and intriguing.

I remember looking at the sample menu before booking the table and being slightly confused by the menu. Instead of starters, main courses, and desserts, the courses are listed as numbers. First, second, third, and so on. I was slightly worried you ‘had’ to order something from every course, which would be fine for some people but a little bit beyond my budget. Luckily, the wasn’t the case, as our lovely waiter explained to us.

You can basically order exactly what you want. As our waiter said, order what you like and design your own experience. That’s how the menu has been created by the chef.

The first course is an amuse bouche type course and then the rest follow a typical menu. Second is a starter, third is a main course, and desserts is pudding. You can order one from each course, or choose 1 and 3, pick three courses from 2 or 3 – it’s completely up to you.

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What to order at the Three Chimneys, Skye

There are four dishes for each part of the menu, which seems like the perfect amount really. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with choice and I and so it’s better to keep it concise.

I wasn’t sure whether to go for a First or Second, but in the end I went for the latter. I really liked everything I ordered so I thought I would share what I got…

Second

Roasted sconser scallop / baked potato dashi / hazelnut butter

I always love getting scallops when I’m out and this one really was a little bit special.

While it was small and perfectly formed, it came alongside with hot broth poured out of a teapot by the server so it had that element of theatre, which I loved.

The dish also had some kind of pickled elements in it. I watch a lot of Great British Menu and pickling always seems to be something that’s fairly common, so it was nice to try it for myself. The potato was nice but the star of the show was the sweet, succulent scallop.

Third

Monkfish / foraged mushroom / fennel / cauliflower

I love a beautifully cooked piece of fish and so I thought, what better place to do it than a Michelin starred restaurant on the Isle of Skye? Choosing it was hard though. I’m never completely sure of my choice and I didn’t want to get food FOMO when the food came out.  

I needn’t have worried, though! I loved this dish and I was so glad I chose it. The fish was cooked beautifully and the sauce was just outstanding. I’m also a real mushroom fan so I loved getting to try all the different types of foraged mushrooms on the plate.

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Sides

Ratte potatoes / seaweed herb butter

Whipped potato / bacon jam / chive oil

We ordered two sides as we couldn’t decide between the two. I think we were also slightly worried about the portions being a little small. If I had the choice next time I think I’d skip the ratte potatoes and just go for the whipped potatoes, as these really were heavenly.

Picture the perfect mashed potato; velvety smooth, buttery, and rich, with the bacon jam and chive oil elevating them. It was a little piece of decadence we inhaled every morsel of!

Dessert

Roasted white chocolate parfait / blackcurrant / salted almond ice cream

We just ordered one of these to share, but I probably could have had my own! The table next to us had ordered it and it looked like such a beautifully put together plate of food I couldn’t not have it. They actually split it over two plates for us, which was a lovely touch.

It really was a work of art. The artfully piped blackcurrant curd was fresh and sharp and cut through the richness of the white chocolate parfait. With a beautiful colour combination of pinks and creams on the plate it was almost too pretty to eat… but not quite!

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Anything else?

We didn’t drink because Chris was driving and I’d read that the wine cost about £7 for a 125ml glass. It is an award-winning wine menu, as I read before we went, but I didn’t want to blow the budget and so I opted to just for a soft drink. I ordered an elderflower spritzer and it was really fresh and light, the perfect accompaniment to the food really!

I also need to mention the delicious breads that came out before the starter. There were three different kinds and I particularly liked the rye bread. I’m not usually a fan but this one was really nutty and delicious. The butters that came with the bread were also great. There were two, a regular butter and a seaweed butter, which I would highly recommend!

How much was it?

How much is it to eat at The Three Chimneys Skye?

I’m just going to share how much it was to eat here because that was one of the biggest things I was concerned about: that it would be too expensive. I really wanted to go for the experience and to do something memorable during our trip, but I didn’t want to wreck myself financially for the next month for the sake of a nice dinner, you know?

In the end our meal cost £145, which was pretty much around about the amount I expected. I was pretty happy with that; I enjoyed everything we ordered and the overall experience.

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Would I recommend The Three Chimneys?

Yes I would. Visiting The Three Chimneys is definitely not something I would do all the time. I’m a big fan of casual dining and this was a real treat in comparison.

However, as I said earlier, we hadn’t really been on holiday this year so it was nice to be able to treat ourselves during our trip and make it really special. And it was!

If you’re looking for a special fine dining experience then this is just the ticket.

What else is there to do on the Isle of Skye?

Planning a trip to the Isle of Skye? You might like these posts…

That was my review of The Three Chimneys, Skye. Have you been? What did you think? Will you visit next time you’re in Skye?

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