River House restaurant the first standalone restaurant in Inverness city centre to receive VisitScotland Taste Our Best award

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, 2015-10-29 — /Travel PR News/ — A Highland seafood restaurant which sources its mussels from Shetland and scallops from the Isle of Harris, has become the latest foodie pearl in Inverness to scoop an industry award.

River House restaurant, on the banks of the picturesque River Ness, is the first standalone restaurant in Inverness city centre to receive a VisitScotland Taste Our Best award. Chef proprietor Alfie Little has gone to great lengths to source food and drink from all over Scotland, to ensure ingredients are the finest and freshest anywhere north of the border.

Taste Our Best is a joint initiative between VisitScotland and the Scottish Government. Launched in 2013, the scheme is designed to recognise businesses including hotels, restaurants, cafes, takeaways, visitor attractions and B&Bs that not only offer a quality food and drink experience, but include and promote Scottish produce on their menus, to give consumers choice.

River House, located in Greig Street, has not only gone the extra mile – but hundreds of miles – to keep its customers happy. Its menu includes Isle of Harris scallops, Ardgay venison sausages, west coast cod, Wester Ross salmon, Kyle of Bute oysters, Shetland mussels and halibut, Scrabster hake, Kinlochbervie smoked haddock, Orkney crab and cheddar cheese, Clava brie and Scottish rib eye steak. They also stock ales produced by the Loch Ness Brewery, at Drumnadrochit.

Chef proprietor at River House restaurant, Alfie Little, said:

“We are immensely honoured and very proud to receive this award as it has been our ethos, since we opened in 2002, to source and use local produce, which is fantastic, wherever possible.

“We hope that we will be the first of many restaurants to achieve this special recognition.”

Alfie prides himself on the great rapport he has built up with local fishermen, fishmongers, butchers, farmers and fruit and vegetable producers, allowing him to use ‘the best of the best’. Such is the reputation of River House, it is now recognised in many restaurant guides, including the AA and Lonely Planet.

2015 is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, and River House has pledged to continue its local food and drink sourcing strategy, to maximise use of Scottish produce. Earlier this month, as part of this themed year, Alfie organised a sumptuous showpiece seafood and wine dinner, which involved a celebration of Scotland’s bounty from the sea.

VisitScotland Regional Director, Scott Armstrong, said:

“I would like to congratulate Alfie and the staff at River House on receiving this award, but it comes as no surprise, as the scope of locally-sourced food featured on their menu really is commendable.

“We know that visitors love authentic, quality Scottish food and drink and Taste Our Best is all about taking this knowledge to the next level and really encouraging the tourism industry and businesses to recognise the real benefits of sourcing, using and promoting local and Scottish produce. We have such a rich natural larder in the Highlands, with some of the best products in the world right on our doorstep.

“2015 is the Year of Scotland’s Food and Drink and we hope that all the visitors to our shores this year who are experiencing the range of exciting events across the country will also get to taste the best of Scotland.”

Funded by the Scottish Government (£450K over three years) and VisitScotland (£470K in kind) with support from Scotland Food and Drink, the Taste Our Best initiative brings together the tourism and food and drink industries.

Research has shown that visitors are willing to pay up to 15% more for food that is of Scottish or regional origin and businesses that provide local food can typically enjoy higher level sales of up to 20% per year. It’s estimated that Scotland’s food and drink tourism industry is worth £2.5 million per day to the economy with sampling traditional dishes and local produce among the top activity undertaken by visitors to Scotland.

The Taste Our Best scheme is the latest addition to VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance (QA) Schemes, which aim to drive up quality in tourism products across the country. Taste Our Best will provide businesses with an assessment of their food provision and their menu by qualified assessors, with those meeting the necessary criteria gaining the award.

For accommodation providers and visitor attractions, the assessment will take place at the same time as the main VisitScotland Quality Assurance grading, meaning that many tourism businesses that already participate in the QA Scheme will no longer have to apply and pay for a separate food and drink assessment.

Taste Our Best replaced the EatScotland food and drink QA scheme, which is being phased out.  Further details can be found at: www.visitscotland.org/quality-foodanddrink.aspx

– ENDS –

Caption: Pat Thow, VisitScotland Industry Relationship Manager is pictured with Alfie Little, Chef Proprietor of River House restaurant, and Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director.

Notes to Editors

  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism      economy contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
  • Year of Food and Drink 2015
    • 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
    • Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
    • A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
    • For more information, visit www.visitscotland.com/tastescotland
  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support


Kim Walton

Corporate Press Officer
North Region
01224 269187
Out of hours – 07699 766986
Part time Monday to Thursday

SOURCE: VisitScotland


River House restaurant the first standalone restaurant in Inverness city centre to receive VisitScotland Taste Our Best award

River House restaurant the first standalone restaurant in Inverness city centre to receive VisitScotland Taste Our Best award