I am partaking in a journey where I will appraise every non-franchise restaurant in town and review their food as well as their service. It is an attempt to expand my mind and appetite. Simultaneously, I will also be taking what I learn from these establishments and attempting to remake them with my extremely limited skill.
The Old School, and I don’t believe this is a reach, is probably built out of an old school. I know, contain your bewilderment. Like everything in Skye, it probably changed functions a dozen times. I think half the buildings in Scotland, or at least Skye, were once a church or a school at some point. Now they’re either B&Bs or restaurants. Not that The Old School resembles anything you could imagine a school looking like from your youth. What it’s now is a truly exceptional dining experience blessed with great food and an unmatched rustic charm. I’ve been told that The Old School is by far the best restaurant in all of Dunvegan, and I believe it…Trip Advisor only lists three restaurants in town and one of them is a bakery. What I’m saying is that this town isn’t particularly large. Given Skye’s population density, if you are not from Portree, you’re from Dunvegan, and Portree only has about 10,000 people. Maybe Dunvegan is Gaelic for “resume speed.”
After checking our coats, we found our tables and began our experience. Across from us, etched on a chalkboard, were the starter specials. We decided to partake in the local wine. We each had a glass of the Sangiovese Rubicone Azienda Vinicola Archiue 2011…yeah, that sounds local. While my girlfriend enjoyed a cold duck salad, I tackled the seared scallop and black pudding. As for the mains, we both ordered the Scottish beef strips pan-fried and served in a black pepper, mustard and white wine sauce with tagliatelle. There was not one part of this meal we didn’t enjoy, and we wanted to enjoy more of it, but once again on this trip the courses were so generous, we couldn’t squeeze in dessert. With $12 starters and $26 mains, the meal wasn’t cheap, but grading on a curve, it was inexpensive as the best restaurant in town. And at least this time I was able to actually leave a tip. The service deserved it.
What else could I take from our experience at The Old School? For one, if I take the other patrons as a representative random sample from the Dunvegan population, the median age sits somewhere about 106. Two, I hope parking directly in front of their doors is allowed since roads in Skye have no shoulder and the lot next to the restaurant holds probably four vehicles. The Old School is not only the best place to eat in Dunvegan, it could possibly be the only place. Our road trip through Skye was probably one of the top ten best experiences of my life, promoted into the top five with the inclusion of my recently acquired girlfriend, a statement I should reword because honestly, it’s not like she’s a legendary card in a booster pack of Magic The Gathering…well, in the most romantic way, she kind of is. Off topic. So if driving around the perimeter of Skye, stopping in Dunvegan is just something you have to do. So call The Old School ahead and make your reservation because it’ll be required unless you want to eat a vacuum sealed sandwich next to a field of stacked stones.
By the way, our waiter was totally not Scottish. I felt robbed.
OVERALL: 7.9 out of 10