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“Superb food and good old fashioned family hospitality”

The Russian Tavern at The Port Royal Hotel
Price range: $11 - $51
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Reviewed September 20, 2011

Authentic Russian gourmet food served in a delightful intimate little restaurant with a view of of Scottish hills over the water to die for. Mine host is a slightly eccentric and charming Norwegian, Dag, and his hard working wife wife Olga, a Russian, the power in the Kitchen. All their fish is caught locally, on a daily basis and their meats sourced from local butchers and the veggies grown on an allotment out back. Believe me it shows, try the borsch, best this side of the Urals. They do B&B too, just as well as their selection of exotic beers, real ales out of wooden casks and wines merit testing, I speak from experience. Well worth a visit if you find yourself on the Isle of Bute.

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3  Thank Ceplova
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (47)
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25 - 29 of 47 reviews

Reviewed November 2, 2010

Port Bannatyne is a quaint old stone village on the Isle of Bute, the start (or the end) of the West Island Way hikers trail with wonderful views over the islands and highlands. The village inn is run by Russians who fuss over the visitors to give a very welcoming atmosphere. Ivan the Fisherman came into the tavern with a large plastic container with the day's catch of giant prawns, scallops, codling, crab and other flapping fish. But we tried the Russian dishes which were very interesting using wild vegetables and fungi.
We were also able to sample Russian beers which were very good indeed. The presence of this hospitable inn at the end of a days hiking made our trip to the island very memorable. Most of the other visitors were from other countries and it seemed English was the minority language! Try this place for a good suprise.

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3  Thank JuliusAmersfoort
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2010

We found this place when we where searching for the best places to eat in Argyll on google. The Russian Tavern leapt out at us, and spurred on by good reviews we decided we book a table. We actually hitch hicked 30 miles and caught 2 ferries to get there just for lunch !

My favourite features included :
The decor and atmosphere; was instantly welcoming, succeeded at being very colourful - but was far from over the top.

An incredible variety of spirits and beers (including an amazing 'birch sap' vodka !?!?) There are so many vodkas to try - and no smirnoff.

Delicious wholesome, hearty, perfectly seasoned food - and all home made (its funny how rare that is in Argyll !) - I had the smoked sprats

Good music; an ecleptic variety of classical, folk, and jazz played at a suitably ignorable level.

The journey there. Cowal is an amazing and highly underexplored area. Its some of the best scenery I have ever seen. I would recomend going via Cowal

The service was excellent, a welcoming and friendly host.

Conclusion : We don't tend to eat out all that often in Argyll - simply because the standards here are so low, in light of this - if you are within a 30 mile radius of Bute and are hungry - you would do well to visit the Russian Tavern. Rarely are my partner and I as satisfied with our meal as today.

Tips : Phone ahead and book a table and try as many things as you can !

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1  Thank poppylovesock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2010

This place is perfect for you if like me, you are tired of fomulaic, trained, honed and plain cynical approaches....(and franchised chains).... to food and atmosphere, I mean.
ONLY crazy people operate real restaurants and pubs.....I mean, you HAVE to be crazy to wanna do this, right? Yup. I am right.
Dag is crazy ok. No doubt of that.
Why else would he serve up nutty unheard-of Russian food in a tiny room on a tiny island, with NO Russian people living there ( except his lovely wife Olga)?
Duhhhh.........

I reckon it's because he and his missus Olga actually believe in the food and drink they serve up. Big time.
This kind of dining experience is not for the faint - hearted diner.........there is LOTS of food on every plate, and it is all pretty challenging, unless you already have a Babuschka at home to advise best choices in this eatery, dear Tripper.
Never fear, Dag is here.
He will guide y'all thru bleenies and odd stuff only seen in James Bond movies, until you are happy to know for SURE what the food is gonna taste like!

I had a blast in there, and quality conversation over a few ales too.

Gotta love it.......if you enjoy individual stuff like this. ; 0 )

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Thank manboybiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2010

From outside this looks like a small town hostelry, once inside it's like stepping iinto a different country! I know about Russia, only what I read in the press, coming here broadens the horizon considerably. The hospitality and service is terrific, and the food & selections of drinks excellent. My mother was particularly taken by the piped music, 30's dance band and she loved it!

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Thank Annakucat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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