We spotlight those all-important venues to connect with family and friends for light bites and fancy plates.
1. Brodies, Moffat
Brodies (pictured above) is just our cup of tea: relaxed cafe by day and smart gin lounge and award-winning restaurant by night.
Sink into the comfy armchairs in the lounge for a spot of afternoon tea and you’ll never want to leave.
The brew is the superior blend Jenier and combines wonderfully with Brodies’ exquisite sweet and savoury bites.
The white chocolate and raspberry scone is always a winner and never more so here.
And when it comes to evening… the gin lounge welcomes you with its tempting menu.
Brodies tell us ‘there’s a gin for everyone’ – traditional or sweet, floral or liquor style – and we are happily working out which is ‘ours’.
1-2 Altrive Place, Holm Street, Moffat, DG10 9EB
2. Cafe Ariete, Moffat
Café Ariete is a firm favourite with locals because of the buzzy atmosphere and tasty snacks.
The coffee is top-notch – it’s clear Russell and his team love it and have honed their technique to perfection.
Ariete is also famous for its Ecclefechan tart, named after a nearby town, which is packed with dried fruit in a delicious pastry base. And if you love a brownie – who doesn’t? – you’ll find the best here. Try the new Turkish delight version. We are hooked.
The Ariete staff are also expert in coffee art. Ask for your favourite Harry Potter character to be crafted on to your cappuccino.
But maybe not during busy lunchtimes…
10 High Street, Moffat DG10 9HF
3. Claudio’s, Moffat
How lucky is Moffat to have one of the best Italian restaurants in Scotland?
Claudio’s was once the town’s police station – the cells are now the toilets – and has been a family-run restaurant since 1996.
Davide is your charming, knowledgeable host while his sister Claudia is the brilliant chef continuing their father Claudio’s recipes. The restaurant’s home-cooked dishes and friendly staff draw diners from far and wide.
Can’t decide what to order? Our tip: try the antipasto – a taster of four starters to whet your appetite before diving into the main event.
The pizzas are legendary and huge. But if you can’t finish yours, don’t waste a crumb. Take it home. It’s allowed!
Burnside Road, Moffat DG10 9DX
4. Loch Arthur, Beeswing, Dumfries
This award-winning ‘hidden gem’ takes local food – artisan cheese, bread, cakes, meat and veg – to a whole new level where quality organic ingredients come as standard but are still highly prized.
The light and airy café is a tranquil meeting place and the daily specials are wholesome and hearty.
Three kinds of bread come with the soup while the burgers and pies are served with a delicious mix of salad and coleslaw.
And there’s a babycino (for youngsters) and a barleycino (coffee substitute) along with every kind of caffeine hit you can think of.
Loch Arthur’s superb range of cakes, tarts and biscuits (many gluten-free or vegan) will leave you sated and soothed. The whole menu here is oh-so moreish.
Beeswing, Dumfries, DG2 8JQ
5. A’ the Airts, Sanquhar
Finalist for café of the year in Dumfries and Galloway Life Magazine, A’ the Airts is a cosy, friendly space with some mighty tempting cakes and snacks.
The cheese scones are scrumptious and light, the quiche incredible and the strawberry tarts are irresistible.
A’ the Airts is the real heart of Sanquhar and loved by its locals. The shop sells delightful local arts and crafts. The centre is also home to the Sanquhar knitting pattern (as seen on TV in the BBC’s The Terror), a unique geometric style that dates back to around the 17th century and an important part of Sanquhar’s heritage.
If you’re wondering about the name: A’ the Airts means ‘of all the elements’ penned by Scottish poet Robert Burns.
Top tip: while you’re in the area, visit Crawick Multiverse, a land art installation like no other, created by Charles Jencks. It’s just a short drive away.
8-12 High Street, Sanquhar, DG4 6BL
6. Eskdalemuir Community Hub, Langholm
Eskdalemuir Community Hub is a café/bistro, arts venue, community shop, exhibition space… and rightly popular with the local crowd.
Set in glorious, peaceful surrounds, this spacious centre with a chilled vibe is the ideal stop for a brew and a home-baked treat.
The café looks out on to the garden at the rear and is just the setting for the centre’s splendid Sunday lunch.
You’ll find an eclectic mix of local arts and crafts in the shop and basic food essentials including fresh local bread (spelt loaf anyone?). Everything you’d want from a local community centre.
Just round the corner is the Samye Ling Buddhist Monastery and Tibetan Centre – well worth a visit too.
The School, Eskdalemuir, Langholm DG13 0QJ
7. The Frothy Bike Co, Dumfries
Is it a bike repair shop? Is it a coffee shop? It’s both! On the Whitesands of Dumfries (Scotland’s happiest town) overlooking the River Nith, The Frothy Bike Co has become a key player in Dumfries’s café culture.
It’s the place to get your bike fixed but if you don’t have one don’t let that put you off coming. Just come to gaze out on to the river or people-watch while savouring your ‘kickass’ coffee.
Stop for breakfast (simple porridge or avocado on toast? Yes please) or linger over lunch (a rice bowl with kimchi and green tahini sauce for us) – and you won’t be disappointed.
77-79 Whitesands, Dumfries DG1 2RX
8. The Stove Network, Dumfries
The Stove Network is a not-for-profit arts centre and café with some admirable aims.
Since 2011 its mission has been: ‘coffee community creativity’, entertaining the local community with word, visual, musical and food events at all times of the day so everyone gets a look in.
Cakes and scones come from a local baker and there are always plenty of vegan and vegetarian dishes.
Nourishing in so many ways, The Stove has made such a contribution not just to Dumfries but the surrounding towns too.
Watch out for its role in the Culture Collective, a Scottish initiative to help the nation recover from the pandemic. Or better still take part.
100 High Street, Dumfries DG1 2BJ
For more ideas to get out and about in Dumfries & Galloway, see our blog a grand day out in D&G.
Alternatively call us on 01683 478341 or email.
Picture: Jonathan Cosens Photography, courtesy of Brodies