In fact, it's practically a fiefdom. To most intents and purposes, Nick Ryan is Crinan and vice versa. With his wife, the fine artist Frances Macdonald, Ryan has run the Crinan Hotel for nearly 40 years now. He was a commercial seaman in the 1960s and now he floats around the hotel in his bow-tie being dreamy and benign, pointing out the trinkets he keeps in the garden shed, including the piano shipped in just for Dave Brubeck to play. It's a sort of hotel-slash-commune, wilfully lateral and quixotic. Ryan is catering, he tells me, for the "three As" - "the aspirational, the affluent and the alcoholic".
Like the rest of the hotel, the Westward restaurant, is smart without being flash, quite trad but with walls spiced up by the artworks of Macdonald and their son Ross Ryan. The windows are the canvas for that remarkable view. When the sun goes down it drops neatly into the gap between Jura and Scarba, as if VisitScotland had struck up a corporate partnership synergy with the cosmos.
It's mostly seafood here - but you'd probably guessed that - with some meat for the day-trippers. The menu tells you at what hour that afternoon the catch was landed. The meal starts with an amuse-bouche of sushi and sashimi; Ryan is passionate about Japanese food. Otherwise the menu is one of those you read and hand back saving: "Yes please."
It's a concise, slim-volume anthology of all thats sleek, shiny, restrained and classy about seafood restaurants when they're done properly, offering just four starters and four mains. For four courses it's £45. The view comes free.
The starters were Loch Fyne princess clams on beurre blanc, with two conical pylons of roast saddle of rabbit moored on discs of Stornoway black pudding. There was also ravioli of west coast crab and, the lone bum note, chicken liver paffait a bog-common dish which seldom inspires the heart to party. Mains were artfully rough slabs of Barbreck beef with fondant potatoes doused in fugitive, evocative truffle and spectacular whole Loch Crinan jumbo prawns ("landed at 14.17 today").
The highlight, though, was the intercourse langoustine veloute, a cup of the thickest, fishiest, stickiest substance known to culinary science; it was like downing Neptune's moisturiser. It was unforgettably delicious and, being made from discarded shells and prawn heads and pincers, it was created exclusively from the contents of Westward's bins. That's as good a recommendation I can think of for any restaurant.
The Crinan Hotel. Crinan by Lochgilphead, Argyll, 01346 830261,
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~