Helensburgh's quality restaurants and cafes are boosting the town's reputation as a great place to visit.

That's the view Will Smith, owner of the Sugar Boat restaurant, which has been given a coveted award to recognise the quality and good value of its food.

The Bib Gourmand award by Michelin is a significant feather in the cap of the popular restaurant which opened in May of last year.

It means the Sugar Boat will be one of 27 new Bib Gourmands included in the MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2019.

This week, Will told the Advertiser he was thrilled with the award which, he said, was a tribute to the hard work and dedication of his staff at the restaurant "which is all about relaxed, informal dining, with the emphasis on value for money".

He added: "We could not be more chuffed. This is a huge testament to head chef Scott Smith's [no relation] skill in the kitchen and his fabulous team who work so tirelessly, with restaurant manager Alastair Begg on the floor bringing it all together."

Will said the award was great publicity for the town which was fast gaining a reputation as place for excellent dining, with a good selection of prices and styles.

He added: "It's building a reputation which is fantastic and there are good reasons why people should come to Helensburgh rather than going to a big, buzzy town like Glasgow."

Will said that in addition to the eating places, the town had a great range of independent shops and an independent cinema, plus an attractive seafront. The money spent by the council on Colquhoun Square was also helping.

Will's views have been echoed by Helensburgh councillor Aileen Morton, leader of Argyll and Bute Council, and Helensburgh and Lomond Chamber of Commerce.

Councillor Morton hoped the Sugar Boat's success would bring more visitors to the town, and added: "Helensburgh has an outstanding choice of food and drink providers nowadays and it’s great to see another award for a local restaurant announced.

"With only eight restaurants in the whole of Scotland having the Bib Gourmand award it’s a real achievement for the Sugar Boat and I hope it sees even more visitors come to the town to see what is on offer.

A spokesperson for the chamber of commerce said: "Helensburgh is genuinely unique. There is no other town like it when it comes to offering visitors a fun place to eat and shop."

Will opened the Sugar Boat after many years experience as a restaurateur in several locations throughout the country.

Rebecca Burr, director of the MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland, said prices and value for money were important factors taken into account when making the awards but the Bib Gourmand "is about much more."

She added: “It’s about the ethos and philosophy of a restaurant. The Michelin inspectors love finding new Bib Gourmands and they’re always hugely popular with our readers.”

The Sugar Boat, which employs 15 full time and part time staff, is one of only two new Bib Gourmands in Scotland added to the 2019 guide, the other being the Monadh Kitchen in Glasgow. The national total is 143.

Bib Gourmand awards are named after Bibendum, aka, the Michelin Man.

Several other restaurants in the town have won a string of other awards, with the Wee Kelpie in West Clyde Street recently being named the Best Takeaway in Scotland, 2018.