Best Restaurants In St Ives, England

Take a dip in St Ives bay, Cornwall, with its pretty fishing boats
Take a dip in St Ives bay, Cornwall, with its pretty fishing boats | © Chris Harris / Alamy
Benjamin Parkin

St Ives – formerly a small fishing town – boasts one of the UK’s most beautiful coastlines. A wealth of fantastic seafood restaurants, coupled with an abiding entrepreneurial spirit, have ensured that this Cornish town has excelled on the culinary front in recent years. We take a look at some of the best food St Ives has to offer.

Blas Burgerworks

Burger

Informal and good value for money, Blas Burgerworks has been widely celebrated for its commitment to sustainability – three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association – not to mention praise for the burgers themselves. The burger at Blas was named one of the top five burgers in Europe by the Wall Street Journal. They serve a variety of beef and chicken burgers, along with vegetarian options such as the tofu burger, with garnishes from blue cheese to beetroot, watercress, horseradish and roast garlic mayo. The owners also opened The Halsetown Inn near St Ives to recreate their success and commitment to ethical, sustainable restaurants.

The Gurnard’s Head

The relaxed atmosphere at The Gurnard’s Head, situated a short way along the coast from St Ives, is owed, in part, to the ethos of the institution – ‘to be an inn that returns you momentarily to the slower pace of life that so many of us yearn for.’ Gastronomically speaking, they achieve this through a rolling menu that brings in seasonal, local ingredients to create dishes such as chicken breast, elmhirst cheese and potato mousseline with truffle jus, or duck liver parfait with brioche, pickled fig and hazelnut granola. They also offer a number of elegant rooms in case you decide you just can’t bear to leave after your meal.

The Halsetown Inn

This pub near St Ives is perfect for lunch after a stroll in the Cornish countryside. Owned by the team behind the popular Blas Burgerworks, The Halsetown Inn offers diners a lot more than simple pie and mash. Firmly in the gastro pub camp, their extensive menu lists everything from gnocchi with artichoke puree, girlloes, peas and Cornish yarg cheese, to smoked haddock, salmon and Pollock, broccoli and peas with truffle oil. The team also strive to make their restaurant eco-friendly, sourcing biodegradable products locally and recycling them when finished.

Hub St Ives

Craftbeer

Bringing a little bit of Brooklyn to the beachfront of St Ives, Hub serves burgers, ‘dogs’ and BBQ food, along with craft beers, coffee and cakes – making it Cornwall’s ultimate hipster hangout. Burgers are made with Cornish rare beef, and hotdogs seasoned with paprika, nutmeg and black pepper. The beer list draws brews from Bristol Beer Factory, Camden Town Brewery and – indeed – Brooklyn Larger, (they even offer a taster menu, too.) During the day, homemade cakes are served alongside flat whites, iced coffee and ‘babyccinos’.

The Loft

The Loft is situated in St Ives’ artistic neighbourhood and diners can enjoy its lovely terrace, with views of the surrounding town, sea and dramatic coastline. The kitchen produces an eclectic variety of dishes, such as spiced lamb tagine with raisins, pistachios and tabouleh, or locally sourced steak with mushroom ketchup, watercress and peppercorn sauce. On Sundays, they serve up a hearty roast, with slow-cooked lamb and beef complete with all the trimmings. The Loft have also opened a larder, selling artisanal Cornish jams and chutneys, along with pottery and home ware.

Porthmeor Beach Café

Run by local chef Nathan Madden, Porthmeor Beach Café offers a selection of well-crafted tapas at reasonable prices, such as serrano ham, fig, tomatoes and black olive tapenade, or more inventive variations such as crispy skin seabass, kohl rabi and lemon balm coleslaw. The creative highlight is the dessert tapas however, with summery options such as lemon and raspberry posset, rosemary and almond biscotti and raspberry jelly. With beautiful views of Porthmeor Beach, it is a lovely place for a relaxing lunch by the seaside.

Porthminster Beach Café

Mussels and prawns with slices of limes.

Located on – not near, or next to – Porthminster Beach, Porthminster Beach Café allows for close-up views of the surf. The food rightly makes it one of St Ives’ most popular restaurants, with or without the view. Under the moniker of ‘Mediterranean and Asian’ cuisine, they really serve an eclectic mix of anything you could want. Seafood is, of course, well represented – steamed mussels with saffron, chives and red wine vinegar to start, followed by a monkfish curry combining mussels and prawns with sweet potatoes, coconut and bok choi. There are also plenty of appetising meat options – some as simple as a steak sandwich, served with artichokes, red peppers, mushrooms and blue cheese.

Sea Food Café

Fish and chips at dinner.

True to its name, Sea Food Café offers some of the freshest seafood in St Ives, supplied by local fishermen. In a creative and fun set-up, you can personally choose from the fish, shellfish and meat in a refrigerated display cabinet, along with a sauce, and a selection of salads and vegetables. Finally, sit back and wait as the team whip up your custom-made feast. If that sounds like too much effort, then choose from their set menu instead, with classics such as fish and chips featured alongside crab cakes or luxurious tiger prawn skewers.

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