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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.
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 Gurnard’s Head, Zennor, Ives, Cornwall, UK, +44 1736 796928
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’.
Hub St Ives, 4 Wharf Rd, St Ives, Cornwall, UK, +44 1736 799099
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.
The Loft, Norway Lane, St Ives, Cornwall, UK, +44 1736 794204
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.
Porthmeor Beach Café, Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall, UK, +44 1736 793366
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.
A vegetarian restaurant to balance all the seafood in the surrounding area, Spinacio’s is a welcome addition to St Ives’ culinary scene, offering locally sourced vegetarian, vegan and organic food. The restaurant overlooks St Ives’ harbour, on the upper floor of the former Customs House. For the main course, they serve a variety of creations, in English, Mediterranean and Asian styles – from their beetroot burger, black eye bean curry, to cannellini bean and mint patties with carrot and lime puree. For dessert, there are a variety of vegan cakes, such as chocolate and banana cake or tofu cheesecake.
Spinacio’s Old Custom House, Wharft Road, St Ives, Cornwall, UK, +44 1736 798818