Although not as well-known as the restaurant scene in Edinburgh or Glasgow, Dundee’s foodie focus is strong and creative. There is an emphasis on modern Scottish cooking using seasonal ingredients and local produce in the city’s kitchens; we pick ten of the best restaurants to check out here.
Courtesy of Encore Bar and Brasserie
Bar, Brasserie, Restaurant, European
Rep Restaurant, Dundee | Courtesy of Bruach
Encore is the brasserie and restaurant at the Dundee Rep Theatre, the starting place for many leading actors including Richard Todd and David Tennant. The theatre and restaurant are located on Tay Square in the Cultural Quarter of the city, not far from Abertay University and The Howff, the ancient burial ground of the city that dates back five centuries. Encore is perfect for pre-theatre dinner, with final sittings on theatre nights being taken at 6.45pm for productions that start at 7.30pm. Encore was established in 1983 and provides a menu of excellent food sourced from local artisanal producers; dishes available include beef, Guinness and oyster pie, pressed braised pork belly and 21-day aged Angus sirloin or ribeye steaks.
The Bruach Bar and Restaurant stands on Brook Street in the Broughty Ferry area of Dundee. Established in 2007, the restaurant takes its name from the Gaelic name for the area, Bruach Tatha, and is renowned as a lively and vibrant place to dine with innovative cocktails. The cuisine merges traditional Scottish ingredients and seasonal produce with contemporary cooking methods. Diners can choose from dishes such as classic cock-a-leekie soup, mussels from the West Coast in white wine and garlic, and loin of Inverurie pork with dauphinoise and thyme jus. The bar also serves up excellent cocktails including the Tequila Mockingbird, a mixture of tequila, fresh rhubarb, grenadine, lemon, egg white, thyme and elderflower cordial.
Castlehill Restaurant, Dundee | Courtesy of View Restaurant
Castlehill Restaurant has achieved excellent reviews for the quality of the cuisine on offer and its interesting and innovative décor. The restaurant stands on what was once the site of a 13th castle, before the hill was used as a site for a huge statue of Apollo, which was designed as a guide for passing shipping on the River Tay. Chef Adam Newth is a former Scottish Seafood Chef of the Year and previously cooked at the Michelin-starred Number One at The Balmoral in Edinburgh. There are quotes from great Scottish authors and poets such as Hugh MacDiarmid and Robert Louis Stevenson adorning the walls and the menu features dishes such as confit duck terrine, ox cheek with turnip purée and kale, and sea bream with risotto and shrimp butter.
The View Restaurant, Wormit | Courtesy of View Restaurant
The View Restaurant lies on the southern banks of the River Tay and offers diners magnificent views over the river towards the city of Dundee. The restaurant is run by Steve and Karen Robertson and the cuisine is focused on modern Scottish food made using top-notch seasonal produce from local artisanal suppliers. Previously the couple behind the restaurant ran the Glass House on Speyside, a nominee for Best New Scottish Restaurant. Dishes include venison from the Cairngorms with local chantrel mushrooms and dauphinoise potatoes, chicken breasts from Aberdeenshire with chick peas and curry sauce and Angus beef fillets with asparagus spears, hollandaise sauce and hand-cut chips.
Collinsons is based in the Broughty Ferry area of Dundee, east of the centre of the city along the northern bank of the Tay. Not far down the road from Collinsons is the 15th century Broughty Castle, a classic piece of military architecture. Collinsons was established in October 2012 as a place for fine dining with a menu based on the very best seasonal produce from local suppliers and producers. On the dinner menu are dishes including baked finnan haddock with Welsh rarebit and pan-roasted loin of red deer with fondant potato, braised red cabbage and port wine sauce.
Sir D’Arcy Thompson was a pioneering biologist, mathematician, classicist and the Professor of Natural History at the University of Dundee at the end of the 19th century. The restaurant is located close to the University, where you can now find the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum and Lecture Theatre. At the restaurant there is a focus on high-quality seasonal food and innovative flavor combinations with a dinner menu that includes tempting starters including chicken liver, cava and peppercorn pâte with spicy strawberry chutney and smoked salmon with ginger and lemongrass roulade. The main courses include Indonesian mutton and potato curry, pan roasted guinea fowl, ribeye steak, and medallions of Scotch beef.
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The Gulistan House is the longest established Indian restaurant on Tayside, having been opened back in 1979 in the Broughty Ferry area in a 19th century Gothic Revival building. The interior is full of pieces of contemporary art and antiques from the Indian subcontinent. The food is well-known for being top quality; the menu is full of traditional curries from the sweet and sour pathia up to the vindaloo, dishes prepared in the clay tandoor oven and house specialties including tikka masala, tikka masala bhuna, tikka biryani and the Gulistan special biryani.
The Milton Inn in Monifieth, just up the Firth of Tay from Broughty Ferry, is in an area that was recently revealed to lie upon an ancient lava stream. The historic inn features several crow-step gables that are one of the most famous features of Scottish vernacular architecture. The Milton Inn is known for offering hearty food with a particularly rich selection of ales and whiskies. The cask beers on offer include ales from English and Scottish breweries such as Adnams, Eden Brewing in St Andrews and Stewart Brewing in Edinburgh. The whisky menu features both blends and single malts from all of the Scottish regions including Bowmore and Laphroiag from Islay, Old Pulteney and Dalwhinnie from the Highlands, Glen Scotia in Campbeltown, and Aberlour and Mortlach from Speyside.
The Playwright is another excellent venue based on Tay Square in the Cultural Quarter of Dundee close to the Repertory Theatre, the Dundee Centre for Contemporary Arts and the University of Dundee. The Playwright was established in November 2007 with pre-theatre, lunch and dinner menus and an extensive wine list; cocktails available include the trademark Playwright Iced Tea made with rum, black vodka, fresh lime, ginger, pisco and sagatiba cachacha. On the à la carte menu are dishes such as fillet of beef with Anya potatoes, baby onions and spinach, lamb sweet breads with peppers and spaetzle and halibut with tempura mussels, lobster sauce, trumpetts and pak choi.
The Tapas Bar in Broughty Ferry has seen phenomenal success since opening and yet remains something of an enigma. The restaurant has no website, and spends nothing on advertising. Yet, in order to book a table it’s rumored that patrons have to ring at least three weeks in advance. There is also no menu; diners are presented with a selection of Spanish tapas which they can explore and sample. The food has been praised for its authenticity, even though the head chef is Polish.