With 165 miles of coastline and home to harbours large and small, it is not really surprising that Aberdeenshire is an outstanding destination if you love seafood. The county boasts an array of things to see and do, and this is wonderfully complemented by many fantastic restaurants at which to dine. Here we have selected seven of the best, each specialising in delicious, freshly caught, and seasonal seafood.
Restaurant, Cafe, Bistro, Seafood, British, $$$
Moonfish Cafe, Aberdeen | Courtesy Moonfish Café
Located in the heart of Aberdeen’s merchant quarter, close to the “Mither Kirk” of St. Nicholas, Moonfish Café has been serving a delicious British menu since 2004. The menu features several fish options, including a highly-rated monkfish starter and a halibut main. The wine list is fantastic and they also have a wonderful gin selection that is definitely worth a look. The atmosphere in Moonfish is always balanced — lively, but not intrusive — and the service is top notch.
In recent years in Scotland there has been an increasingly widespread move towards excellent seasonal and local produce, but how many restaurants can say they actually have their own fishing boat? The Solstice catches the freshest of seafood and The Galley serves it up freshly landed, right beside the marina in the small village of Whitehills, near Banff. The menu is marvellous, with something to appeal to all diners, and the ambience friendly and relaxed. The quality of the ingredients really does set The Galley apart.
Situated in the lovely harbour town of Stonehaven, The Tolbooth has wonderful views across the bay and the boats moored there. The building itself is Stonehaven’s oldest, built in the 16th century and has links to the nearby Dunnottar Castle. The menu alters four times a year to keep in season, with the town’s harbour providing much of the seafood cooked here, and it is full of enticing delights.
Perched on the cliffs above the tiny harbour of Catterline, The Creel Inn has both a restaurant and also a more informal lounge, both serving the same varied menu. With lobster and crab landed in the harbour below, and open fires to warm you if it is chilly, this is certainly a restaurant worth visiting. The wines on offer are good, as is the selection of real ale, and the range of whisky is impressive. The view of the bay below is quite lovely.
Fish and Chip Shop, Restaurant, Seafood, Fast Food, British, $$$
At the Quayside Restaurant and Fish Bar, you can choose whether to visit the traditional fish and chip shop and take your food out, or sit in and enjoy a more varied menu in the first floor restaurant, with panoramic views over the Gourdon harbour, out to the North Sea. The fish is landed in local harbours, including the one right outside, and the specials board is always worth checking to see what is in season. On sunny weekend days it is wise to book ahead, as this area is popular with walkers and cyclists. The fish bar is also open on Tuesdays from 4pm until 8pm, and the opening times can vary depending on the season.
Opened in 1986 , The Silver Darling has been at the forefront of the use of seasonal, local produce, years before it became fashionable. The name “Silver Darling” was that given to the herring, which was a huge part in the history and culture of the east coast of Scotland. With an enviable location at the mouth of Aberdeen Harbour, housed with an old customs house, and beside the “fitties,” if you are visiting Aberdeen this is a restaurant that should be on your list. Recommended by the Good Food Guide for more than 22 years, a glance at the menu will hint at why, and a visit will demonstrate beyond doubt.
Bistro Verde has a reputation as being friendly and relaxed, but also serving the most delicious food. A family-run restaurant, the location is perfect if you are staying in Aberdeen, on The Green, in the middle of the city, but do book ahead as it can get quite busy. The menu serves up locally sourced and seasonal treats and, if you are looking for somewhere that has a varied gluten-free selection, this is definitely the place to come. The wine list is also excellent, and the service exemplary.