Located on the Scottish coast and home to the oldest university in the Scotland, St Andrews is a town filled with history, beauty, and a diverse local culture. Fiercely proud of its heritage and small town appeal, St Andrews has notably managed to stave off many of the larger chain restaurants and fast food outlets, relying instead on its enormous variety of independent cafés and restaurants. Here we list the 10 best restaurants in St Andrews.
Restaurant, Diner, European, $$$
A small, quirky little establishment, Blackhorn
is an unmissable destination for all burger enthusiasts. The restaurant has a simple, pared-down menu which focuses above all on quality. All meat is locally sourced and delivered daily, resulting in juicy, melt-in-the-mouth burgers which can be topped with cheese, bacon, salad, or the special Blackhorn sauce. They also have a range of build-your-own toasted wraps, which can be filled with gourmet ingredients such as Milano salami, harissa, hummus and sun-blushed tomatoes, and thick, creamy milkshakes made with fresh ice cream. The restaurant has a small town, American-diner feel, with cosy corner seating, burgers wrapped in red and white chequered paper and quirky cow-themed decorations scattered about.
Restaurant, Cafe, European, $$$
Located on the outskirts of St Andrews in the midst of beautiful, sprawling farmland, Balgove Larder
is a butchery, farm shop, café and restaurant all in one. An old, converted barn filled with wooden crates, timber beams and a fire pit, the building exudes a rustic charm, which entirely complements its old-fashioned, rural surroundings. The Balgove Larder’s emphasis is on a farm-to-table approach to food, with all of its produce being locally sourced. The café is open year round and serves delicious breakfasts and a range of light lunches, such as sandwiches and soups, while the Steak Barn restaurant is open between April and October, and offers hearty meals made with meat from its own butchery.
Restaurant, European, British, $$$
is a St Andrews institution and a favourite among locals, students and tourists alike. The restaurant is housed in an old golf-club factory, and charmingly features crates of produce and fairy lights leading up to the main entrance. Stepping through the doors, visitors are greeted by a stunning interior. Gold thread lanterns hang low from the ceiling, old-fashioned farmhouse tables are paired with contemporary chairs, and roomy private alcoves filled with bookshelves and curiosities line one side of the room, creating the perfect juxtaposition between rustic and an industrial aesthetic. The menu features delicious twists on British classics, such as the duck shepherd’s pie or the haggis served with neeps, tatties and a whisky gravy, and on Friday and Saturday evenings, dinner culminates in a traditional ceilidh with a live band.
The Jigger Inn
Restaurant, European, British, $$$
As well as being noted for its beautiful landscapes and historic university, St Andrews is famous for being one of the top golfing destinations in the world, with thousands of people flocking to the town to enjoy its picturesque golf courses. The Jigger Inn
perfectly combines this aspect of the town’s culture with luxurious dining. The restaurant is located inside a 19th-century station master’s lodge on the Old Course
, a renowned golf course which stretches along the St Andrews coastline. The menu offers a range of international, home cooked options – from grilled rib eye steak to an aromatic Thai green curry – and a wide selection of drinks, including the Inn’s very own brewed beer.
Restaurant, European, Italian, $$$
St Andrews’ Little Italy
has all of the character and charm of an authentic, small town Italian restaurant. The interior is small and intimate, with red walls and tall candles placed in old wine bottles at each table, creating a warm, cosy atmosphere. Red and white chequered tablecloths, framed vintage posters, black and white photographs, and a vibrant red and green ceiling add to the authentic Italian feel. This carries over to its menu. Pizzas are served with stretched, crisp bases and piled generously with traditional tomato sauce, mozzarella, and a range of toppings, while the pasta dishes are an explosion of rich sauces, spices and fresh herbs.
Restaurant, Asian, Indian, none
was voted one of the top five restaurants for curry in Scotland in 2011 by the Scottish Curry Awards, and just one visit to the restaurant is enough to demonstrate why. They specialise in authentic Indian and Bengali cuisine using traditional techniques, while also taking inspiration from the fresh, local ingredients and flavours of their Scottish coastal surroundings. The result is a variety of classic and experimental fish and seafood specialities, as well as more traditional meat and vegetarian dishes. Highlights from the menu include the tandoori salmon, made with fresh Scottish salmon and marinated in spices and grilled, and royal chicken cooked with fresh garlic, ginger and coriander and spices.
Cafe, British, $$$
made a name for itself as one of the favourite meeting places of Prince William and Kate Middleton during their St Andrews days, but this charming café was worth a visit long before. Located just a few minutes walk from the beach, the bustling, cosy atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for a casual study session or lazy brunch with friends. The breakfast menu has something to suit all tastes, from freshly baked scones and tea to an extravagant breakfast burrito, while the lunch menu includes a selection of soups, panini and toasted bagels. Try the North Point bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese, bacon, rocket and mango chutney for a uniquely delicious experience.
The Seafood Ristorante
Restaurant, British, Seafood, $$$
The Seafood Ristorante
is perhaps St Andrews’ most dramatic and picturesque place to eat. Located on the edge of a high bank with the sea foaming just below, the restaurant affords spectacular views of the Scottish coastline, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows which make up its four walls. The interior is fresh and modern, with white tablecloths and contemporary furniture providing a calming contrast to the awe-inspiring views outside. For seafood enthusiasts, the menu is a treasure trove. Lobster is grilled with garlic butter and served with sautéed potatoes and samphire, Shetland Isle mussels are steamed in local St Andrews beer, and scallops are fried with broccoli, honey and black pudding crumbs for a mouthwatering, fresh approach to seafood.
Tailend Restaurant and Fish Bar
Restaurant, Seafood, British, $$$
A cross between a traditional British chippie and contemporary dining, Tailend Restaurant and Fish Bar
provides all the satisfaction and tastiness of classic fish and chips, with the freshness and quality of a coastal restaurant. All of their dishes, from their haddock supper, served battered, breaded or lightly fried with homemade pesto, to their chargrilled garlic and chilli king prawn skewers are made fresh to order, and the specials board regularly features seasonal fresh fish sourced locally. The restaurant also offers a wide selection of wines and locally brewed beers to complement the dishes, making Tailend the perfect spot for a relaxed evening out with friends.
Restaurant, European, North American, none
A beloved hang-out spot for students and locals, The Vic
overflows with unique character. A staircase papered with comic strips leads the way to the dining area, where an industrial road sign points the way to burgers and free WiFi. Inside the bar, quirky wire lamps illuminate exposed brick walls, a ceiling-high bar display with unusual bottles and wall décor ranging from a surf board to overstuffed bookshelves. The Vic’s menu matches this eclectic, fun-loving atmosphere with a variety of delicious pub food including macaroni cheese, Cajun spiced chicken wings with blue cheese dressing, a 2–4–1 burgers deal and signature cocktails served in quaint jam jars.