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From the Blog

Where to eat in St Ives: the 15 best restaurants

Posted by Sophie Hesp on Updated on
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Discover the best restaurants in St Ives

Its thriving art scene, white sand surfing beaches and picturesque harbour aren’t all that St Ives is loved for. From seafood dishes to Thai tapas and dog-friendly dining, this West Cornwall foodie hotspot is well worth a visit. To narrow down the options, we’ve handpicked the 15 best restaurants in St Ives…

 

1.    The Loft Restaurant and Sun Terrace

In five words or less: not just for summertime

Nestled into St Ives’ artist’s quarter, The Loft is a local’s go-to for great food and al fresco drinks. Menu favourites include lobster thermidor with garlic potatoes, lamb rigatoni, crispy pork belly and a spiced cauliflower dish served with pumpkin and miso puree. As well as a great cocktail menu and Sunday roasts each week, five main courses and three ice cream flavours await for hungry children. 

As the name suggests, the covered outdoor sun terrace will be loved by dog owners and provides snapshot views over the Cornish rooftops, and further out to St Ives Bay. It’s complete with heaters and blankets, meaning four-legged friends needn’t feel the cold as we head into the winter months. 

Inside, whitewashed beams overhead meet red brick walls and chalkboard specials, giving the restaurant a chic coastal-meets-rustic interior.  

Book a table here.

 

2.    The Rum and Crab Shack

In five words or less: a celebration of land and sea

A natural choice for lovers of fresh Cornish crab or unique flavoured rum, this pipe dream restaurant was founded by a group of four friends combining their favourite things in life.

Whether it’s crab tacos or vegan jambalaya that piques your interest, the milelong menu combines a variety of flavours and cuisines. Small plates include crispy squid and popcorn shrimp, or opt for a hearty sharing platter to serve up to four – perfect for a couples’ escape with friends. 

Now stocked with over 100 rums, the drinks menu is just as enticing. We recommend sampling either the Dead Man’s Fingers or Stargazey Cosmic Caramel, to name a couple. 

See for yourself.

 

The Rum and Crab Shack, St Ives
The Rum and Crab Shack, St Ives

© The Rum and Crab Shack via Instagram

 

3.    Porthminster Kitchen

In five words or less: beachside dining with a view

If you’re looking for light bites and small plates, Porthminster Kitchen makes a lovely spot for lunch. Home to panoramic views over the harbour, it’s considered one of the best places to eat in St Ives. 

Served from 12pm, the sample lunch menu features Asian salad starters, herb gnocchi mains and chocolate brownie desserts – just the tonic for coast-path-weary walkers.

See more of the menu here.

 

4.    Ugly Butterfly 

In five words or less: perfect for special occasions

For those looking for outstanding restaurants near St Ives that are away from the harbourside hustle and bustle, may we introduce Ugly Butterfly. Headed up by Michelin-star chef Adam Handling and now in its second year, the restaurant is relatively new to Cornwall’s food scene and commands dazzling views over Carbis Bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.  

With a philosophy centred around reducing food waste, the five and seven-course tasting menus are sure to impress the most discerning critics. From wild sea bass and native oysters to dry aged beef, the kitchen’s wide-ranging ingredients are sourced within the county, showcasing the best of Cornwall’s growers, farmers and fishermen. 

A firm favourite of Perfect Stays, read more about Ugly Butterfly with our guide to Devon and Cornwall’s best restaurants.

Book your table here.

 

Ugly Butterfly, Carbis Bay
Ugly Butterfly, Carbis Bay

© John Hersey for Ugly Butterfly

 

5.    The Beach Restaurant

In five words or less: classic coastal cuisine

Serving some of the best food in Cornwall, this mostly seafood restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. The all day menu features Cornish scallops, crispy sesame chicken, chargrilled sirloin steak and their famous beach chowder.

Or, if you’re making an evening reservation, opt for the wild mushroom pasta or smoked haddock bake. Accompanied by a raspberry and rhubarb Tarquin’s gin and tonic, evenings in St Ives don’t get much better than this.  

See more on their website.

 

6.    One Fish Street

In five words or less: a must-try tasting menu

For an elegant dinner in St Ives, One Fish Street is not to be overlooked. Loved for its intimate bar, ever-changing menu and harbourfront location, everything’s served fresh depending on the day’s catch.

The real piece de resistance, the eight-course tasting menu always features artisanal growers that are local to the area. A recent look has us curious to try the line caught seabass accompanied by a cucumber martini, not forgetting the almond and raspberry dessert, complete with a plum sake.

Wine pairings are also available for each course – the perfect excuse to sample your way around the world’s best vineyards. 

Explore the remaining courses here.

 

One Fish Street, St Ives
One Fish Street, St Ives

© One Fish Street via Instagram

 

7.    The Bean Inn

In five words or less: a triumph for vegetarian food

Just outside of St Ives in Carbis Bay, The Bean Inn has been providing locals and visitors alike with high quality vegetarian dishes since 2003. With a real passion to cater for those with special diets, its main courses include Moroccan vegetable casserole, seasonal Buddha bowls and a delicious basil and pine nut spaghetti. 

Those with a sweet tooth will love the chocolate and orange mud pie, and there’s even a vegan cheeseboard served with a selection of homemade chutneys and pickles. 

What’s more, all their food is available to take away, so you needn’t miss out on lunch if a walk at nearby Barrepta Cove is calling your name. The restaurant is closed through November to give the team a winter break, but normal service will resume on Wednesday 28th December.

Take a closer look online.

 

8.    The Searoom by Saint Ives Liqour Co

In five words or less: highly recommended for Sunday lunch

If you’re looking for fresh burrata, local mussels, and a taste of St Ives gin for a mid-week pick-me-up, The Searoom promises not to disappoint. 

A dog-friendly eatery putting a high-end spin on classic dishes, plan your weekend around their Sunday lunch to indulge in stuffed porchetta, fluffy roast potatoes and braised hispi cabbage. Dessert-lovers can take their pick from a light crème brulee, an indulgent chocolate crémeux or their bao bun ice cream sandwiches for something more modern.

The Searoom’s aptly named cocktails pay homage to St Ives’ incredible landscape and culture, from ‘the artist’s demise’ to ‘Cornish garden’ and ‘Sea Mist’ with seaweed syrup. 

Bookings for January, February and March 2023 open this month, so we recommend planning well ahead to avoid disappointment.

 

The Searoom, St Ives
The Searoom, St Ives

© Ruaraidh Monies for The Searoom

 

9.    Mermaid

In five words or less: perfect for date night

Located in the fishing quarter and describing itself as St Ives’ most romantic restaurant, this is a go-to recommendation for couples visiting Cornwall

Open for dinner from Monday to Saturday, the starter menu includes salt and pepper squid and oriental duck, while main dishes feature monkfish and prawn Thai curry, as well as the restaurant’s signature Mermaid fish platter. 

Visit during the summer for locally caught lobsters, or hunker down when the weather’s stormy over a full-bodied glass of red.

Take a closer look online.

 

10.   Porthmeor Beach Café

In five words or less: one of the town’s favourites 

Sitting beneath St Ives’ Tate Gallery, this gorgeous restaurant-meets-café is open daily. Offering breakfast, lunch, tapas and evening dining, some of our favourites include seared king prawns, mushroom shawarma and primrose herd pork belly. 

Dine al fresco on the terrace when the weather’s warm, or retreat to the beachfront pods for hot chocolate as the waves roll in. 

See what everyone’s talking about.

 

Porthmeor Beach Cafe, St Ives
Porthmeor Beach Cafe, St Ives

© Porthmeor Beach Café via Instagram 

 

11.    Balcony Bar

In five words or less: the best breakfast around

A simple beachside bar that’s loved for its breakfast, Balcony is home to some of the best beach views in St Ives. Sat beneath high-vaulted ceilings and with a bold industrial edge running throughout the interiors, arrive early and soak up gorgeous views over Porthminster and out towards St Ives Lighthouse.

While the bar also opens for lunches and main meals, Balcony’s overnight oats, house banana bread and pillowy soft pancakes are some of their bestsellers each morning. 

Keep an eye out for updates on their website or Instagram.

 

12.    Beer and Bird

In five words or less: passionate about good craft beer

A more laid back offering, but still one of the top restaurants in St Ives, Beer and Bird is a family-run business that focusses on “doing the simple things well”. 

Basing their menu around craft beer, fried chicken and great service, they’re proud to also serve some of the best cocktails around. In the summer, look no further than a frozen pina colada, or opt for something tiki-inspired like a ‘jungle bird’ or ‘singapore sling’.

Book your table online.

 

Beer and Bird, St Ives
Beer and Bird, St Ives

© Elliott White for Beer and Bird

 


13.    Peppers Pasta and Pizzeria

In five words or less: authentic family-friendly dining

Tucked between cobbled streets and not far from the harbour, it’ll come as no surprise that Peppers specialises in Italian cuisine. 

As well as a tempting range of stone baked sourdough pizza and fresh pasta dishes, their desserts include lemon posset with raspberry coulis and a signature Italian tiramisu, blending high quality food with a comfortable dining atmosphere. Paired with a cold glass of rosé brut or a ‘Sorrento sparkle’ cocktail, the extensive menu is best seen to be believed. 

Take a look at their menus.

 

14.    The Seafood Café

In five words or less: fantastic small plates

Whether it’s smoked mackerel fishcakes or potted Cornish crab, seafood-lovers will feel instantly at home browsing the menu at this much-loved establishment. Located beside a string of delis, bakeries and lifestyle shops on Fore Street, a sit-down lunch here goes hand in hand with a stroll around the harbour just a block away.

For those less enthusiastic about fish dishes, there are plenty of options from dry land too, including a roasted squash and feta salad, beer battered halloumi and a spring vegetable arancini. 

Plan your visit here.

 

The Seafood Cafe, St Ives
The Seafood Cafe, St Ives

© The Seafood Café via Instagram

 

15.    Talay Thai Kitchen

In five words or less: extensive menus meet great service

For frontline views over St Ives Harbour, dining at Talay is a must. This kitchen-meets-cocktail-bar is perfectly placed to sit in the window and watch the waves roll onto Porthminster Beach.

Talay’s recommended dishes include chu chi hake finished with a smooth red curry sauce, or opt for their street food style Thai boat noodle soup. Also serving a great range of tapas small plates, the restaurant’s gorgeous Asian-inspired interiors create a relaxing environment to catch up with family and friends. 

Also doubling up as a cocktail lounge, end your evening with an amaretto sour, a sweet and citrussy sidecar, or an orange fizz mocktail – there’s something for every taste.

See Talay’s website here.

 

Planning a trip to Cornwall?

Feed your holiday appetite by reading our restaurant guides to Rock, Padstow and Port Isaac. Or, if you've been inspired for a week in St Ives, look no further than Shun Lee, our flagship home that's perfectly placed for indulgent foodie escapes. Sleeping 14 and boasting sparkling views over St Ives Harbour, its bright and breezy dining area makes the perfect setting for sociable dinner parties in 2023.

Image credits: Elliott White for Beer and Bird | Ruaraidh Monies for The Searoom | John Hersey for Ugly Butterfly | The Rum and Crab Shack via Instagram | One Fish Street via Instagram | Porthmeor Beach Café via Instagram | All other images are our own.

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Posted by Sophie Hesp

When she's not out for a roast by the coast, Sophie loves exploring with her partner and their golden retriever pup, Obi. She writes about all things Cornwall and is a strong believer that there’s no such thing as too many house plants.

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