26th January 2021
Unpack a gourmet picnic with your toes in the sand. Dine on fresh fish, gazing out to the ocean where it was caught. Graze on produce picked from sea-hemmed fields. Eating out in St Ives is a feast for the senses.
A fishing village turned artists colony, these days St Ives’ foodie reputation is fast chasing its creative legacy and the allure of its white-sand beaches. Whether you fancy Michelin-starred dining or fish and chips on the beach, these are some of our favourite places to eat out in one of Cornwall’s most popular seaside towns…
Let’s start with a tipple at The Searoom. The family behind this seafront bar spent years experimenting with aromatic flavours plucked from the Cornish coastline, to produce their own St Ives Gin. So where better to sit back and sip handcrafted spirits, graze on tapas and watch fishing boats putter in and out of the harbour?
Tucked on the edge of a white-sand cove, the Porthgwidden Café is a divine setting to feast on fresh Cornish ingredients fused with flavours of Asia and the Med. While signature dishes include the fragrant mussels, crispy squid and leadoff curries, it’s also one of our favourite spots for breakfast. Fuel up for the day with views across the cerulean stretch of St Ives’ Bay towards the iconic Godrevy lighthouse – you might even spot a pod of dolphins.
Also nudging the town’s pearly sands is the Porthminster Beach Café, which boasts bucket-loads of accolades for its fish-based menu and beachside vibes. Frankly there are few better venues to take a seat on the terrace, sip a crisp white from a beach-bucket cooler, and devour ingredients flipped from the sea and picked from the kitchen garden.
Prefer to dine on delectable dishes with a view over the hustle and bustle of the harbour? Take a seat in the light-bathed Porthminster Kitchen, and feast your eyes on views that have inspired artists for centuries. Another restaurant from the team behind the Porthminster Beach Café, the menu offers a light and creative twist on Cornish cuisine, with small plates and global flavours served in a chic urban-style venue.
Bona fide seafood lovers should book a table for the tasting menu at the intimate One Fish Street. Here the small plates are tailored to what’s landed on the day boats, combined with ingredients from artisan growers and producers. The accompanying wine flight matches each course with hand-selected vintages, most of which are organic, bio dynamic and sourced from small growers.
Even vegans can enjoy classic seafood-style dishes at the Rum and Crab Shack, where there’s Tofu Fish ‘n’ Chips on the menu (tofu marinated in lemon juice, wrapped in nori seaweed sheets and cooked in a vegan-beer batter). Whole crab and lobster are also on the menu of varied offerings from land and sea, served alongside a variety of rums from around the world.
If you’ve been visiting the Tate St Ives or riding the waves at Porthmeor beach, pause to tuck into tapas and Mediterranean-inspired dishes at the Porthmeor Café Bar. This retro-chic diner overhangs St Ives’ most famous surf beach, making it a prime spot to bag a window seat or heated alfresco booth. We love a ‘build your own’ breakfast beside the waves, or tapas and a glass of fizz as the the sun goes down.
A standout amongst the usual seafood repertoire, Beer & Bird is an independent and family-run joint specialising in craft beer and Cornish free-range fried chicken. Serving comfort food in style, you can also get your chops around Belgian waffles, monster burgers and meat-free dishes including vegan fried chicken. All complemented by more than 60 craft beers and ciders behind the bar.
If you want to eat barefoot on the beach, there’s an abundance of takeaway outlets – just beware of seagulls dive-bombing to steal your chips and ice cream. One of our favourite takeaways is Blas Burgerworks. This ethical take on a burger bar serves mouth-watering stacks of Cornish ingredients from a hatch beside the harbour. And it’s not just for carnivores; vegetarians can tuck into blackbean burgers with corn salsa and guacamole, or halloumi burgers with field mushrooms.