Right I'll try and make this brief. You haven't specified price or type of food. If your looking for modern Scottish food done with precision you have come to the wrong town. I would head to Edinburgh or Glasgow for decent Scottish food (which is somewhat of a misnomer as our modern Scottish food is pretty much French with more local ingredients).
Fish and Chips is our local dish, but in Aberdeen I think the only decent one is in Torry, can't remember the name. Bervie chipper in Stonehaven is alright, its the home of the deep fried mars bar.
You'll get a decent feed at the Marcliffe (Aberdeen's premier hotel) but you'll pay through the nose. Its traditional 5 star hotel fare.
Miltons, out near Crathes Castle is decent, a bit heavy on the wine/balsamic/veal reductions at times. The venison is pretty good and you can check out Crathes castle while your at it. Its about 14 miles outside of Aberdeen. Going to set you around 10-15 pounds a main course. Its the only real place where you can get 'Scottish' food if that's what your after. Very nice setting just by the river Dee.
Finzean estate farm shop out past Banchory (35 odd miles from Aberdeen) does very good food, its on a big estate, cheap and local produce but more of a lunch thing.
If your after Dim Sum I would recommend the Manchurian, its in the city centre. Cheap and quick, lots of Chinese eating. Next door to a large Chinese supermarket. This is good for Scotland but no way as good as what you would find in china town in a big city.
The best food in Aberdeen centre in my opinion is Cafe Boheme on windmill brae. Its french done simply and very good. If your going I would recommend the pre-theatre menu as its 15 pounds for 3 courses. Amazing value in my books. Otherwise its expensive. The fish is good but you are looking at 18 pounds a main. They use local ingredients and the head waiter has a wee boat which he'll go out and catch lobsters during the not so stormy season.
Yatai is a Japanese that is alright. Just gone up in price, used to be better value for money but the chef/owner John is a bon viv and does things right.
Places I would avoid. Silver Darlings, v expensive fish restaurant overlooking harbour. Over priced and over rated. Cafe 52, overpriced and poorly executed fusion scottish food that is popular with the style over substance crowd. Any of the Olive branch restaurants, just rubbish. The Ashvale, fish and chip place won lots of awards circa 98' but crap now.
If you have the chance to travel I would recommend Monachyle Mhor hotel. Its a pain in the ass to travel to from Aberdeen being in the Trossachs. But I ate there recently and its some of the best food I have had in Scotland. Probably 3.5 hours drive from Aberdeen. Its on a par with the best food I have eaten during my travels.
Anyways hope this helps. I've lived in Aberdeen on and off for a few years now. If your coming in August head out into the country and go look for mushrooms. The chantrelles and ceps (porcini to the italians) will be coming into play round then. People here don't really know what to look for so its a free for all. If your going to cook then I would recommend the store at Newton Dee for decent breads and organic foods/veg. There are lots of other delis springing up (over-priced) but I would suggest Rock Salt and Snails as a good one.
Any clarification reply back or do a google.
Hope this helps. Sorry if its disappointing, but Aberdeen's not the best for food. If your a good chef you head south, people's palates are better.
Hi, I've lurked here for a while and benefited from recommendationa all aver the world. First time I've seen Aberdeen mentioned! I can't agree more with the previous poster. Aberdeen has lots of places which are overpriced and underchallenged. Cafe Boheme is its best kept secret and the lunch menu is also good. The Foyer on Crown street can be good but can be unreliable - they're a charity organisation who try and give people a start in life. Apart from that, it's a bit of a struggle. I think the chef from Cafe 52 left and it went exactly as described. Musa can be OK but that's about it.
Thanks for the seconding of my recommendations. I've used Chowhound extensively over N America and found it a fountain of information and wondered why there isn't anything similar in the N. East. I thought maybe everyone could try and do a bit for Aberdeen. I agree with you about the Foyer as you said it can be very inconsistent to the point I don't eat there any more. I've been to Musa for a coffee and the menu looked ok but its also more of a lunch thing I presume.
Would definitely re-recommend the Finzean estate farm shop. The meat platter is very good with several different salads and chutneys all with a variety of sprouts and other healthy treats. Been back there a few times since previously posting.
You may want to do a "Search this board" search for Aberdeen. I don't recall seeing any posts here on Aberdeen over the past couple of years. I hope you do get some input.
You may want to check the website for The Herald. They have a pretty good roster of restaurant reviews on file.