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Jun 5, 2011 04:30 PM

A week in St. Andrews

This summer my husband & I will be spending a week golfing in St. Andrews. For such a small town there seem to be a decent selection of restaurants. So far we are considering -
Expensive - Peat Inn or the Grange Inn, the Seafood Restaurant (is it worth the hype?), Road Hole Grill Restaurant
Moderate - Vine Leaf, Rocca Grill, Doll's House
Casual - One Under Gastro Pub, Nahm Jim, Zizzi
Any thoughts on "must-dos" or "passes"? Also, would advanced reservations be necessary? Thanks!

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  1. For what it's worth, the British Good Food Guide lists the Peat Inn as a 6 and the Seafood Restaurant as a 4. The Grange Inn isn't mentioned at all. The Doll's House seems popular with those who wrote in their favorites. Zizzi is a chain found all over the UK. I've never been in one so won't comment.

    I would definitely book for anything upscale in such a popular town as St. Andrew's. My ex was there quite a few times for golf, but it was several years ago, so I won't throw his favorites into the mix.

    2 Replies
    1. re: zuriga1

      Thanks! I probably will make a few reservations in advance as this is a pretty busy time of the year. Hmm... didn't know about Zizzi being part of a chain so will avoid.

      1. re: sundogcat

        Not all chains in the UK are necessarily evil, (I've never been to a Zizzi so can't comment), but you're bound to do better in that area.

    2. Just moved to Fife so maybe I can help a bit. Not been to too many places, but there are definitely some that are style over substance. I would avoid Mitchells, North Point, Peppers and Chillies. Some of the best places I think are actually not in St Andrews itself but further out in the country

      The Peat Inn is not in St Andrews, it is in Peat Inn, so you will need to drive or get a taxi not been but meant to be really good. I reckon it will take about 15/20 mins

      The Cellar in Anstruther - again, not been but meant to be really good too so could be worth the trip - again about a 15/20 min drive

      If you are happy travelling a bit (but not much further than the distance to Anstruther) then the Ship Inn or the Golf Tavern in Elie and Earlsferry are pretty good - I prefer the Golf, but the Ship gets a lot of tourist crowd.

      On that road the Inn at Lathones gets quite a good name I think too.

      Dolls house and Glass House in St Andrews are run by the same people. OH has been to Glass House - he thought it was punching a bit above its weight but is still OK. I think that the Doll's House Menu looks quite good, but at that money it had better be good.

      Seafood Restaurant - if that is the one beside the aquarium, OH was NOT that impressed - I think he ranked the Glass House higher.

      OH has also been to the Vine Leaf - quite enjoyed it - desert wasn't amazing, but seemed to think it was over all decent (and he was there with a largish group of people)

      Zizzi - not a bid Italian chain. I thought it was pretty decent for a chain.

      Probably not going to go too wrong with the restaurants at the old course hotel. I am actually going to the pub - the jigger for lunch on saturday so I will report back on that one.

      There is also this guy in Crail who apparently cooks fresh lobster at the harbour - really popular though we have not been yet. Might be worth to check him out too.

      I can thoroughly recommend a coffee from Taste on North Street - their croissants and coffee are the best in St Andrews by a mile.

      I am guessing you are from the States - we have just arrived back after a 2 year stint in Boston so I am still looking at things with American eyes. It is more expensive to eat out, so I guess you do have to pay more to get a similar quality of meal. What annoys me is that places which are not in a city try to charge city prices and are still successful due to a lack of competition. I would say that St Andrews suffers a bit from this - an affluent captive market and probably quite high property rental rates too.

      Regardless it is a great town - I should probably use this as an excuse to go and try out some more places. Hope this has helped a bit - enjoy your stay

      1 Reply
      1. re: alisonk

        Sorry for not replying sooner as I've been away the past week. Thank you for such a detailed list of restos. I am sure we will have a great time sampling all of the great spots this town has to offer!

      2. To add to the above, this farmshop has just opened up just outside the town - I haven't yet tried yet

        Fisher and Donaldson is a Fife institution, I'm rather partial to a custard slice or fudge donout and its the season for strawberry tarts, also the place to go for chunky oatcakes if that's how you like them

        Peat Inn - booking is best option

        1 Reply
        1. re: orchidalbion

          +1 for Fisher and Donaldson's strawberry tart and fudge donut - and I don't even really like donuts that much!!

        2. Not a restaurant, but if you fancy an ice cream during your holiday, swing by another St. Andrews institution - Jannettas on South Street.

          1. If you want to sample fish and chips then the Anstruther Fish Bar is pretty legendary.


            Anstruther Fish Bar
            Shore St, Fife, Fife KY10 3, GB

            5 Replies
            1. re: stilldontknow

              But if a fish supper is something you want without leaving St Andrews, a place opened on Market Street by the Tesco not so long ago. It's quite good.

              And to answer other questions:

              Re: Moderate:

              * Doll's House can be good, but I do tend to think of it as kind of stodgy and the service can be very slow, so bear that in mind.

              * I've only been to One Under once and it was fine, not stunning or anything, but I did enjoy the conceptual getaway from the town (the place was filled with golfers, not students).

              * Namh Jim is also quite nice-- although when I popped by for lunch some time ago, I was disappointed. But that was in the lounge, it was lunch, and it was only once among the times I've gone.

              Not mentioned in your post:

              * Maisha for Indian is not bad at all. It's the best of the choices in town but that's it, really.

              * If you want to go out to Dundee (about 20-25 minutes by a regular bus) there is a decent Turkish restaurant called Agacan not so far from Dundee Contemporary Arts.

              * For fancy, the Fairmont (a couple of miles out of town) has a place called Esperante. I've only been once, but very nice. Closer to St Andrews (on the Scores) is Number Forty. I've only been once but recall it as quite enjoyable.

              * Picnics and nibbles: You may enjoy the strawberries (in season and local) and also buying cheeses and nibbles from IJ Mellis (South Street) and Sophie Butler (across from the Fisher & Donaldson). St Andrews is really lovely and there are many places (including the two beaches) to do so.

              1. re: Lizard

                Oh yeah - Mellis is good, though I think I slightly prefer the Guid Cheese Shop down the lane beside it. Though I don't know if it sells quince that is cut fresh from the block rather than being in a jar....

                We went to the Jigger for lunch a couple of weeks ago -

                Starters - I had smoked salmon platter - way to expensive though the smoked salmon was good. Would not have chosen it had we not had our meal paid for by a voucher. OH had soup watercress and potato - was good, not to creamy as I sometimes fear it can be.

                Mains - OH had steak sandwich - at around £9 or £10 it was one of the more moderately priced mains, and was reasonably generous. It just came with crisps, not fries which perhaps I would have liked had I only been having a main - there weren't a whole lot of crisps either.

                OTOH, I had the BIGGEST burger I have EVER had in my life. I reckon that there must have been almost 1lb of meat there (well it felt like it!) It was cooked just as I had requested. I asked for it medium - rare (don't like to go rare for a burger the first time I have tried it in a place and FYI, it was good enough that I would go rare next time) and it was nice and pink still in the middle with some blood in the juices. My only gripe - they put mayo under the patty - why put mayo on a burger? That is just WRONG IMO!!

                The bacon on the burger was good quality and cooked so it was nice and crisp - the only way I really like it and the cheddar worked well (again, I am a no frills burger person - I would have been really satisfied without the bacon and the cheese, but I am probably in the minority) I had to quarter the burger to eat it, it was so huge (and I have a big mouth! It came with fries - to be honest I didn't need them. I gave OH a quarter of my burger and he helped with some fries.

                Desert - we split sticky toffee pudding - it was a bit meh... would not probably bother next time or if we were paying.

                Wine - expensive, however I like that you could have a small 125ml, medium 175ml or large 250ml glass. I hate ordering a large glass anyway, but even the cheapest large glass was around £7. I went for the Temperillino, ordered a medium for around £6 and it was lovely - think it was the 2nd cheapest of the wines too, so they have brought nice wines in.

                OH had a pint of their own ale brewed by Belhaven - I liked it also, a bit of sweetness in there.

                All in all a good meal - I left totally stuffed and useless for the rest of the day

                1. re: alisonk

                  Thanks again to all of the posters! My husband and I are now in East Lothian and enjoying ourselves immensely... (helps to have sunny warm weather!). Here for another few days before we head to St.A.... We have a car but will probably taxi for dinner - as we like to have a couple of libations. Will be golfing up a storm but will have lunch opportunities.
                  Thanks again!

              2. re: stilldontknow

                Left St. Andrews this morning after a two-day visit. Most of the spots near the golf course(s) appear to serve essentially the same menu, none too impressive at that. One probable exception: The chef at the Old Course Hotel recently was named the second-best young chef in Scotland, FWIW. Bring money.

                According to several locals we quizzed. the Anstruther Fish Bar is past its glory days.... the original owners (who brought it to national prominence) sold it a couple of years back and opened The Tail End fish restaurant and takeaway on Market Street in St. Andrews not long ago. We had fish suppers there our first night ... fresh and tasty, though not especially cheap. (I lived in St. Andrews 40 years ago so think anything over five and sixpence (old-style) is too dear ... never mind the 10 quid a fish supper goes for now.) That said, it's the best in town by all accounts, and we liked it well enough. In addition, said our Anstruther-resident server, the other chip shops in that town are just as good as the famous FIsh Bar, without the lines.

                St. Andrews has become quite touristy, which disappointed me ... there's a freakin' Subway on the main shopping street, for pete's sake, and a sizable supermarket not far away. Still a lovely town, though.. have fun!

                Anstruther Fish Bar
                Shore St, Fife, Fife KY10 3, GB

                1. re: jonking

                  Had a GREAT dinner at the Grange Inn last night. It's about a 10 minute drive outside of town but has lovely views to the sea. The food was very well prepared and service excellent. We stopped into Anstruther for lunch on our way to St. Andrews. The Anstruther Fish Bar was closed (thankfully, after your comments) and the Waterfront Restaurant was lined-up onto the sidewalk. I stopped one of the local fishermen who said the best F & C could be found down the road a bit further at a place called the "Wee Chippery". We were NOT dissapointed! Very fresh, lightly battered and flavourful...AND were were happy to support a smaller proprietor.
                  Today we enjoyed a leisurely walk along the Old Course in near 30C degree weather! I'm not entirely certain that I truly am in Scotland. Off to the Rocca Bar & Grill overlooking the Old Course for what will likely be a tremendous sunset!