So I realise that I’ve been writing about food quite a lot over the summer, but going away on holiday means visiting new places and of course, trying out new food. I have a really exciting beauty post coming next week which will shake things up a bit, so stay tuned for that! If you haven’t already seen my foodie’s post about Budapest then check it out, it will make you want to go.
I visited St Ives a couple of weeks ago with my family for the very first time, and it was absolutely beautiful. For Cornwall we were pretty lucky that the sun decided to shine for most of the week. But one of the best things about Cornwall was, of course, the food. I made a pact with myself to make the most of being by the sea, and ate fish as much as I could when we went out for meals. Unlike Budapest, the restaurants didn’t really vary much in terms of price, so instead of ranking them this way, I’ve put them in order of the favourites that are a must visit, to ones that are nice but I wouldn’t rush back to. Enjoy!
The Black Rock – Must Visit
We ate at the Black Rock on the very first night of our trip, and it set the bar. The food was incredible and wouldn’t have been out of place at a Michelin restaurant (although thank goodness for the larger portions). For starter I had spring vegetable risotto (see above) and for my main I had sea trout on a bed of lentils and pancetta. I have never enjoyed lentils so damn much. I was too full for pudding and I’m seriously regretting not having one now. I must also mention their Pixie Prosecco cocktail, elderflower cordial topped with Prosecco, it sounds so simple yet it was incredible. We’re heading back down to St. Ives next year and this place will be top of the list to revisit.
Harbour Gourmet Fish and Chips – Must Visit
We were wandering around one night trying to figure out where to go for dinner and stumbled across this beauty of a restaurant. The Harbour Gourmet Restaurant goes above and beyond normal fish and chips. For one, you can choose which fish you’d like, if you want it battered, and if you’d like chips or salad (there’s no real choice here really). I had sea bass with chips and minted peas, and it was just beautiful. Simple, fresh ingredients but done superbly well. The staff were also really friendly and welcoming.
Alba – Must Visit
Alba is renowned for both its cocktail bar, The A Bar, and it’s fine dining restaurant. Our experience at Alba was mixed; we had a late table at about 9.30 and it was evident that the waiters were tired and not quite as attentive as they perhaps should have been. We ordered two mojitos and they brought us two pina coladas, then when they brought us the mojitos they had no sugar or rum in them (kinda crucial). It was incredibly disappointing because one of the primary reasons we visited was because of their cocktail reputation. However, I’m putting as my third favourite because they thoroughly redeemed themselves with the food. The photo above is a bit grainy but I had to include it because these scallops were the best I had whilst we were in St. Ives. For main I had the beef fillet (breaking my trying-as-much-fish-as-possible rule) but it was perfect. Again, I had no room for a pudding but we had an after dinner cocktail, and they were incredible. So although the evening started off poorly, it had completely redeemed itself by the end.
Porthminster Beach Cafe – Must Visit
This restaurant is on the end of Porthminster Beach and offers something a little more sophisticated than a Cornish pasty. They have a terrace outside so book if you want a seat, the view across the beach is absolutely stunning. I had sea bream and it was cooked perfectly, followed by this strawberry and cream concoction for pudding. It was all beautifully presented and the view just made the whole experience even better.
Carbis Bay Hotel – Lovely for lunch
One day it was absolutely stunning weather, so we walked all the way from St Ives to Carbis Bay and along the beach. We were absolutely starving after, and the Carbis Bay Hotel absolutely hit the spot. We all had a roast dinner which was cooked absolutely perfectly, followed by the lightest (and most generous) sticky toffee pudding I’ve ever had. So well received after that huge walk, and needless to say we got a taxi back!
St Andrews Street Bistro – Cosy and Honest
I don’t have a photo for this restaurant as to be honest, I was too busy enjoying the food! St Andrews Street Bistro is a lovely restaurant tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main high street. It’s family owned and they focus on using fresh, local produce in all their dishes. One of the best bits about this restaurant is that they give you a warm loaf of bread with soft butter before you even order. One of the hardest things to do is not eat it all! I had scallops for my starter, which were nice but not quite as good as Alba. To follow I had hake with crushed truffle baby potatoes, pea pesto and a butter sauce which was lovely. An all round good restaurant.
Sea Food Cafe – Wouldn’t Rush Back
Photo taken from the Seafood Cafe website
The Sea Food Cafe is the place that I had heard about before we arrived, and I was excited to see if the hype was real. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the high expectations that had been set by the other restaurants we visited during our stay. Don’t get me wrong, I had a beautiful starter of scallops (again haha) and the wine was great, but the service and the main course let it down. The idea is that you can choose your fish or meat and pair it with a sauce, so you have total freedom of choice when it comes to your meal, similar to the Harbour Gourmet Fish and Chips. Although my fish was cooked well, the stack of baby potatoes were bizarrely dry and tasteless. You have to book if you want to eat out at all
during the holiday season in St Ives, so again we had a late table at 9.30pm as it’s the only time we could get in. The staff were reeasonably attentive but nothing special, we didn’t feel overly welcome. Overall it really didn’t live up to the huge hype, and the standards that the other restaurants in St. Ives set.
Other places of note:
I couldn’t do this post without mentioning another fantastic restaurant, even though it’s on the Scilly Isles. We had a day trip to St Mary’s and everyone told us that this was the place to go for lunch, and they weren’t wrong. Not only was the food superb, but the garden offered the most stunning views over the harbour. I had a chicken caesar salad and it was so well done for something relatively simple. If you’re visiting St. Ives and fancy a day trip, I’d highly recommend heading over to St. Mary’s and taking a pit stop here for lunch.
West Beach Bakery
West Beach Bakery is a cafe come restaurant at the west end of Porthmeor beach, which offers snacks such as freshly baked cakes to sourdough pizzas. We went for chips, whitebait and shared a jug of Pimms and sangria between the four of us. It was all lovely and freshly cooked, the whitebait was simply to die for and came with a generous helping of garlic aioli. We stayed here drinking watching the surfers (it’s primarily a surfing beach) and the sun going down. Just perfect if you need a little pick me up before dinner.
St. Ives Bakery
We came to this bakery every morning before breakfast to pick up a fresh loaf bread and/or croissants and it is by far the best bakery that we found in St. Ives. I had to mention it because it was so reliably good every single day, and I highly recommend their sourdough bread, yum.