20 of the best places to eat out in St Ives
PUBLISHED: 10:42 12 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:23 23 June 2020
St Ives has some of the best places to eat out in Cornwall. From seafood restaurants and burger bars, to cafes and pubs, we pick 20 of the best places to go for a meal in St Ives
Where are the best restaurants for fine-dining in St Ives?
Porthminster Cafe has stunning coastal views of the white sandy beaches and turquoise seas that surround St Ives. Head Chef Michael Smith is the man behind the mains and he was one of the first chefs in Cornwall to introduce foraged produce into his menus.
Unsurprisingly, fish is the name of the game at Porthminster and you can tuck into some of the finest bounty that the Cornish waters have to offer. Cornish crab linguine, whole grilled lobster and monkfish curry are just some of the dishes that have graced the menu with seafood sourced locally from St Ives, Newlyn, Looe and Mevagissey. Vegetables, herbs and salad are taken from the café's Porthminster garden.
Good to know: There is a generous selection of Cornish wines on the wine list, including bottles of quaffable sparkling wine from Polgoon and crisp whites from Camel Valley.
Sister café and restaurant to Porthminster, Porthgwidden specialises in Mediterranean and Asian seafood cuisine. The restaurant overlooks the beach with plenty of seating outside for al fresco dining in the warmer months.
On the small yet enticing menu expect to find bowls of mussels with chorizo, St Ives mackerel fillet, Cornish fish pie and the catch of the day served with a hearty portion of chips. For those not in the mood for seafood there are meaty mains to choose from too.
Good to know: Porthgwidden is also open for breakfast. Start the day right with poached eggs, coffee and a side of sea views.
Tucked away from the harbour in the cobbled backstreets of St Ives, you'll find the delightful Seafood Café. The restaurant has a different take on traditional dining. With a large cabinet of ever-changing fish on display, you make a selection and inform the chef of your cooking preferences.
Take a pick from potatoes, salad and vegetables to accompany the fish and choose a sauce and your personalised meal will be freshly prepared and bought over to you to enjoy. Finish the meal with a Cornish cheeseboard and a large glass of rioja, or a delicious pud from the dessert menu.
Good to know: The Seafood Café also serves a range of meats and poultry including steaks, lamb shanks, pork fillets, duck and chicken with a range of sauces to accompany them.
Calling all seafood aficionados! The Mermaid can be found in the appropriately named Fish Street in the old fishing quarters of St Ives and it is renowned for its extensive menu of seafood. It's almost impossible to choose between fish platters, seafood pots, tiger prawn curries, scallops and even the trusty old fish and chips - we wish we could have it all.
The restaurant has a nautical décor with fishing nets hanging from the ceilings and pictures of old fishing boats and their owners hanging on the walls.
Good to know: If a member of your party doesn't like seafood (yes these types of people walk among us in Cornwall), then fret not. The Mermaid also has a range of dishes to sate the appetites of veggies and meat lovers alike.
This restaurant is one of the cosiest restaurants in St Ives with its rouge red walls and candlelit tables; the Parisian-chic setting is the perfect spot to enjoy a romantic supper.
The restaurant samples some of Cornwall's freshest catches of the day. Expect herb crusted hake, crispy sea bass fillets and tender calamari alongside classic dishes such as chicken supreme and sirloin steak.
Good to know: The Cellar Bistro has a cheeseboard served with port and is the best way to end a meal here. The selection of local cheese is sourced from nearby farms and dairies in Cornwall.
Blink and you'll miss it - the Porthminster Kitchen is tucked away above the fudge shop overlooking the harbour. Take a break from the crowds and hide away with good food, great wine and even better company on the sun-trapped terrace of the Porthminster Kitchen.
On the menu there are meaty mains such as braised shoulder of lamb and rib eye steaks, or fishy suppers that include big bowls of mussels and crab bouillabaisse - the only difficulty of dining here is choosing what to have.
Good to know: The vast majority of dishes on the menu are dairy and/or gluten free making this restaurant accessible to those with dietary requirements.
For supper with a sea view head to The Loft in St Ives where there is a terrace to enjoy tasty Cornish food and drink al fresco in the summer and a light and airy restaurant to eat in throughout the year.
Like most of the fine dining restaurants in St Ives, the menu is subject to change with the seasons but diners can look forward to seafood and British classics such as belly pork and crispy fish and chips. Don't forget to keep an eye on the specials board for a number of mouth-watering dishes that are bound to entice you from the everyday menu.
The Firehouse is an ideal haunt to retreat to after a day spent exploring all that St Ives has to offer. If you're lucky enough to be seated to the left of the bar upstairs you can enjoy views over St Ives Harbour as you wine and dine.
The Firehouse is a haven for meat lovers as succulent steaks, rotisserie chickens, ribs and burgers dominate the bulk of the menu. Prices here are extremely modest with a fillet steak costing only £16, so dig in!
Good to know: Don't miss the gin cocktail menu. We love the Cornish Garden made with Cornish gin, cucumber, elderflower, ginger beer and fresh mint; it's very moreish.
Where are the best places in St Ives for casual dining?
Blas Burgerworks is one of the town's best kept secrets. It is a great place to refuel on burgers after a day spent paddling in the sea at Porthminster beach.
All of the ingredients are local; from the burgers and buns down to the dips and chips. Expect succulent 6oz patties with a range of toppings. We've had the truffle burger with Cornish blue cheese and truffle aioli and we can confirm it was delicious.
Good to know: Blas Burgerworks also has a tempting pudding menu. The banana split with clotted cream and salted caramel is the perfect way to finish your feast.
This quirky bar-cum-restaurant overlooks the bustling harbour of St Ives and there's plenty of tasty Cornish crab in the kitchen and rum behind the bar. From Rum Shack gumbo and lobster macaroni, to Moules Mariniere and mackerel wraps, there is plenty on the menu to satisfy any seafood fan.
Diners are seated on a first come, first served basis and if you're lucky enough, you might find yourself sat in one of the window seats with panoramic views across the bay to Gwithian sands and Godrevy lighthouse. Got a wait on your hands? Take a seat (or barrel) at the bar and kick back with rum on the rocks.
Good to know: The Rum & Crab Shack has an extensive rum and cocktail menu and the quirky bar is a great spot for an aperitif before supper. They serve some of the best Mojitos in town.
Expect cool, laidback vibes when visiting the Hub in St Ives. Whether you're looking for an evening out, or to cure your hangover from the night before, this is the perfect spot for indulging in delicious burgers alongside beautiful views of the harbour.
The burgers here are made from 21 day dry-aged beef and served on Baker Tom buns. We like the 'Dirty South' with Cornish blue cheese, onions and mushrooms, served with a side of pulled pork fries. You'll also find the Hub's sister restaurant, Hubbox, in Truro and St Austell.
Good to know: For a truly indulgent treat, the Hub serves up a range of creamy American-style milkshakes made with ice cream and topped with a dollop of whipped cream. We love the salted caramel flavour.
As the moniker suggests, this family-run business is all about craft beers and crispy fried chicken. All chicken comes from a nearby free-range farm in North Cornwall and there is an extensive selection of international beers behind the bar. Beer & Bird also makes its own cider with three different types to choose from.
On the menu you'll find loaded nachos and sticky wings for starters, wraps, tacos, burgers and buckets of chicken for mains and plenty of sides to tempt you too. We like the sound of the Chicken and Waffles with maple butter and bacon. Yum!
Good to know: Food is served all day from 12 until 9pm which is great for little ones wanting an early tea. Beer & Bird also hosts live music on the occasion if you fancy a spot of light entertainment with your meal. Previous performers include The Sandy Acre 7 and Robin Curtis.
The Sloop Inn is a familiar and well-loved landmark overlooking St Ives Harbour and you'll often see punters enjoying pints of ale and sea views in the summer months. But did you know the pub is reputed to date back as far as circa 1312 making The Sloop quite possibly one of the oldest pubs in the UK?
History aside, The Sloop serves fantastic food and is one of our favourite places for a pub lunch, Sunday roast or hearty supper. Dining here is a fairly casual affair but if you'd like table service head upstairs to the Captain's Table restaurant.
Good to know: The Sloop runs a couple of good offers throughout the week. One is buy any two steaks and get a free bottle of house red, white or rose (you can also get a free bottle of house wine with two Sunday lunches).
The Queens Hotel has a great gastro pub on the ground floor serving a simple yet appealing menu with ever-changing dishes made from local ingredients. Local suppliers include beef from The Harvey Brothers in St Ives, pork from K & D McFadden in St Just and fruit and vegetables from Trims greengrocers.
Whilst the menu is subject to change, expect to see pub classics such as fish and chips, sausage and mash and beef stew. Make sure to leave room for the sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream.
Good to know: The Queens Hotel hosts lots of live music events and open mic nights.
The Hub is in good company along St Ives harbour as The Balcony Bar serves up a pretty mean burger too. It's a laidback café in the day with an outgoing social scene by night and burgers are served throughout the day.
On the menu is a range of juicy burgers to choose from; whether your preference is beef, chicken, fish or vegetarian, there is plenty to sate all appetites. We like the sound of The Mexican Burger, topped with cheddar, nachos and sour cream, served with a side of spicy fries and onion rings. ¡Buen provecho!
Good to know: The Balcony Bar shows pretty much all big sporting events on the big screens in the bar.
Where are the best restaurants for international cuisine?
For something a little different to the usual seaside fayre found in St Ives, head to The Mex, an independently run Mexican restaurant about five minutes walk from the harbour. Inside you'll find a cosy yet colourful interior with lots of authentic Mexican dishes on the menu and Tequila behind the bar. Be warned: the restaurant is small and it fills up fast so book ahead to avoid disappointment.
Aside from the usual cuisine such as fajitas, burritos, nachos, chimichanga and quesadillas, you'll also find BBQ chicken, ribs, fish curry and Tequila king prawns on the menu. There's also a section of the menu dedicated to vegetarians.
Good to know: There are over a dozen different types of Tequila behind the bar at The Mex. ¡Salud!
The restaurant can be found above eye level on Wharf Road overlooking the harbour and Thai tapas-style street food is on the menu so it's a great spot for sociable dining with friends. Dishes include salt and pepper squid, chicken satay, prawn toast, Thai style dumplings and stick pork skewers.
Talay Thai Kitchen only opened in 2018 but it has already made a serious mark on the foodie map of Cornwall.
Good to know: Tapas aside, Talay Thai Kitchen also serves delicious curries, noodles and stir fry.
Whether you're straight off the beach looking for a place for lunch or you're wanting to enjoy a relaxing evening meal - Caffe Pasta is just the ticket for both occasions. This little slice of Italy on the Cornish coast offers a selection of pizzas and pasta dishes and there are plenty of meaty mains to sate the appetite too.
The wine list has a good selection of Italian wines to choose from which can be ordered by the bottle or glass.
Good to know: Caffe Pasta & Pizzeria offers food to takeaway with a 10% discount.
Located on the outskirts of the town centre, Curry Garden is one of the first restaurants you'll see when driving into St Ives. The restaurant is an ideal destination for diners on the hunt for one of the nation's favourite dishes.
On the curry menu expect to see all of the usual favourites: jalfrezi, korma, tikka and madras and much more - in addition to a number of speciality dishes.
Good to know: Curry Garden has a secret terrace garden which is perfect for pre-supper drinks on a warm summer's evening.
The Rajpoot has been voted by Cobra Beer as 'The Best Indian Restaurant in Cornwall' and we think the accolade is well deserved. Rajpoot describes itself as providing 'home style Indian cuisine' made using fresh and authentic ingredients.
The restaurant can be found near the cinema making it an ideal restaurant for a pre-show curry. Rajpoot also offers food to takeaway.
Good to know: The restaurant does not have an alcohol license but you can bring your own wine and beer.