Set in one of the UK’s most picturesque counties, St Ives is a quaint little fishing harbour and seaside town. With a beautiful landscape that lends itself to the production of incredible, fresh food, it’s not hard to find a great place to eat in St Ives. With the sea right at their doorstep, it is only natural that this Cornwall town would have a plethora of excellent seafood restaurants for you to sample. However, fish and crustaceans isn’t all St Ives has to offer. St Ives has some of the best restaurants to try in Cornwall – from burger bars and trendy cafes to homely pubs, seafood restaurants, Asian cuisine and even some great vegan options. Whatever you’re looking to feast on, St Ives has everything you could ever want. So, without further ado, here’s our guide to the best restaurants in St Ives 2021.
The 12 Best Restaurants in St Ives 2021
Porthminster Cafe is a pared back, whitewashed restaurant that benefits from stunning coastal views of the sandy beaches and effervescent seas that surround St Ives. This acclaimed beachside restaurant is by far one of St Ive’s best places to eat, serving up one of the most memorable dining experiences across the whole of Cornwall. Michael Smith is the head chef and was one largely pioneered the introduction of foraged produce into menus in the area.
Unsurprisingly, seafood is the main attraction at Porthminster Cafe where you can tuck into some of the best fresh catches that the Cornish waters have to offer. Over 25 years, this St Ives restaurant has curated quite the reputation for their ability to seamlessly combine flavours from both Asia and the Mediterranean, with the freshest fish, garden-grown produce and locally foraged ingredients. Think Cornish crab linguine, monkfish curry and whole grilled lobster, all paired delicately with in-season vegetables, herbs and salad taken fresh from their own garden. This award-winning foodie heaven is well deserving of a place on this list of the best restaurants in St Ives and has become an essential for visitors keen to experience Cornwall’s increasingly vibrant food scene.
Appropriately set on Fish Street in the old fishing quarters, The Mermaid is definitely one of the best restaurants in St Ives, especially when it comes to seafood (as you might have guessed). Rather fittingly, the restaurant has adopted a nautical theme when it comes to decor, with fishing nets hanging from the ceilings and pictures of old fishing boats adorning the walls.
It is almost impossible to choose from the extensive menu of seafood options – impressive fish platters, steamy seafood pots, succulent scallops, fragrant tiger prawn curries and even the good old favourite of fish and chips. With the beautiful Cornish sea right on its doorstep, all of the seafood served is fresh and caught locally. Family run and with a truly traditional feel, The Mermaid is a real favourite with the locals and is certainly one of the best restaurants in St Ives.
The best restaurant in St Ives for incredible Thai food while watching the boats float by. If you fancy a change from the St Ive’s speciality of seafood, why not give Thai a try? Perfectly positioned on the harbour front in the very heart of the town, this restaurant is the ideal spot to get in on the action.
Choose from a huge menu boasting an array of delicious Thai dishes – enjoy Thai tapas to share, fragrant curries, noodle soups and colourful stir fries while gazing out through their huge windows at the astonishing landscape in front of you. If you manage to get there early enough, you might event be lucky and grab one of the window seats, giving you an elevated view of the entire harbour and all of the passers by.
The best restaurant in St Ives for award-winning local gin and deliciously fresh seafood. The Silco Searoom is idyllically situated on The Wharf, the traditionally cobbled street that overlooks the harbour of St Ives. This gastro-bar is certainly the best in town, having won multiple top awards for its locally sourced seafood, craft beers, and of course their speciality G&T’s.
This harbour restaurant serves up a selection of the best Cornish-influenced tapas – think crab gratin, mussels, calamari, mackerel fillet and much more, alongside Padron peppers and crusty bread with olives. Sit back and enjoy a glass of refreshing gin with a side of seafood tapas as you watch the world go by. Superbly furnished in a luxe gentlemen’s club style, with leather chairs, mahogany wood and a sombre colour palette, it is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or three.
For those looking for another alternative to seafood, Blas Burgerworks is definitely one of the best restaurants in St Ives. It is the ideal spot to refuel after a long day surfing the waves or sunbathing on the beach. Hidden just off The Warren in St Ives, this restaurant is situated just a few steps from the sea. This Cornish burger joint has set a whole new precedent for burger bars with every single ingredient being locally sourced – right down to the dips and relishes.
More important is the fact that the burgers are incredible, with juicy Cornish beef patties on fresh burger buns, topped with all kinds of delights. There is even a substantial vegan and vegetarian selection, with a range of scrumptious handmade burgers for you to choose from, including the mushroom burger, the beetroot burger and the Huevos Rancheros burger with corn salsa, guac, egg and chilli sauce. Don’t go overboard though – you’ll want to save room for one of their amazing deserts to finish off. This St Ives restaurant is 100% committed to sustainability, minimising their impact on the environment wherever they can.
Stepping into the notorious Rum and Crab Shack is akin to walking onto a boat, with nautical memorabilia decking out the entire room, port holes and bay windows looking out onto the sea, and a bar well-stocked with rum. The Rum and Crab Shack is one of the best restaurants in St Ives and is certainly one of the most Cornish. Sit back and listen to some live music while taking in the stunning view of the beautiful St Ives harbour and Godrevy lighthouse.
But, it’s not only the view that is spectacular; the food served here is utterly delicious. You can choose from favourites like Cornish crab, gumbo and lobster mac and cheese. The rum menu is almost as extensive as that of the food, making this a great place for a tipple at the bar or in a cosy nook.
The Sloop Inn is not only a local icon, it is also one of the best restaurants in St Ives, dating all the way back to 1312 and thought to be one of the oldest pubs in the UK. Popular amongst the residents of St Ives, this restaurant has benches spilling out onto the harbour edge. Staying true to its roots, you shouldn’t expect any fancy decor like in some of the other gastro pub-style spots in the town, but deliciously simple pub grub is always served with a smile.
As you would expect, this St Ives pub serves up hearty meals that remind you of home. Head to the Captain’s Table for yummy dishes like homemade fishcakes and Cornish mussels marinière. Or, visit the Sloop pub restaurant for a more casual dining experience, where a Sunday roast is not to be missed.
If it’s panoramic views you’re looking for, then you won’t be disappointed by a trip to the The Loft, one of the best restaurants in St Ives. Set in the trendy artist’s quarter of the town, you can take a seat on the beautiful terrace and enjoy a refreshing glass of wine while staring at a view over the harbour and rooftops. A former sail loft, the building has been restored to its original glory, comprising of a long dining room with a white-washed, beamed loft ceiling, an exposed brick wall and large windows. To complete the rustic feel of this St Ives restaurant, the glass topped tables are simply laid with white upholstered and wooden chairs set on stripped wood floorboards.
The Loft places a great emphasis on creating delicious dishes from locally sourced ingredients – much like all the other restaurants in St Ives. Peruse the extensive menu and choose from mains like Cornish mussels, pan fried cod, lemon sole, fish chowder and twice cooked pork belly. While seafood is clearly the speciality, carnivorous and vegetarian diners are also catered for. Finish off with one of their decadent deserts, including the dark chocolate and peanut butter fondant, homemade sticky toffee pudding and boiled orange cake. The menu changes seasonally so you know you’re always getting the freshest of ingredients, and you can’t go wrong with their Sunday roast dinner.
For cool, laidback vibes head to the Hub. Situated in the heart of the town, this St Ives restaurant is a well-established feature of the harbour front and an essential stop off for fab coffee, amazing cakes, juicy burgers and even a cocktail on an evening – all alongside a beautiful view of course.
They have a modern menu of delicious burgers made from 21 dry-aged beef served on Baker Tom buns. All tastes are catered for – for the carnivores, you can choose from classic cheese, a Cornish blue cheese topped patty, the bacon double cheese, a range of chicken-based burgers or The Big Kahuna, comprising of a double 4oz patty, BBQ pulled pork, Swiss smoky BBQ sauce, lettuce and an onion ring. Veggies can select from a range of meatless options – choose from a THIS isn’t chicken patty with smoked cheese, smoky BBQ sauce, pickles and lettuce; a beyond meat patty with smoked cheese, ketchup, mustard, onion, pickles and lettuce; or a THIS isn’t buttermilk chicken patty with garlic mayo and lettuce. To complete your impressive burger meal, sift through the huge array of fry options, including sweet potato fries, Mother Clucker fries, chilli cheese fries, buffalo fries or Zero Clucks Given fries. Pair this feast with a craft beer, a glass of wine or a refreshing cocktail.
For a taste of something a little different from St Ive’s usual seaside fayre, make sure to take a trip to The Mex, an independently run Mexican restaurant located just 5 minutes walk from the harbour. On entering this St Ives restaurant, you’ll be welcomed by a cosy yet colourful interior, with a menu packed full of authentic Mexican dishes and plenty of Tequila behind the bar. The restaurant is rather small, which although adds to the authenticity and the intimacy of the venue, it does mean that it fills up very quickly so make sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment.
Serving a range of Mexican themed food and drink, this is the ideal spot for a fun, laidback evening meal or lunch. Aside from the usual Mexican favourites such as fajitas, burritos, nachos, chimichanga and quesadillas, on the menu you will also find BBQ chicken, Jalapeno poppers and brie parcels.
The perfect place to enjoy a relaxing meal any time of the day – whether you’re just off the beach looking for a delicious lunch or looking for somewhere to enjoy a romantic evening meal – Caffe Pasta is ideal for both occasions. This little slice of Italy on the Cornish coast serves up all the Italian favourites along with an impressive wine list. Known for its great service and friendly staff, there is a lovely atmosphere, set amongst divine decor.
A pizza- and pasta-lovers paradise, this St Ives Italian restaurant serves all the best loved favourites along with a selection of more unique dishes. Choose from classics like carbonara, beef ragu, or margarita pizza. Alternatively, opt for something a little different with a plate of butternut squash tagliatelle, crab linguine or crispy Chinese duck pizza. Pair your pizza or pasta with a glass of gin, wine or one of their house cocktails. Finally, finish off your meal with a traditional Italian tiramisu, a vanilla creme brûlée or a creamy latte macchiato.
The place to go for delicious breakfasts or melt in your mouth Cornish cream teas. One of the best restaurants in St Ives, this popular spot is situated near the St Ives Museum, a part of the authentic culture of this beautiful town. This St Ives restaurant is recommended for its pleasant staff, fabulous service and, of course, their irresistibly delicious food.
Known for offering incredible British cuisine, the menu consists of favourites like tasty crab meat, crab salads, Cornish smoked fish chowder, classic jacket potatoes and a choice of all the usual sandwiches and paninis. Or, visit for breakfast and try out the Full Cornish Breakfast, scrambled egg on toast with smoked salmon, field mushrooms on toast or your usual bacon sarnie. If you have a sweet tooth, the Beachcomber cafe has you covered with their selection of treats – think cheesecake, carrot cake, caramel slices, lemon meringue pie, apple pie, chocolate fudge cake and more.