Best places to eat in Aberdeen

Find cafés serving wholesome treats, sample fresh local seafood and discover mince and mealie pies in Aberdeen. It's the perfect city for foodie travellers wanting a short break.

Aberdeen's Bridge of Dee on a sunny day

Venturing to Scotland's Granite City and want the inside scoop on the best local eateries? Check out our list of must-try places, and sample the finest produce on offer in Aberdeen.

Granite Park
Special occasion

Granite Park
Taking its name from the signature building blocks of the Granite City, this central restaurant offers a refreshing variety of menus, from lunch and afternoon tea to pre-theatre and dinner. Its private room, accommodating up to 40 diners and overlooking the city’s Golden Square, makes Granite Park an elegant choice for large parties. Try a vibrantly coloured Midori sour at Miros Bar on the ground floor. Mains from £16.95.

Rustico
Kid-friendly, casual dining

This '50s-style trattoria spans several floors and always seems busy but, thanks to its neat little alcoves, it's as suitable for date night as it is for party night. A family-run Italian, the portion sizes are generous, the waiting staff notably friendly and the menu extensive. Highlights include linguine with red wild shrimps, king prawns, squid and fresh mussels; homemade beef and pork ragu with spaghetti; and Sicilian-style lamb meatloaf. Mains from £10.50.

Yatai Izakaya
Casual dining

This small restaurant on Langstane Place serves modern Japanese food, often made with Aberdeenshire produce. As well as the main menu, Yatai Izakaya offers ‘omakase’ (‘trust us’) style dining in the evening. Set a budget for your table, explain key likes, dislikes and dietary requirements to the waiter, then leave everything to the chef. Sake fans take note: this is Scotland's only sake off-licence. Sushi from £5.

Cafe 52
Casual dining

Cafe 52
Offering al fresco dining, outdoor heaters and blankets, Cafe 52 is the most continental of Aberdeen restaurants. Now in its 23rd year, it's a favourite spot for locals and tourists alike. The menu features a mix of meat and vegetarian options, including dishes such as buttered pork loin with apples, barley, cider and tarragon, and roasted aubergines stuffed with smoked tomato ragu. Mains, £10.

Carmines
Casual dining, cheap eats, kid-friendly

This is a traditional, low-key Italian café on Union Terrace run by the big personality that is Carmine. Children sometimes get a free treat if – and only if Carmine wants to spoil them, but the simple Italian fare is available at very reasonable prices. 

The Ashvale
Casual dining

The Ashvale
The Ashvale is a bit of a local institution, and it's here you can take on the city's famous 'Ashvale whale' challenge: finish a one-pound haddock fillet by yourself and enjoy a second one on the house. The family-run Great Western Road restaurant has been open for more than 30 years, dishing up fish straight from Peterhead Market. In 2015, The Ashvale’s Stuart Devine received an MBE for his services to the seafood industry and to charity work – so it’s more than just a case of lip-smackin’ fish and chips. Two courses and a drink, £15.95.

Hammerton Store
Casual dining

This food store and deli is a lovely space in which to find cookbooks, art and ceramics and to stock up on edible goodies. Browse aisles of local and organic fruit and veg, meats, baked goods, wine, gin and real ale. Open seven days a week. 

Cup
Casual dining

Cup cafe
A delightful café tucked down a cobbled lane in the city centre, Cup offers a colourful range of iced teas to complement its afternoon teas – a cool option for quenching thirst.

Newton Dee
Casual dining, cheap eats, kid-friendly

Part of Aberdeen’s Camphill community, this 180-acre site near Peterculter provides residential and work opportunities for adults with learning disabilities. Newton Dee Bakery's range of goodies are freshly baked on the premises using traditional techniques, and there's also a store and café on site. 

Buchanan's Bistro
Casual dining, kid-friendly

Head towards Royal Deeside and make sure to stop off at Buchanan's Bistro, where the collective of self-taught cooks care about the nutritional value of their food as well as how it's sourced. They bake fresh cakes, biscuits and bread every day; ferment their own yoghurt; brew beer; cure and smoke meat and vegetables; and pickle and preserve any surplus. If traceability and sustainability are keywords in your dietary vocabulary, Buchanan's Bistro is a must. Larger plates from £11. 

Conservatory Restaurant
Special occasion

Seafood main course
The five-star Marcliffe Hotel and Spa, set in 11 acres of grounds, is home to the enticing Conservatory Restaurant. As well as serving local game and beef, the Marcliffe has a distinctive seafood menu that features west coast scallops; North Sea shellfish bisque; Peterhead monkfish; and North Sea halibut. Seafood mains from £21.

Bonobo Cafe
Casual dining, cheap eats, kid-friendly
This relatively recent addition to Aberdeen’s café scene is a workers' co-operative and a completely vegan eatery. Diners can take away or eat in, choosing between the rustic indoor space or the charming rooftop garden, complete with herbs, vegetables, flowers and pond. Try a full Scottish breakfast – featuring seitan sausages, scrambled tofu, avocado and veggie haggis – washed down with a coconut milk latte. 

Foodstory
Casual dining, cheap eats, kid-friendly

Cheesecake selection
Foodstory offers healthy eating with flavour and flair. Head here for locally sourced food, tasty brewed coffee and regular events including yoga and life drawing classes. It makes for a great alternative stop in the city centre. Lunch from £4.50.

IX Restaurant
Special occasion, kid-friendly

IX Restaurant
Executive chef Kevin Dalgleish has put The Chester Hotel on the map with this two-time AA Rosette-winning restaurant. Making the most of the local larder, mains include Burnside Farm roe deer and charcoal-roasted North Sea monkfish. The contemporary setting, complete with theatre kitchen, adds to the experience. Mains from £18.

The Sand Dollar
Casual dining, kid-friendly

Sanddollar breakfast selection
This bistro café offers great breakfasts and brunches just metres from Aberdeen Beach. The overnight oats and porridge dishes are packed with slow-release carbs, the yogurt breakfasts are accompanied by fruit compotes, muesli, seeds and nuts, and the full Scottish breakfast is a traditional, no-nonsense offering. A children’s menu ensures little ones are fed before they hit the beach. Breakfast from £4.10.

Ross Bakery
Cheap eats

Mealie pie
The pies at Ross Bakery on Chapel Street are close to legendary. The macaroni pie and the mince and mealie pie, in particular, turn the heads of visitors. The former is a popular carb-fest, while the latter usually begs the question ‘What’s mealie?’ The answer: white pudding. Pies from £1.90.

Moonfish Cafe
Casual dining, special occasion

Moonfish main plate
Located on the cobbled medieval streets of Aberdeen’s Merchant Quarter, Moonfish Cafe dishes up a focused menu of quality dishes. Suitable for fine dining or a casual get-together, its menu includes coffee-cured fillet of beef, halibut with mussels and passion fruit, and hake with fennel and chorizo. Also notable is its gin menu, featuring tipples such as The Botanist from the Islay, Saffron from France and Junípero from San Francisco. Two-course dinner, £30.

Maggie's Grill
Casual dining, kid-friendly

BBQ chicken
This chilled eatery on Holburn Street serves up unpretentious barbecue and Cajun food. Savour spicy staples like Texas-fried chicken, gumbo of the day, Cajun-blackened salmon and howlin’ wolf chilli in a laid-back café atmosphere. The kids’ menu includes popcorn chicken and BBQ pulled pork. Mains from £13.50.

The Silver Darling
Special occasion

Herring dish
Named after the precious herring catch, this is the place to be on a summer evening as ships sail into the harbour and dolphins frolic in the sea. The menu aims to showcase the best of Scottish produce, with dishes including seared Shetland scallops, lightly smoked Loch Fyne salmon and breaded North Sea haddock. Mains from £14.95.

Almondine
Special occasion

Almandine patisserie
With a seasonal macaron menu, a French patisserie selection and an afternoon tea with a waiting list, Almondine always feels like a special treat. Favourites include the pink peppercorn, pistachio and vanilla macarons. Individual macarons, £1.20.

 

Four foodie places to try

Formartine’s

Formartine's selection board
Escape the city and head to Formartine’s in Tarves, 20 miles north of Aberdeen. Enjoy venison from the nearby Haddo Estate or enjoy an al fresco sharing board with a glass of wine. 

Cocoa Ooze

Chocolate selection
Try a tasty chocolate-making workshop at this Granite City chocolatier. 

Gourmet Cheese Co

Cheese shop selection
This small cheesemonger stocks cheeses from around the world, plus accompaniments like honey, chutney and oatcakes.

BrewDog

The debut venue of this craft beer brand opened in Aberdeen in 2010. See where it all started. 
 

Read our other city guides and delicious travel tips...

The best places to eat in Leeds
The best places to eat in Glasgow
The best places to eat in Bath

Have we missed a great place to eat? Let us know in the comments below...

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of 10 September 2018 and will be checked and updated annually. If you think there's any incorrect or out-of-date information in this guide, please email us at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com.

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