CIS Excellence Awards 2019 Restaurant of the year
Nestled behind the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and perched on the seafront is the Bond-like modernist Seafood Ristorante. We take our seats whilst watching day turn to night over the North Sea. Catching the last few sights of gulls swooping around the beach looking for their own dinner.
This is Scottish seafood but with an Italian feel and some French and Asian touches too, as you'll see. It's also recommended by the Michelin Guide. As we are in COVID times hand sanitiser dispensers were at each table.
The menu is a good size, offering 3 to 4 seafood dishes per course plus 1 non-seafood and 1 vegetarian.
The all-important bread test. Usually, if the bread is great then what follows is great too and we were off to an impressive start here. Fluffy bread with a firm chewy crust and salted butter.
Baked Orkney Scallop (£16). Our first course, coming to the table sealed by a pastry crust, I was trusted with a knife and carefully opened it to reveal...
An absolutely massive scallop topped with eastern flavours - soy, ginger, chillies, spring onions...so not something I was expecting to find on the menu here but very enjoyable and moderately hot.
Fish and seafood soup (£12) with bisque, rouille and croutons. Chunks of fish topped with seafood and surrounded by a flavoursome bisque. Creamy, luxurious and left me wanting another bowl. Some of the homemade bread served with the rouille instead of small croutons would have made this perfect for scooping up all that delish soup.
To keep things simple and introduce an element of 'romance' we shared the Loch Etive trout "Wellington Style" (£55 between 2) and I think that a fish wellington is a first for us. They brought it over to the table to show it off before slicing.
Two large slices each. Perfectly cooked trout wrapped in nori with a great crisp pastry exterior and haddock and leek gratin on the side. We also ordered a side dish of green beans, not realising just how big the Wellington would be. This was excellent and probably better than any beef wellington we've ever had - why don't more places do a fish-based Wellington?
We hadn't fallen out by pudding so to finish our meal we shared again, this time the Apple Tarte Tatin (£15 between 2), which was sweet, sticky and had perfect caramelisation underneath. Every bite was delectable, and the ice cream was lovely too.
We had known about the Seafood Ristorante for some time but put off a visit due to the distance from Glasgow but we would travel back again just for that meal. Genuinely, this is a restaurant worth travelling for. They are listed in the Michelin guide and our meal was better than some starred restaurants that we have eaten in. They were was also voted Restaurant of the year at last year's CIS Excellence Awards. But it's not just the food for they have impressive wines too - being the non-designated driver I had an S.A Prum Solitar Reiseling from Mosel followed by the Moscato d'Asti, which is a lightly sparkling low-alcohol dessert wine with lots of elderflower on the nose and palate. Service was top-notch and the location is pretty special too but it's still easy to get here, being in the centre of St Andrews with a public car park right at the water. Our only negative point is that the toilets are down a blind set of stairs and along a narrow corridor, which can't be helped but can be a bit awkward with current social distancing restrictions.
+ Great wine
+ Amazing food
+ Unsurpassed location
+ Excellent service
+ Ample parking
- Toilets are downstairs which can be annoying trying to manoeuvre social distance-wise with staff.
The Seafood Ristorante
Level access to the restaurant. Hill from public parking and drop off area.
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Disclaimer: we were invited to dine for free but we mean what we say, this is a fantastic restaurant and one we would happily return to and pay full price.