Saturday, 7 November 2020

A few of the best places to eat and drink in the East Neuk of Fife and St Andrews

Kincraig Cliffs

With its miles of beautiful coastal paths, top notch seafood and smattering of high end restaurants, a trip to the East Neuk of Fife was just the holiday I craved in 2020.

Comprising of the stretch of pretty villages between Elie and Kingsbarns north of the Firth of Forth, Mrs G and I based ourselves in Anstruther, a fishing village which was originally home to King Creosote (one of my all time favourite musicians). 

Crail Harbour

We spent a week in September walking the coast, spotting birds and eating far too much food. Here’s some recommendations:

Anstruther Fish Bar, Anstruther

I've been to a few places that can lay claim to best fish and chip shop in the UK but Anstruther Fish Bar might just be the best of the lot. Winner of UK fish and chip shop of the year in 2008 there are queues outside pretty much all day long.

Fillets of haddock were beautifully flaky and coated in a really light golden bubbly batter whilst chips were the crispest chippy chips I've ever had.



The old adage goes that restaurants with amazing views don't need to bother about the food as people will still turn up in their droves anyway. It's certainly not the case at East Pier Smokehouse in St Monans. The views out to sea are beautiful and so is their smoked fish. 


To start, a cup of cullen skink was decadent with flakes of smoked haddock and cream whilst a crab cake was loaded with white meat and green herbs.


For mains a golden fillet of hot smoked salmon was gorgeously tender and sweet and served with a big mound of chips. Meaty smoked hake was served with an assertively olivey tapenade.


Reilly Shellfish, Crail

If you're a fan of shellfish then Reilly Shellfish in Crail harbour is the place to head. Based in a basic wooden hut surrounded by lobster pots which have brought their catch ashore, their menu is reassuringly simple - there's fresh lobster cooked to order, dressed crab, and crab and lobster rolls.


We had a crab roll which was big on compellingly earthy brown meat and a lobster roll with meaty flesh bathed in a tangy marie rose sauce. 


A dressed crab was absolutely stuffed with sweet white and earthy brown meat.


The Cheesy Toast Shack, Kingsbarns Beach

“Oh lordy lord", that's exactly what Mrs G exclaimed when we unwrapped our macaroni cheese toastie from the Cheesy Toast Shack on Kingsbarns Beach. Oozing with loose-textured macaroni cheese with an extra layer of melted cheese, it's one hell of a messy and delicious eat.


It actually ended up in second place to a New Yorker. A belting take on a reuben, it had all the key elements - a great ooze of melted Emmental, zingy kraut and pickles, tangy Russian dressing and a layer of well-seasoned pastrami.


Barnett’s Bakery of Anstruther

This small chain of bakeries is legendary on the East Neuk. With an outlet seemingly in almost every village, we worked our way through lots of their baked goods.

Their macaroni pie, with crisp buttery pastry and soft textured pasta coated in a thick cheesy sauce with a warming note of mustard, was a revelation. 


Butteries, a butter and lard enriched bread roll which originates from Aberdeen, were delicious served warm and slathered with tangy marmalade. They reminded me of a crisp soft white roll crossed with the flakiness of a croissant.


Futtle Organic, St Monans

Brewers of farmhouse, foraged and wild beers and sellers of natural wines, we got hold of Futtle’s first canned beer and it was a belter. A gose with foraged alexanders and sea salt, it was delicately sour and salty with a mild herbal note. 


East Neuk Kilnhouse, St Monans

Located on an industrial estate on the edge of St Monans alongside a number of other fish merchants, East Neuk Kilnhouse make banging hot and cold smoked fish. We had sweet and smoky kipper fillets for breakfast and golden flaky fillets of hot smoked salmon.


The Cellar, Anstruther

One of the culinary gems of the East Neuk, we had a superb meal at the Michelin-starred Cellar.

Slow cooked buttery ox tongue topped with an intensely savoury, light-textured and decadent 36 month aged parmesan cream and shavings of funky summer truffle was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. You can find out more on my dedicated blog post here. 


Fisher & Donaldson, St Andrews

Fisher and Donaldson bakery in St Andrews serves brilliantly retro baked goods which match their awesome pink branding. 


A rocking rhubarb pie was packed to the rafters with sweet fragrant rhubarb and topped with a sticky strawberry glaze. 


Jannetta’s, St Andrews

Jannetta’s is a St Andrew's institution which has been open for over 110 years and is now in the hands of the fourth generation of the same family.


Their gelato is super light, smooth, and milky; we worked our way through some kick ass flavours including butter pecan, Scottish tablet, rum and raisin, and salted caramel.


Haar, St Andrews

Haar is the first restaurant by Masterchef Professionals 2018 finalist Dean Banks. With a focus on Scottish produce and intricate presentation, we had a really good meal including some of the best lobster I've ever eaten. You can find out more on my dedicated blog post here. 


I can’t recommend a trip to the East Neuk of Fife highly enough. If you’re looking for beautiful walks and equally beautiful food then make the journey.

The Details:

We stayed in Carstairs Cabin in Cellardyke, which we booked via Airbnb. It worked out around £75 a night and we had a lovely little private outdoor seating area. 

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