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The Best Places to Eat in St Ives, Cornwall: A Foodie’s Guide

Food & Drink /

The Best Places to Eat in St Ives, Cornwall: A Foodie’s Guide

Local food connoisseur and chef Michael Smith's pick of the bunch


One of St Ives’ longest-standing chefs gives us his recommendations…


Looking for the best places to visit on your summer sojourn to the far West? St Ives is one of Cornwall’s increasingly diverse foodie hot-spots, where slick seafood restaurants vie for attention with quirky bars, cosy pubs and neighbourhood cafés. Michael Smith, Executive Chef at , gives us his picks of the bunch…

Porthminster Beach Cafe St Ives

Michael Smith

Australian-born Michael Smith arrived in St Ives 15 years ago with an impressive international CV, a surfboard, and very little else. “I had been working in London and I’d heard about this mythical place called Cornwall, where the surf was good, the scenery was stunning, and the local produce was top class; it surpassed my expectations on every front,” recalls Michael. His talent was soon recognised by the owners of , an art-deco style building right on the golden sands of the bay – and he has been at the helm ever since.

Michael Smith Head Chef Porthminster Cafe


Under Michael’s guiding hand, the restaurant has been the subject of a TV series (Beach Café, 2006), published a well-loved cookbook, established a coastal kitchen garden, and helped develop the unique beach-side . This forward-thinking chef was one of the first in Cornwall to introduce foraged produce into his menus, adding a layer of local flavour to his Asian-inspired seafood dishes.

Michael is also the Executive Chef of , which offers a playful take on modern Cornish cuisine overlooking St Ives Harbour, and , a bustling family dining destination above a picturesque cove.

Here are Michael’s picks for a food-lovers visit to his adopted hometown…

Check out the C&TH Guide to St Ives

Michael’s Pick: The Best Food Spots in St Ives

Porthmeor Beach Cafe St Ives

Porthmeor Beach Cafe

Scarlet Wines, Lelant

is a bar, café and wine shop which serves great breakfasts, tapas-style lunches and evening meals, and makes some of the best coffee around. Whatever time of day I pop in, I always take the opportunity to peruse the wine shelves and choose something to take home for dinner. Owner Jon Keast has a maverick’s passion for up-and-coming wine-makers, off-beat regions and lesser-known grape varieties.

Porthmeor Beach Café

is directly opposite the buzzy Tate Gallery. A lively café overlooking Porthmeor Beach, it’s the perfect vantage point for watching the surf. The eclectic menu is designed to be shared – order a bunch of small plates, sit back and enjoy the view. Try and grab a booth if you can for alfresco dining in comfort.

The Queens Hotel

is a gastropub in the centre of town which is my top choice for Sunday lunches with the family. It’s relaxed, the food is reliably good and they use as much local produce as possible.


Alba Restaurant St Ives

Alba St Ives

Occupying a prime position with stunning views of St Ives Harbour, is the perfect choice for a special night out. The restaurant is stylish, with striking St Ives art adorning the walls, and the bar downstairs is a great spot for pre and post-dinner cocktails. The food is crafted by a team of very talented chefs, and the wine list is superb.

The Mermaid

is a St Ives institution. Family owned and run, it’s one of the town’s oldest restaurants and my choice for an early evening meal with the kids. The menu focuses on fresh seafood and really showcases the great variety available to us here in Cornwall.

Looking for somewhere to stay during your staycation? Check out our Hotel Guide for the best in the area

Read more: Best Places to Eat in Oxford | Foodie’s Guide to ManchesterBest Places to Eat in Bristol


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