Aberdeen's position on the edge of the North Sea gives its local food scene a distinctly oceanic flavor, with lots of quality fresh seafood and some of the best fish and chips in Scotland. The emphasis is on local products in other ways too, with Aberdeen Angus beef and Scottish whiskeys on nearly every menu.

    Restaurants range from elegant bistros to cheap and cheerful cafes, along with a wide mix of international cuisines. The influence of Aberdeen's past is also felt in the distinctive character of its historic pubs and converted industrial buildings. Get to know the city like a local by eating at these phenomenal Aberdeen eateries.


    The Silver Darling

    The best of Scottish fare served with spectacular views

    • Food

    The Silver Darling, occupying a former Customs House on the edge of the quay, takes full advantage of its magnificent location with floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping views of the harbor and the North Sea. Keep an eye out for dolphins and seals in the bay, or watch ships come in while you have a French martini or a glass of Veuve Cliquot.

    The menu is passionately Scottish, showcasing Aberdeen Angus Beef, Loch Fyne oysters, and Shetland scallops, among others. Choose your fish from its central blackboard listing the catch of the day. The Silver Darling sources its fresh fish from the Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market every morning. Crumble, cheesecake and a selection of homemade ice creams complete your meal.

    Location: Pocra Quay, Aberdeen AB11 5DQ, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from noon to 2 pm and from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm, Saturday from noon to 9.30 pm, Sunday from noon to 8 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1224 576229


    photo by Frances McIntosh (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Yatai Izakaya

    Laidback Japanese dining in Aberdeen

    • Food

    Yatai Izakaya is a modern Japanese restaurant serving sharing dishes and small plates in a casual setting. Chefs use traditional Japanese cooking methods mixed with their own unique ideas to produce dishes like prawn steamed buns, deep-fried ginger chicken, teriyaki pork ribs, and vegetable skewers flavored with lime and chili.

    It's worth trying the omakase-style dining, where the chef chooses the dishes based on your likes and dislikes. Match your food with a Japanese tipple, from Asahi lager, yuzu and grapefruit beer, Suntory Roku gin and jasmine tea. The best seats are at the benches facing the kitchen, where you can watch the chefs displaying their knife skills.

    Location: 53 Langstane Pl, Aberdeen AB11 6EN, UK

    Open: Wednesday–Friday from 5 pm to 9.15 pm, Saturday from noon to 1.45 pm and from 5 pm to 9.15 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1224 592355


    Books & Beans

    The perfect marriage of tea and literature

    • Food

    Combine your caffeine boost with some reading at Books & Beans, which consists of a cozy cafe and a bookstore. The menu is a well-chosen selection of soups, sandwiches and salads, plus all-day breakfasts of double-stack pancakes and maple syrup oatmeal. Tea and coffee are all fully fair trade and there's a selection of homemade cakes, too.

    The second-hand bookstore sells every genre imaginable, but fans of graphic novels and science fiction will especially enjoy browsing its shelves. Peruse the selection on the first floor then take your purchases upstairs to relish it over a fragrant cup of coffee. Regular events include pop-up shops and poetry nights.

    Location: 22 Belmont St, Aberdeen AB10 1JH, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8.45 am to 4 pm, Sunday from 9.30 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1224 646438


    photo by Jarle Refsnes (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Ma Cameron's

    Historic pub serving real ale and Islay single malt

    • Food

    Ma Cameron's is one of the oldest pubs in Aberdeen, having served beer and ale to the city's residents for more than 300 years. The venue is a hit with Aberdeen's real ale drinkers thanks to a rotating selection of cask ales from Belhaven and Inveralmond, along with several fantastic Scottish malt whiskeys.

    The menu is classic pub grub, with dishes like sausage and mash, steak and ale pie, and haggis fritters with whiskey sauce. Grab a seat in the rooftop beer garden when the weather is nice, or eat in the atmospheric snug. Ma Cameron's is even rumored to be haunted – ghostly footsteps have been heard after closing time.

    Location: Little Belmont St, Aberdeen AB10 1JG, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)1224 644487


    photo by Bill Harrison (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Bonobo Cafe

    Artsy vegan restaurant with a tranquil garden

    • Food

    Bonobo Cafe is a welcoming spot with all the ethical credentials you could possibly wish for – completely vegan, environmental-friendly and run by a workers' co-operative. Alongside classics like avocado on toast, it also serves vegan burgers, sausages and other comfort food. Try the tofuiche (vegan quiche made with tofu) or the full Scottish breakfast with vegan haggis.

    The cake menu changes daily, but often includes chocolate brownies, oatmeal cookies and carrot cake. The eclectic interior and tables of reclaimed wood are complemented by a pleasant rooftop garden full of colorful murals and pretty hanging baskets. You can also take part in a vegan cooking workshop, yoga class or meditation session.

    Location: 73-75 Skene St, Aberdeen AB10 1QD, UK

    Open: Monday from noon to 4 pm, Tuesday–Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm


    Angus & Ale

    Moreish burgers made with quality Scottish beef

    • Food

    You wouldn't know it from its unpretentious location, but Angus & Ale serve some of the best burgers in Aberdeen. Angus beef is dry-aged on the bone for tender, succulent burgers, while their chicken is fried in spiced buttermilk. Experimental toppings on offer include apple and ale chutney, black pudding, haggis, and smoked Arran cheese.

    One of Angus & Ale's specialties is craft beer, with a menu covering a good range of IPAs, stouts and pale ales. There are also some well-chosen Scottish whiskeys from Craigellachie and the Isle of Islay, and inventive cocktails like the key lime martini. The modern interior is comfortable and makes good use of the original architectural features.

    Location: 28 Adelphi, Aberdeen AB11 5BL, UK

    Open: Wednesday–Thursday and Sunday from noon to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from noon to 9.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1224 643324


    Café Bohème

    Outstanding French fine dining

    • Food

    Café Bohème is a full-service restaurant serving masterly French cooking made with local Scottish ingredients. Founder Dominique Mancellon is originally from Provence, and the restaurant offers French classics like onion soup, pan roast duck breast, fillet steak and cassoulet, accompanied by first-class French wines and local Scottish gin.

    Let the chef choose your meal with the 5-course tasting menu, which comes paired with 5 handpicked wines and features dishes like red wine-glazed ox cheek and dark chocolate marquis. With its brick walls and enormous open fireplace, it feels like you're eating in the French countryside.

    Location: 23 Windmill Brae, Aberdeen AB11 6HU, UK

    Open: Monday from 5 pm to 9 pm, Tuesday–Thursday from noon to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from noon to 9.30 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +44 (0)1224 210677



    Authentic Hungarian cooking

    • Food

    Goulash is a well-kept local secret, tucked away in a cul-de-sac in the center of Aberdeen. Hearty Hungarian dishes like beef goulash and chicken paprikash are richly seasoned with paprika and bay leaves to keep you warm in the Aberdeen winter. The hortobagyi pancakes are especially popular, stuffed with chicken and served with cream of paprika.

    Hungary is known for its sweet wines and the restaurant serves several, along with the Hungarian red wine known as Bull's Blood and pálinka (fruit brandy). The dinky dining room feels like you're being welcomed into someone's home, which is enhanced by an open fireplace and maps of Hungary hanging on the walls.

    Location: 17 Adelphi, Aberdeen AB11 5BL, UK

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Saturday from noon to 11 pm, Sunday from noon to 10 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +44 (0)1224 210530


    The Sand Dollar

    Breakfast by the beach

    • Food

    The Sand Dollar is a fun, kid-friendly cafe on Aberdeen's waterfront. It opens early, serving oatmeal with fruit compote, maple syrup pancakes, and a hearty full Scottish breakfast. It's also known for their upmarket fish and chips with homemade tartar sauce, as well as juicy chicken and vegan burgers. Don't leave without trying the chocolate brownies, served with Orkney ice cream.

    The crisp seaside-themed interior complements the surroundings – if you grab a seat on the wooden tables outside, you can people-watch while you eat. Aberdeen Beach and Codona's Amusement Park are only a few steps away, so it's a great choice for families fueling up for a day of sightseeing.

    Location: 2 Beach Blvd, Aberdeen AB24 5NS, UK

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 8.30 am to 5 pm, Friday from 8.30 am to 6 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 7.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1224 572288



    Spoil yourself with some delicious French treats

    • Food

    Indulge in a luxurious macaron or petit gateaux with your afternoon tea at Almondine, one of Aberdeen's fanciest bakeries. Macarons are made according to the cafe's own recipe and come in classic flavors like vanilla, chocolate and pistachio, as well as more interesting types like pink pepper and kiwi.

    The afternoon tea menu includes delicate finger sandwiches and fluffy scones with fruit preserves and clotted cream, as well as tiered stands of patisserie miniatures that change with the seasons. Call ahead if you want to visit at the weekend – it’s often booked up a month or more in advance.

    Location: 39-43 Thistle St, Aberdeen AB10 1UY, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1224 632976

    Victoria Hughes | Contributing Writer

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