Scotland is an undeniable heavyweight when it comes to food and drink, but Aberdeen and wider Aberdeenshire in particular have placed themselves very firmly on the map as the home of some of the finest and most famous produce in the world. Gorgeous hills and moorlands, miles of coastline, docks, harbours and well-stocked crystal rivers mean there’s a constant supply of food from the surf as well as the turf, and you’ve then got breweries and distilleries making the finest beers and whiskeys. Restaurants in Aberdeen are therefore some of the luckiest in Scotland because they have all of this at their disposal – truly some of the best local produce you’ll find anywhere in the UK, ready for you to enjoy.
Before we delve into the specifics of what exactly you can expect from the menus of restaurants in Aberdeen, it’s absolutely worth discussing the variety of restaurants that Aberdeen seems to specialise in. First off, thanks to the miles of coastline we mentioned, quaint seaside cafes and restaurants are Aberdeen’s trademark and very much the opposite of few and far between. If you want to feel a salty sea breeze or take the warmer option of watching the tide roll from the cosy indoors, these coastline spots are absolutely for you. Naturally, you’ve then got restaurants in Aberdeen’s city centre that are always elegant and where you’ll find the finest selection of cuisines from all over the world. On top of those, Aberdeen’s many, many country pubs are the place to to go for a hearty serving of the area’s outstanding natural larder.
So then, first thing’s first, forget the Coco Pops and get out to Aberdeen’s restaurants and cafes for breakfast or brunch. Even early in the day, you’re able to chow down on local delicacies that the folk of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are rightly very proud of. Most famous is the rowie or buttery – depending on which camp you’re in – and this little thing is almost like a flattened, rounded croissant that’s kind of flakey, salty and, buttery to taste. One of these, we’d say, is damn good served with jam and tea or coffee as the starter leading up to your full Scottish breakfast of black pudding, beans, square sausage, a tattie scone and much, much else. You won’t be leaving any of Aberdeen’s breakfast restaurants hungry, friends, but if you do need something to fill you right to the brim even after all of that, then, well, you know, just have a bowl porridge.
We mentioned it a little earlier, but the landscape of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire means you’ll find outstanding surf and turf options at just about any restaurant, but we’ll start by breaking down the surf. More fishing harbours and markets than you can shake a rod at, combined with docks – the main one being Fraserburgh, Europe’s largest shellfish seaport – and ridiculously fresh rivers means the fish and seafood in Aberdeen is world-famous. Scottish smoked salmon or trout, anyone? We can’t think of many other sensations better than savouring some fresh fish or seafood, with chips doused in salt and malt vinegar, within walking distance of where it came from. That’s a lesson in freshness that only the restaurants of Aberdeen can teach.
Lunch and dinner at the restaurants of Aberdeen are all about the turf as well, so we’ve got two words for you: Aberdeen Angus. Yep, this is beef that’s famous all over the world and widely considered to be the highest quality stock that money can buy. When you dine at steakhouse restaurants in Aberdeen or in tiny gastropubs, there’s no real reason for the chefs to acquire their steaks from anywhere else, so you can be assured you’re getting local beef that’s made its way to your plate in safest of hands. The great estates and rich pastures of Aberdeen mean more than just Angus, meaning venison here is a very big deal as well, and even though Aberdeen’s restaurants don’t serve it quite as often as beef, it’s absolutely worth searching for the places that do.
And here comes even more world-famous, locally-made stuff from Aberdeen... Yeah, this place is pretty much good at everything! Aberdeen’s restaurants are fortunate enough to be able to complement their food with the finest craft beers, often from a somewhat revolutionary brewery that you may or may not have heard of, that goes by the name of BrewDog. Yeah, you didn’t realise BrewDog is Scottish now, did you, hey? You were probably aware, however, that Scotch whiskey is Scottish, and the selection of it on offer at the bars and restaurants of Aberdeen are enough to keep any connoisseur smiling. We could talk and talk about Aberdeen, its restaurants, how great everything is and how we want to marry the local produce, but it’s better if we shut up and let you go and enjoy all of it for yourselves... You lucky little bunch.