Wondering what and where to eat in Fife including St. Andrews restaurants? We adored eating Scottish food during a week of travel in Scotland’s most magical kingdom. Check out our Fife Food Guide with the best Fife restaurants, cafes, markets and pubs.
Once upon a time, Fife was a Pictish kingdom. And what a kingdom it must have been with endless rolling green hills flanked by long stretches of rocky coastline.
Fast forward to today and Fife is a kingdom in name only. Sure, Fife has connections to royalty. Prince William and Princess Kate met while studying at University of St. Andrews, and the region crowns golf royalty at the eponymous, almost half millennial old “Old Course at St. Andrews”. The British Open, otherwise known as the Open Championship, next visits St. Andrews in 2021.
Golf may not have started at Fife’s most famous links course, founded in 1552, but there’s no arguing St. Andrews’ bold claim as the home of golf. The Old Course is public and, in the right time of year, it’s more than possible to place your feet on the emerald undulating greens that line the beach along the windy North Sea.
Beyond golf, Fife has a thriving food culture that should not be underestimated. Those green hills that nurture the royal game also support a great farm culture, and the water that lines the shire’s Eastern shore provides a fertile ground for marvelous seafood.
Table of Contents
- Where is Fife?
- What is Scottish Food
- Fife Food Guide
- Top Fife Restaurants
- Casual Fife Restaurants
- Fife Desserts
- Fife Markets
- Fife Specialty Food Shops
- Fife Drinks
- Fife Distilleries
- Plan Your Fife Trip
- Planning Checklist
Where is Fife?
Located just north of Edinburgh on Scotland’s rugged eastern coast, Fife is a lush slice of the country with much to offer visitors. Many Americans travel to Fife in a quest to experience golf nirvana while other travelers seek out Fife’s rich culture and regal history.
As for us, we spent a week in Fife primarily focused on experiencing traditional Scottish food and drinks. Yes, we spent a week eating and drinking our way through one of Scotland’s most gorgeous regions.
Along the way, we discovered the joys of haggis, the legendary savory Scottish mash of animal parts and grains cooked in an animal stomach. Haggis is for real and can be found everywhere around the shire. But iconic Scotland cuisine was just the beginning of our Fife culinary experience.
What is Scottish Food
Scottish food is hearty fare fueled by the country’s bounty of local, seasonal products. Fish and other proteins take a prominent role, but vegetarians rejoice in indigenous fruits and vegetables found both in markets and on Fife’s restaurant menus.
Food travelers will want to try haggis first and then move on to other local favorites like neeps and tatties (a starchy Scottish root vegetable mash), smokies (golden smoked haddock) and cullen skink (a creamy Scottish seafood stew.) Though salmon no longer swim wild and free in Scotland, the farm-raised version can’t be missed as well as other local fish like haddock and hake.
Discover more of the best soups in the world.
Residents embrace the local food movement, favoring products grown or raised within or near Fife. And who can blame them when the local products are of such high quality?
And then there’s dessert. The Scottish love sweets like tablets (Scotland’s answer to vanilla fudge) and teacakes. Travelers with a sweet tooth or two will not be disappointed with Scottish dessert options in Fife.
Fife Food Guide
Fife has a wide variety of dining options from street food shacks to Michelin starred restaurants. The challenge isn’t finding good places to eat in Fife but rather narrowing down the many options.
True confession – We consumed an inordinate number of calories while researching our Fife food guide. Our exploration included restaurants, pubs and markets. It also involved the imbibing of whisky, gin and beer. The days were short during our visit but the meals were long.
There were times when we felt too full to eat another bite but we pushed on in our noble pursuit of the best food and drinks in Fife!
Read on to see our Fife food favorites:
Top Fife Restaurants
Scotland currently sports nine Michelin starred restaurants, with two of the nine in Fife. Whether or not you’re a fan of the Michelin Guide – we have mixed feelings on the restaurant rating system ourselves – there can be no argument that Fife’s fine dining scene is on point.
Splurging on a special occasion meal is a must in Fife, even if you’re not celebrating a birthday or anniversary. At the end of the day, being on holiday is a special occasion in itself.
Plus, fine dining in Fife is the opposite of pretentious. Diners don’t have to worry about stuffy dress codes, and tasting menus won’t cost you a mortgage payment. Top Fife restaurants offer incredible value for the price.
Here are the fine dining options we enjoyed in Fife:
The Peat Inn
As part of our research, we asked Fife locals to tell us their favorite restaurant and many responded “The Peat Inn”. After we dined at Fife’s most esteemed dining establishment, we understood the buzz.
Centuries-old Peat Inn is such a Fife institution that the adjoining village is named after it. Founded in the 1700s, owners Chef Geoffrey Smeddle and wife Katherine Smeddle took over the classic establishment in 2006. The Inn now includes an award-winning restaurant as well as eight well-appointed, homey suites.
Sporting a coveted Michelin star since 2010 and among the top 25 UK restaurants on Waitrose’s Good Food Guide, Smeddle serves his food in a special yet relaxed atmosphere.
We enjoyed a range of dishes during our six-course tasting menu. Deceptively simple starters set the tone powered by smoked trout, caviar and luscious horseradish cream.
The Peat Inn seamlessly blended local ingredients like poached skate wing with crisp pancetta, clams, cockles and parsley as well as wild mountain hare with salsify carbonara, parmesan chips and chestnuts.
Each protein, from the fish to the meat, was prepared with excellent precision with sauces that span from light (like the green, parsley sauce that surrounded the skate) to luxurious (the intense, rich bone marrow gravy accompanying the stewy beef daube).
The Peat Inn also features a world-class cheese cart with local cheeses and an array of desserts. We enjoyed a pear mousse served with a more than memorable quenelle of biting yet sweet ginger ice cream.
Reserve a suite at The Peat Inn so that you can end your night in style. Not only will you alleviate the concern of drinking and driving, but you’ll also enjoy a delightful breakfast the next morning in your suite.
The Peat Inn is located at Collier Row, Peat Inn, Cupar KY15 5LH, UK.
Chef Billy Boyter serves an exciting eight-course tasting menu at his Michelin starred restaurant in the East Neuk fishing village of Anstruther. Each creative course during our tasting dinner was a revelation influenced by novel gastronomic preparations and fun local ingredients.
Boyter’s journey to The Cellar was circuitous. He returned to Fife from Edinburgh in 2014 when he purchased the restaurant and reopened it along with manager Patricia Kirk, a colleague from his stint at the Balmoral Hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant – Number One. Within a year, Boyter and Kirk earned their own star along with a prestigious position in Fife’s restaurant scene.
The Cellar’s building has a storied past, previously existing as a smokehouse and cooperage in Anstruther, a village better known for its fish and chip eateries than for fine dining. Despite the colorful history, or perhaps because of it, adventurous diners flock to The Cellar for a chance to sit at one of the intimate restaurant’s seven tables.
Boyter’s experience with local sourcing was evident in our favorite dish – a pre-dessert with hay cream, apples and an ice topping made from sea buckthorn. We’d previously eaten sea buckthorn in Nordic cities like Helsinki, Turku and Stockholm but finding the bright orange, tart berry in Fife was a pleasant surprise.
We dug in our spoons. The pointed acidic flavors of the granita-like layer of fire orange buckthorn yielded to an ultra-smooth, buttery, caramel-like cream that gained its warm, mellow flavors from an overnight infusion of hay smoke.
Other surprises included smoky mussels in crunchy, cigar-shaped pastry and slow cooked ox tongue with three-year aged parmesan and truffles sourced from Wiltshire, England. More than just smoke and mirrors, the food was cooked elegantly. Items like ‘naughty’ North Sea Halibut were nicely spiced, seasoned and cooked with precision to juicy, flavorful doneness.
The Cellar’s tasting menu is actually nine courses (not eight). We skipped the optional cheese course since we barely had room for dessert.
The Cellar is located at 24 E Green, Anstruther KY10 3AA, UK
Ostlers Close Restaurant
Open since 1982, Ostlers Close is an upscale Fife restaurant that serves elevated food without fancy bells and whistles. This is a classic Cupar restaurant that offers some of the best food in all of Fife. You won’t find molecular gastronomy here, just good, honest cooking.
Owners Amanda and Jimmy Graham are partners in both life and at the restaurant, with Jimmy running the kitchen and Amanda running everything else. They both bring a love of food and travel to the table, a love they share with their guests five nights a week.
Avid gardeners and foragers, the Grahams cook with locally sourced seasonal ingredients including items purchased from local producers and at the Cupar Farmers Market (see below). The duo’s ethos is all about serving good food in a relaxed atmosphere.
Though our dinner spanned the globe with influences from the Grahams’ travels throughout Europe, the ingredients were 100% Scotland. Not surprisingly, local procured seafood like expertly seared scallops, tasty hake and nicely cooked monkfish played starring roles, but other dishes featured ingredients like wild mushrooms, woodpigeon and honeycomb.
For sure, if you grew up in Fife, this was a restaurant where you most likely celebrated your finest occasions. The food is more than accessible and, while that all sounds old-fashioned, the Grahams’ food is far from dated with a feeling and intimacy that’s totally classic.
This is a family restaurant in the best sense of the word and the Grahams truly epitomize the word hospitality.
A few hours after our arrival, we were sad to end our meal and leave the warmth of the cozy dining room. However, we took comfort in knowing that we will likely see the Grahams again, either in Fife or elsewhere in Europe.
Don’t skip wine during your dinner at Ostlers Close. The Grahams have curated an interesting selection inspired by their travels.
Ostlers Close Restaurant is located at 25 Bonnygate, Cupar KY15 4BU, UK.
Within a couple hours of arriving in Fife, we ate our first meal at The Newport. By the time we enjoyed our first nibbles, we knew that this meal would set the bar for a week of non-stop eating and drinking in the kingdom.
Open since 2016 and helmed by 2014 Masterchef: Professionals winner Jamie Scott, the Newport is an exciting restaurant set in quiet Newport-on-Tay just over the Tay Rail Bridge from Dundee. As a bonus, the restaurant has four stylish hotel rooms just upstairs.
After enjoying sweet pints of cider at the bar, we mosied over to the dining room for a six-course tasting menu that started with a series of creative ‘snacks’ that included rye pancakes with pumpkin mousse, squid and apple arancini and zero-waste humble onion with a creamy broth literally served inside the small, spherical root.
The hits kept coming with dishes like roasted halibut with glazed chicken sauce, salsify and bone marrow as well as mallard haggis, a play on the Scottish classic. Daryl liked the haggis, topped with carrots and breadcrumbs, so much that he ate it again for breakfast with a sunny side up egg.
Chef Tasso Neofitos ushered us through an eclectic menu that ended with the restaurant’s play on tiramisu made with all Scottish ingredients.
Intrigued by the whimsical sight of apple parfait lollipops with white chocolate shells, we couldn’t resist adding an optional petit four course. After photographing the mini desserts on a bed of cocoa nibs, we admitted defeat and had the little treasures boxed up for later.
Take a drive to Crail Pottery if you like the plates at The Newport. Local artisans create and sell many of the restaurant’s striking plates as well as other attrative pieces.
Casual Fife Restaurants
Don’t worry if your budget or waistline can’t support tasting menus for every meal when you visit Fife. The kingdom has a plethora of local eateries serving traditional Scottish food as well as more modern Scottish cuisine.
Similar to splurge-worthy restaurants, most casual Fife restaurants demonstrate a commitment to utilizing local, seasonal products. You generally won’t need reservations for these causal eateries, but these restaurants complete the Fife food picture:
We first noticed The Boudingait while taking a short walk after our dinner at Ostlers Close (see above). The pub was bustling with a crowd of Saturday night locals, enticing us to visit.
After one failed attempt, we hunkered down to enjoy the Boudingait’s lunch menu filled with traditional Scottish food favorites as well as global foods like burgers and nachos. We opted to order the former, sharing Haggis Fritters and Steak & Ale Pie.
Both hearty dishes were a fine example of the kind of fare typical in a Scottish pub. The Steak and Ale pie featured nice, melt-in-your-mouth braised beef under a classic, oven-burnished buttery pie shell, whereas the crunchy yet creamy haggis fritters provided a perfect accompaniment to a pint of beer or cider.
Plus the meal was healthy since the fritters came with a side salad. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.
Not able to commit to lunch or dinner? The Boudingait offers a reasonably priced afternoon tea with an optional side of Prosecco.
The Boudingait is located at 43 Bonnygate, Cupar KY15 4BY, UK.
Anstruther Fish Bar
Chippies are a dime a dozen in the UK, but the good ones are usually near the sea and are worth a special trip. With this in mind, we drove to Anstruther to try an award-winning shop frequented by the likes of Prince William, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall and Tom Hanks.
Operated by Fife locals with a long history of fishing the Scottish waters, Anstruther Fish Bar has a takeaway bar as well as tables for on-site dining. Staff members prepare the food to order in a row of large fryers using local fish like haddock, sole and prawns.
Expect a long but fast-moving line when you eat at this popular eatery (We assume that lines are far longer during high season.) Both locals and tourists eat here on a regular basis.
On the up side, serving sizes are generous. We shared the traditional specialty – haddock in batter. The fish came with chips plus optional sides of mushy peas and cole slaw.
Save room for dessert. Anstruther Fish Bar has an old-school parlor with homemade ice cream and other sweet treats. The parlor uses local ingredients and a century-old recipe to make its ice cream, justifying the need to try a scoop or two.
Anstruther Fish Bar is located at 42 – 44 Shore Street, Anstruther KY10 3AQ, UK.
Pillars of Hercules Cafe
In mythology, the Pillars of Hercules referred to the land that surrounds the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. In Fife, the Pillars of Hercules is an organic farm shop and cafe located in Faulkner.
Though we haven’t yet ventured to Gibraltar, we enjoyed a leisurely meal at the Fife namesake. The cafe menu has a number of tempting offerings, all Vegetarian and some even Vegan and Gluten-Free.
To sample the cafe’s fare, we started with a toastie stuffed with cheese and chutney and served with tomato soup and a side salad. We also shared a heaping plate of mac & cheese. Both dishes were generously sized and filled with local flavor.
For the full experience, we also ordered a scone and Victoria sponge cake for dessert, which we enjoyed with crafted cappuccinos. Since we were celebrating a birthday during our meal, the layered cake was ideal (dare we say the icing on the cake) for the occasion.
Plan to pick up some food at the farm shop after your meal. We bought a bag of fair trade beans to brew at our Cupar apartment.
Pillars of Hercules Cafe is located in Falkland, Cupar KY15 7AD, UK.
St Andrews Waffle Company
While looking for a Fife breakfast option in St. Andrews, we were drawn to St Andrews Waffle Company since waffles are one of our morning favorites. As it turns out, the innovative restaurant serves a menu of waffles suitable for any time of the day.
Breakfast waffles include the Full Belgian which ironically packs a full Scottish breakfast on top of a waffle. Other breakfast choices include toppings like smoked salmon and wilted spinach.
Not in the mood for breakfast? The hamburger waffle is a popular mouthful. Other savory waffle combos involve pizza, kabobs and fish & chips. In other words, you can satisfy your buttery waffle cravings here and then some.
Speaking of cravings, dessert waffles start with sugary, crunchy liège waffles and combine decadent toppings. Baked Alaska and Saint S’more are just two of the sweet waffle options.
Don’t hesitate to order coffee with your waffle. This flat white made with single origin Colombian beans from Scotland’s Glen Lyons Coffee Roasters was the best coffee we drank all week in Fife.
St Andrews Waffle Company is located at 131 South Street, St Andrews KY16 9UN, UK.
Located within spitting distance of St. Andrews on the site of a popular farm market, Balgove Larder’s cafe serves country fare for breakfast and lunch seven days a week.
Rumor has it that Balgove’s Eggs Benedict is the dish to order for breakfast, especially when ramped up with smoked salmon. Since we arrived after 11:30, we ordered off of the lunch menu. Though we thoroughly enjoyed the Balgove Beef Stew, the soup and scone combination was the winner of our meal.
Plan to do a wee bit of shopping after your meal. Balgove Larder’s market (see below) sells some of the area’s best products including meat, cheese, bread and whisky as well as a range of wine and beer.
Balgove Larder is located at Strathtyrum Farm, Strathtyrum, St Andrews KY16 9SF, UK.
Forgan’s St Andrews
If you google Forgan’s St Andrews, you will likely find reference to Forgan of St. Andrews, the world’s oldest golf club manufacturer dating back to 1860. However, if you’re like us, you’re more likely to research where to eat in St. Andrews.
Forgan’s (the restaurant) is located in a former ‘cleek’ factory owned by Robert Forgan, which explains the name. FYI for non-golfers, like us, ‘cleeks’ are flat, metal headed golf clubs similar to today’s 1 irons. As it turns out, Forgan’s is one of the most popular restaurants in St. Andrews, Scotland despite or because of the golf connection.
Decorated with a farmhouse chic decor, Forgan’s serves old and new Scottish dishes. Meat and fish eaters can order dishes like Cullen Skink, Stovies and a Scottified version of Beef Bourguignon served pie style with a buttery crust. Vegetarians aren’t left out with options like the restaurant’s take on Wild Mushroom Wellington.
Check out the Ceilidh dancing that starts most nights at 10:30 pm.
Forgan’s St Andrews is located at 110 Market Street, St Andrews KY16 9PB, UK.
Some parts of the world are famous for their desserts. Since we didn’t have any expectations about Fife desserts, we were pleasantly surprised by their abundance and quality at local shops, cafes and restaurants.
As we traversed Fife, we kept bumping into tablets and teacakes. Both sugary treats quickly grew on us – literally and figuratively
Similar to vanilla fudge, tablets typically include sugar, condensed milk, butter and vanilla. To achieve ultimate local flavor, some bakers add whisky to the mix.
Tunnock’s teacakes are a local favorite that can be purchased by the box at Fife supermarkets. The teacake itself is a biscuit (i.e. cookie) topped with a concoction similar to marshmallow fluff and the whole thing is coated with chocolate.
Here are some other dessert options to satisfy your sweet tooth:
The Cocoa Tree Café
Visitors to the Cocoa Tree will quickly leave their troubles behind as they relax in the eclectically decorated space and breathe in the aroma of cinnamon. (Cinnamon bark is a permanent fixture atop the café’s stove.) But it’s the food that makes a stop at in the coastal town a must.
Sophie Latinis opened her real-life version of Chocolat in 2007 and brought decorative and culinary elements from her previous stints in Belgium and Zimbabwe along for the ride. More than just a cafe, Latinis also operates the Pittenweem Chocolate Company just upstairs.
Sure, the cafe has a menu filled with tempting soups, salads and sandwiches, but desserts are the real draw here. The cafe features a multi-page menu with coffees and milkshakes, but we delightfully landed on the section dedicated to hot chocolate.
Hazelnut and salted caramel are currently the café’s most popular hot chocolate flavors; however, espresso-sized cups of intense Caliente (chili) hot chocolate are the real star. Fit for both vegans and chocolate fanatics, this spicy hot chocolate will warm you up from the inside out and leave both a smile and chocolate smudge on your face.
Don’t miss the chocolates filled with single malt whisky or gin. The liquid capsules covered in chocolate contain local whiskies (Benromach, Gordon & MacPhail, Glen Moray and Glengoyne) and gins (St Andrews and Orkney). These chocolates pack a serious punch and may be the most effective delivery method for a serious shot of booze! They also make for a great practical joke on good-natured friends.
The Cocoa Tree Cafe is located at 9 High Street, Pittenweem, Anstruther KY10 2LA, UK.
A family business since 1908, Janettas Gelateria in St. Andrews serves scoops of ice cream to crowds of hungry locals, students and visitors. Fourth generation owners Nicola and Owen Hazel run the award-winning ice cream shop with a nod to the past and present.
Eschewing shortcuts, the Janettas team creates gelato using traditional Italian methods and equipment. The incorporate both local and Italian ingredients to create 54 gelato flavors. More than just ice cream, Janettas also serves breakfast and lunch in a colorful room right next to the gelato bar.
We couldn’t resist trying the Scottish Tablet flavor, a decadent melange of vanilla ice cream packed with cubes of gritty, sugary tablet. Other popular gelato flavors include Cranacha and Raspberry Ripple.
We recommend sitting at a table if you’re in the mood for a sundae. Bring a friend or two if you order the Testa A Testa – a monster sundae with twelve scoops of ice cream, miniature marshmallows, crushed biscuits (cookies) and whipped cream.
Jannettas Gelateria is located at 31 South Street, St Andrews KY16 9QR, UK.<
Fisher and Donaldson
If you’re only able to try one thing at one of Fisher & Donaldson’s multiple locations we recommend trying the fudge donut.
We’re still not sure whether the frosting on the fudge doughnuts pictured above is chocolate or caramel. Daryl insists that they’re chocolate and Mindi insists that they’re caramel. Either way, these beauties are a can’t miss treat that you will have to try during your time in Fife.
Discover more great donuts eaten around the world.
Don’t despair if the cream-filled fudge doughnuts don’t float your sweet tooth boat. You can choose from 400 different items including cakes and chocolates. Or, if you’re feeling savory, you can opt for freshly baked bread instead.
The Crepe Shack
We’d heard about The Crepe Shack in Cupar and were pleased to find that it was just down the block from our apartment. However, we didn’t think that it would actually be a shack. Cupar isn’t exactly rural.
As it turns out, The Crepe Shack is a shack, but not just any shack. It’s a shack that produces scrumptious crepe creations, both savory and sweet.
Savory crepes include ingredients like roast ham, chorizo and salami, but let’s be real – we’re all about the sweet crepes. Sweet options during our visit included Sugar & Lemon, Nutella & Banana and Apple & Cinnamon & Lotus Biscuit. We, however, went for the fourth sweet option – S’more with Nutella, Marshmallows and Biscuit
Linzi Muir whipped up our S’more crepe while we watched in awe. We’d like to say that we ate every bite of the decadent dessert, but it was too big for even us to handle.
However, we ate enough of this Nutella filled beauty filled with bits of caramelized, crunchy marshmallow to become fans. Next time we’ll come hungrier.
Feeling cheesy? Head to Kingsbarns Beach and check out Fife’s Cheesy Toast Shack for a toastie (a/k/a grilled cheese in the Americas). Shacks are clearly a thing in Fife, not that we’re complaining.
The Crepe Shack is located at St Catherine Street, Cupar KY15 4TG, UK.
From produce to protein, Fife is a veritable gold mine when it comes to local food. Benefitting from its location by the sea and a climate conducive to farming, Fife producers generate seasonal fare twelve months of the year.
Though restaurants buy a lot of the best local products, there’s plenty to go around for visitors who make an effort to find it. As for us, these are the markets we loved in Fife:
Cupar Farmers Market
Shoppers in Fife can shop at bustling farmers markets in Cupar, Dunfermline, Kirkcald and St. Andrews every Saturday morning, though the locations rotate week to week. Since we were in Fife on the third Saturday of the month, we shopped at the Cupar Farmers Market.
Cupar is a great location for this type of market since the town has a long market history. Adding to the vibe, the market is on a busy shopping street with establishments like Fisher and Donaldson (see above) and Minick of Cupar (see below).
Though the weather was far from ideal on a brisk November morning when we were in Fife, thirty or so dedicated producers were out in force to sell to the eager public. Their products ran the gamut and included the likes of meat, cheese, vegetables and fruit.
However, this market went to the next level with interesting local products like Mara Seaweed, Never 25 Eau de Vie (see below) and St. Andrews Farmhouse Cheese (see below). We appreciated the diversity and enjoyed interacting with producers like Neil Frasier and Jane Stewart, both of whom took the time to give us samples and explain their products.
Ardross Farm Shop
Ardross Farm Shop is a cheerful place, both due to the Pollock family’s positive attitude and its enticing selection of local products. From gin to cookbooks, this farm shop packs a lot of in a relatively small space.
Originally a farm that sold beef, broccoli and carrots to big supermarkets, the family farm transitioned to a farm shop in 2005 and quickly grew from there. The shop sells now these three products as well as lamb, mutton, beef and 50 varieties of produce from “pumpkins to potatoes”.
The shop also sells its own honey, soup, beef broth and beef pies as well as products like ice cream, game and free-range chicken procured from other local farms. In a quest to use every part of the animal, Ardross even sells beef drippings rendered three times for maximum flavor.
Bring extra cash or a credit card when you shop at Ardross Farm just in case you find something you didn’t expect to buy. We found smoked garlic during our visit – an unexpected treat.
Ardross Farm Shop is located at Ardross Farm, Elie KY9 1EU, UK.
Balgove Larder Farm Shop
You could easily walk to Balgove Larder Farm Shop. The challenge is walking back to St. Andrews with a heavy bag or two.
Located on the Strathtyrum Estate and open since 2009, the farm shop is right next to Balgove’s busy cafe (see above). The complex also houses a flower shed and Steak Barn, a steak restaurant.
Similar to Ardross Farm Market (see above), Balgove sells a variety of local products from Eden Mills gin to G.H. Barnett bread. The meat counter sells a wide variety including haggis that’s ready for cooking.
Don’t miss Balgove’s monthly night markets including a Christmas night market in December. Check the website for upcoming dates.
Balgove Larder Farm Shop is located at Strathtyrum Farm, Strathtyrum, St Andrews KY16 9SF, UK.
Pillars of Hercules
Set on an organic farm and open since 1983, Pillars of Hercules is a great spot to purchase seasonal produce and other items like eggs, milk, bread, fair-trade coffee and chocolate. The setting is idyllic, making a stroll a necessity if the weather permits.
You won’t find meat here, but you’ll find gluten-free food and other healthy options. Although we aren’t vegetarians ourselves, we bought a bag of coffee that we brewed up using an HIC coffee cone – our favorite new way to make coffee on the road.
Plan to eat lunch at the onsite cafe (see above). The cafe has a cozy vibe as well as plenty of outside seating.
Pillars of Hercules Organic Farm Shop is located in Falkland, Cupar KY15 7AD, UK.
Fife Specialty Food Shops
Not every shopping trip needs to be epic. Fife has plenty of specialty food shops for shoppers searching for specific local foods like cheese, meat and fish. We shopped at several and these were our favorites:
St. Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company
Jane Stewart doesn’t mess around when it comes to cheese. This Fife cheesemaker has been producing serious cheese from her family’s Fife farm since 2007.
Stewart and her team process 800 liters of raw milk each morning, all of it from their 200 Holstein Friesian cows. In addition to unpasteurized milk, they use traditional cheesemaking methods and best industry practices to craft the cheese.
The farm produces three cheese varieties – Anster (crumbly), Red Anster (flavored with garlic and chives) and St. Andrews Farmhouse (cheddar). Depending on the cheese, maturation time ranges from eight weeks to six months.
St. Andrews’s Farmhouse cheese is not difficult to find in Fife and throughout the UK. We first discovered (and bought) the cheese at the Cupar Farmers Market (see above) and later ate a wedge during our meal at The Peat Inn (see above). However, our favorite place to enjoy Stewart’s award-winning cheese is at the farm itself.
Visitors to the farm get the chance to watch cheesemakers produce the cheese through a glass viewing window. During our visit, we were duly impressed by the operation’s professionalism and cleanliness.
The Stewarts love Fife, and their passion shines in their cheese and in the welcoming shop. As cheese lovers, we wholeheartedly approve.
Plan to spend some time on the farm. You’ll want to taste the cheese after you watch it being made. While you’re there, you may as well enjoy some wine and homemade desserts. Between the food and the views, you won’t want to leave.
St. Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company is located at Falside Farm Cottage, Pittenweem, Anstruther KY10 2RT, UK.
As much as we like St. Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company, sometimes we want something different. Depending on our mood, we may prefer a soft cheese or a wash rind cheese. Often, we want a selection that we can sample.
I.J. Mellis has all the cheese choices we crave including but not limited to cheese made by Scottish producers. Beyond cheese, the shop has other goodies like cured meats, G.H. Barnet bread, crackers and jams.
Don’t be shy if you’re unfamiliar with Scottish cheese. The friendly staff will let you sample a few before you make your purchase.
I.J. Mellis has five locations in Scotland. The Fife shop is located at 149 South St, St Andrews KY16 9UN, UK.
Minick of St Andrews
If you’ve heard of Angus beef, you’ll want to check out the beef in its homeland of Scotland. When you’re in Fife, the best place to buy beef is Minick of St Andrews.
Open since 2010, this butcher sells local beef, pork and lamb to order. For more adventurous carnivores, Minick also sells seasonal game like venison, boar and pheasant.
In addition to meat, Minick sells quiche, dumplings and award-winning pies.
Minick of St Andrews has multiple locations. We visited the Cupar and St. Andrews locations.
G & J Wilson
From langoustines available at markets to scallops on Michelin tasting menus, Fife is a haven for seafood lovers and fish fans. The coastal county even has a Scottish Fisheries Museum that celebrates its abundant selection of fruits de mer.
Locals know to buy their fish at wholesalers like G & J Wilson in St Monans. This fishmonger sells a selection of local catches like haddock as well as scallops from Scotland’s west coast and tuna from Asia.
Buy smoked haddock and cook a pot of Cullen Skink. A staple since the days before refrigeration, smoked haddock is a key ingredient in this traditional Scottish soup.
G & J Wilson is located at 1B & 1C Netherton Industrial Estate, St Monans, Anstruther KY10 2DW, UK.
Fife, like the rest of Scotland, is famous for its whisky production. However, whisky is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to drinks in the kingdom. Check out our favorite places to drink in Fife depending on our mood and the time of day:
The Keys Bar
The Keys Bar, an award-winning pub that welcomes both locals and tourists, is as classic as it gets. Operating as a pub since the 19th century, the locally owned establishment has an extensive menu that features more than 30 gins and 200 whiskies. Hungry visitors can order toasties too.
Since we weren’t sure what to order during our evening visit, the friendly bartender generously gave us a couple samples to try before we ordered drinks. Daryl opted for a 10-year-old whisky from Miltonduff Distillery and Mindi went for a G&T featuring handcrafted botanical gin from a local distillery, Pilgrim’s.
Pours were generous and prices more than fair. All in all, we highly recommend a stop or two at The Keys when your travels take you to St. Andrews.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a sample if you’re not sure what to order.
The Keys Bar is located at 87 Market Street, St Andrews KY16 9NX, UK.
St. Andrews Brewing Co.
If you’re looking for beer in St. Andrews, you don’t have have to look far. Local favorite, St. Andrews Brewing Company, operates not one but two pubs in town. This brewery has been crafting its award-winning beer in St. Andrews since 2012.
Beer lovers can choose from the brewery’s core range of beers – Crail Ale, Fife Gold, IPA, 80 Bob and Oatmeal Stout. More adventurous drinkers can opt for a seasonal brew like Mocha Porter and Christmas Tree.
You won’t feel left out if you’re not a beer fan. St. Andrews distills its own gin and serves drinks like cider and whisky.
St. Andrews Brewing Co. has locations in St. Andrews, Potterrow, Edinburgh and Dundee.
Luvians Bottle Shoop
As much as we enjoyed the Fife pub scene, sometimes we wanted to relax in our apartment or hotel room. That’s where Luvians Bottle Shop came into play.
Open in Cupar since the 1980s and now also in St. Andrews, Luvians has an extensive selection of wine, whisky and other potent potables. Brothers Luigi, Vincent and Anthony Fusaro have created an impressive collection which they sell to the public.
More than just bottles, Luvians also sells deli items and ice cream.
Luvians Bottle Shop has locations in Cupar and St. Andrews.
Zest is one of the few specialty coffee shops in Fife, but that’s just part of this St. Andrews cafe’s story. In addition to serving cappuccinos and flat whites, the cafe also serves tea, soup, sandwiches, sandwiches and smoothies.
Impressively, Zest employs people with challenges and gives them the opportunity to succeed. We enjoyed our coffee drinks as well as the attentive service. This is the kind of business where we like to spend our time and money.
If you’re in a rush, Zest has several takeaway options.
Zest Café is located at 95 South Street, St Andrews KY16 9QW, UK.
We felt lucky to get seats at Taste since the cafe is quite small. Even better, we got window seats with a view of historic St. Andrews through the window – the perfect spot to enjoy and photograph our coffees.
The coffees were decent though not the best we enjoyed in Fife. We’ll return with computers next time since the cafe is both cozy and comfortable. Maybe we’ll try one or two of their popular paninis while we’re there.
Unlike most shops in Fife, Taste does not accept credit cards.
Taste is located at 148 North Street, St Andrews KY16 9AF, UK.
Whiskey and gin drinkers should absolutely add Fife to their Scotland travel plans based on the quality and affordability of the local product. Walk into any local pub and the selection can be dazzling if not a wee bit overwhelming. (Yes, the local vernacular has snook its way into our vocabulary.)
Taking a tour provides an advanced education about the region’s agriculture, its equally rich history and the facility’s unique distilling process. Plus, let’s face it, tasting the end product is a lot of fun.
We visited the following distilleries in Fife. Now that we’re educated novices, we recommend the following distillery experiences:
Lindores Abbey Distillery
“For the whiskey lover, it’s a pilgrimage.”
This statement by notable whiskey and beer writer Michael Jackson lit a fire that continues to burn at Fife’s most historic distillery. Jackson was referring to the history of Lindores Abbey where the first recorded history of whisky was documented – not just in Fife but in all of Scotland.
Founded in 1191, the abbey’s first recorded whisky dates back to 1494 when King James IV requested eight bolls of malt. After a break of 523 years, Lindores Abbey is distilling yet again, using modern equipment while honoring the processes of days long gone.
Intrigued? The first whisky bottles produced by the current regime will be available for purchase on December 23, 2020.
Visitors to Fife can take an insightful distillery tour where they will learn about the abbey’s history and meet the beverage maker’s stills, respectively named Dodo and Poppy. The fine folks at Lindores distill whisky using hyper-local ingredients whenever possible before storing the liquid gold in casks.
Seventy percent of their casks come from Kentucky while others were previously used to age sherry, port and dry wines. Interestingly, the distillery recently procured over 100 casks from Australia – a groundbreaking move in Scotland that should result in some interesting whiskies.
For motivated visitors, the distillery’s apothecary tour provides a more hands-on experience. Tim Foster, Lindores Abbey’s resident apothecary with a university degree in distilling, provides fascinating insight into the distillery’s operation leading small groups in making bottles of Aqua Vitae, the spirit of life that ultimately evolved into Scotch.
We thoroughly enjoyed our apothecary tour – both learning about the history of Aqua Vitae and creating our own special blends using herbs, spices and essences. And, as an ultimate Fife souvenir, we each left with a beautiful bottle that we personally hand labeled and dipped in wax.
A destination that transcends beyond whiskey and Aqua Vitae, Lindores Abbey is a great property to explore with its historic ruins and verdant grounds. Their afternoon tea is a must, both for its tasty treats and stunning view. Don’t fret if you’re more into whisky than tea – this afternoon tea includes a shot of the good stuff.
Plan your visit to Lindores Abbey in advance. Reservations are required for both the apothecary tour and afternoon tea.
Lindores Abbey Distillery is located at Abbey Road, Newburgh, Cupar KY14 6HH, UK.
Opened in 2014 by local golf caddy Douglas Clement, Kingsbarns Distillery is a modern whisky distiller that has diversified into the wonderful world of gin. In our quest for knowledge, we toured both sides of the distillery to learn Kingsbarns’ full story.
As we learned, Clement took his ‘dream to the dram’ when the first whiskey was casked in 2015. He continues the dream by using water from 100 feet below the distillery, 100% Fife malted barley and yeast. His whisky’s peat flavor profile comes from the soil. It’s as simple as that.
At Kingsbarns, the whiskey tour stars with a history lesson about the region and then proceeds to a movie that highlights the area’s different seasons. With this base, the real education begins with a visit to where the metamorphosis happens – the casks.
Blessed with 1,500 annual hours of sunshine, the distillery is creating 35 barrels per week in barrels sourced from Kentucky’s Heaven Hill distillery. Lighter than its Highlands cousins, this single malt is an instant Fife classic.
Although Kingsbarns’ whisky is not yet available for purchase, their gin operation is full-on under the Darnley’s label. A spirit dating back to Benedictine monks, gin has become a global phenomenon in recent years.
Darnley’s gin includes botanicals like juniper, angelica root, coriander, elderflower, orris root, lemon peel cassia and cinnamon. Add tonic or ginger ale and you have a party in your glass.
Plan ahead and attend Kingsbarns’ gin school. You’ll get to create your own gin recipe and take a bottle of your creation home to enjoy later.
Kingsbarns Distillery is located Kingsbarns, St Andrews KY16 8QE, UK.
Although it doesn’t yet offer public tours, experiencing Tayport Distillery’s Never.25 Eau de Vie fruit spirit is a must when visiting Fife. This ‘grain to glass’ liquor may be the ultimate Fife product with its simple ingredients of local fruit and grain.
For those not familiar, Eau da Vie is a distilled liqueur made from fruit – think schnapps in Germany and palinka in Hungary. Owner Kecia McDougall adds a Scottish twist to the distillery’s small batch production by starting with a grain base before she adds local, macerated fruits like strawberries, apples, raspberries and blueberries.
A Scott by choice as well as a former nurse, McDougall involves her clan in the Fife distillery. Daughter (and talented singer) Mary recently returned to Fife and is now working in the family business.
Together, they are creating a special drink that embraces local producers and their products. The end result is all-natural and filled with flavor.
With their new 1992 blackcurrant liqueur, Tayport Distillery is poised to dominate the Scottish fruit liqueur market. For now, customers can find their beautifully designed bottles at local Fife farm shops and markets as well as online and at select Dundee speakeasies.
Bottles of Never.25 make a wonderful gift for the holidays or otherwise.
Tayport Distillery is located at Unit 2, Shanwell Court Industrial Estate, Tayport DD6 9DX, UK.
Fife Food Feast Video
Watch us eat and drink our way around Fife in our entertaining YouTube video.
Plan Your Fife Trip
We stayed at three awesome Fife hotels and an equally awesome Fife apartment during our week in Fife. Based on our stays, we recommend all of these Fife accommodations:
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: December 7, 2018