Dining out is always a treat in Cornwall, but for a special occasion only the best will do. Romantic date nights call for stunning settings as well as great food, and St Ives has some real corkers!
Our locally-based team has road-tested the best restaurants in and around St Ives for date nights, and we’ve whittled it down to a handful of great options. We’re talking beachside settings, exquisite food, attentive service, flickering candlelight, and even a passing pod of dolphins in the bay if you’re lucky…
You really are spoilt for choice for great restaurants in St Ives, from wine bars serving small grazing plates to fine dining at beachside restaurants.
Little Palais is a gorgeous little cocktail and natural wine bar, tucked away up a flight of steps and looking directly out over the harbour. Bag a table in front of the pretty sash window and you won’t want to leave! Small plates of local charcuterie, cheeses and other delights will keep you going while you sample the interesting, food-friendly wine list.
Porthminster Beach Café is a truly romantic spot right on the sands of a golden beach, with views across St Ives Bay. Book early to get the best tables – either at one of the windows or on the edge of the heated terrace. The menu is focused on seafood but not exclusively, and committed carnivores and vegetarians/vegans will find plenty to enjoy. The Salt & Pepper Squid, and the Monkfish Curry, are two signature dishes not to be missed!
After your meal, we recommend a romantic stroll back to your holiday cottage in St Ives, as you soak up the magical atmosphere of the town at night.
Chef Adam Handling opened Ugly Butterfly – his stylish, ocean view restaurant on Carbis Bay beach – in 2021. With a highly skilled team of chefs, sommeliers and bartenders, you know you’re in safe hands here. The ethos is described as ‘sustainable local luxury’ and depends on sourcing the finest local ingredients from land and sea, and using them to their absolute full potential. The sustainable, zero waste ethos is carried though to the cocktail list, which is unmissable!
We’re big fans of the tapas and paella at friendly, family-run La Casita in Carbis Bay, where you’ll also find great steaks, pizza and Spanish-inspired fish dishes. There may not be a sea view, but the warm welcome makes up for it and it’s in easy walking distance of all our Carbis Bay properties so no need for trains/taxis at the end of the night!
The Old Forge is another family-run local favourite, where Lelant residents and visitors enjoy an eclectic menu with something for everyone. Our recommendation is to order a selection of small plates (our favourites are the fried squid, bruschetta and crab cakes) and perhaps a pizza to share. Be sure to leave room for a Crème Brulé or Affogato for dessert…
For more top local tips, check out our list of the best spa experiences in St Ives and Carbis Bay.