Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant, Stonehaven, Scotland

Can't believe that I have not blogged about Tolbooth in Stonehaven, a seafood restaurant which we tried during our trip to Scotland last year. This was hands down the best meal we had during our trip. 

After visiting Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven (chosen as Scottish entry to 8th Wonder of the World Competition in May 2013), we drove down to Stonehaven town centre for lunch. Before going, I did some research on the internet and chose Tolbooth since Stonehaven is a fishing village so it makes sense to visit a restaurant which has been named as one of Scotland's best seafood restaurants. 

The breathtaking view at Dunnottar Castle

The town centre is a short drive from the castle. Stonehaven is also the birthplace of deep fried Mars bar. 

Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant is located in the oldest building in Stonehaven, built 1600 AD by Earl Marischal and was used as a store during the construction of Dunnottar Castle. It was restored in 1963 and now houses a museum on the ground level and the restaurant on the upper level. The restaurant enjoys stunning views of the harbour. It was a gorgeous day when we arrived. :)

Blue and white dominate the restaurant interior, giving it a distinct maritime feel. The decor is understated and the restaurant is bright (thanks to the natural sunlight) and cosy. The best table in the restaurant is definitely the one next to the large picture window, where diners can enjoy the stunning view outside while they dine.

Service is friendly here, and the staff quickly runs through the specials of the day and hands us the a la carte menu. The restaurant sources seafood from the local fishermen, and pride themselves in their crab, lobster and langoustine which is landed at their doorstep, the Stonehaven Harbour.

Photo taken by Baby C :D

A glass of white wine for Hubby

From the go, everything tasted fantastic, even their complimentary bread.  The seafood was undoubtedly fresh and very well-prepared. To start, I ordered the Gourdon Crab and Avocado Stack (£8.95), a combination which I love. The crab was really sweet and balanced by the salty Avruga caviar and creamy avocado. This was served with some crisp bread. A visual and palate delight!

Hubby ordered the specials of the day - Home Smoked Monkfish with Fresh Gazpacho and Pickled Cucumber (£7.50). Since it was quite a sunny warm day, this was just right for the weather. The cold gazpacho was a real treat and the monkfish was meaty and delicious.

We got a partial view of the harbour through one of the smaller windows

Hubby's main consisted of many of his favorite ingredients - chorizo, risotto and the star of the dish, local scallops! He was well chuffed that there were 5 huge, perfectly seared, plump scallops sitting atop the perfectly cooked chorizo and sweetcorn risotto. Since Hubby knows I love scallops, he kindly shared some with me :D

Pan seared local scallops with chorizo and sweetcorn risotto, crispy radishes, purple sprouting brocolli,  and chorizo oil (£21.95)

Our kids both love cod fish, hence I ordered the Roasted Fillet of North Sea Cod (£18.95) with brown crab risotto, roasted celeriac, crispy capers and langoustine cappucino. The fish was perfectly cooked, moist and flaky and most importantly the kids enjoyed it very much. I like what the chef served with the fish - unique and very tasty.

Our spectacular meal ended on a high note, with two gorgeous desserts. We loved the dark chocolate fondant served warm with a liquid toffee centre, yogurt ice cream and candied cherries (£6.25) - doesn't reading the description already give you the warm fuzzy feeling? Our kids ended up having most of this (I have photos of them with their mouths covered in dark chocolate as proof! :P) Hubby and I shared the Coconut Panna Cotta served with tropical fruit syrup and mango sorbet (£6.25). Very smooth and the sorbet was very refreshing.

Plaque on the restaurant's exterior wall - declaring this the oldest building in Stonehaven

Beautiful harbour view in front of the restaurant. It was a very sunny day when we arrived.


"Baby Sumo was here"

And then, it was misty

Hand-cranked clothes dryer - so cool to see one of this

Creels outside the restaurant

Verdict: Extremely fresh seafood, well-executed and beautifully presented. 

Opening times: Lunch 12-2pm. Dinner 6-9.30pm. Closed on Mondays.

Service: Excellent.

Price: Total bill approx. GBP95.

Location: Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant, Old Pier, Stonehaven Harbour, AB39 2JU, Scotland.

Tel: +44 1569 762287


GPS Coordinates: 56.960759, -2.202161

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*My photo of Dunnottar Castle was featured on their official Facebook page. What an honour :)


  1. I'd love to try and duplicate that Crab and Avocado Stack at home, maybe for a Weekend Kitchen session. ;)

    1. I'm pretty sure you can recreate it successfully, with the right ingredients :)

  2. Tolbooth in Stonehaven ... that's a great line ... it sounds like a grand name from a fantasy novel! the scallop with risotto looks awesome :D

    1. Had a truly magnificent lunch here! Everything was simply perfect.

  3. Breath-taking view and well-presented dishes, just.... a little bit far lol :P

  4. Its hard to decide which is more pretty, the view or the food! What a wonderful place. You didn't try a deep fried mars bar then?!

    1. Yes, we did.... I wanted to have one from Carron Fish Bar (where it originated from) but they were closed until dinnertime when we were there! Hence we just had one from Aberdeen beach.... it was oh-so-sinful!

  5. Your posts really make me want to visit Scotland! It looks so pretty in your pictures :D

  6. I really impressed by the perfectly cooked, moist and flaky fish , very appetizing !


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