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Macdonald Rusacks Hotel, The Links, ST ANDREWS, KY16 9JQ
For many people, particularly the hordes of international pilgrims who jet in from the States and Asia, St Andrews is all about golf. If you happen to be a golf-smitten foodie, you can indulge both of your passions in the Macdonald Rusacks Hotel, where front-row balcony seats for the golfing action taking place at the 18th hole of the Old Course are available for the cost of a meal in the Rocca restaurant. This chic contemporary operation deals in splendid Scottish ingredients subjected to Italian-accented contemporary treatments, served in an expansive, well-lit space with high ceilings, statement lights, and a chic décor of richly-coloured fabrics and darkwood tables, and even if golf leaves you cold, its huge windows look over West Sands beach (where some scenes of the 1981 film Chariots of Fire were shot). The mood is friendly and relaxed thanks to staff who dispel any whiff of stuffiness, and under the guidance of executive chef Dave Aspin, the kitchen fires on all cylinders. 'Classical Scottish cooking with a creative Italian twist' is the restaurant's mantra, and it delivers the goods via a five-course tasting menu, a grill menu featuring prime slabs of Aberdeen Angus beef, while a vegetarian menu keeps things sweet for non-carnivores. Things begin with a contemporary juxtaposition of meat and seafood - hand-dived West Coast scallops with ox tongue, celeriac and horseradish risotto. Otherwise, you could start with hare and game terrine served with crab apple turnip and fig. The kitchen's technical skills don't miss a beat, as witnessed in the spot-on timing of a main course comprising venison served with a supporting cast of quince, espresso, chocolate and pistachio, its flavours and colours delivered with head-turning presentation. Rounding things off in style is a perfectly executed version of that old classic, tiramisů.
Open all year.
Days closed for lunch: all week
Days closed for dinner: Sun (Oct-Mar)
Cooking type: Modern Italian, Scottish
Chef: Davey Aspin
Number of seats: 80
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Vegetarian meals available.
2 Course lunch from: £18.50
3 Course lunch from: £25.00
A La Carte Dinner Main Course from: £15.90
3 Course dinner from: £35.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.