It was one of those days when I fancied popping out for lunch but simply could not think of anywhere I wanted to go.
Usually, I am sitting with a few places in mind, but on this particular Friday, I simply didn’t have a clue.
Then I remembered a friend of mine had asked me if I had tried The Old Boatyard in Arbroath. He and his wife are regulars and he couldn’t speak highly enough of the restaurant.
So, armed with that information, I jumped in the car and made the short journey up the east coast to the seaside town made famous by smokies and a football team that holds the world record 36-0 victory when they beat Bon Accord in 1885.
The Old Boatyard
There was ample parking as we drove into the picturesque restaurant that is nestled in the corner of Arbroath’s marina at the harbour, near to the visitor centre.
Arriving around noon, The Old Boatyard was already fairly busy with people enjoying coffee and cakes, and some patrons settling down to lunch.
The views out to sea were a delight as we were seated near the French doors leading to the outside area and I watched as a small fishing boat headed out to sea.
The eatery is large with plenty of covers, which was just as well as it got extremely busy as the afternoon wore on. The decorations are influenced by the maritime heritage of Arbroath’s past as a bustling fishing port and I enjoyed looking around the restaurant which had a lovely ambience.
There is a well-stocked bar offering almost every drink I could imagine and they have a fantastic selection of ice creams on display – more on that later.
The food at The Old Boatyard
A lighter bites and sandwiches menu is available, but always being on the lookout for great value, the lunch menu offering two courses for £17.80 caught my eye.
Seafood is my go-to when dining out as regular readers will be aware and it would seem wrong if I didn’t choose at least one fish dish.
I opted for a starter and a main, while my daughter, Cari, decided on a main and a dessert.
The starters were all tempting and I had a tough time deciding with the Arbroath smokie chowder and chicken and chorizo tart both sounding delicious.
However, the Arbroath smokie pancake with haddock and creamed leeks won the day – and I was pleased it did.
A light and delicious appetiser, the crepe was cooked to perfection and the filling of smoked haddock and cream just melted in my mouth, while a squeeze of lemon was ideal to cut through the delicious sweetness.
The creamed leeks just added a little bit extra to what was a fantastic well balanced starter which I would happily have devoured all over again.
Moving on to the main event, there were some mouth-watering options, including pan-fried hake on fragrant risotto with coconut and lemongrass cream. Being a lover of hake, I was tempted but plumped for traditional haddock and chips.
To many, Arbroath is home to some of the finest fish suppers and this one certainly did not disappoint. A large piece of haddock was encased in a beautifully crispy batter which paired perfectly, as you would expect, with the creamy tartar sauce. The fish just flaked away and I got a lovely surprise when I moved the fillet to discover a potato fritter hiding underneath.
The fritter was so crispy I tried to take my time eating it so I could savour every mouthful – but it was the chips that really blew my mind. These chips were next level and I was glad there was a generous portion. This was a traditional dish that did what it said on the tin – I will certainly be returning to have it again.
Cari had opted for the chicken Caesar salad which she was impressed by when it was brought to our table. Lashings of chicken, crunchy croutons, lettuce and red pepper were coated in a creamy moreish Caesar dressing made this more than a salad. Cari said it was light and delicious and an empty plate was evidence of this.
I had mentioned that I wasn’t having dessert, however, I had spied the ice cream selection and decided to have one anyway.
And I went retro choosing a knickerbocker glory. Boy oh boy, this was just incredible.
Creamy chocolate ice cream, peaches, grapes, and strawberry sauce then led into strawberry ice cream and chocolate sauce as I navigated my way down this lovely dessert served in a traditional knickerbocker glory glass.
Summer strawberries sundae was Cari’s choice – and she was not to be disappointed either. Strawberries, whipped cream, strawberry ice cream and a strawberry coulis had her tastebuds dancing. The dessert showcased strawberries in the best possible way and having sampled it for review purposes, can confirm it was delicious.
I am very pleased that my friend had recommended The Old Boatyard. I loved the restaurant and they served up some delicious food at what I thought was very reasonably priced.
I love that they embrace Arbroath’s maritime heritage, not only in the restaurant but on the menu with some excellent seafood dishes available.
The service was good and I felt we were well looked after during our visit, with servers ensuring everything was good throughout.
The Old Boatyard was very busy throughout that Friday lunchtime we visited and I can see why it is a firm favourite with townsfolk and visitors alike.
Address: The Old Boatyard, Fishmarket Quay, Arbroath, DD11 1PS
Tel: 01241 879995
Price: £46.50 for two two-course lunches, one dessert and two soft drinks
- Food 4/5
- Service: 4/5
- Surroundings: 4/5