Dundee is known for its amazing indie food scene. Here I share my pick of the best restaurants in Dundee…
Feeling peckish? You’re in the right place, because today I’m talking about my favourite restaurants in Dundee. So what can I tell you? Well, Dundee has a really strong independent restaurant scene that, until we went into lockdown, I was happy to take a bite out off on a regular basis.
However, I wasn’t always so enamoured with Dundee’s restaurant scene. I remember a few years ago I would have the occasional moan about the fact that Dundee doesn’t have as many of the big chain restaurants as other cities do. There’s no Pizza Express, no Las Iguanas, and no Pret. I know right. The other big name that we’re missing in Dundee is a Wagamama, which, I’m not gonna lie, still bums me out. Can someone sort that out please?
However, that’s not to say there are no chains. There’s a Nandos, Pizza Hut, Frankie & Bennys, Five Guys, and a few others that I can’t think of right now. Plenty! However, I guess what I’m saying is that they don’t dominate the food scene. That means there’s a bit of an indie vibe when it comes to eating and drinking in Dundee.
And when I say indie what I really mean is cool. They’re not your sub-standard just-ripping-off-a-chain-restaurant. There are lots of really cool places that serve really tasty food in stylish surroundings… all the while doing it to their own drumbeat. I like that a lot. It also means that when you spend time in Dundee it’s probably going to be a little bit different to any other city you’ve been to. And that’s what makes it quirky and original.
Food-wise, there’s pretty much everything you could expect to find in Dundee. Restaurants serving Mexican food, tapas, fine dining options, top notch fish suppers, and the kind of indulgent mac ’n’ cheese that will make you want to go back again and again. The only issue you’ll have as a tourist is deciding where to go, because if you were going to eat your way around the city it would definitely take you a l-o-o-o-ng time. Have a read and see what you think!
Here are some of my other posts on Dundee that you may like…
- The best breakfast and brunch spots in Dundee
- Things to do in Broughty Ferry: my complete guide
- 25 amazing things to do in Dundee
With further ado, let’s dive into some of my favourite places to eat in Dundee…
Best place for lunch in Dundee
My favourite is The Giddy Goose
Where can I eat lunch in Dundee, you may be wondering? I would recommend here!
When it comes to interior décor The Giddy Goose wins hands down. Their cheerful canary yellow door really brightens up the local area and is super inviting. Inside, it’s even better. Colourful occasional chairs, art prints by local artists and graduates of the city’s art college, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, and its crowning glory: a pergola wrapped with vines and artificial shrubs. Once the warmer weather rolls around they also have a charming outside space, which is just as cute.
I would recommend the Giddy Goose mostly for lunch or dinner. They have everything from pizzas, burgers, pastas and sandwiches on their menu and I’ve had lots of great food here over the years. A few that stand out are the molten mac ‘n’ cheese that threatened to spill out of the bowl it was served in, a chorizo, rocket and goats cheese salad, chunky skin-on fries with a garlic dip, a deliciously wobbly panna cotta… the list goes on.
Their only thing that they do that I’m not a massive fan of is serving wine is glasses without a stem. But maybe that’s just what the kids are doing these days! Either way, it definitely deserves a place as one of the best restaurants in Dundee.
The Giddy Goose, Perth Rd, Dundee DD1 4LN
Take a look at their website here.
Mexican restaurants in Dundee
My favourite is: Mas
Mas is a small but perfectly formed Mexican restaurant in the west end of Dundee. Located on the Perth Road, which is home to independent shops, cafes and boutiques, the restaurant fits in nicely. The décor is colourful and stylish but with an ‘undone’ feel, with industrial pipes, wood-chip panelling, and cute raspberry-coloured leather booths. All reassuringly Insta-worthy. And just in case there was any doubt, they have that ultimate Instagram signifier, a lightbox, displaying cute messages that will make you smile.
Before we even get to the food at Mas we need to talk about the drinks. Two words: the margaritas. They have a different special each day and I’ve been there enough times to have sampled a few and they are ALL lovely, but my pick is passion fruit.
Now onto the food. Mas is the place to go in Dundee for beautiful small plates of Mexican food – everything comes in small-ish portions and it comes out quick so if you’re not full you can just order more.
Everything is super fresh and is surprisingly light. The food is cheery and colourful, with pink pickled onion, feta and chicken tacos (some lush alliteration there), sweet potato and chorizo quesadillas, and grilled pineapple and prawn tacos being just some of the mouth-watering menu options. For vegans and vegetarians, Mas also has a separate vegan menu.
Mas, 304 Perth Rd, Dundee DD2 1AU
Check out my in-depth review of Mas here:
If you like Mexican food you may also like these other Mexican restaurants in Dundee
- Wee Mexico – small but perfectly formed with a full vegan menu
- Rancho Pancho – classic Mexican food that taste amazing
- Muchacha – colourful decor and delicious cheesed-stuffed quesadillas
Best for cultural capital in Dundee
My pick: the DCA (Dundee Contemporary Arts)
I love the DCA. Dundee Contemporary Arts is a little bit of everything in a great location in the west end of the city. There’s a cinema. An art gallery. Studio spaces where you can take part in printmaking, photography, and craft workshops. A fantastic bar that seems to come up to my chin and has about every kind of alcohol you can imagine. What I’m talking about today, however, is their restaurant. Known as the Jute Café Bar, it’s a little bit fancy, combining the usual menu favourite along with slightly more surprising delights….
Rub shoulders with the creative crowd as you tuck into monkfish cheek scampi with hollandaise sauce – one of the starters I shared the last time I was there. Peer into the intriguing studios space behind glass panels as you get onto your main course. For me, that was a mozzarella, purple basil and heritage tomato tart which was as delicious as it sounds. The desserts are also unreal and if you want a liquid pudding then I’d highly recommend one of the cocktails – the espresso martinis work a charm. The DCA is one of the centrepieces of a Dundee night out, and it works just as well for lunch or even breakfast!
DCA, 152 Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4DY
View the Jute Café Bar at the DCA evening menu here
Fine dining in Dundee
My favourite is: Malmaison Dundee
I’m stepping away from the independent restaurants for a second to feature a chain; boutique hotel chain Malmaison. Malmaison in Dundee is a much-welcomed addition to the centre of the city. The hotel is housed in a beautiful restored building, which is one of the first things you see when you leave the train station. That makes it pretty much the perfect spots for tourists!
The interior is just as striking as the exterior, with a grand staircase leading up to the restaurant. The luxe decor has got my name all over it with their jewel-coloured velvet chairs, brocade wallpaper and mood lighting being perfect for a sophisticated dining experience. It is a little pricey, so this is the place to go if you’re feeling a bit fancy!
The last time I went we used an Itison voucher, which got as three courses at a decent discount. For the starter I had a feta salad which was tasty, but not overly memorable – it was upwards from there on however. For my main course I had a delightfully crispy sea bass with a generous helping of garlic butter alongside parmesan fries and greens. The dessert was an absolute triumph; a rich chocolate torte with kirsch liqueur and black cherries.
Everything was washed down with a glass of prosecco and crisp rose wine, and if you want to make a night of it the bar upstairs is lovely for some fancy after dinner cocktails. I’ve been there many times and they do often have discounts on their cocktail menu!
Malmaison Hotel Dundee, 44 Whitehall Cres, Dundee DD1 4AY
View their website here!
If you’re looking for fine dining in Dundee you may also enjoy:
- Piccolo Dundee – a lovely Italian restaurant in Dundee
- The Tayberry – I have a voucher for here I can’t wait to use!
Tapas in Dundee
My favourite is: Gallery 48
Nestled in the cultural quarter of the city, tapas bar Gallery 48 may be a little bit off the beaten track if you’re a visitor to the city. That’s not to say it’s far away, however – it’s probably only ten minutes-walk from the city centre. And it’s definitely worth a visit.
One thing I really love about Gallery 48 is that they’re big supporters of local artists – hence the name. There’s art dotted around the walls and there’s also a print rail with lots of affordable work on sale – definitely have a browse. It almost feels like you’re sitting in a contemporary art space while you’re sipping on a coffee or enjoying some delicious food at Gallery 48 – although much more relaxed of course – and the crisp white walls only add to this effect. I also have to mention the gorgeous pergola draped with vines which brings warmth and charm to the surroundings. What can I say, I heart greenery.
Now onto the food. Gallery 48 is all about tapas, and their menu is packed with all the classics: crusty homemade bread, potatas bravas, gambas ai pil pil, goats cheese with fig and honey, chorizo in a red wine sauce… the list goes on. I’ve been to Gallery 48 a few times and while I’ve always liked the food, although I have always found the portions relatively small. In light of that I would definitely order ‘up’ – not that that’s ever a problem with tapas. It’s usually tricky enough to choose what to order, right?
There are also delicious coffees, cakes, and churros on offer so it’s not just a place to go in the evening – Gallery 48 will pretty much suit every occasion. Add it to your list of the best restaurants in Dundee right now.
Gallery 48, 48 West Port, Dundee DD1 5ER
View their website here!
If you like tapas and/or small plates you might also like:
- The Wine Press – cheese, nibbly bits, and wine – what’s not to like?
- Mas – small plates of fresh and colourful Mexican food
- Soy Y Sombra – a great tapas bar in Broughty Ferry
Fish and chips in Dundee
My favourite is: The Tailend
If you like your fish and chips a wee bit fancy then The Tailend in Dundee is just the ticket.
Located at the very bottom of the Perth Road in the centre of town it’s in prime position for wafting lots of delicious deep-fried aromas at you as you walk past – trust me, I know!
That’s not to say that’s what it’s all about. On the contrary. What I really like about the Tailend is that you can go classic with your choice, or a little rogue. Of course, one of the mainstays on the menu is the classic fish supper. Although it’s worth noting that you can have it either battered, breaded or with their delicious sounding lemon and herb butter.
Having had many of their fish suppers in the past I can safely say that they’re up there with the best I’ve had – the batter is just absolute perfection. However, if you fancy something a little different then there are also a full roster of options for you. There’s grilled garlic and chilli prawns, seafood thai red curry, fish cakes made in house, scallops, smoked haddock mac ’n’ cheese – erm, yum! The list really does go on. And while I have had takeaway from here more times than I can count I’ve never sat in-house – which does look really ambient and lovely. So I’m really looking forward to doing that as soon as I can.
What can I say, this place is definitely the best fish and chips in Dundee!
The Tailend, 81 Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4DH
Take a look at their website here!
If you like great seafood you may also like
- The Ship Inn in Broughty Ferry – I love their cullen skink and sea views!
Indian restaurants in Dundee
My favourite is Dil’se
What is the best Indian restaurant in Dundee? Ding, ding, ding…. I would argue that it’s Dil’se.
Located on the Perth Road in the west end of the city and recognisable by the pink neon lettering on the building exterior, Dil’se is my go to for great Indian food. In fact, I would say it’s the best Indian takeaway in the city – and certainly the only one I order from.
Despite having visited India (you can read about my experiences here) I’m not overly adventurous with Indian food at home. I tend to just want what I want and that’s usually a chicken or prawn korma and a peshwari naan. However, when it’s always as tasty as it is at Dil’se it’s very much along the lines of the saying: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Saying that, I did try the cheese naan recently – something I picked up in India – and it was very good.
I also have to say that I’ve also heard really good things about Rishi’s Dundee. Some of my former colleagues used to go there for lunch all the time and always had lots of really good things to say about it. Plus it has a great selection of vegan dishes.
Dil’se, 99-101 Perth Rd, Dundee DD1 4JA
View their website here!
If you’re looking for Indian restaurants in Dundee you may also like:
- Taza – one of my favourite restaurants in Dundee City Quay
- Rishi’s Dundee – I’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews of Rishi’s
Afternoon tea in Dundee
My favourite is: Tatha Restaurant at the V&A Dundee
What I like about the Tatha Restaurant at the V&A is that you can go at any time of day – it works for a casual coffee and cake or dinner in the evening. They have everything on the Tatha Restaurant menu from deli sandwiches to pork belly burgers.
The décor is clean and light, and quite minimal really, with lots of natural wood throughout. In this way, the space allows the views of the RRS Discovery and the River Tay shine. You can even sit outside in the warmer months, although when we were there that area was closed. I’ve probably done enough shivering outside in recent anyway!
The afternoon tea we had was actually themed around the amazing Mary Quant exhibition that ran throughout 2020. All of the cakes and sandwiches had been designed as a nod to Mary Quant’s playful sense of style through their colour, shape, and style. It really did look spectacular when it arrived on our table, all elegantly cut sandwiches, scones, and pink macarons. Oh, and a striped candyfloss dessert that literally melted in your mouth.
If you are visiting I would definitely make time to see the exhibitions at the V&A Dundee too – the Scottish Design galleries are a permanent exhibit and are really worth seeing.
Tatha Cafe and Restaurant, V&A Dundee, 1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee DD1 4EZ
View their website here
You can also get afternoon tea in Dundee at:
- The Apex – spa facilities alongside lovely views of the city quay
- Jessie’s Kitchen in Broughty Ferry – treat yourself to amazing cakes and coffee
- Malmaison Dundee – one of the best restaurants in Dundee city centre
Pub food in Dundee
One of my favourite places is: Duke’s Corner
If you’re looking for more of a chilled vibe when it comes to places to eat in Dundee then Duke’s Corner might float your boat. It’s about as effortlessly casual as it comes.
There’s a huge bar filled with pretty much every type of alcohol you can think of, live music at the weekends, and even a beer garden for the summer months – or when you’re feeling brave enough. It gets packed at the weekend so if you’re thinking of heading along for food then it might be safer to book.
I would confidently say that Duke’s is up there for the best burger in Dundee. It used to be a regular spot that I’d come to for lunch, dinner and drinks with work colleagues and so I’ve worked through quite a lot of the menu in my time.
The grilled cheese burger with halloumi, red pepper and mayo is probably my favourite but there’s loads of chicken, beef and vegan options too. The sides are also on point and the triple cheese fries are definitely worth getting excited about.
Duke’s Corner, 3 Brown St, Dundee DD1 5EG
If you’re looking for great pub food in Dundee you may also like:
- Trades – lots of atmosphere, great service, and amazing mac ‘n’ cheese!
- The Phoenix – one of the most iconic pubs in Dundee
- Tickety Boo’s – a horseshoe-shaped bar and hearty pub grub
The best all-round restaurant in Dundee
My favourite is: Bird & Bear
It’s not a secret, I’m a massive fan of Dundee restaurant and bar Bird & Bear.
Stylish and cool, you can visit at any time of day and have a great time. It’s a cocktail bar, yes – and they really do great cocktails – but that’s not the only thing they’re known for. Their food is also fantastic, and they’re also not afraid to stamp their own personality either. Bird & Bear’s hip-hop brunch is really popular for locals and visitors, and feels like a fresh take on, you know, eggs and coffee. If you want to know what I thought about it – and their eggs benny in particular – you can read it here.
The bar itself is just gorgeous. It’s this huge copper centrepiece that curves all the way around the space, and is framed by decorative copper bird cages hanging from the ceiling, numerous potted plants and a backdrop of about every type of cocktail you can think of. And that’s just for starters. There’s also the on-trend metro tiles and the decadent velvet chairs in the restaurant area which always bring a sense of occasion to things.
So let’s talk about the food. As far as I’m concerned, the hanger steak on the menu at Bird & Bear is the best steak in Dundee – it’s melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness at a really reasonable price. Not many of us want to be shilling £20 for a steak these days.
My boyfriend also raves about the lamb shank pie he’s had at Bird & Bear. It comes with a giant bone poking out the top, and it always makes me think of Desperate Dan from Dundees’s own legendary comic, The Dandy, tucking into a giant cow pie.
All in all, I couldn’t write about the best restaurants in Dundee and not include Bird & Bear.
Bird & Bear. 2 Whitehall Crescent, Dundee DD1 4AU
View their website here
Dundee restaurant I’m most excited to try
My pick: The Howff Secret Supper Club
The award for most exciting newcomer to Dundee’s food scene has to be The Howff Secret Supper Club.
As soon as I saw the word ‘secret’ my ears pricked up. What could be more intriguing than a secret supper club? The restaurant is located in a basement with no windows or opportunity to have a sneak peek before you visit. The idea is to keep the restaurant behind closed doors so you don’t really know what to expect from the experience until you’re there… which sounds cool.
So what do we know about the Howff Secret Supper Club in Dundee? Well, it’s run by the same chefs who run Dundee Cooking School and Tayble Deli – the latter of which I rave about on this post here. The chefs both have fantastic credentials, with even an appearance on one of my favourite shows, Masterchef: The Professionals, being mentioned, so you know that the food’s going to be top notch. If you’re looking for fine dining in Dundee, this is another great option for you.
However, according to their website, it’s not just about the food – they want it to be an interactive experience where you chat to the chefs and really immerse yourself in the experience. It definitely sounds intriguing, right?
I’m pretty sure this place is going to be one of the best restaurants in Dundee. As soon as it opens I’ll be booking myself a table to see what it’s all about, so say tuned for a dedicated review coming soon.
The Howff Secret Supper Club, 5B Bank Street, Dundee
Take a look at their website here
Other great places to eat in Dundee
- Tahini – Mouth-watering Lebanese food
- Rama Thai – the best Thai food in Dundee
- The Jute Café Bar at Dundee Contemporary Arts
- Mozza – I adore their wood-fired pizza
- The Milton Inn in Monifieth – big indulgent portions