Fish Shop Ballater

British, Scottish·
££££
·
Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of Fish Shop Ballater

Gold Award

You can see that you’re in for a good night before you’ve even taken your seat at Fish Shop. The glassy looks on other diners’ faces give it away - everyone happily extolling the virtues of their plates to one another and getting stuck in with hands and utensils. The result is a restaurant fizzing with fun and chatter where locals rub shoulders with out-of-towners in the warmly-lit dining room that’s decked out with nets and suspended fish sculptures.

The menu is a who’s who of seafood society. Tiny crab crumpets are slathered in butter and piled high with white meat; scallops are barbecued in their shells and served with chilli and spoonfuls of golden garlic chips; and cockles are doused in a verdant mojo verde. The latter has you stacking shells at a rate of knots as you diminish the pile to find toasted sourdough underneath, soaked in the glorious bright green sauce.

Washing everything down is a very nice, concisely curated wine list that comes debunked by the proficient team. Jasmine Sherry leads the charge out front and has that rare gift for hospitality where she can make every diner feel like her personal guest despite a full house.

For mains there’s a lobster pasta that’ll pick you up and plonk you in the Med and John Dory with golden skin served with barbecued King Oyster mushrooms and chicken butter sauce you could bottle and sell. Tarte Tatin for two at £15 is an indicator of the incredible value displayed too. The apples are cooked in deep caramel until there’s no fight left, ready for you to cut into and top with creme fraiche ice cream.

What’s so glorious here is chef Marcus Sherry isn’t trying to be showy, but ironically it’s his skewing towards simplicity that makes Fish Shop such a stand out. Simple but vibrant local ingredients. Simple but faultless technique. And a simple philosophy to be a great local restaurant centred in community. It’s a combination that makes it feel like you’ve won the lottery of life if you’re lucky enough to eat there.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
British, Scottish
Ambience
Cool, Fun, Lively, Traditional
Other Awards
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
People
Celebrations, Child friendly, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About

Fish Shop is a fish and seafood restaurant in Scotland's Cairngorns National Park, run by the team behind The Fife Arms. Perhaps a tiny Scottish village on the edge of the Cairngorms is an unexpected place to find one of the best restaurants in the UK? But then again, when you consider that what makes Fish Shop Ballater so special is its fine, fresh produce, commitment to simplicity and community-focused ethos, it totally makes sense. 

Ballater is just a stone's throw from Braemar, the Highlands village which is home to The Fife Arms, the five-star hotel that's enraptured the world with its artistic decor (a Picasso hangs in the lounge, don't you know). And, when you consider that Fish Shop comes from the same hospitality group, you know you're on the right track. 

Inside, the restaurant floor is intimate with space for 40 diners in total, while decor is mainly simplistic with nautical nods and all designed to be as eco-friendly as possible. For example, the wooden, bistro seats are handmade from FSC timber veneer and an old rowing boat, which once navigated the waters of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula no less, is reused underneath a statement table - no doubt creating a talking point for diners. 

Fish Shop's menu is inspired by the heritage and traditions of Scottish fishing and is focused on shellfish and day boat fish, with the addition of select game, meat and vegetables from local farms and estates. Everything you see on the menu is sustainably sourced and daily highlights include scorched line-caught mackerel with Braemar rhubarb and radish, alongside BBQ whole plaice with Shetland mussels and samphire, as welll as sweetners like 70% Island dark chocolate ice cream and Blackthorn sea salt.

And, if you like what you taste, you can stop by the adjoining fishmongers which sells seafood from the same boats and providers as the restaurant, with a seasonal selection of fish and shellfish arriving early each morning.


FAQs

Is there accommodation nearby?

Yes, the restaurant is owned by the team behind The Fife Arms, which is half an hour away.

Helpful? 0

Are there options for non fish eaters?

Yes, while the menu naturally focuses on fish, there are one of two meat and vegetarian options too, should you be dining in a mixed group.

Helpful? 0

What’s the dress code?

Fish Shop feels like a neighbourhood restaurant where anything goes so we’d say feel free to throw on your Sunday best or arrive in your comfies.

Helpful? 0

Location

3 Netherley Place, Ballater, Aberdeen & Deeside, AB35 5QE

01339 720250 01339 720250

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 12:00-15:00
Thu 12:00-15:00
Fri 12:00-15:00
Sat 12:00-15:00
Sun 12:00-15:00
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 18:00-22:00
Thu 18:00-22:00
Fri 18:00-22:00
Sat 18:00-22:00
Sun 18:00-22:00

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01339 720250 01339 720250

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