Ayr’s top 5 restaurants


Golf is the main reason most people visit Ayr. The Royal Troon is one of the world’s great courses. But all that sport and all that fresh air can make one hungry. Thankfully Ayr has some excellent restaurants to take care of those needs too.

Turnberry Lighthouse near Ayr (Photo: Ian Dick via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Having a fine range of places to eat out comes with the territory of being a host town for some of the world’s most important golfing championships. Ayr has a large range of restaurants; some linked to the courses, some to hotels and some that exist independently of the whole golf scene altogether. Expect to taste the food of some top chefs, who work hard behind the scenes.

This selection of five top restaurants to try in Ayr is by no means exhaustive. It represents a range of the best in terms of food quality, ambience and previous customer reviews. Many of these places are located in and around the city centre, with one or two outliers thrown in for good measure.

Chestnuts Restaurant

Food at the Chestnuts Hotel (Photo: courtesy of The Chestnuts Hotel)

For those planning to spend the night in Ayr, a stay at the Chestnuts Hotel may be on the cards. However, the lovely old restaurant is open to all diners. The bar area opens up with a lofty, half-timbered ceiling and a good selection of whiskies. The cuisine on offer has continental flourishes, like piri piri, but remains rooted in Scotland, with classics such as haggis with turnips and mashed potatoes, Scottish salmon or battered fish and chips.

52 Racecourse Rd.


Macfarlane. is one of Ayr’s more upmarket restaurants with a real emphasis on fine dining using top quality ingredients and creative culinary concoctions. For example, the 28-day matured Scotch steak with chipolata pie, or the rabbit cacciatore make for a unique dining experience. The vegetarian menu is no less inventive, with reimagined classics like pumpkin and fig hummus. All dishes are thoughtfully presented. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday.

92 Sandgate


The Treehouse (Photo: courtesy of The Treehouse Ayr)

The owners of the Treehouse have cultivated a unique atmosphere in their restaurant, utilising a liberal number of plants and ferns that seem to hang from every ceiling and shelf. While the emphasis may not be particularly on health with the food, it is on quality. This is a good choice for groups, with a private group dining room available for bookings and a menu that has dishes from all over the world, in case nobody can agree on what they want to eat. Korean fried chicken, Thai skewers and taquitos are just a few of the options.

67-69 Sandgate


This classy Italian eatery is spread over two floors separated by a glass staircase. The menu gives equal weight to Italian meat and pasta dishes like veal Milanese or rigatoni manzo. The stone baked, thin-crust pizzas are the main draw however, with two options: margherita or create your own, giving diners complete control over what goes on top. There is also a well-priced two-course lunch and early evening menu available.

25 Burns Statue Square

The Balgarth Pines

The Balgarth Pines (Photo: courtesy of The Balgarth Pines)

Located to the south of Ayr, The Balgarth Pines is in a large red-brick building has an ample beer garden for the warmer months. Chef Martin Ward has crafted a menu that gives comfort food an elegant twist, with dishes like the ultimate nachos served with a topping of black pudding, chicken and bacon, as well as the usuals. There are also pizzas, burgers and steaks, as well as a respectable vegan and vegetarian menu. The restaurant’s Sunday social menu is a good value set course offering, with a few options for each course.

8 Dunure Rd.