Local Talk

aberdeen reviews

(47 Posts)
Sillyness Wed 09-Feb-11 13:25:58

So...when i try to find reviews on places in Aberdeen, I never get very far and thought i might be nice to have the low down from people in the know.

About places big and small! The more, the merrier!!

I'll start...

Last weekend, DH and I went to Queens Links for breakfast before a beach walk and cinema.
Had food in Inversnecky cafe, then went next door to Washington Cafe for hot chocolates.

Looking at their menus, Inversnecky was WAY more expensive AND their service was poor in comparison. Yes, they were busy, but waitresses would walk past seeing our empty plates and not clear them.
DH had a cheesburger and chips which was nearly £7 and had a crappy pattie done from frozen. Considering you can get a better burger from the burger vans around (check out the 'brewster burger' at Kittybrewster retail park.)
Also, my baked potato was small despite being nearly £6 and came cmplete with dark thick hair!

In short...don't go there!

My vote would be for Rusticos on Union Row. It is a very friendly Italian, the staff are smiley and happy, they will do a smaller portion for kids and they treat the kids like royalty.
The service is fairly fast if you are in a small party but slower if there are loads of you.
The food is delicious and the profiteroles are exceptional IMHO grin

I would also vote for Jewel in the Crown on Crown St. It's a fantastic Indian. They don't have a veggie menu but will make most of their dishes as a vegetable one if you ask. The service is friendly and reasonably paced. They also welcome children and treat them well - make a little fuss of them and make them feel special which is always fun. They are happy for the children just to share from your choices as their portions are generous.

Great idea for a thread - I have put it on my watched list.

Sillyness Wed 09-Feb-11 21:57:32

Thanks Carrots! For contributing an commenting!

Sillyness Fri 11-Feb-11 09:50:50

Also, meant to say that Washington Cafe has lovely Parisian feel to it!

Anyone have any ideas what I could do with children aged 4 and 6/7?
Will be babysitting family for a full day and want to make it cool.

so far ideas include:
balmedie beach
storybook glen (iv never been)

Storybook Glen is a bit run down and quite expensive tbh. If they are very young they don't notice but the older ones are not that impressed.
If you are going out of town then The Soft Bear Play Centre is great for dcs that age. It has a cafe, a soft play area with slides, tube slides and tunnels and an area where they can fire soft sponge balls at each other. It also has a separate soft play section for tiny tots (prob 2 and under). It is in Strachan, just through the village a bit on the right.
The cafe isn't glamorous but perfectly pleasant. You can go in and climb around or sit and read while you have a coffee.
Balmedie is lovely but will be freezing just now.
There is a play centre called Hoodles just outside Old Meldrum too which has an excellent cafe and a great soft play section too.
There is a Ceramic painting place at the bottom of Pitstruan Place (does that go on to Broomhill Rd?) I have never been but I am told it is good.
My favourite place is Crathes Castle though. They have an outdoor adventure playground - messy but fun, a nice cafe and lovely forest walks.
There is also Satrosphere which is a bit pricey but is filled with hands on machines and gadgets for the dcs to "experiment" with. It depends on the dcs though - some could spend a whole afternoon there and some are fed up after half an hour. It is tucked away near the beach boulevard so there are lots of fun things to go on and do afterwards. eg crazy golf, bowling, dodgems etc.

Sillyness Fri 11-Feb-11 17:38:06

thanks...love this thread. you've now got me thinking crathes castle which i would never have thought of!
hope more people join us and add thoughts!

You are very welcome Sillyness - there are loads of great things to do if you can get around and aren't too chicken to face the weather.

I should have mentioned Hazelhead Park. It is fab for kids that age. It has a brilliant play park, a mini animal zoo - tiny one - a maze, pretty gardens, a cafe, and open grass for picnics etc.

I don't know how much of it is open at this time of year but it is fab on a summer's day.
the park

Waswondering Wed 16-Feb-11 22:14:29

Just found this ...

We like the Sand Dollar at the beach - not been for ages, but great. Also regulars at Crathes - park at the bottom, walk up, reward with a cuppa, then back down. The dc (7 and 4) recently found a way into the rhoddedendron bushes opp the castle and LOVED them!

Drum is fabulous too - there's a walk there behind the playpark through the 100 acre wood - we love it! Just the right length. We would go out to Crathes and Drum v regularly.

I like Beautiful Mountain on Belmont St - very nice food and coffee.

Cinema followed by kids dinner at Chiquitos (either beach or US - fabulous children's menu.)

If you're heading out of town we also love Glen Tanar at Aboyne - and the best coffee/gift shop in Aboyne, "The Sign of the Black Faced Sheep" - it's beside the dentist iirc (parallel to main Aberdeen road).


Sillyness Fri 18-Feb-11 20:46:10

excellent waswondering ! thanks for joining us.
i do love hazelhead, but we opted for the cinema as weather was poo and kids wanted to see tangled.

we have discovered pier bistro also along the beach. excellent!! also they deliver and are in the spree book! looks fancier than the others, but much better value for money!

what / where is drum?

Waswondering Sat 19-Feb-11 11:11:12

Drum Castle - National Trust. Head out towards Banchory and it's the castle before Crathes. The 100 acre wood walk is behind the playpark (which is just beyond the carpark. Playpark is perfect for picnics as it's got its own wood to explore!)


Medee Mon 21-Feb-11 15:43:09

I’ll second both of Carrots’ suggestions of Rustico and Jewel in the Crown. And I shall be taking notes of all these child friendly places for when my own is old enough.

The Belmont does a kids cinema club on a Saturday morning. It costs £3 for each child and adults are free. The do a craft activity at the front beneath the screen before the film begins. There are no adverts either and the snack shop is less of a draw than the beach or Union Square.
FFIW The Sign of the Black Faced Sheep is a lovely cafe and gift shop but they are not keen on babies in there. I went with a friend when my dd was still in a carry car seat and we got a very hostile welcome. I have since learned that they don't encourage babies or small children at all.
If people are looking for child friendly walks there are lovely ones at Cambus O'May. Head to Ballater and just after the Cambus O'May hotel there is a phone box on the right and then a road up to a car park. There are different coloured walks with coloured sign posts around them which dcs love looking for. There are also lots of sign posts which fold out of posts which tell you all about the landscape, wildlife etc along the way. There are LOADS of ant hills so you can watch the ants busy at work on them and there are usually toads in the ponds. There are sometimes ducks as well. There is a lovely little cafe called the Cranach beside the road up to the car park which has tables in it garden and a swing etc for the dcs as well as tables and loos inside. The menu is small but very interesting and they are happy to adapt things to suit dcs. They also have a small gift selection and sell homemade bread etc. (and there is a great toy shop in Ballater if you want to go a couple of miles further out of town grin)

BTW I second Glen Tanar. On a hot day take what we call "River Shoes" (ie shoes you are happy for the dcs to wander into a river in) and they can paddle in the shallow parts of the river. (older dcs obviously)
There is a bridge on the left, just before the Cambus o'May walks I was talking about called Cambus o'May Suspension bridge. There is a small parking area there and a white metal bridge which you can cross. There are areas we have used for picnics there and older dcs can, again, paddle in the river. When we were there last year, some adults and teenagers were swimming right across the river. shock
All along the river there is a pathway on the old railway line that is great for walking or cycling. It is not great for dogs though as it is close to the road in some places.

There are also great walks at the Bennachie Centre and at the Back O'Bennachie. The Bennachie Centre has a little indoor exhibit for children too.
Bennachie Centre

Sillyness Fri 25-Feb-11 19:05:47

This information is like finding gold!!!! Thanks guys!
I had friends up last week who wanted to see a scottish castle so i headed to drum and crathes (easy as they're on the same road!) no kids, just adults so we didnt brave the 100acre wood as it was mega freezing! drum castle was losed, but we had a lovely time at crathes...so thank you peeps!

Im sure everyone knows about this, but thought i'd just mention...does everyone have a spree book?
(totally worth it!)

right, where are your nice cafes? - in aberdeen- but not the beach (i think we've covered there!)
i LOVE vanilla fudge cafe in bridge of don. it's located next door to curves off jesmond drive and does an AWESOME meze platter with homemande humous.
i'm looking for new places to try with hubby for a nice lunch, with options other than greasy food!

Waswondering Fri 25-Feb-11 19:48:51

cafes - hmmmm.

Beautiful Mountain (above) and Books and Beans are both on Belmont St. Like both.

There's a nice cafe out at Camphill (amazing bakery there too) - Cults way.

In all honesty, not my area of speciality as no longer frequent lovely cafes!!

Waswondering Fri 25-Feb-11 19:49:39

Oh and yes yes re river shoes - there's a bit where the path touches the river and there's a ford across. The DC will stand for hours there throwing in stones.

Waswondering Fri 25-Feb-11 19:59:03

Also - Scoltie at Banchory - wee hill, either walk up it or around it on a signed walk.

Near there is Bridge (I think it's bridge!) of Feugh - you can watch the salmon jump up the falls. Head out towards Fettercairn from Banchory for that.

It is the Bridge of Feugh Waswondering. There is a little cafe called Falls of Feugh and a public car park opposite it. Then it is a 2 minute walk to the metal footbridge to see the "waterfall" (for waterfall read very very choppy water) and at the right time of year there are salmon jumping. It is really beautiful.

I walked around Scolty the week. The yellow walk would be manageable by a wee toot. I did the red one and it took me an hour and I am a total slow coach.

If you climb up the hill there is a tower that always appeals to the dcs. It is not far but it is steep. There are also adders so watch the dogs.

For "the week" read "*this* week"

As for cafes in Aberdeen have you been down to the green? There are nice little cafes down there eg Cafe 52 and Cafe Verde. Not been there for ages though and never been with dcs.
Dh recommends The Carmelite for nice lunches or posh evening meals (just off Guild St - between there and the Green). He is not sure if it is child friendly though.
He also says Dizzy's on, he thinks, Carden Place is good for a pub lunch - never been there myself.
The Dutch Mill on Queens Rd is good for a pub lunch and great with dcs - not posh food but pub grub done well enough.

The Foyer on Crown St is great for a fancier but not ridiculously expensive lunch or evening meal.

Waswondering Fri 25-Feb-11 21:01:14

Man, not been to the Dutch Mill for over 10 years!!!!

Thanks for the Cambus o'May info - dh has googled it as we didn't know about that one

I have friends who rate the Braided Fig - but not been there myself!

A fabulous walk is Burn O'Vat. Head out for Ballater and just after Dinnet there are signs up to the right for it. It has toilets at the car park. The walks are manageable for young dcs. There is a trickier little path through two massive rocks very close together that leads into a large interior (but open air) cavern which very often has a waterfall running down it. It is not part of the walk, it is just a stunning diversion enroute - only for the firm footed though and you might get wet feet. The walk itself heads off up a little hill (very little) and then along the edge of a steep ledge and then up to a view point that looks out over Loch Kinnord. It is stunning. It then heads down the hill again with some interesting posts and things sticking out of the ground that the dcs like climbing on. You could do the whole walk in 30mins if you wanted to or take ages if you potter in the river etc.
Then you can go to the Victoria Tea Rooms in Dinnet to replenish lost calories grin

The stretch of path across the road from the tea rooms, to the right, is great for young dcs to cycle on.

Waswondering Fri 25-Feb-11 21:16:30

This website also has good listings of walks.

It also mentions Haddo House - great walks out there too.

Waswondering Sat 26-Feb-11 17:00:57

Thanks so much for the Cambus o'May suggestion - we went today. Did the red walk - very good path (could be buggy-able apart from one or two muddy bits that you'd lift it over). Took an extra boy with us and the kids all had a blast. Stunning scenery, very beautiful, finished off with a wee trip to the Ballater sweetie shop, the public toilets in Ballater (sooooo nice, worth it for 20p!) and a wee trip to the Queen's butcher for me.

Glorious day - dd (4) asked if we could do it again tomorrow! smile

Medee Sun 27-Feb-11 13:33:18

Tyrebagger forest also has a number of different walks, and the easiest takes you through the sculpture park. It's about 5 miles outside Aberdeen on the A96. Also great Christmas tree sale there in the right season.

Really glad you enjoyed it waswondering. It is my favourite place to walk with the dcs.

ja9 Mon 28-Feb-11 10:24:29

Great thread! We go to Aberdeen several times a year to visit family and friends, and there are lots of places on this thread I'd like to try out. We used to live in Aberdeen, but that was before we had children so don't really know all the good places to go with them. We do however ADORE Hazelhaead Park - i think it's the best in the world - fabby playpark, great paths for scooters and bikes, flowers, animals AND a cafe. I also love going to Stonehaven for the afternoon - great shops to potter around, lovely walk along the beach and a a gorgeous cafe right on the edge of the water - called The boathouse. Well worth a visit. xx

Waswondering Mon 28-Feb-11 16:30:42

Re Stonehaven - the best, best day we had last year was a sunny September afternoon when we met special friends (who live in England as far from the coast as you can get!)at Dunnotter. The children spent a very, very happy hour chucking stones from the beach there into the water, exploring caves and generally getting wetter than we'd thought!!! We then drove round to the sea front in the town, by the open air pool where there is the BEST fish and chip shop - oh my! The fish was incredible. We all ate our suppers out of paper sitting on the sea wall .... then the kids dug channels in the sand. Very happy memories. Loved it!

(Hi ja9 - nice to see you hear and glad your dd had a great bday. Pics were fab!)

Waswondering Mon 28-Feb-11 16:30:58

(*here ....aaargh! Spelling!)

Sapphire1 Mon 28-Feb-11 21:19:42

Ooh, good thread. I love St Cyrus beach, although it's a bit of a trek. Doesn't take too long to drive there though. It's also home to the weirdest place I've ever been to - Steptoe's Yard. It's like an almighty junk yard.

A bit nearer is Crawton. There's some lovely rocky beaches there and an amazing nature reserve. Every time I've been there it's empty and you have the whole place to yourself.

I love the Falls of Feugh too. It's amazing watching the salmon jumping about. The tea shop is pretty good, nice afternoon tea smile

Down at Aberdeen beach I love the Motown cafe in the arcade. It does the best bacon sarnies, and lovely soup and paninis - cheap too. Plus, it's never as busy as the other beach cafes. As the name suggests, they play motown and soul music, which I love. Also, lovely comfy leather sofas and a fab view of the sea.

Sillyness Tue 01-Mar-11 11:08:12

Thanks Sapphire, i wondered about that place and WAS actually hoping for a place with big sofas (plus i love that music too!) so will def try it!

(Perhaps we could have our next meet up there!)

Sapphire1 Wed 02-Mar-11 18:01:55

Would be a good place to take the fellas! Is only open at the weekends so prob no good for our meetups sad

justhalfwaythere Sat 05-Mar-11 00:26:02

Great thread.
DH treated us to lunch at Rustico's a couple of weeks ago and they could not have made a bigger fuss of DC who is 13 months. Service and food great.
Can't wait for slightly warmer weather to take kids along beach at Stonehaven - Molly's Cafe/Restaurant is amazing (though no prams as small inside).
Brilliant ice creams at Aunty Bessie's - DH fav is tablet flavour!

On the negative was v disappointed at lack of baby facilities in Abdn. In the big centre - one with John Lewis, saw baby changing sign and thought I'd give her a top up of milk. Realised it was just the toilets beside the food area and the baby facility was a bit to lie them on to change nappy - plus the toilets stank. Fed her back in the car instead.

BTW the burger van at B&Q at Bridge of Dee is good. Been there every Saturday for last 4 weeks - yes house is getting a make over. No wonder I'm not losing weight!

Sillyness Sun 06-Mar-11 11:33:30

Have just been to the car boot sale at Thainstone....man i love that place. however i usually go in august, so it was a lot quieter today!

can't wait to check out stonehaven - thanks folks!

(will get to rusticos too at some point!)

Sillyness Sun 06-Mar-11 11:36:02

Sapphire - btw, was at the beach yesterday with dh and went to check out motown cafe...got lost and thought you must have meant nobles bar (and wondered how the hell you got upstairs with the pram!)
now i see it's inside the arcade. WILL find it!

Sapphire1 Mon 07-Mar-11 13:25:38

Yeah, it's upstairs in the arcade. There is no lift, DH and I carry the pram up the stairs - bit awkward but do-able.

John Lewis used to have a room on the top floor, in amongst the furniture, with a very clean baby change for 2 babies and a couple of seats for breast feeding, one with a curtain round it. I haven't breast fed for 5 years though but I can't imagine why they would have removed it.
Boots had one too, through a corridor in the middle of the perfume wall in the Bon Accord (on the ground floor) which had private breast feeding and more open baby change. They even used to have spare nappies if you needed them.
M&S had one on the top floor in a room in the same little corridor as the toilets but not in the toilets iyswim.
Debenhams in the Trinity Centre had one too - again on the top floor.
I assume all these places are still there.

Sapphire1 Tue 15-Mar-11 12:51:50

The John Lewis one is still there. I do find it clean, but the nappy bins do stink. Didn't know there was one in Boots, will check it out. Union Square has decent family rooms, very handy if you need the loo when you have a pram with you. I tend to feed LO in one of the coffee shops though.

I think feeding in public has come a long way in the last few years so maybe the need for them is reducing, which in that respect would be a good thing.
As I say, I don't know if the boots one is still there - my babies are getting bigger!

Waswondering Sat 09-Apr-11 21:32:51

Did Burn o'vat today - thanks C&C!

Glorious warm sunshine.

We did the quick loop above the car park on arrival, then back to the car for a picnic, then crossed the road and did the yellow trail (3m). It was beautiful and lovely though dd, 4, was tired by the end.

Thanks so much for the recommendation - highly recommend!

Sillyness Mon 11-Apr-11 10:20:18

Anyone been to Ferryhill House Hotel? Google it, it looks nice!

Sapphire1 Mon 11-Apr-11 16:10:32

Yep silly, it is nice. In fact DH, DD and I went there for an alfresco drink in the sunshine the other day. There's quite a few benches outside, gets really busy on a weekend though. I haven't eaten there but the food looks nice too...

Sillyness Tue 03-May-11 18:00:14

I'm not being funny, but seriously... Washington Cafe by the beach is the business!

We went there the other morning for breakfast which:
-was well priced.
-coffee wasnt too milky as usually is in cafes.
-toast was HOT
-toast was not buttered, but had butter (and jams) on the side.
-'fry-up' was NOT at all greasy!


twoboots Sat 06-Aug-11 11:45:23

i am feeling a little poorly today, lived in aberdeen 7 years ago and i'm feeling nostalgic for my student days
i used to love cafe 52, the Nargile (the one just off the top of union street), the foyer and yantze river (does it still have the 80's decor)
i have memories of the tastie tattie for fueling a saturday night, monday nights at the mud club and trailing down to a random kebab shop on ?market street for the greatest chilli pickles.
now we live in the midlands and the young things who parade around on a saturday night with no clothes on think they are so hard, they have no idea- strutting around outside amadeus in a teeny leather skirt and a vest top with the haar enveloping you, that defined an aberdeen night out.

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