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ScillyOnLine recommends - cafe / restaurant reviews

Older cafe/restaurant reviews: 2012/2013.

Sat 30th March 2013 - Spero's, Porthmellon, St Mary's

We were lucky enough to be invited to a lovely wedding on Saturday - the sun shone, and the bride and groom arrived at their reception in a gig, the Slippen (congratulation, Meriel and Andrew!). Spero's, which is right on Porthmellon, was simply perfect for the occassion, with seating inside and out, stunning views, and direct access to the beach for the kids to play (and hunt for Easter eggs). Richard and Amelia Mills and their team were fantastic and friendly hosts, and the food was delicious.

If you are planning a wedding on Scilly, I can't think of a better spot for an intimate reception. Contact them via

Weds 27th March 2013 - Old Town Cafe, St Mary's

This has got to be one of the friendliest cafe's on St Mary's, and a firm favourite of ours. Luckily, they didn't seem to mind that we took over pretty much all the tables inside for our lunch (there's plenty of seating outside, too). Look out for the lovely collection of beach finds which adorn the walls here, and we also liked the driftwood signage which is new for 2013.

With a nice selection of home-cooked food and sandwiches, there was something for everyone here - our choices included ham egg and chips, tuna and cheese melt, and lasagne. It was all tasty, and devoured pretty quickly by our little gannets! Sending the bigger ones off to play on the beach (which is just across the road), we were also able to enjoy teas and coffees afterwards - with a slice of cake, of course. My large slab of lemon drizzle cake, with a nicely crunchy topping, was spot on.

Sunday 5th August 2012 - cake selection at Juliet's Garden, St Mary's

Here's a good idea that I haven't seen on Scilly before. Undecided as to which cake to choose, I spotted on the bottom of the menu the option of 'a selection of cakes, to share' (£10 for 4 people; you can also order half this amount, for £5).The selection we recieved included chocolate flapjack, lemon cake, scones with cream and jam and two fairy cakes - just the ticket for our family to enjoy as we watched the boats heading off for the annual 'Round the Island' sailing race.

The cakes were all tasty, and it was a fun and good-value way to sample the wares of this popular St Mary's cafe.


Saturday 21st July 2012 - Spero's cafe/restaurant, Porthmellon beach, St Mary's
(previously 'The Boat Shed', under new management for 2012)
This was a perfect day for our family lunchtime visit to Spero's - sunny and warm, with a gentle breeze and plenty of activity on the beach to keep us entertained. We sat out on the decking area (of course), but the interior of this cafe/restuarant is airy, cool and tastefully decorated, providing the ideal place to get away from the sun if you prefer.


I ate this delicious Caesar salad, which included generous quantities of chicken chunks, tasty bacon and anchovies, and also tried a side dish of their fantastic speciality bread (so much food I couldn't finish it all). The kids were more than happy with their generous portion of chicken goujons, chips and salad. My bad back meant we didn't stay for puddings this time (can't sit down for long), but we did get take-out coffees to enjoy as we whiled away the rest of the afternoon on the beach below.

We were more than happy with everything about Spero's: friendly service, top location, excellent food, and at a very reasonable price for the islands. We don't make it out much for evening meals, but we've heard similarly good reports about the evening service here, which you can enjoy whilst watching the sun set over Samson. Sounds good to me.

Fri 8th June 2012 - Families beware at Tolman Cafe, Old Town, St Mary's.
My general intention is to focus on what's good on the islands, rather than what is not. But we were sufficiently disappointed at Tolman Cafe today to include this piece of advice for SOL readers: avoid the children's menu here. We ordered scampi and chips for £4.50, and were surprised to discover that we were served just 4 (small) pieces of scampi, and less than 10 chips - and not a vegetable in sight (this last fact applies to the adult meals as well, such as the otherwise delicious meat pie). It was barely enough to feed my average 5 year old, so nowhere near enough for even a slightly older child (the menu states 'for children up to the age of 12'). A bowl of cheesy chips was also rather stingy, and was described by one of our party as 'a ramekin, not a bowl'! (for £3.50). Families would be well advised to try elsewhere on St Mary's. For example, a comparable children's meal at Spero's, Porthmellon (fish gougons), is twice the size, includes beans or salad, and a glass of squash. Full Spero's review coming soon.

Sunday 20th May 2012- Kaffeehaus (in the conservatory at 'Isles of Scilly Country Guesthouse', High Lanes).
If you haven't visited proprietor Sabine's cafe before, you've been missing out on some of the best coffee, cakes and lunchtime treats available on St Mary's.

Sabine's delicious home-made apple strudle


The coffee is strong, the cakes and pastries are home made and delicious (we love the apple strudle, pictured here), and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, with classical music playing and a bix box of lego to keep the kids quiet(ish). The menu isn't vast, but it's all good, and includes german specialities like pretzels and bavarian sausages, alongside home-made soups and sandwiches.

Prices here are a little higher than some cafes on St Mary's, but our verdict is that it's worth every penny.

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All content © Susie Taylor 2012 (including all images, unless stated otherwise). Last updated 18-Apr-2014