Note: If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t posted since March 9, we just returned from an amazing week-and-a-half in Scotland and Ireland. I’ll be sharing several of my favorite spots from our latest trip over the next few weeks, but we’re diving in with a space that tops my list — 18 at Rusacks St. Andrews.
If you’re a golf fan, there are few more iconic venues than St. Andrews, Scotland. The “Home of Golf,” St. Andrews Links’ legendary Old Course was established in 1552, an astounding 470 years ago.
Anyone who has ever watched The Open at St. Andrews should be familiar with the 18th hole, which offers sweeping views of both the rugged Scottish landscape and the Atlantic Ocean. We recently had the opportunity to stay at the incredible Rusacks St. Andrews Hotel, where every detail was designed with the town’s golf history in mind.
Among the dazzling array of amenities at Rusacks are several onsite dining options. In 2021, when the Marine & Lawn hotel group reimagined Rusacks St. Andrews Hotel, the team made the Old Course’s last hole a particular focal point of the aptly named 18 restaurant.
Led by award-winning chef Derek Johnstone, 18 “is committed to serving the very best seasonal and locally sourced Scottish beef, seafood, and game.”
Open for dinner from Wednesday through Sunday 6pm-9:45pm, and for Sunday lunch from 1pm-5:45pm, 18 also offers drink service by day.
This was our favorite spot to hang out in the hotel during our stay. The bartending staff was nothing short of fantastic, sharing fascinating stories while crafting delicious drinks.
We enjoyed cocktails on the stunning balcony overlooking — what else? — the 18th hole.
The bar area has an extensive selection of bourbons and whiskies, including bottles from local Scottish distilleries and brands like Woodford Reserve that will be familiar to American travelers.
The decor throughout 18, and all of Rusacks as you’ll see in my forthcoming guide to the resort, is impeccable.
Dark wood paneling, plush olive green booths, and camel leather bar stools come together to evoke the feeling of every great golf clubhouse. The entire space also gives major Ralph Lauren vibes, so I instantly loved it.
At night, the lights come down and the ambience gets even better, if that’s possible. The layout of the main dining space is brilliant. No matter how busy 18 gets, your party will feel as though you’re the only people in the room. This is thanks in part to high-backed booths.
Our spacious corner booth provided an intimate dining experience I will recommend for years to come.
The dinner menu features 18’s signature fresh cuts of meat, along with other locally-sourced dishes and melt-in-your-mouth potato cakes [below].
I ordered the barley risotto, which was perfectly cooked and topped with fresh mushrooms [below].
My husband, true to form, sampled a beautifully-plated sirloin [below] that lived up to every expectation.
Dining at 18 was one of the highlights of our recent trip to the birthplace of golf, and I sincerely hope you’ll give it a try if you ever find yourself in the area.
Reservations are strongly encouraged for 18 at Rusacks St. Andrews.
The hotel staff is ever-accommodating and will be happy to book your table for you on request.
I can’t wait to go back.
Have you visited 18?