Restaurants in Devon and Cornwall are, as you would expect, both abundant and varied. Surrounded on three sides by the open sea, it is hardly surprising that fish and seafood feature prominently. But there are plenty of other choices too, from simple cafe-bars to sophisticated world-class restaurants featuring the best in local and exotic ingredients. Besides the fish and seafood, local lamb and beef are also deserve their place on any restaurant menu in Devon and Cornwall. Enjoy!
For a small selection of restaurants, highlighted below, we have given our own views to help you choose. You will appreciate, however, that Simply Devon and Cornwall can't offer any guarantees in relation to these restaurants - just a personal view. For a wider selection of places to eat, visit our links page.
The Seafood Restaurant is Rick Stein's original restaurant in Padstow, serving fine fish and seafood since 1975. The welcoming conservatory, with its views over Padstow's waterfront, is the ideal setting for an aperitif, before heading inside to the more formal, but still relaxed, dining room. Perhaps start with some oysters served simply on ice, or a warming fish and shellfish soup. Then perhaps a whole red mullet fried with crisp garlic, cashew nuts, basil and chilli, or just a simple but delicious Padstow lobster. As you would expect, it's not cheap. But quality never is. Save up for a special occasion - we doubt you'll be disappointed. Oh, and book early (especially for dinner, and very especially at weekends). If you're on a budget, there are alternative Rick Stein restaurants in Padstow, including the excellent St Petroc's Bistro, Rick Stein's Cafe, or perhaps the best fish and chips you've ever tasted served to take-out or eat in at Rick Stein's Fish & Chip restaurant.
One of Plymouth's best-loved restaurants, located in the heart of the city and just a stone's throw from the historic Barbican area. Tanners is housed in the oldest surviving domestic building in Plymouth, the Prysten House. The Tanner brothers describe their restaurant as a dream which became reality - and you'll see why. They source the best local ingredients, and of course make everything fresh, on site, every day. For lunch (at a reasonable fixed price), try the grilled sardines as a light but supremely tasty starter. Then move on to char-grilled pork loin with prune and parsley stuffing, caramelised apples and red wine sauce. Naturally the dinner menu is more extensive (and a little more expensive). Great ambience, great food, fine wines.
Percy's is an award-winning, non-smoking, child-free country house hotel and restaurant in the heart of the Devon countryside. The restaurant has a simple focus on light, fresh, seasonal and exciting menus, and a commitment to use the best local suppliers and organic meat and produce. The wild mushroom and chicken liver parfait is a great place to start, whilst the oven roasted home-reared rump of lamp gives the kitchen the opportunity to show off the estate's own organic meat cooked to perfection.
A popular restaurant in the heart of this national award-winning market town. Chef David Jenkins prepares a varied and lively selection of locally sourced fish, meat and vegetarian dishes, and their philosophy of using local produce and ingredients extends to the still and sparkling water - drawn from the hotel's own well believed to date from Roman times. There's an airy conservatory for sunlit lunches, and a cosy wine bar with squashy sofas and welcoming log fires for an intimate dinner. We strongly recommend that you enjoy a quick drink in one of Tavistock's fine traditional pubs before or after your meal.
Definitely not a restaurant, but a Plymouth institution for outdoor eating. They start serving steaming mugs of tea and hot bacon rolls to fishermen before most of us are awake. And last-orders coincide nicely with drinking-up time at the Barbican's multitude of watering holes. Portion sizes vary from ample to gargantuan. Try the Half a Yard of Hot Dog - with fried onions and a help-yourself selection of tasty relishes. Or perhaps the Jasperizer - a quarter pounder bacon burger atop a quarter pounder cheese burger finished with, naturally, fried onions. All cooked in spotless conditions before your very eyes. Wash it down with a steaming mug of tea - just 40p when we last visited. No AA Rosettes - but good, honest grub.
Like Cap'n Jasper's (above) this is an alfresco eating place - but there the comparison ends. The Oyster Shack offers exquisite Avon oysters served "au naturel" or cooked in a variety of delcious ways. Plus sardines, whitebait, crevettes, mussels or crab. Or a "build your own" seafood platter served with a fresh, crisp side-salad. All served in a relaxed, unhurried and generally alfresco way, with an extensive list of wines and champagnes to maximise your dining pleasure. A delightfully different dining experience.
Restaurant 42 offers an exceptional dining experience with exceptional views - overlookng the picture-postcard-perfect Salcombe Estuary. In the words of the Michelin Guide 2005, it has "a delightful terrace, fabulous views of the estuary, comfy lounge with squashy sofas and makes interesting use of local ingredients". To start, perhaps try the hand-picked Salcombe crab, bound in a lightly smoked paprika mayonnaise, with roquette and a roasted red pepper dressing. For a memorable main course, naturally there's local fish and seafood aplenty, or maybe the confit of Gressingham duck leg with sweet potato puree, steamed bok choi, broad beans with an orange and thyme jus. Visit in the Summer and watch people "messing about in boats" in the estuary below. Or in winter, stroll the narrow Salcombe lanes and enjoy one or two of the cosy local pubs before sitting down to a meal to remember.
The Jamie Oliver inspired Fifteen Cornwall has arrived at Watergate Bay, bringing an innovative menu of the best seasonal and local produce, a relaxed atmosphere, talented chefs – and an incredible view over a beautiful two-mile beach. It really is a stunning location, perched high overlooking the fabulous expanse of Watergate Bay. Trainees and qualified chefs cook in the open kitchen, creating a vibrant and jolly atmosphere. Jamie Oliver's involvement ensures great food produced from local produce. Sometimes special offers at lunchtime (or you can even have breakfast if you are really on a budget).
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Watergate Bay Hotel
nr Newquay ***
A chic beach hotel next to Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall restaurant.
The Souk is a Moroccan meze bar and restaurant, overlooking Sutton Harbour in Plymouth. Step inside and you'll be greeted by the sounds, sights and smells of a tastebud-tantalising Moroccan restaurant. Low tables, cushions, insence and spices - and a warm welcome too. We've only eaten here at lunchtime, and their lunch specials are a great deal - a choice of tagines or a couple of beautifully presented mezes and a drink for about seven quid all-in.