Bristol’s food scene is incredible. With cuisine from the four corners of the world to choose from, you’ll just have to decide what you want – from street eats to a spot of fine-dining. Honestly, it’s a delicious dilemma but we’ll try our best to help you eat your way around the city with our top picks of the best restaurants in Bristol.
Poco is as good a place as any to start. It started life as a touring street-food company, feeding hungry festival-goers across the UK. Their sublime food quickly built quite a reputation, so much so that they set up shop in their now-permanent home in Bristol’s Stokes Croft. Make your way down and try as much as you can from their seasonal British tapas menu, which changes every month. The belly pork and oyster plates are a couple of crowd-pleasers. It’s also a great place to go for lunch or brunch. Don’t just take our word for it; Poco has won heaps of awards both for their food and their restaurant’s ethical approach to sourcing local ingredients.
Staying in Stokes Croft, Café Kino definitely needs a mention, particularly for the healthy eaters out there. It’s a vegan café that serves great food from breakfast through to the evening. Their burgers are brilliant, their falafel fantastic and the prices pleasing. The café also serves as an events space, so it’s always lively and has a great, friendly atmosphere. If you’re just looking for a casual place to grab something to eat, then Café Kino should definitely make your shortlist.
While we’re on the topic of vegan restaurants, there are a couple more that definitely deserve mentioning. Flow offers nice, stylish surroundings, a good atmosphere and a refined menu of delicious vegan small plates, which changes from month to month. The temptation is to try everything, but be warned – that’s when it can get it a bit pricey.
If you’re looking for a more everyday eating option, then Eat a Pitta has four locations across the city – St. Nicholas Market, Broadmead, Gloucester Road and on the Clifton Triangle. Their falafel recipe has been honed for well over 70 years and is a family secret. You don’t have to be vegan to appreciate their delicious, healthy fast food.
Bristol’s food scene has a reputation for being one of the best in the UK. In part, it’s because its top restaurants span a wide range of the world’s cuisines. Take Pasta Loco, for example. It was named the best Italian restaurant in the UK by The Week. It was Bristol’s first fresh pasta eatery; theirs are handmade every single day, and you really can taste the difference. We won’t bother with recommendations; firstly because everything is good and secondly because we might suggest something that’s not even on the menu any more – head chef Ben likes to switch things up quite often. To be fair, he can do whatever he likes if it continues to taste this good.
Pasta Loco is popular, so we’d definitely recommend booking a table. If you’re out of luck, then Bristol does have other great Italians for you to choose from. Aquila is a large, stylish restaurant right in the heart of the city. If you’re planning a visit to the Bristol Hippodrome, then it’s just down the road and they do a great pre-theatre menu.
Don Giovanni’s is another good option. It might not look like much from the outside – it’s in an office block on a busy main road opposite Bristol Temple Meads – but there’s a reason why people have been coming back for over thirty years. Its authentic Sicilian food is some of the best around and the service is always excellent. If you’re looking for a recommendation, look no further than the king prawn linguine.
The last Italian we’ll mention isn’t really a restaurant. Veeno Bristol is a wine bar – but it has a seriously good selection of wines, so don’t dismiss it completely out of hand. Veeno was founded to give the UK a taste of the Italian after-work ritual known as aperitivo – where you relax, sip and nibble your way through an evening with friends and family. While the food is limited to spuntini – appetisers plus meat and cheese boards – it’s the perfect partner for whatever’s your poison.
If you find yourself craving a curry, Bristol has a number of excellent Indian restaurants ready to tantalise your taste buds with spice and all things nice. Urban Tandoor is arguably the pick of the bunch. Their curries are as authentic as they get, made from recipes that bridge the gap between the inventive street food and homemade family favourites you’ll find in India. They use the finest ingredients, and never add artificial colourings, meaning that their dishes are light, fresh and extraordinarily flavoursome.
Another Indian that we have to mention is Coronation Curry House. In part, that’s because if you were to see it, you wouldn’t set foot inside. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but never judge a book by its cover. Theirs is some of the best Indian food you’ll taste. On top of that, the service is exceptional, you’ll receive the warmest of welcomes and the staff will be more than happy to talk you through the menu, or tempt you with some of their less well-known specialities.
And if you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Clifton Village, Nutmeg definitely deserves a look in. It’s featured in the hallowed pages of The Michelin Guide with a menu that takes inspiration from every one of India’s 29 states. It’s one of the most stylish Indian restaurants around, the service is excellent and the food exquisite. Our top tip is to try out the ever-changing tasting menu to see what head chef Arvind is capable of concocting.
For a taste of the Orient, one of our top recommendations is Cathay Rendezvous. It’s a lovely Chinese restaurant based in a former Georgian library, right in the heart of the city. It’s become a bit of a Bristol institution, having first opened its doors in 1986. The food is good, the service friendly and the portions absolutely ginormous. We’d recommend elastic waistbands and a willingness to try some of the more ‘traditional’ dishes from the menu.
If you want a quick bite, you can’t beat the convenience of Wok to Walk. It’s a franchise born in Amsterdam in 2004, which has quickly become a global phenomenon with locations across five continents. The premise is simple; you choose between rice or noodles, pick your ingredients and sauces, they’ll stir-fry it in front of you and serve it in the kind of Asian takeaway boxes you see in the movies.
Last but not least, if you simply can’t make your mind up on what kind of cuisine you’re craving, you can always make your way to Za Za Bazaar or Cosmo Bristol. They’re world buffet restaurants, so you can take your taste buds on a trip around the world, from carveries to Cantonese and Tex Mex to Teppanyaki.
You're spoilt for choice when it comes to Bristol hotels as there are no fewer than ten to choose from within 15 miles of the city centre - perfect for exploring the culutural and historical highlights of this flagship city of the south-west.
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