In Cornwall, the only food to eat is fish and chips, and the only drink is cider – only joking! The Cornwall food scene has never been better – full of innovative kitchens, taking inspiration from around the world and concocting delicious food from the finest West Country ingredients. There are endless coastal views and some of the richest fishing grounds in the UK; it’s no wonder the area has so many outstanding restaurants and cafés.
Places to eat in Cornwall
Home to no fewer than seven restaurants that made the hallowed pages of the Michelin-guide for 2018 and three that won their own stars, Cornwall is awash with high quality restaurants. Make sure you check out at least one of the best restaurants in Cornwall during your stay.
As you might expect, seafood is exceedingly popular, with at least 350 outlets offering their take on catch of the day, with everything from fish and chips to carefully cooked sea bass on the menu. The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow cuts straight to the chase offering a wide range of freshly caught fish delivered straight to your plate. Helmed by celebrity chef Rick Stein, this is one of the highest ranked TripAdvisor restaurants in the region. If you can’t decide what to go for – the turbot and Goan fish curry are winners – then opt for the set menu and let them do what they do best.
If you’d like a bit of turf with your surf, check out Longstore Steaks and Seafood in Charlestown. Bag yourself a seat overlooking the harbour and tuck into your choice of steak, slow-roasted pork belly ribs or go aquatic and opt for the Cornish crab, or hake fillet. With an open plan dining room, the atmosphere is always buzzing – but book ahead as it quickly fills up at weekends.
Taste, a 20-minute drive from our Truro hotel, is proof good things come in small packages. The European-leaning seafood restaurant is definitely on the compact side, but the food is expansive, with rich complementary flavours balancing each dish. Hugely popular with locals and tourists alike, you’ll need to book ahead to get your lips around the best food in St. Agnes.
Bude is blessed with several excellent restaurants including Life’s a Beach. With a perfect seaside location, an open kitchen and friendly, attentive service, it’s aimed at fish lovers, meaning the rest of the menu is a little bare. But then again, why come to a restaurant like this not to eat the sea’s bounty? Serving a little bit of everything, The Bank Tapas and Grill Restaurant can be a little tricky to find, nestled on the bank of the River Neet, but the food makes up for the trip as they put a Cornish spin on tried and tested tapas classics.
If you find yourself in Falmouth, you need to check out Provedore, a laid-back café and restaurant specialising in Mediterranean flavours. Open for breakfast – the sausage-glazed buns come highly recommended – lunch, coffee and dinner, it’s another tapas outlet that delivers small plates at a modest price with big flavours. Equally, try Gylly Beach Café which overlooks Pendennis Castle and the Lizard peninsula. Serving freshly made British classics with an emphasis on seafood, grab a sofa on the decking, neck a local beer from the wide choice and watch the sun slowly sink away while deciding what you’re going to eat.
If you’re after something a bit more substantial, the St. Kew Inn is a highly regarded gastropub in Bodmin, less than 10 miles from our Bodmin hotel. If you can, book in for one of their legendary Sunday roasts, or rock up and head for the excellent clam chowder or a big bowl of freshly caught mussels.
Finally, if you’re after something a little more exotic, we’d like to point you towards Kathmandu Palace. A Nepalese restaurant, it marries strong flavours like ginger, garlic, cumin, chillies and turmeric, creating a vibrant curry that’s a lot lighter and healthier than traditional Indian curries. Located in the heart of Truro, we recommend you opt for the Nepalese specials to get an authentic taste of the restaurant.
The Seafood Restaurant
Gylly Beach Cafe
With nearly 500 cafés, you’re bound to find the right flat white for you – but instead of narrowing down the selection through trial and error, here’s some of the best in the area.
A café is a café, right? Well, not when you’re the Snails Pace Café. A proudly off-grid outlet housed in the back of a shipping container in the middle of the Camel Trail, this is an accessible route for walkers and cyclists. A lot of the food is homegrown including the herbs and tomatoes, and they adapt the menu to fit the seasons, offering a full range of breakfast, lunch and dinner options as well as some genuinely excellent baked goods. Not only that, but you can hire bikes from them including helmet and puncture repair kit.
Equally off the beaten trail is the Woods Café in the middle of Cardinham Woods in Bodmin. The menu might be small, but when it includes freshly baked scones and cakes, and Cornish tea or Yallah coffee, you know it’s going to be good.
Down on the southern tip of Cornwall, you’ll find two excellent but very different outlets. SeaDrift Café is a contemporary place with at least 10 different fish dishes served each day, as well as cake and coffee offers. Only open Wednesday evening and all day Thursday–Saturday, it’s just a 10-minute drive from our Helston hotel. On the other side of the peninsula, you’ll find Fat Apples Café, home to endlessly inventive salads, flavour-packed burgers and some seriously elaborate presentation – want your toast cut into love hearts? No problem. A short walk from Porthallow beach, just make sure to leave room for the desserts lined up at the counter.
If you’re in Bude, make a beeline for the Olive Tree on the canal. A spacious Italian and Cornish café, it’s open for business 10am–4pm each day offering a wide range of coffees, salads, burgers and pasta and a salivating selection of homemade cakes. If you like your cuppa with a side order of history, the Rectory Tea Rooms date back to the 13th century and were built using salvaged wood from wrecked boats. Their cream teas have rightly won awards, but their homemade soups, quiches and Cornish pasties are just as good.
If caffeine is your hit of choice, you know you’ve come to the right place when the café is called Espressini. Based in Falmouth, they take their coffee very seriously indeed, but also have an intriguing menu – Bloody Mary baked beans followed by caramelised banana waffles, anyone? The Lookout meanwhile, offers cracking views over Falmouth harbour, an eclectic menu during the day and a tapas from around the world menu for dinner. With local produce to the fore and an impressive selection of drinks, it’s the perfect spot to watch the world slowly sail by.
As you’d expect from such a bountiful county, Cornwall is packed with local produce that finds its way into a host of farmers’ markets across the region, with everything from cuts of beef and caught-that-day fish to arts and crafts for sale. Most large towns in Cornwall will boast their own market, with Helston’s Farmers’ Market the largest in the region. Held on the first Saturday of each month 9.30am–1pm, you’ll find over 30 stalls selling everything from sushi to cider. It can get busy, with as many as 1,500 people descending upon the Old Cattle Market building, so get there early to bag a space.
Held on the first and third Saturday of the month 9.30am–2pm, the St. Ives Farmers’ Market is popular with locals and tourists alike. With everything sourced from within 30 miles, there’s a wide selection of produce available including plenty of organic fruit and vegetables. Located next to the bus station which has plenty of parking, you’ll find everything from homebrew beers to specialist goats’ cheese.
Open on selected days throughout the month, Truro Farmers’ Market is a riot of smells and colours including finely honed blue cheese and wood-smoked fish. Running since 1999, you’ll instantly know you’re in the right place thanks to the white and green striped stalls. Make sure you check out the website to find out if the market is open for business during your stay.
Running every Tuesday 9am–midday, you’ll find between 30 and 50 stalls at Sennen Market selling everything from seasonal crops to handcrafted wooden surfboards. Held in the Community Hall next to the village school, there’s plenty of free parking.
And finally, St. Austell Produce Market is dedicated to food and drink – if you’re after a leg of lamb or home-made jams, this is the spot. Held every weekend 9.30am–3.30pm, Alymer Square is always a hub of vibrant activity.