If you’re wondering where to go for dinner before or after a trip to the theatre, we’ve gathered some of the best restaurants in town that are handily located a hop, skip and a jump away from The Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Our guide also ticks off some of Stratford’s most popular cafés, as well as the fortnightly farmers’ market.
Restaurants in Stratford-upon-Avon
One great thing about Stratford-upon-Avon’s food scene is that a lot of the best restaurants can be found close to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, so they’re perfect if you’re looking for somewhere to go for a pre- or post-theatre dinner. Take Lambs Restaurant for example – it’s on Sheep Street, so you can just walk down the road, through the Bancroft Gardens and straight into a show at The Swan, or to its bigger brother, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
It’s not just the location that makes Lambs so popular though. Set in a delightful 16th century building, you’ll find a stylish restaurant with a fantastic menu full of market-fresh, local produce. If you’re looking for a recommendation, the rack of lamb is fantastic, but really everything tastes great. Just a word of warning, it’s best to book in advance as it can get busy.
The Opposition is another great option and it’s right next door to Lambs, so you can always compare menus to see which one takes your fancy. You’d think that two top restaurants so close to one another could cause a rivalry reminiscent of the Montagues and Capulets, but on fair Sheep Street, where we plate our scene, you’ll find no ancient grudges, nor new mutinies. That’s mainly because The Opposition and Lambs share the same owners. The difference between them is that Lambs is a bit fancier, while The Oppo – as locals like to call it – is more for everyone’s taste. Nevertheless, the food is still top quality and there’s always a good atmosphere, making it one of our favourite places to go for a meal.
Down the road from those two, Sorrento Restaurant is another good shout. It’s a family-run Italian that’s been serving locals and theatregoers for well over 30 years. In that time, they’ve properly mastered their craft. So – as is the case with the best Italian restaurants – you can expect simple recipes, tasty, authentic food and a lively atmosphere. The lobster dishes are particularly popular. Plus, providing the weather’s good, you can eat al fresco on their charming patio.
Time to throw a curveball into the mix; the Countess of Evesham is Stratford-upon-Avon’s restaurant canal boat. Its smart dining cruises allow you to enjoy classic European cuisine while cruising along the River Avon. The unique culinary experience sets sail from the Bancroft Gardens and as soon as you step aboard, you’ll be given a warm welcome, followed up with an evening of superb service. When you consider how small the kitchen must be, it’s a wonder that the food is as good as it is. Admittedly, the menu is a little limited, but there’s something here to suit all diners.
Speaking of pushing the boat out, if you prefer finer dining – only on dry land – see if you can book a table at No. 9 Church Street. There are no prizes for guessing where to find it. Their head chef is delightfully inventive. As you’ll see from the menu, No. 9 serves up seasonal British food but with a contemporary twist – for example, pork chops with pak choi or sea bass with saffron gnocchi. The ethos is that No. 9 Church Street is a ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant, so it is finer dining but without breaking the bank.
We’ll finish things off with arguably the best restaurant in town, and just half a mile from our Waterways hotel. 33 The Scullery on Greenhill Street might not look like much from the outside, what with it being sandwiched between a launderette and a chippy, but don't judge a book by its cover. The family-run restaurant is the business. You need to book, and we thoroughly recommend that you do, because they do British food better than most. They’ll tell you that game and seafood are their specialities – the guinea fowl and monkfish are both exquisite dishes – but don’t let that distract you from anything else on the menu or the specials board; it’s all good.