Discover the best restaurants, cafés, bistros, coffee shops and bakeries in Watford with our eating out guide.
Places to eat in Watford
Just off London Road on the eastern side of Watford lies the St James Restaurant, a simple white and brickwork restaurant that has been one of Watford’s leading restaurants for over 20 years. A mix of English, French and Italian dishes, you can choose from a range of set menus or order from the tightly curated à la carte menu, while they’ve just launched Betsy’s Tea Rooms if you’re in the mood for afternoon tea from midday-4pm Monday to Friday.
For a taste of the Mediterranean, look no further than Barracuda in The Parade. A bustling café and coffee house by day, the restaurant comes alive at night with an amazing range of fresh fish, pasta and salads, and excellent value-for-money two or three-course menus. Or head to L’Artista nearby on the Parade for a pure Italian menu that’s been serving up home-made, wood-fired pizzas for over 15 years. The food is pretty special, and the colourful, lively restaurant is always fun and atmospheric. Completing our Italian recommendations is Vanchinos on the northern edge of Watford on St Albans Road, another popular area for bars and restaurants.
For a different taste of the Mediterranean, head to Nana’s Lebanese Restaurant also on St Albans Road. A family-run outfit, they’ve been serving up hummus, baba ghanoush and grilled halloumi since 2001, becoming a staple on the Watford restaurant scene.
Finally, if you’ve had a hard afternoon pounding the covered streets of Intu Watford, take refuge in the nearby Middleton’s Steakhouse & Grill. The meat is delivered daily from their own farm in Norfolk, and their lunch and dinner set menus offer real value-for-money. The steaks are the star of the show, notably their 36 oz Rib-eye on the bone, but they do a full range of seafood, burgers, starters and vegetarian options as well.
Places to eat in Watford
Cafés in Watford
Ocean Bells Coffee is a great alternative if you want a change from the international coffee shops. A small, independent café, their daily specials and a wide range of teas, artisan coffees and hot chocolates are on the chalkboard behind the counter, which is rammed full of cakes, tray bakes, muffins and more.
Also in the heart of Watford’s shopping district is The LP Cafe on The Parade. As the name suggests, this is the place to come for good coffee, good cake and good music, with a wide range of vinyl sold alongside breakfast and lunch options and a variety of coffee blends.
Out towards Cassiobury Park is The Rhubarb Cafe, a bright but homely café best known for its brunch, cakes and coffee.
Over on the ever-popular St Albans Rd, Eats and Treats is a great lunch stop, with over-filled baguettes, jacket potatoes, arm-sized wraps and soups to choose from, all washed down with a milkshake or piping hot coffee.
Finally, if you’re serious about bread, the Flourish Craft Bakery needs to be on your radar. Don’t let the industrial estate location off St Albans Road fool you – their artisan loaves, baps, open sandwiches, cakes and more are out of this world tasty, which is why they supply bread and cakes to several Michelin-star restaurants. Head straight for the source and have breakfast or lunch at their café, or if you’re in a rush, grab something to go from their shop.