Best Bristol Restaurants and Places To Eat in Bristol

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Best restaurants in Bristol


Across several much-loved Bristol restaurants, including their eponymous flagship, the Bianchi family is an energetic proponent of modern Italian food. Cotto is steeped in tradition: old family recipes, cooking research in Padova, sourcing trips to storied Tuscan butchers. But it is colourfully innovative, too – for example, in its artichoke fritti with mint and hot honey or its Loco carbonara. Originally a cult hit at a previous Bianchi restaurant, Pasta Loco, a recently revived carbonara – which takes several days to make – arrives as a plate of saucy spaghetti and fennel sausage, topped with a slab of slow-cooked, crispy pork belly and a pancetta-wrapped poached egg.

Paco Tapas

Peter Sanchez-Inglesias’ buzzy Michelin-starred tapas bar brings the finest Andalusian tapas and a carefully crafted sherry list to Bristol’s harbourside. Start with a glass of cava as you work your way through the ever-changing menu: a perfectly golden tortilla Española oozes like a poached egg, and the signature jamon croquetas live up to the hype. Charred piparra peppers – an intriguing alternative to padrón – are sweet and mild, or hot and peppery, and veggie diners will swoon over the corn-on-the-cob, coated in a devilled mayonnaise and topped with manchego shavings. There is meat aplenty, too, from presa Iberia and duroc pork ribs to Cornish lamb rump, and those eyeing the seafood will be pleased to know it arrives fresh the night before. Take your pick from the Spanish wine offering or sip on a negroni bianco – a softer, less bitter cocktail than the traditional. The newly added Pedro Ximenez flan – a light, silky and boozy crème caramel – marks an elegant finish to an extraordinary lunch.

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A selection of meat, veg and bread dishes at Paco Tapas, served with a bottle of red wine on a wooden table


Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias goes back to his roots with a casual Italian dining spot on the Bristol harbourside site of his family’s original restaurant, Casamia. Rosemary gnocchi, braised beef cheek and tiramisu grace the menu alongside daily specials, a wine list celebrating Italian grape varieties and cocktails such as the Joegroni sbagliato.

Peter Sanchez Iglesia stood outside his restaurant, Casa


Fans of Bar Buvette – the space’s previous incarnation – will notice a lighter and brighter décor at Marmo. With a mosaic beneath your feet as you enter, there’s herringbone hardwood floors, cream wood panelling on the walls framed by vino-inspired prints, vast windows and an open-plan kitchen and bar. With such a short menu that’s so well priced – the team at Marmo have made life easier by removing the need for decision making. Simply order it all.

Mussels arrive soft, plump and drunk on West Country nectar (aka cider), their liquor moreishly sweet, saline and mellow from tender shredded leek. Delica pumpkin (so favoured by chefs thanks to its concentrated pumpkin flavour) sings of the season, parcelled up in ravioli, bathed in sage-scented butter, and topped with toasted walnuts. Pork collar, with smashed chickpeas, chard, raisins and pine nuts, is a last-minute substitution for pork belly – Cosmo orders in a whole pig at the start of the week, working his way through the animal with each menu iteration – but doesn’t suffer for it, achieving a golden crust and a blushing, juicy heart.

A white bowl filled with open mussels

Sonny Stores

Chef-owner Pegs Quinn is ex-River Café and cooks with seasonal, produce-led rigour. Expect elevated plates of, perhaps, farinata (chickpea flour flatbread) with charred Friggitelli sweet peppers and borlotti, or pappardelle with chicken livers. Mains from £12;

The exterior of sonny stores in Bristol


In a laid-back, residential corner of Bristol, Wilsons is a quietly ambitious kitchen producing delicious British food in a smart, sustainable way.

You’ve heard of nose to tail, probably even root to fruit, but how about fin to fin? Work your way through the food menu at Wilson’s, and you’ll notice a theme – every part of every ingredient is used. An architectural stack of over-caramelised (purposely), crunchy crusted rye bread arrives with whipped turbot roe, brawn made from the turbot head, and a pure, dashi-like turbot bone broth, alongside the usual pat of butter. (The fish later appears again with pretty borage flowers and snails bathed in borage oil.)

Ingredients are hyper seasonal, and restrained but refined dishes are designed to shout about it. On our visit, a rainbow of Isle of Wight tomatoes the size of giant marbles are painstakingly peeled, and come bobbing around in silky dill oil, before being submerged in a delicate elderflower-scented consommé.

A towering pale pink souffle with a quenelle of pink sorbet on top


Freddy Bird’s family-run restaurant in Westbury Park serves up hearty, regional French dishes which deliver on every level. With a menu of snacks, starters, mains, sharers and sides, you get the feeling Freddy’s trying to feed you up. Let him. A ‘snack’ of chargrilled baby monkfish is the juiciest we’ve ever tried, served with sauce vierge, fresh basil and a decent thwack of woodsmoke. We down massive oysters with shallot vinegar for a saline hit, seriously good olives sweet with garlic and rosemary, and creamy fizz from the Loire.

A white plate topped with scallops in their shells


A painted Bell’s Diner & Bar Rooms sign still exists above the door at this famed Montpelier restaurant site, taken on by Dominic Borel and Ben Harvey to turn into a traditional Italian trattoria.

Interiors include bottle-green banquettes and wood panelling, crisp white tablecloths, and a modern geometric print in the bar – and there’s a mix of bookable tables and those reserved for walk-ins. There’s a suitably grown-up nod to the restaurant’s Italian roots right from the off, with a bitter aperitivo list (negronis, Aperol and Campari spritzes, vermouth and tonics), and plenty of Italian wines, but there are also a few curveballs to look out for – including an Essex pinot blanc, an Austrian orange wine and a trendy Greek red.

When it comes to the food, the team goes further than the pasta-centric offerings at its other sites. The menu – divided into cured, raw, antipasti, primi (showcasing their pasta-making skills) and secondi sections – makes the most of local West Country producers: think braised quail with pancetta, coco blanc, turnip and girolle agrodolce; and roast hake with Dorset clams and baby fennel. The kitchen is headed up by Pegs Quinn, who boasts the River Café on his CV.


Once an engineer for the McLaren Formula 1 team, Graham Faragher and his wife, Kate, started Bertha’s as a street-food business, serving pizzas from a converted canary-yellow Land Rover Defender before opening a bricks-and-mortar pizzeria in Bristol’s burgeoning harbourside food quarter. For Graham, it’s all about a long fermentation for the sourdough – at Bertha’s, it’s between three and five days – and seasonal South West ingredients for the toppings.

A large pizza oven with a pizza cooking inside


Café by day, tapas joint by night, ethically focused Poco is a long-time member of the thriving indie community of Bristol, with food and drink menus featuring seasonal, British and often organic produce. The varied but cohesive collection of small plates (which is chalked up on the back wall alongside the producers whose ingredients it stars) is illustrative of Ian’s imagination and skill.

Sweetcorn fritters are far more exciting than the image they conjure, and come loaded with jalapeño and rich crumbs of chocolate to offset that sweetness. Each is sat on an aioli-topped kohlrabi slice, for wrapping it in, taco-style. Cornish hake, dusted with kelp powder, is cooked with real care; the soft flesh falls away in thick, moist flakes at the mere suggestion of a fork, and slips into the silky oyster mayonnaise it’s partnered with.

Poco, Bristol: Restaurant Review


This modern British restaurant in the Cotham area of the city quickly made an impression on locals thanks to the clever cooking, interesting techniques (they’re big fans of fermentation) and bold flavour pairings from 30-year-old chef George Livesey. Originally from the Peak District, George has worked at St. John, for Dan Cox (executive chef of Fera at Claridge’s), and White Rabbit in Dalston before deciding to head West.

His menus champion the produce of the region, including all the foraged ingredients he can get his hands on (from fiddlehead ferns and pine, to juniper and sea kale). With personable and passionate service, a cracking cocktail menu that complements the food, and sterling cooking coming out of the tiny kitchen.

Cured Mackerel Recipe With Tomato Consommé
Click here for Bulrush’s cured mackerel recipe with tomato consommé


Root is a veggie-focussed restaurant in Bristol’s Wapping Wharf development. Plants hang in the floor-to-ceiling windows, glossy green tiles line the walls between licks of purple paint and crates of fresh produce sit beneath a blackboard of specials. The kitchen is open, in every sense – chefs chat to diners across the bar.

Designed to be gentle on the environment, the one-sheet menu of small plates is proudly almost all veggie, with just a few select meat and fish dishes. The drinks list features natural and biodynamic wines, as well as local Somerset brandy.

Cauliflower Steak, Root restaurant

Pasta Ripiena

Pasta Ripiena is the sister restaurant to the popular Pasta Loco. To keep things seasonal, the restaurant gets two weekly deliveries from the Milan fruit and vegetable market. This produce ends up in a range of dishes, particularly stuffed pasta, which is made on site every day. Typical main courses include tortellini of salt marsh lamb, artichoke barigoule, pancetta and ricotta salata, and ravioli of beef shin ragu, crispy coppa, chard and pedro ximénez.

Dominic says: “You’ll find Joe rolling five different styles of stuffed pasta between the end of lunch service and dinner – the PX sherry jus on the beef ragu is sticky, sweet, rich and just plain naughty!”

Bristol Lido

Do a few lengths in the restored Victorian pool to sharpen your appetite then enjoy a two-course poolside lunch at Bristol Lido (Oakfield Place). Chef Freddy Bird’s must-eat dishes (click here to make his recipes at home) include wood-roast scallops with herb and garlic butter and his salted butter caramel ice cream. Downstairs offers tapas. Booking essential.

Baharat-spiced lamb, hummus, pine nuts, raisins and flatbreads

River Station

Bag a table by the window (or on the terrace) in the glass-fronted River Station (The Grove) to catch the action in the harbour. Go all out in the smart upstairs restaurant with mains such as roast hake with parmesan crust and cannellini beans, the two-course set lunch in the relaxed downstairs café-bar is a bargain.

Koocha Mezze Bar

Koocha Mezze Bar is a Persian, all-vegan cocktail and mezze bar with a contagiously sparky, easy-going spirit, in Bristol’s independent quarter. Run by long-time vegetarian turned vegan, Noda Marvani, Koocha’s bold, all-black exterior hints at the snug, stylish space within. There are also bright blue picnic tables on the patio outside for warmer days but Koocha’s brought the outdoors in, too; festoon lighting against a dark ceiling makes for an atmospheric, dining-under-the-stars feel. The menu’s short and sweet, with one page for mezze, mains, sides and desserts then another for drinks — including plenty of vegan cocktails and signature G&Ts. Menu highlights include the koopa – earthy rice balls, deep-fried and loaded with cinnamon and turmeric – and spiced, slow-roasted cauliflower teamed with saffron yogurt and pomegranate seeds. Almost everything here is made from scratch (including the seitan used in the kebabs) and what Koocha don’t make themselves they look to the Bristol community to supply. Desserts are brought in from Elspeth’s Kitchen — a vegan, gluten-free bakery down the road from the restaurant — and bread’s sourced from Bristol-based Abunoor Pitta Factory.


Located in smart Clifton, Nutmeg serves up seriously delicious Indian cuisine (read our guide to some of the best Indian restaurants in the UK here). With its buzzy, welcoming atmosphere, this restaurant doesn’t mind if you’re dressed up or down, but the dishes are certainly special enough for a celebration.

In its dishes, decor and demeanour, Nutmeg is wonderfully colourful. Street-art-style murals on the walls are pure Bristol, while wooden floors and red banquettes add polish. Owner Raja Munuswamy and head chef Arvind Pawar source ingredients from local indie suppliers, including Ruby and White butchers and Bristol Sweet Mart. While the tasting menu focuses on one region at a time (on our visit the northern region of Kashmir), cycling quarterly to keep things fresh, the à la carte features flavours inspired by all 29 of India’s states.

After a tray of well-balanced homemade chutneys, the amuse bouche of golgappa puri – a traditional street snack of deep-fried tried filled with tamarind water, chilli, chaat masala and chickpea – proved to be one of the standouts of the night. We also found ourselves particularly enamoured with the main course’s yakhni gosht – rich, slow-cooked lamb that was moreishly tender, warm with ginger and cumin and cooled with a hung yoghurt sauce. Paired with a fruity pinot noir rosé, the pudding rounded the evening off beautifully; a deliciously syrupy jalebi acted as the perfect foil to a fragrant ball of homemade rose kulfi ice cream.

A bowl of prawns in an orange sauce at Nutmeg Bristol


For a pre-dinner bite, cross Whiteladies Road to small, buzzy Bravas (7 Cotham Hill), which, with its exposed brick walls and hessian coffee sacks, could be a backstreet tapas bar in Spain. Make sure you try the lamb à la plancha with hazelnut and parsley salsa or the tortilla with homemade aïoli.


For a sit-down Sunday lunch with friends and family, Bocabar is a Bristol institution (though it’s just as good on other days of the week too). There’s a local, sustainable ethos running through the menu; fish and meat dishes often list the farm or fishmonger those scallops, roast pork or lamb come from. It’s a great option for kids: the relaxed vibe means there are plenty of child-friendly sharing platters stocked with West Country cheeses and meats.

Wood-fired pizzas and Sunday roasts are other classic menu items here (though it’s also the kind of place you could just drop into for coffee and order some toast for the kids). And the large space and laid-back vibe makes it a breezy, chilled out place to be with children, where you don’t feel you’re impinging on other diners.

Best cafés and coffee shops in Bristol

Ahh Toots

Tables are much sought after at this cool and cosy bakery-café, where, behind that historic Tudor façade, owners, Tam Galliford and Amy Symonds, create ace celebration cakes and lush afternoon teas. Sandwiches and unusually interesting scones (sour cherry and toasted pumpkin seed, for example) are followed by a variety of modish bakes, such as thyme and sea salt chocolate cookies or lemon mascarpone choux buns. Tam and Amy like to use products from fellow Bristol indies, such as Circumstance Distillery’s whiskey in their white chocolate truffles. Their house coffee blend was created with Radical Roasters.

Farro, Bristol

Bradley Tapp is so committed to exceptional bread that he stone-grinds half of Farro’s flour on site using an imported granite mill. The grains used include the ancient wheats emmer, spelt and einkorn – collectively known as farro. Grinding and sifting UK whole grains in this way, Bradley is able to retain varying proportions of the flavour-packed wheat germ and bran in his flours, and use them at their freshest. “Much like coffee, as soon as grain is milled it starts to lose flavour compounds,” he explains. Farro’s pastries are thoughtful and creative, not least Bradley’s West Country take on Brittany’s kouign amann: “In essence, a salty, sweet, caramelised croissant, filled with Bramley apple butter. It’s got serious tarte tatin energy.” Limited seating, mainly takeaway. Instagram @farrobakery

Hero bakes: emmer sourdough; einkorn loaf; pastéis de nata; West Country queen; chocolate babka.

Star shaped pastries at Farro bakery in Bristol

Hart’s Bakery

The queues snaking out the door tell you all you need to know about Hart’s Bakery. Set under the arches at Bristol Temple Meads railway station, swing by for epic sausage rolls and Saturday Bread.

Hart's Bakery, Bristol

Two Day Coffee Roasters

As unpretentious as coffee shops get, Two Day Coffee Roasters sells an impressive selection of beans by weight, as well as cups of coffee to go (there are no seats). The Bristol coffee scene may have grown over the past few years, but these guys were right there at the start.

For more coffee shop suggestions from the UK’s top baristas, click here…

Primrose Café

Ease yourself into the day with brunch at one of Bristol’s longest-standing food institutions, the Primrose Café (Clifton Arcade, 1 Boyce’s Avenue). Go for the All-In-Two cooked breakfast, haddock fish cakes, or a slab of its legendary chocolate and salted caramel cake.


Transport yourself to the Med at Papadeli (84 Alma Road), a deli-cum-café-cum cookery school whose ‘papa’ is affable ex-chef Simon MacDonnell. If you’re staying beyond the weekend, book onto a weekday evening cooking class. Otherwise, devour a chocolate brownie in the café or snap up a Sorelle Nurzia Italian Easter Colomba cake in the deli.

Spicer & Cole

Amble back into classy Clifton for tea at Spicer & Cole, the antidote to faceless coffee shop chains. Ingredients are locally sourced and the sandwiches and cakes are handmade on site. The carrot cake is addictive.

Mark’s Bread

You can spot the queues long before you reach Mark Newman’s artisan bakery (291 North Street) on the popular North Street. Bag a loaf of his sourdough, still warm from the ovens behind the counter, or settle down with a paper and croque Monsieur in the café next door.

Best bars and pubs in Bristol

Hyde & Co

Round off an evening with a cocktail at Hyde & Co (2 The Basement, Upper Byron Place), Bristol’s prohibition-style bar. We recommend a Stroll in the Grounds; Somerset cider brandy shaken with sloe gin and lavender sherbet, topped with Camel Valley fizz.

Green Man

Tucked away in tranquil Kingsdown, the cosy Green Man (21 Alfred Place) could almost be in a Somerset village. Savour a pre-dinner pint of Bristol Best, made with British malt and hops by Westcountry brewers Dawkins (who own the pub). If you’re not booked elsewhere for dinner, the home-cooked food is good too.

Best food and drink shops in Bristol

The Bristol Cheesemonger

Shopping in a shipping container is cool, right? Literally in the case of The Bristol Cheesemonger, since the space is also refrigerated; proprietor Rosie Morgan sells excellent More Wine bag-in-box wine and the most marvellous array of British cheeses, including an awesome trio of cheddars (when in the West Country…).

The Cheesemonger, Bristol

Bristol Sweet Mart

Head to Easton (east of Bristol city centre) to find Bristol Sweet Mart, a glorious South Asian emporium where you can buy anything from tiffin boxes to bunches of herbs, chutneys, fresh pickles, pulses and grains (make sure to nose through the gargantuan selection of spices).

Wai Yee Hong

Apart from having one of the funniest Twitter profiles out there, Wai Yee Hong is a behemoth of a Chinese supermarket, requiring a whole day to fully explore its shelves. Charge round with a shopping trolley stocking up on all things Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai.

St Nicholas’ Market

Soak up the atmosphere at St Nicholas’ Market (Corn Street) which offers everything from wheatgrass juice to handmade Pieminister pies (try the Heidi with Somerset goat’s cheese), and pulled pork sandwiches from Grillstock Smokeshack. At the gorgeous Source food hall & café, grab a Gloucester Old Spot sausage roll or stock up on local goodies.

Reg the Veg

Take your pick from the veg-laden cart outside another Bristol stalwart, Reg the Veg greengrocers (6 Boyce’s Avenue). Reg has moved on and it’s now run by John Hagon and son Tom. Vegetables come from nearby Failand or in the case of asparagus, the Wye Valley. There’s Bradley’s apple juice and Ooh! Chocolata bars made in Nailsea too.

Foodie neighbourhood to explore: Whapping Wharf

The Whapping Wharf area is a must visit when exploring Bristol. Located on Bristol’s floating harbour, it offers an eclectic mix of local independent shops, street food and restaurants to discover. CARGO is a section of the wharf made entirely of converted shipping containers and now full of foodie hotspots – enjoy tacos at Cargo Cantina or sushi and Japanese tapas at Seven Lucky Gods. Salt & Malt is a petite fish bar found on Bristol’s harbourside. The batter recipe for their fish and chips took nine months to fine-tune, resulting in a bubbled, golden finish and satisfying crunch on our whole-tail Scottish scampi and large haddock. Order a side of sourdough and butter generously and build your own, grown-up version of a fish-finger sandwich (that excellent curry sauce will come in handy here). Load your butty with juicy scampi bites and the occasional chip, slather with sauce and tuck in.

In the Gaol Ferry Steps area, Calypso Kitchen brings Caribbean flavours with a colourful, industrially stark décor that’s not trying too hard, and dishes that bring traditional Barbadian flavours sizzling to life, it’s a natural fit to the group of vibrant new restaurants and bars here.

Where to stay in Bristol

The Artist Residence

Looking for a place to stay in Bristol? The unstoppable Artist Residence team has restored a Georgian townhouse, previously an old boot factory, right by Bristol’s eclectic city centre. Loft rooms have standalone bathtubs, whilst the luxurious Lookout room on the top floor is spread over two levels with a private terrace for views over the city.

Doubles from £154, check availability at or

Words by Claire Thomson (Bristol-based chef and the author of three cookbooks), Mark Taylor, Rosie Sharratt, Tory Parks, Kate Authers and Helen Salter

Photography by Sam Gibson, Mike Lusmore, Getty, Kirstie Young

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