Last updated on January 5, 2024
Bristol is home to some of the UK’s best restaurants, including many that are included in the esteemed Michelin Guide (two even have stars). But the Bristol restaurant scene isn’t all about Michelin-worthy contenders, it’s more characterised by a focus on sustainable, locally sourced food and high end restaurants that retain a casual, neighbourhood feel.
Here I’ve curated a selection of the best Bristol restaurants, from some of the most delicious Indian and Italian food I’ve eaten outside of their home countries, to the very best in modern British cuisine. At the end, some fellow bloggers have also contributed some of their favourites too as there are a few I still need to try!
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Bristol food: 30 of the best restaurants in Bristol | 8 of the best Bristol bakeries | Best places for brunch in Bristol |The best cafes in Bristol | 8 of the best places for speciality coffee in Bristol | Bristol’s best Sunday roasts
The Best Bristol Restaurants
Someone recently asked me if there were any 10/10 restaurants in Bristol and the first one that came to mind was Wilson’s. I can’t imagine anyone going there and being disappointed. The seasonal set menu is uncomplicated and changes regularly. And it’s generally great value for money, especially at lunchtime when you can get a menu da jour and a glass of natural wine for £25, or the full six-course menu for £60.
The focus is on seasonal, fresh produce with many of the ingredients grown, picked or hunted on Jan and Mary’s own plot, just outside the city. They can even tell you who shot the cow. And the restaurant has been awarded a rare Michelin green star to recognise its efforts.
The restaurant itself has a simple, unfussy neighbourhood feel that suits both casual lunches or special occasions. And the service is always friendly, attentive and knowledgable. I recommend doing the wine flight too.
Caper and Cure
Caper and Cure is my go-to restaurant every time a friend comes to visit. I think it showcases the best of Bristol cuisine – an impeccably crafted seasonal menu filled with local produce, and all served in a laid-back, cosy and welcoming restaurant.
There’s a definite mediterranean, and specifically Spanish, influence with starters including padron peppers and boquerones. And the seasonal gnocci is always divine (I struggle to bring myself to order anything different, it’d that good!). And always, always order the truffle fries – no-one regrets it!
The Sunday roasts (including a vegan option) are also among the best in Bristol. And they also serve an excellent brunch on a Saturday.
Bianchi’s Group: Bianchi’s, Pasta Ripiena, Pazzo and Cotto
Ever since the original Pasta Loco opened, cousins Dominic and Ben of the Bianchi’s Group have been ruling the Italian restaurant scene in Bristol. They followed Pasta Loco with Pasta Ripiena, Bianchi’s, Cotto and Pazzo, all of which are among the best restaurants in Bristol. They often get booked up weeks, if not months, in advance.
Pasta Loco has now closed (along with the sadly short-lived Pizza Bianchi), but Pazzo is the new venture, and the team always seem to have something new brewing too. They even provide sandwiches and sweet treats to some Bristol cafes, including Wogan.
Each restaurant has its own speciality/theme – Pasta Ripiena is for filled pasta, Cotto is for wine and simple, seasonal meals, and Bianchi’s serves classic Italian trattoria fare. While Pazzo has Italian at its heart alongside worldwide influences too. All are A+ and not to be missed. In my opinion, they’re the best Italian restaurants in Bristol.
Cor was an instant hit on the Bristol food scene, even making a debut in the Michelin Guide within a year of opening. Created by husband and wife team, Karen and Mark (Mark being the chef and former head honcho at Gambas), it focuses on small-plate Mediterranean cuisine. But at the heart of it all is community, and the restaurant has a friendly, neighbourhood vibe.
It’s one of our go-to places when we have friends visiting and want to showcase the community, farm-to-table restaurants that define the Bristol scene. Wilsons leads the way, but places like Cor make this type of fine-yet-casual dining accessible to far more people.
I am a huge fan of Jean’s Bistro, which I believe serves up the best Thai food in Bristol. It’s a low-key place on Gloucester Road, BYO for dine-in and collection only for take away. We most often use it for take away as we live nearby and can’t always get a babysitter, but it’s also a cute place to dine-in.
Book ahead as it’s always full! I highly recommend the green curry. Best of all for me, the chefs are happy to omit the fish sauce when you ask (which can’t be said of most Thai restaurants in Bristol).
Serving seasonal tapas with a commitment to sustainability, Poco tapas bar has long been a Stokes Croft favourite. The menu has a focus on freshness and includes Mediterranean influences but with British ingredients.
Some dishes are staples – such as the punched potatoes, which are an absolute must, while others vary with the seasons. It also has a good drinks menu with inventive cocktails and British wines.
On a cosy corner with warm lighting, it’s a lovely place to while a night away enjoying good conversation over a delicious array of tapas.
Bristol has quite a few excellent pizza restuarants and Bosco is one of the best. Serving sumptuous pizzas alongside a menu of Italian mains, appetizers and small plates, such as arancini, ribolitta, and delicious pasta dishes.
The restaurant on Whiteladies Road is stylishly done and a pleasure to eat out at with a premium, food-focused feel. I’m a big fan of the Carciofi pizza with roasted artichokes, taleggio, pecorino, olives, tomato and fior di latte. It’s a contender for the best pizza in Bristol.
The latest addition to the Bosco family is Pizzucci, a casual New York-style pizza bar, serving full pies as well as pizza by the slice. It has more of a party vibe than Bosco, and we love it for casual family meals (the frozen cocktails are also fun!).
Tiny Box-E only holds enough space for 14 people and has a short menu to match, but it’s well worth getting a table at. Headed up by award-winning chef Elliott and his partner Tess, the stripped back décor of the shipping container restaurant is background for the food which takes centre stage.
There tend to be four starters and three mains to choose from, including a veggie, fish and meat option and the menu changes regularly. It’s all quite “fancy”, like a French bistro, but manages to retain a down-to-earth vibe throughout with a focus on excellent produce.
Another option in Wapping Wharf is Root, which has turned the traditional offering on its head and made veggie dishes centre stage with meat available as a side option. It specializes in small plates with vegetabales at centre stage and features dishes such as squash risotto with old Winchester and kale crisps, chicory with candied walnuts, pear and ewe’s curd. The sharing plates make it ideal for a group meal, and it will satisfy both veggies and meat eaters alike.
Hands down the best Mexican restaurant in Bristol, Cargo Cantina is from the dream team behind other Bristol favourites, Bravas, Bakers & Co and Gambas. Like with their other restaurants, they’ve taken a world cuisine inspired by their travels and provided a modern yet authentic take on it. It reminds me of some of the hipster venues we went to in Mexico City. And don’t forget to try some of mezcal too.
The team also used to run Masa +Mezcal, which was my number one fave restaurant in Bristol before it became a casualty of the pandemic. Let’s hope it might return one day.
Hidden in the Bear Pit, one of Bristol less salubrious locations, is Flow, a creative vegetarian restaurant serving locally produced and foraged ingredients.
Dishes are created for sharing and include plates such as chive dumplings, whipped goats cheese, fresh peas, elderflower and fresh basil; and aubergine with sesame, pickled kohlrabi, tahini, peaches and slow cooked chard.
It’s all very delicious and the candle-lit restaurant has a lovely ambience (don’t be put off by its location).
Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Bulrush is a little restaurant hidden on Cotham Road South, serving a high-end eight-course tasting menu that has earned it a Michelin star. It’s a typical Bristol restaurant, the kind that feels like the fruits of a chef’s long-held dream to open their own food-focused place that pushes the envelope and creates something new.
The kinds of dishes you can expect include kohlrabi, with bergamot, salt-baked meat radish and apple; and hay-baked artichoke with BBQ leeks and hay sauce. It’s also incredible value for a Michelin-starred place. Steve and I went there for his birthday and the 10-course vegetarian tasting menu was £70, plus £45 for an optional wine flight (highly recommended!).
Located in the same spot as old favourite, Birch, Sonny Stores has done its predecessor proud and created a similarly high-end neighbourhood restaurant. The menu has an Italian influence, featuring fresh pasta dishes, pizzas and simple specials with a focus on quality produce. It definitely gives Pasta Loco et al a run for their money when it comes to the best pasta in Bristol!
Another new contender for best pasta in Bristol is Little Hollows on Chandos Road. It started as a handmade pasta delivery service but now has its own impressive restaurant.
The menu is a celebration of pasta with perfectly crafted shapes accompanied by often simple, but always delicious, sauces. It reminds me of trattorias in Italy itself and is among the best pasta I’ve ever had (including in Italy!).
Open for lunch and dinner, it can be relied upon for a fantastic meal. A bonus is being able to watch the pasta being made in the shop window. And you can also buy pasta and sauces to take away and compile at home.
Little Hollows was added to the Michelin guide after less than a year of launching, which is testament to its excellence.
Another one from the team behind Cargo Cantina, Bravas is one of Bristol’s best places for tapas. Served in Spanish-style tapas bar on Cotham Hill, it has a convivial, neighbourhood feel, and served all the classics, from tortilla to croquettes. There’s a good amount of veggie dishes too. The same team run Gambas, an equally delicious Spanish restaurant in Wapping Wharf.
Littlefrench is a gorgeous family-run French restaurant in Westbury Park that fast became one of the favourites on the Bristol restaurant scene. Run by Freddy Bird, it serves classic French dishes at sensible prices in a cosy and friendly setting.
Unusually for a French restaurant, vegetarians aren’t left out, as you can see from the dish above (a caramelised chicory, walnut and blue cheese tart).
When Oowee opened in a tiny little space close to my house, it was clear it was going to be a success from week one when the queues were already wild. It seems an extravagant dirty burger joint is exactly what Bristol craved. A few years down the line and the business has expanded to three locations across the city with two of them exclusively specializing in vegan burgers and fast food.
It’s decadent, high-end fast food at its very best – think fries smothered in butter, cheese and marmite, and multi-layer burgers oozing with sauce, hash browns and onion rings. As a vegetarian, it’s an extra special treat as they have so many amazing vegan options. The Beyond Burgers are my favourites and don’t miss out on the dirty fries menu.
Housed in Hamilton House, Stokes Croft’s iconic community space, The Canteen is a bar/café/restaurant and social hub for the famously left-wing area. They serve a seasonal menu, embracing a slow food philosophy of ‘good, clean and fair’, and have won awards for their sustainability efforts. In the evenings, you get a free soup with every main dish, and I’m always impressed by the variety of the dishes on offer.
Example menu items include roasted broccoli jambalya, mussels, and tarragon mushrooms on toast. It’s also great value with mains priced between £5-10. And don’t miss the roast – it’s one of the best in Bristol.
Another top notch pizza place in Bristol is Bertha’s in Wapping Wharf. Specialising in sourdough pizza, Bertha’s prides itself on it dough and a short menu of inventive pizzas. I love The Woods, which comes with mushrooms, onion chutney, smoked almonds and black garlic. While meat eaters tend to rave about the sausagefest.
Bertha’s is in Wapping Wharf, which is home to some of Bristol’s other best restaurants.
Bristol’s second Michelin-star restaurant is Paco Tapas, which is run by chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, one of the brothers behind Casa Mia. It’s next to its sister restaurant, and offers a buzzy, more low-key experience, but with equally excellent food. Expect tapas classics as well as inventive specialities from for forward-thinking chef. They also specialise in sherry, with a carefully selected sherry list and cocktails.
Casa is another restaurant by Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, this one rising from the ashes of the old Casamia, which was once one of the UK’s most top-rated restaurants. Casamia closed due to the difficulties of running such an elite (and high priced) restaurant, so the more casual Casa has arrived in its place. First off though, Casa isn’t really casual. It’s less expensive than Casamia, but the prices are still high and it has the air of fine dining albeit in muted tones. It’s certainly a place reserved for treats, rather than a casual meal.
The menu is Italian with inventive twists on classics. You’re greeted with an incredible crisp semolina puff, filled with parmesan cream, which quite literally melts in the mouth. And the double agnolotti – with different fillings on two sides of a single piece – is exquisite.
We struggled a bit with the service and getting attention for more drinks (which hit harder because we were deep into watching The Bear and in love with Richie’s journey). But we went quite soon after it opened, so I imagine this has ironed out now. It kind of has to to justify the prices.
For Korean food, head to tiny Bokman in Stoke’s Croft. People rave about the chicken and they also do a good veggie selection, incluidng flavourful spicy braised tofu and soondubu stew (soft tofu in a spicy mushroom broth). The soft serve ice cream is also a must.
Tare, also in Wapping Wharf, is a tiny little 20-seat restaurant serving a set 7-course menu (including a veggie option) that change with the seasons. It’s one of those menus where they just list the main ingredients and create something extraordinary from them. It’s £58 for the seven course, which is reasonable considering the quality – it’s the perfect place for a special occasion.
Going for a meal, ideally to celebrate a birthday, at Lona Grill is an unmissable Bristol experience. The Lebaneses restaurant on Gloucester Road serves up feasts of grilled meats, mezze and wraps. Plus it doubles as a juice bar, which sits prominently in the middle of the restaurant, bringing some tropical vibes to the place. Not that it’s dull without it – the whole restaurant sits beneath swatches of colourful fabric, and the heated, covered terrace is decorated with full-size pink trees.
If someone has a birthday (and I’ve never been there without this happening!), at some point a special tune will blare out, a sparkler-laden fancy drink arrives, and all the staff gather round to clap along – it’s quite something!
Note that Lona Grill doesn’t serve alcohol.
Flour and Ash
Flour and Ash is another of Bristol’s best pizza restaurants. It used to be housed in a tiny little shop near Gloucester Road, but has now been upgraded in more ways than one to a spot on Whiteladies Road.
The top notch pizza remains delectable as ever, but the new restaurant has had a complete makeover with many Instagram-worthy touches, including pink hues, terrazo tables, neon signs and an eye-catching striped canopy.
Plus, best of all, they’ve partnered with Hyde & Co to bring you some of Bristol’s best cocktails alongside your pizza. It’s my favourite place to go with a group of friends.
Wine is at the forefront of everything Snobby’s does. They have a well curated selection by the glass, plus an even bigger collection in the cellar – just tell them what you’re looking for. And the menu of Italian-inspired small plates and pizzettas is the ideal accompaniment.
Despite the focus on wine and the name, it’s not snobbish at all, and rather a relaxed, casual place to enjoy cosy evenings with friend. It’s also a gorgeous place to sit out on the terrace on a summer evening, sipping something cool and enjoying some of the small plates.
Best Restaurants in Bristol according to local bloggers
The following restaurants are the contributions from local bloggers. I haven’t been to all of them, but can vouch for The Ethicurean (a firm favourite and ideal for a tea and cake on a sunny afternoon), The Mint Room (amazing Indian food) and The Cauldron (love, love, love the Sunday roast)
By Jenni Sheldon at Travel to Recovery
After my tour in India, I really fell in love with Indian cuisine and it tasted nothing like what I had had back in the UK. That was until I went to the Mint Room in Clifton. The atmosphere is welcoming, and the staff are friendly and really want you to enjoy your meal, offering advice and recommendations.
Everything is cooked to perfection. The quality of the ingredients is so fresh and they even asked you what level of spice you want. I had lamp chops, which were so juicy and full of aromatic spice. Just thinking about it now makes my mouth water. This is now one of my favourite restaurant in Bristol.
[Note from Victoria: This restaurant is seriously good and also offers take-away and lots of inventive veggie dishes. I think it’s the best Indian restaurant in Bristol.]
By Rachel Scott at FoodNerd4Life
Adelina Yard is nestled on the harbour edge, just off from Queen’s Square. On glorious summer days with the sunlight streaming in and the odd paddleboarder floating past, it makes for an ideal setting for a special meal. When visiting we decided on the tasting menu, consisting of nine dishes, and after trying it all I don’t know how I would have been able to pick out one dish only for three courses.
What I like about a tasting menu, is that I think it makes you a bit braver as to what to try as the decision is placed in the chef’s hands. With dishes like Iberico pork, crispy jowl and copa, turnips – pan fried and crispy cake, aged beef fillet, burrata, ponzu, shaved smoked ox heart and black fig with honey truffle ice cream on the menu, you’re in for a special treat that you’ll remember for a long time.
Thanks to Natalie Brereton at Stuffed 265 for first recommending Wilsons.
Also, The Ethicurean and Eat Your Greens, which used to feature on this list, are now closed.
And a few more to consider….
Pasture – I haven’t been here because I’m vegetarian, but I’ve heard it’s a dream for carnivores.
Franco Manca – one of my favourite restaurants from when we lived in London. We watched it grow from a little shop in Brixton to a business with restaurants all over the capital, and now in Bristol. Their sourdough pizzas are reliably delicious and often feature creative toppings that keep things interesting.
Honest Burgers – another favourite from London, I was delighted when they opened a branch in Bristol. The vegetarian Beyond Burger is one of my favourites in Bristol (closely rivalled by Oowee).
Koocha – this casual restaurant serves an impressive array of vegan Persian tapas for cheap prices. It’s not exactly gourmet but it’s good, solid food, perfect for groups.
St.Nicholas Market – atmospheric lunchtime spot in Bristol City Centre’s 300-year-old market. Filled with lunch-time treats, this is the ideal to place to discover some of the city’s most delicious street food. Read more at Joanna Journals.
Otira – this restaurant on Chandos Road was one of the best in Bristol, but closed temporarily during the pandemic and still hasn’t returned. We’re still keeping our fingers crossed it’ll be back one day, but for now it houses Mr Noodle, which is also an excellent choice.
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