Bristol is home to some of the UK’s best restaurants and is home to the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants outside of London. 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 feel.
Here I’ve curated a selection of the best Bristol restaurants, from some of the most delicious Mexican 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!
The Best Bristol Restaurants
Maza + Mezcal
Hands down the best Mexican restaurant in Bristol, Masa + Mezcal is from the dream team behind other Bristol favourites, Bravas, Bakers & Co, Gambas and Cargo Cantina. Like with their other restaurants, they’ve taken a world cuisine inspired by their travels and provided a modern yet authentic take on it. The dishes are best shared, including tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, asado (grilled) and raw dishes. One side of the menu is entirely plant-based. 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 – there are around a hundred varieties to choose from! Maza + Mezcal’s sister Mexican restaurant in Wapping Wharf, Cargo Cantina, is also worthy of this list. They’re both two of the best places to eat in Bristol.
Pasta Ripiena, Pasta Loco, Bianchi’s and La Sorella
Ever since Pasta Loco opened, cousins Dominic and Ben have been ruling the Italian restaurant scene in Bristol. They followed Pasta Loco with Pasta Ripiena and La Sorella, and then Bianchi’s, all of which are four of the very best restaurants in Bristol. They get booked up weeks, if not months, in advance. Each has its own speciality/theme – Pasta Loco in unique and original pasta dishes, Pasta Ripiena in stuffed pasta, La Sorella in lasagna, and Bianchi’s in classic Italian trattoria fare. All are A+ and not to be missed. They’re the best Italian restaurants in Bristol.
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 the area.
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. They also launched a burger take-away menu during lockdown, which includes the famous punched potatoes.
Jamaica Street Stores
Also in Stokes Croft is Jamaica Street Stores, another restaurant specializing in local, seasonal, sustainably focused food (yes, there is a definite theme in Stokes Croft, if not all of Bristol). But instead of crowding the scene, Jamaica Street Stores offers something a bit different with its small plates that can either be shared or enjoyed alone, and its lunch specials, which offer a brilliant deal for high end food at affordable prices. It also serves an incredible roast on Sundays. And the setting, in an old print factory, adds to the occasion, making for a special meal out where you’ll be served some of the best food in Bristol.
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 two restaurants, one on Whiteladies Road and the other in Clifton Village, are 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.
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.
Tiny Box-E only holds enough space for 14 people and has a short menu to match, but is 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 pltes with vegetabales at centre stage and features offerings 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.
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).
Casa Mia is one of Bristol’s Michelin starred restaurant, started by dream team brothers Peter and Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias. Jonray has since sadly died, but the legacy of the restaurant lives on and continues to deliver some of Bristol’s best food. The best option is the 16-course tasting menu, which costs £68, a bargain for such a high-quality restaurant. The menu is filled with inventive dishes that change regularly and the restaurant has won many accolades including being named as one of the best UK restaurants in the prestigious Harden’s Best Restaurant Guide 2019. The same owners also run Paco Tapas which is next door to Casa Mia and also has a Michelin star.
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 very good value for a Michelin-starred place.
Birch opened to critical acclaim and was then sold and taken over in 2018 after the owners opted for a quieter country life. It was a difficult bar to meet, but the new incarnation lives up to its predecessor, serving a seasonal, small plate menu of both British and international cuisine. Example dishes include pan fried scallops, parsnip puree, spinach and sherry caramel; and saffron tagliatelle, peas, broad beans, baby artichokes and gremolata. It’s in Southville in South Bristol and one of Bristol’s best examples of its friendly neighbourhood style-restaurants, offering impressively high-end fare.
The Pony and Trap
Just outside Bristol in Chew Magna is the acclaimed pub restaurant, The Pony and Trap – so good it even has a Michelin star. Channelling the magnificence of the land and views around it, the restaurant serves a high-end menu filled with local produce. The Sunday Roast is legendary, and it’s a true destination restaurant with people travelling from all over the country to go there. It was named the best pub in England in 2018.
Best Restaurants n 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 Caper and Cure (one of my favourite locals), The Ethicurean (another favourite and ideal for a tea and cake on a sunny afternoon), The Cauldron (love, love, love the Sunday roast) and The City Farm Cafe (down-to-earth, cute cafe fare).
Caper and Cure
By Beth Obsborne
A wander around Stokes Croft is never complete for me without a visit to Caper and Cure. The cafe prides itself on its relaxed informal atmosphere serving imaginative seasonal dishes using local ingredients. I find it to be extremely friendly, cosy and welcoming, and the carefully chosen music playlist adds to the overall ambiance. I have particularly enjoyed working my through the brunch menu. One of my personal favourites is the spiced avocado on toast with poached egg and romesco, sometimes choosing to add crispy Serrano ham as a side. I recommend you also sample the renowned truffle chips (£3.50) you won’t be disappointed! Sunday roasts come as a choice of three, including a vegan option, all served with potatoes seasonal vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and gravy. Open weekdays from Wednesday to Sunday for brunch, lunch and dinner. Caper and Cure serve high quality creative dishes in a friendly, welcoming environment.
Eat Your Greens
By Lottie Storey at Oyster and Pearl, a Bristol lifestyle blog
For a city as, well, Bristol as Bristol, there are surprisingly few vegan restaurants. According to the Happy Cow app, Eat Your Greens is one of just 18 completely meat- and dairy-free establishments in the city, but its place at the top of the tree is well won. Run by Babs Greaves, Eat Your Greens is a charming, neighbourhood cafe serving brunch/lunch by day and offering more restaurant-style dining by night. But what they’re best known for is impeccable Sunday roasts, served all afternoon to a limited number of lucky diners. Roasts are just traditional enough to sate your end-of-weekend hangover while also bringing fresh, seasonal veg to life in such clever ways. Side order highlight is the cauliflower cheese and you can never go wrong at a place offering multiple mustards. And the desserts? Make sure you leave room. Here, eating your greens is vastly more treat than chore
By Laura Oxley at She Who Wanders
Set in a stunning west country location just outside of Bristol, The Ethicurean is an ethically conscious restaurant in the most beautiful of settings. With its walled garden, incredible veggie patches and a patio perfect for the sunniest of afternoons, this restaurant is a must visit for anyone with a love of food. The menu varies depending on the season as most of the produce is grown on-site. Menu items include crispy rabbit, venison, haggis croquettes, and salted beetroot pickles, just to name a few. And there’s a set tasting menu with accompanying wine pairings. Celebrating local British products, knowledgeable staff and a menu that will have you coming back again and again, The Ethicurean should be top of anyone’s list when it comes to visiting Somerset County.
[Note from Victoria: I LOVE this restaurant so much. It’s my number one place to go for a special occasion meal in Bristol]
By Sarah Ingram
Located on one of the best culinary roads in Bristol, Otira is an absolute food lovers dream. Run by Kiwi-born Graham and his lovely wife Kathryn, this quaint restaurant on Chandos Road is named after a small town near where Graham lived in NZ.
The interior is beautiful and cosy and split into two halves: Chandos Social, which serves delicious wine and tapas, and the dining room, which has a more rustic and natural vibe.
It’s clear that the New Zealand influence goes into everything they create in the kitchen, but even extends into the bathrooms where you can hear the sound of birds chirruping.
The food is refined, serving up taster menus on weekdays, where you can expect dishes like salsify with shitake, XO and confit yolk, or monkfish baked in kombu, monks beard, sprouts and herb jus. Whereas on the weekends, their ‘brunch’ menu will delight you with the choice of Argentinian breakfasts, or a full on Sunday Roast – yes, a roast is on the brunch menu and their slow cooked meats are a thing of glory.
If you haven’t tried their food yet, I couldn’t recommend it more.
By Natalie Brereton at Stuffed 265
Simple. Beautiful. Delicious. The menu is uncomplicated and changes regularly, with three dishes to choose from for each course. The ingredients used have either been grown, picked or hunted on Jan and Mary’s own plot, just outside of the city. Indulge in the tasting menu or choose from the courses. Produce here is the freshest it can be, served with Jan’s imaginative flair. The restaurant is unfussy and simple; the perfect setting for a long lunch or a stunning dinner.
By Natalie Brereton at Stuffed 265
The Cauldron is one of Bristol’s most ground breaking restaurants. With no gas supply, everything here is cooked over fire and all of the produce/suppliers are located nearby (when I said ‘nearby’ I mean literally across the road). It’s definitely a different way to enjoy dinner, with the quirky restaurant and relaxed atmosphere; however, head chef Henry is doing incredible things in the kitchen and the menus change regularly with his ideas and the seasons. They do an amazing two meals for £20 during the week, as well as brunch and their famous Sunday roasts. My top tip? Order a portion of chips.. the best in the city!
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.
By Kim Luscombe at The Adventure to Me
With a focus on using locally sourced produce, The Cowshed in Clifton bases its menus around the British seasons, which means the main menu changes throughout the year.
They’re best known for their incredible steaks which tend to be associated with a higher price. However, The Cowshed has a set lunch menu and an early bird deal which are both available throughout the week at unbelievable prices. Although beef is their bread and butter, The Cowshed offer vegetarian options and an incredible list of desserts.
Their Sunday Roast is one you cannot miss. Served on a sharing board for the whole table, your choice of meat or vegetarian alternative is served with garlic roast potatoes, a Yorkshire pudding (whether you have beef or not!) and veggies. It’s a must if you’re looking for a great roast. It’s one of the best restaurants in Clifton.
New Moon on the Quay
By Charlotte Swinnerton at The Millennial Runaway
Bristol Harbourside’s New Moon on the Quay is the new tapas on the block! Local produce and seasonal ingredients are commonplace for Bristol independents, but New Moon on the Quay has a specials board like no other. Stopping in the ports of the world, head chef TK explores a different country’s cuisine each month to recreate its iconic dishes – from Ethiopia to Bulgaria, Philippines to Canada, Lapland to Morocco, no place is out of bounds. Beyond its global meanderings are its European and Asian standard menu that offers sumptuous dishes with perfect pairings. The menu is designed in such a way that guests are teased into a pleasurable social experience, and so cosy is the interior, it’s almost as if you hired a personal chef in your own home. So if you’re looking for a personal dining experience, I recommend you get down to Hannover Quay pronto!
St Nicholas Market
By Joanna Cunningham at Joanna Journals
St. Nicholas’ Market is one of the most atmospheric lunchtime spots in Bristol City Centre. Tucked away behind the offices and hustle and bustle of the main centre, you’ll find the cobbled streets of Bristol’s 300-year-old market. Filled with lunch-time treats, this is the ideal to place to discover some of the most delicious street food. Some of my favourites include:
- Eat a Pitta: this is one of the healthiest, but probably the most filling, of the lot. You’ll basically get a huge bowl of different salads, topped with homemade hummus and falafel. It’s heavenly.
- Low and Slow: the most delicious slow-roasted meat, including pulled pork and beef, alongside two sides of your choice – salad, chips, mac and cheese, or coleslaw – topped with jalapenos and a delicious sauce of your choice. Absolutely to die for.
- Caribbean Wrap: finally, this spicy Jamaican place creates delicious jerk chicken and beef wraps, filled with meaty concoctions. Perfect to clear those sinus’!
The City Farm Café
By Jade Page at The Breakfast Page
The City Farm Café at Windmill Hill City Farm is the perfect option for a family friendly breakfast or lunch. The Café has everything you need to cater for babies and young children, with highchairs, books to keep kids occupied and an outside enclosed play area with seating. The menu also has great options for kids including snack plates.
Where possible, produce from the farm is used in the café and the rest of the ingredients are carefully selected and ethically sourced. The great quality produce means the food is always good. I would recommend the full English breakfast, which is absolutely delicious. There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.
The café also sells produce from the farm and other local producers so you can have a visit to the farm and play areas, some great food and a shop.
And a few more to consider….
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).
Giggling Squid – this is quite a big chain so I’m somewhat reluctant to include it on the list, but the thing is, the food is really good and it’s the best Thai I’ve found in Bristol.
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.