Looking for the best restaurants in Bristol? Who better to guide you than one of the city’s favourite chefs? Freddy Bird, executive chef of The Lido Bristol, the Glassboat and Three Brothers Burgers, gives us his favourite places to eat out in Bristol.
‘I was born and raised in Bristol but moved to London to gain some experience at The Square and Moro – where my love for cooking over fire was born. I returned to Bristol in 2008 to head up the kitchen at The Lido and have been lucky enough to experience the amazing renaissance of food culture in this great city. Although there are many new places opening up all the time, there are a few places around that I keep coming back to time and time again.’
‘I’m a huge coffee drinker so I’ve got to start my day with one (or three). The coffee scene in Bristol is really booming and you can find great coffee all over the city now. We use Bristol-locals Extract coffee at the Lido so I’m partial to seeing where they pop up next – favourites are Spicer and Cole in Clifton Village and Hart’s Bakery at Temple Meads. Hart’s do the most amazing pastry selection too so if I’m feeling peckish I’d find it difficult to turn down their layered pastries.’
Freddy’s Pick: The Best Restaurants in Bristol
Wallfish Bistro is a great place for lunch (and dinner). Flawless cooking without any fuss. Oysters, snails, turbot, cote de boeuf. Simple ingredients cooked perfectly and great wine on offer, too.
Bellita is a beautiful little bar with food and amazing drinks. Their approach to food is relaxed and they do some absolutely cracking seafood small plates.
Bravas is a wonderful tapas place started by an old sous-chef of mine at the Lido, Imogen and her partner Kieran. The tapas-style of eating is quite big in the city – we have a daily changing menu at the Lido. At Bravas there’s always delicious sherry, food and service – I really like their open kitchen which provides a buzzing atmosphere.
CARGO down on Wapping Wharf is a great place to grab some amazing smaller bites to go or to take home with a bottle of wine or cider – I enjoy the tacos at Cantina (the new little sister of Bravas), a block of local cheese or two at The Bristol Cheesemonger and freshly made baos at Woky Ko.
The Mayflower is my favourite pit-stop after a long service. Open until 3am and situated under the bus station, it’s location only adds to its charm and the most delicious and authentic Chinese food. I regularly order their chili squid, steamed tripe and ginger or crispy fried pig’s intestines – I know they sound a bit off the wall but they are seriously amazing.
And here are some of our favourites…
For a really good brunch, head to Rosemarino, a bright and airy award-winning Italian restaurant located in pretty Clifton. Their all-day breakfast menu features classic brunch dishes cooked to perfection: Eggs Benedict, spicy Shakshouka and fan favourite ‘Tommy’s 1 Pan’: ham hock with chopped sausage, onions, mushrooms and potatoes, cooked with eggs and served with toasted focaccia. It’s also a lovely dinner spot – the menu changes every day but it’s generally vegetarian friendly, making the most of local, fresh and seasonal produce. Staple dishes include risottos, pasta, gnocchi, homemade bread and antipasti platters designed for sharing.
Originally a food truck in Glastonbury, Thali Cafe now have a number of restaurants dotted around Bristol. Authentic Indian dishes are served ‘Thali’ style: a way of eating in India where a selection of dishes are served on one big steel plate. Fan favourites include the Goan fish curry, a crispy paneer dish and the spinach daal, served with fresh spinach and a handful of aubergine curry. Fresh ingredients, great flavours, colourful decor and a relaxed atmosphere. Branches in Clifton, Easton, Montpelier, Southville and Totterdown.
Hidden away in a basement below The Commercial Rooms on Corn Street is The Ox, a stylish and intimate restaurant in the heart of the city. As the name suggests, the menu features good quality, perfectly cooked meat, with prime focus on juicy steaks from the local butcher’s Buxton of Winterbourne. Cousin of popular bars Hyde & Co, Milk Thistle and Pata Negra, The Ox has an impressive cocktail menu too. Go for the early evening deal (Monday-Saturday 5-7pm), where you can enjoy a a 6oz rump steak, fries, sauce and a glass of house wine all for just £12.50.
Hailed one of Bristol’s best tapas bars, Pata Negra offers a top combination of delicious food, good wine and a great atmosphere. Located in the heart of the Old City, it’s the kind of stylish and buzzing spot you could chance upon in Barcelona, with an ever-changing menu offering a selection of seasonal small plates including seafood, vegetarian dishes and desserts. A popular spot for after work drinks, weekend lunches and relaxed evening dining.
A great pizza spot on Whiteladies Road where you can watch your Neapolitan style pizza pizza being cooked on a wood-fired oven.
Opened in September 2012 by chef James Wilkins and wife Christine Vayssade, Wilks gained a Michelin star after just one year. Food is seasonal, inspired by James and Christine’s travels, and the restaurant itself is relaxed yet elegant. Go here on a Sunday afternoon for a stellar roast.
A firm favourite with students and locals alike, Boston Tea Party recently became the first cafe to ban single use coffee cups. They have various branches across Bristol and Bath, but their flagship on Park Street is our favourite – the tiered garden is a dream during the summer months.
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