A guide on where to eat and drink in Bristol
PUBLISHED: 16:50 21 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:51 21 May 2018
From boutique eateries to Britain’s biggest restaurant, in the city you’ll also find a full line-up of foodie festivals, street food markets, Michelin-starred restaurants, pool-side dining and a trendy cluster of restaurants next to the Harbourside
Cargo at Wapping Wharf is an exciting foodie haven of independent traders based in a number of re-purposed shipping containers, with Bristol’s Floating Harbour as a backdrop. Here you’ll find vegetarian restaurant Root and Salt & Malt (serving gluten-free fish and chips) - both ventures from local chef Josh Eggleton, who has made his mark with the Michelin-starred Pony & Trap in Chew Magna. Cargo favourite Woky Ko is the first Bristol venture for former Masterchef finalist, Larkin Cen, who is about to open a new restaurant at the top of Park Street.
Eating out in Clifton remains a popular choice for those looking to dine among the elegant Georgian architecture. The Ivy Clifton Brasserie, in the heart of beautiful Clifton Village, is the first establishment from The Ivy Collection outside of London.
Enjoy hearty British food at The Clifton Sausage or enjoy the freshest seasonal ingredients at The Cowshed. The Ox steak and cocktail restaurant (in Clifton and the Old City) never fail to impress with their immaculately cooked food, prohibition style and great service. A truly unique experience awaits at The Lido restaurant which sits in an old viewing gallery overlooking the open-air pool.
The Old City
Take a stroll through the heart of Bristol’s Old City and discover St Nicholas Market, an award-winning market where inventive street food vendors like Pieminister and Eat a Pitta gather under one glass roof, meaning there’s no shortage of eating options. Source Café, adjacent to the market, is one of the best independent food retailers in Bristol, offering strictly seasonal food.
Over on historic Corn Street is The Jetty at Harbour Hotel, a stylish venue set in a former banking hall. Treat yourself to a spa day package and you can finish your subterranean pampering session with lunch in the restaurant.
From the quirky to highly traditional, there are many fine places in Bristol to partake in this British tradition. For a more unusual experience, go vintage at Cox and Baloney, drink incredible infusions from a tea sommelier at Hotel du Vin or watch boats, bikes and people go by over afternoon tea at The River Lounge at The Bristol on the Harbourside. Upgrade your tea to a Hendrick’s or Perrier-Jouët at No.4 Clifton Village, tap along to live jazz at Heartfelt Vintage or wolf down finger sandwiches and miniature cakes at the spectacular Thornbury Castle.
EatWalkTalk Bristol Food Tours take in Bristol’s Harbourside, the Old City and St Nicholas Market and include between 10 and 12 tastings along the way from Bristol’s finest local producers.
The city’s drinks scene is incredibly diverse, with an abundance of independent breweries, craft beer festivals, cocktail events, gin distilleries, hidden speakeasies and plenty of proper West Country cider. Bristol Cider Shop offers cider tasting sessions and stock 100 or so varieties of cider and perry, all made by independent producers within a 50 mile radius of Bristol.
Bristol has three gin distilleries to its name. One, 6 O’clock Gin, a premium gin from small family-run business Bramley & Gage, who also offer distillery tours and tastings. This year will see them team up with ice-cream producer Marshfield Farm to create a gin & tonic sorbet in celebration of the Farm’s 30th anniversary. Small, independent Psychopomp Micro-Distillery is a distillery/speak-easy-style bar producing craft distilled gin in small batches and limited quantities. Look out for their brilliant ‘Distiller’s Table’ events. The Rummer Hotel offers cocktails made with their very own craft gin or spiced rum – both distilled in the cellars below.
With more than 15 independent breweries producing quality craft beers in and around the city, Bristol is fast becoming the UK’s leading beer destination outside London. The city’s lively craft ale scene includes the Moor Beer Company, recognised as one of the world’s best. Moor Beer has a tap room and beer garden and regularly runs brewery tours, events and food pop-ups. If you take beer seriously, Bath Ales and Bristol Beer Factory also run brewery tours or you can learn more about Bristol’s sights and craft beer scene on a Bristol Hoppers guided walk. Head to Kings Street to find Bristol’s so-called ‘Beermuda Triangle’, which has now evolved into a street of excellent craft pubs. Left Handed Giant, which has a brewery tap room in St Phillips, will be opening a ‘brewpub’, in the new Finzels Reach development later this year.
Bristol wine merchants Averys, celebrates its 225th year of trading in 2018, continuing its various tasting events throughout the year.
Following its closure, Bordeaux Quay, one of Bristol’s best-known restaurants, is set to be replaced by Latin-inspired bar chain, Revolución de Cuba. The Florist, offering cocktails, cocktail masterclasses, nightly DJs and culinary delights also replaces Goldbrick House in Park Street.
Pasta Ripiena from the team behind the coveted Pasta Loco on Cotham Hill, is opening the UK’s first dedicated ravioli bar in St Stephen’s Street. Meanwhile Burger Bear – a restaurant with a cult following in London - is currently running a pop-up every Saturday until it opens in Gloucester Road (any day now).
The Bristol Cookhouse will be another addition to Gloucester Road - a café, dining club, food studio and cookery workshop with a focus on health, wellbeing, environment and food sustainability.
From Sam Elliott, former nationwide chef director at Jamie’s Italian, comes steakhouse and bar, Pasture.
Turn up the beet, at Europe’s biggest vegan festival, VegfestUK Bristol (May 26-27) at its new location, Ashton Gate Stadium. As well as talks, cookery demos, catering stalls, comedians, magicians and a club night staged indoors, the festival will feature leading dance DJ Judge Jules and a blues lounge.
Following a break in 2017, Food Connections will take place in various locations around the city in June (11-17). A gathering of the Bristol food community, the festival aims to bring together the city’s independent spirit and creative food cultures. Past events have included a street food extravaganza in Millennium Square, producer markets, a huge food trail, debates, food walks, cookery classes and demos from celebrity chefs.
Grillstock is the summer’s Harbourside hillbilly hoedown...a celebration of barbecue culture in the UK serving up finger-lickin’ food alongside foot-stomping music. The popular weekend of meat, music and mayhem will return from June 30 until July 1.
Bristol Beer Week (autumn)
Bristol Beer Week is quickly becoming one of the most popular events on the beer calendar. Now in its fifth year, the festival celebrates the Bristol beer scene, made up of some of the country’s most lauded small, independent breweries.
Bristol Cocktail Week (autumn)
Bristol Cocktail Week, which takes place in autumn, involves the city’s finest mixologists for seven days of blending, muddling and mixing. More than 50 bars across the city take part in boozy events from decadent 1920s speakeasy-style bars to hot Havana hangouts.
Find more Bristol restaurants, cafés, bars and food festivals at visitbristol.co.uk.