Located in South West England, Cornwall is among the most popular holiday destinations in the country.
The historic county, which is also recognised as a Celtic nation, is best known for its incredible beaches. Surfers from the country and outside visit Cornwall to experience these beaches and take in the beautiful coastal scenery. But that’s not all.
Those who have visited Cornwall at least once swear by the food, and food items like Cornish tea and pasties are especially famous. But if you’re visiting this breathtaking seaside county for the first time, you may not have an idea of where to experience the best dishes.
That’s why we’ve put together this excellent guide listing some of the restaurants you can visit when staying in Cornwall. The restaurants selected are sure to provide an unmatched dining experience, so make sure to check out the complete list.
Best Restaurants In Cornwall
1. Appleton’s Bar And Restaurant, Fowey
For those unaware, Andy Appleton, the founder of Appleton’s Bar and Restaurant, was the head chef of Fifteen Cornwall, a chain of exceptional restaurants that closed down in 2019. If you’re searching for the best of modern British food, Appleton’s Bar and Restaurant is the place to visit that promises an amazing dining experience.
But what makes this restaurant stand out from the crowd is its focus on sourcing and selecting the finest seasonal ingredients for the meals offered. This means that you can enjoy not only British dishes but also international ones, such as those from Italy. And the bar further provides some of the best beers and wines for a complete dining experience.
2. The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow
The Seafood Restaurant is among the many businesses owned by the famous chef Rick Stein and offers a wide selection of fish-based dishes from around the world. You can enjoy cuisines from Mexico, Spain and India, or go for simpler options that are more familiar.
Some of the best cuisines available here include the Singapore crab, John Dory in a shellfish reduction with wild garlic and asparagus, and shellfish in chilli sauce and olive oil. Besides that, there is an impressive wine list, and you can enjoy a perfect view of the River Camel from the restaurant.
Visitors can stay overnight if needed, which is great for those who have had a long trip.
3. The Sardine Factory, Looe
The Sardine Factory is an excellent choice if you’re looking for the best seafood restaurant. It sources the freshest fish from the Looe harbour and keeps the menu simple without overcomplicating things. You can visit the restaurant by foot ferry and also check out various ice cream parlours, cafes, and fudge shops on the way.
As for the dishes served in the restaurant, the most popular options include oysters, smoked haddock scotch eggs, and Fowey mussels. The catch of the day can be enjoyed with shrimp sauce and brown butter, or you can order crab linguine or fish and chips.
4. Kota, Porthleven
This is a harbourside restaurant where you can find dishes influenced by both New Zealand and Asian cultures. The reason for this is that it is run by Jude Kereama, who is half-Chinese Malay and half-Maori. So, you can expect some unique dishes that are uncommon in Cornwall.
These can include curry spiced monkfish with wasabi tartare, Atlantic shellfish with dashi broth and Cornish venison with shimeji mushrooms. All these dishes can be enjoyed in a location that overlooks Porthleven Harbour.
There are other options as well if you’re looking to try something different. The best among them include Porthleven crabs, kereama, and even a miso-braised tempura short rib with beef leather blade. These can be enjoyed with drinks like an Apple-sake consomme, a popular option.
5. Coombeshead Farm, Lewannick
Coombeshead Farm is not only among the most popular restaurants in Cornwall but also a farm, bakery, and guesthouse. Spread over 66 acres on the scenic countryside it is the perfect destination for those looking to escape the commotion of urban life. The restaurant has curated its menu to offer dishes that are prepared using the freshest local produce.
These can include glazed ham, stuffed pie, or confit duck, which are generally prepared in the middle of the week and meant to be a shared meal. Due to the immense popularity of this restaurant, it may be difficult to get a reservation, which is why the Courtyard Cafe is another option close by.
You can grab hams, pies, cakes, and even coffee to eat or take away.
6. The Shore, Penzance
Any list of the best restaurants in Cornwall is incomplete without mentioning The Shore, located in Penzance. Featuring blue-themed decorations and simple tables, it is a tiny restaurant that offers a pleasant and comfortable experience.
The tasting menus may be five or seven-course and utilise only local ingredients, though spices and condiments are added to the dishes to enhance their flavour. For instance, the monkfish cheek comes with Indian spices, the brill with the wasabi, and the mackerel with the daikon.
Another thing to like about this restaurant is the wine list, which includes wines like The Bitter Truth. You can also check out other options like the banana parfait with date sponge, caramel, butterscotch and peanut.
7. The Mariners, Rock
Run by Emma and Paul Ainsworth, the Mariners, originally a pub, is now more well-known for its selection of delicious food, stunning views, and unbeatable service. That does not mean you won’t find drinks there, as they are still one of the specialities of this restaurant. The Mariners retains its charm of a local, traditional eatery while providing an amazing dining experience.
You can enjoy mouth-watering bar snacks, such as buttermilk fried chicken, baby squid, and piccalilli with scotch eggs. Or go for specialty options, like The Dogs Pollock, which is a pollock hot dog that comes with parmesan, dill, mustard, and pickled cucumber.
The Mariners also offers some great options if you’re looking for fresh seafood, and oysters are one of the popular delights. But for those looking for some quick snacks, burgers and pies are available as well, which can all be enjoyed in a beautiful setting.
8. Fowey Hall Hotel, Fowey
The Fowey Hall Hotel is located in an impressive Victorian mansion that offers a breathtaking view of the Fowey estuary. It was often visited by the famous author Kenneth Grahame, and is believed to have inspired one of his classic novels.
Fowey Hall Hotel also uses locally sourced ingredients for its dishes, like sea bass but puts a modern twist on traditional recipes. Some examples include olive and beignet sage, parmesan gnocchi, and aubergine caviar. The place even has a fantastic wine collection, with some amazing options to go with each dish.
Alternatively, you can enjoy after-dinner drinks next to a roaring fire.
9. New Yard, Helston
A recipient of the Green Michelin Star for coming up with dishes that help in sustainable gastronomy, the New Yard restaurant is another great option. Following innovative practices, the restaurant changes its menu nightly depending on the available ingredients. But there is also a standard menu designed for those who prefer an informal and relaxed dining experience.
Dinners tend to last for over a couple of hours, providing ample time to savour each dish to the fullest. And the restaurant has a walled garden where the owners grow most of the ingredients needed for the dishes while sourcing others from local producers.
Some popular dishes you can check out include aged beef, locally sourced lobsters, homemade sourdough, and kiln-roasted meat. These are followed by some fantastic desserts, usually decorated with Cornish sea buckthorn.
10. Rojano’s In The Square, Padstow
Another restaurant taken over by Paul Ainsworth, Rojano’s in the Square, is a traditional Italian restaurant that can satisfy your pizza cravings easily. You can choose from several exciting options, such as pizzas with gorgonzola, mushrooms, and Parma ham. Other favourites include spinach, peppers, goat’s cheese, and the most delicious pasta, carbonara.
Seafood lovers can enjoy mackerel on toast, basil and coriander, or roasted sea bream with chorizo. The ingredients are sourced from local producers, with the meats coming from Italian artisans and the fish from Cornish boats.
11. The Rocket Store, Boscastle
When visiting the picturesque harbour in Boscastle, make sure to check out The Rocket Store restaurant and seafood bar. Whether you’re looking for the best seafood or meat-based dishes, this seafood restaurant has it all. But the best thing is that both ingredients are sourced from their own boat and farm.
The menu for the day is listed on the blackboard and changes according to the freshest ingredients available for a fine dining experience. Some of the most popular dishes include wild sea bass sashimi, hand-dived scallops, seaweed butter, curried monkfish, and butterflied mackerel.
12. The Halsetown Inn, St Ives
A favourite among visitors who prefer old-fashioned diners, The Halsetown Inn features low-ceiling and worn flagstone floors with pieces of unique artwork. And the reason it is so popular is its extensive list of gins, categorised into English, Cornish, Scottish, and those from the Rest of the World.
The dishes are also tasty and include items like pan-fried prawns with ginger and mango, Portobello mushrooms with satay, and hake fillet with chilli. All of them are prepared using locally sourced ingredients, which is another reason why it is a highly recommended option.
13. Ugly Butterfly, Carbis Bay
The Ugly Butterfly restaurant is one of the options to explore if you want to enjoy the view of the coastline. Situated along Carbis Bay, this restaurant provides an exceptional dining experience enhanced by its scenic location.
Apart from that, utmost care is taken when selecting ingredients for the dishes, and there are some exquisite options, such as the All About The Cornish Crab. This dish is prepared using the locally sourced Newlyn crab and utilises every part, including the white meat and the shells.
Besides cooking the most delicious dishes, this process showcases how focused the restaurant is on embracing and promoting sustainable practices. Not a single part of the produce is wasted, which is also apparent in the bar menu. You can get bar snacks prepared using offcuts and trims from the restaurant, which serve as the perfect accompaniment for drinks.
14. Prawn On The Lawn, Padstow
Operated by Katie and Rick Toogood, Prawn On The Lawn has been making a name for itself as a must-visit restaurant in Cornwall since 2013. The restaurant originally sourced its fish from Cornwall and Devon, and now Padstow as well. This allows it to have a regularly changing menu that includes dishes prepared using locally sourced fish as well as those with international influences.
Some of these dishes include lobster and crab-based cuisines, whole fish and Thai basil or Szechuan pepper, and more. Similarly, the restaurant has an outstanding selection of wines, including the best options from Cornwall and Australia. Among these is Manzanilla, which is a salty, dry sherry that pairs perfectly with prawns.
15. Karrek, Rock
Karrek is among the best restaurants in Cornwall if you’re looking for an intimate dining experience. It is located in the St. Enodoc Hotel, which offers an extensive view of the Camel Estuary. The hotel has its own farm, where it grows vegetables, fruits, and rare breeds while sourcing fish, berries, and herbs from other local producers.
This restaurant is best suited for people who want a laid-back, relaxed experience instead of a more traditionally formal one. Despite that, customer service is simply unparalleled, and you can even find dishes from Asian and Nordic cuisines. Classic dishes are modified to provide surprising yet enjoyable experiences, and the sommelier can help recommend the best wine for each course.
Additionally, Karrek offers comfortable and cosy suites, so you can even plan an overnight stay.
16. The Hidden Hut, Truro
The Hidden Hut is situated at the end of the Roseland Peninsula, making it one of the top beach restaurants in Cornwall. Its location provides visitors with the perfect opportunity to enjoy the picturesque view of the bay while travelling along the sun-soaked beaches.
Besides the view, the dishes are another reason why The Hidden Hut gets so many visitors. You can enjoy freshly prepared soups and curries with vegetarian chilli or feast on grilled fish that are caught every morning. Salads are also among the most popular dishes offered by the restaurant.
If you require a coffee or cake, check out Tatams, which is located nearby and is the sister cafe of The Hidden Hut.
17. Paul Ainsworth at No.6, Padstow
Situated in Padstow, Paul Ainsworth, at No.6, is one of the most scenic restaurants in Cornwall. Its Georgian townhouse structure is complemented by superb service, and you can always count on a few pleasant surprises when visiting. For instance, this restaurant allows diners to view the chefs working in the kitchen while waiting for their meals.
As for the dishes themselves, A Fairground Tale is a unique dessert course which deserves special mention. Each dish in the course is served on a tiny carousel, and you can enjoy your favourite drink from the equally impressive cocktail bar.
For those looking for a place to stay, the Padstow Townhouse, a part of the Ainsworth brand, is located nearby.
18. Mine, Falmouth
With its traditional, old-world charm and wide range of dishes, Mine is a hidden gem among the restaurants in Cornwall. Its wooden chairs, ceiling-to-floor windows, and moody interiors create a calming space where you can sit and enjoy your Sunday lunch.
Speaking of lunch, Mine specialises in modern takes on classic dishes, and the menu changes every week depending on the local ingredients available. Each course includes a vegan, fish, and meat option, as well as multiple gluten-free dishes.
Some of the popular items include homemade Marmite with Cornish venison loin, Wild-garlic kimchi and mushrooms with salt-baked celeriac, and watercress salad with roasted shallots. Drinks are also available aplenty; you can enjoy red, orange, rose, and white wines, Cornish ciders, and pale ales.
Good food is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of any holiday trip. And preparing a list of the best restaurants when visiting a new location can make things a lot easier.
Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you are now aware of some of the best options to check out when visiting Cornwall. Just keep in mind that there are other considerations apart from food, such as the proximity of the restaurant to your location, the scenery and ambience, customer service, etc.
Similarly, consider the hygiene standards and prices before making a decision. Once that is done, you’ll be ready for your trip to Cornwall!
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