Spicer & Cole

Eat. Drink. Meet. Think. Spicer & Cole’s catchy strapline and its ethos are all about delivering good, unhurried food. Sophisticated Clifton Village isn’t short on swanky little cafés, but this cosy place is our favourite for a weekend brunch. Order the field mushrooms cooked in thyme butter and served with sourdough bread, and watch the sophisticated Cliftonites stroll by.

The Canteen

Canteen boasts its own Banksy mural, a vast beer garden and live music and DJs every night. Oh, and the food’s pretty good too. Embracing a slow-food movement that’s “good, clean and fair” it serves delicious plant-based dishes such as broccoli jambalaya. Ask where its fish is from and the waiter will even tell you the name of the fisherman who caught it.

  • +44 117 923 2017
  • Go to Website
  • Hamilton House
    80 Stokes Croft
    BS1 3QY

Rice & Things

Don’t leave Bristol without sampling some Jamaican food. Rice & Things is a tiny 12-seater place on Cheltenham Road that dishes up the food from chef Neufville‘s childhood to a soundtrack of reggae and soul. Try the Mitchell Town curry goat or Faith’s Pen jerk chicken served with rice and peas. On Fridays, there’s an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Casamia

With a Michelin star and harbourside location, this is one to either save for a really special occasion or go just for the hell of it. The menu on Casamia’s website reads like the fanciest of shopping lists – it’s actually what the chefs are currently cooking with. Expect lovely sounding things such as GrowBristol nasturtiums, Tahitian vanilla and copper Maran eggs.

  • +44 117 959 2884
  • Go to Website
  • 8, The General
    Lower Guinea Street
    BS1 6FU

Sky Kong Kong

Okay, it may not have the best location, near the Bear Pit (the name locals give to the underground roundabout in downtown Broadmead). However, the Korean food from chef Hwi Shim (known as Wizzy), who previously worked at both Nobu and Hakkasan, is worth this un-scenic detour. Dinner is whatever is organic and locally sourced (often from Wizzy’s own allotment), so expect creative bento boxes for lunch and innovative Korean paella for dinner.

Birch

This sunny little restaurant shines like a beacon on a nondescript residential street in Southville. It’s been a local favourite since opening in 2015, and it’s easy to see why. The room is understated and stylish with a small bar, Formica tables, tin lights and biodynamic wine posters lining the walls. Owners Sam Leach and Beccy Massey (who are, incidentally, probably the nicest people in southeast England) get the majority of their ingredients from their field on the southern edge of the city. The “regional British” fare is simple, comforting and lovingly made, with a daily changing menu of dishes like Jerusalem artichoke and poached egg, pumpkin dumplings, sage butter and ewes’ curd, or beef shin with pickled red cabbage and potato. All go down well with a few glasses of their homemade cider. Sam is a trained butcher and baker – ask nicely and he might just wrap up a slice of sourdough with a golden slab of salty homemade butter for you to take home.

St Nicholas Market

Located beneath a splendid Victorian wrought-iron vaulted glass arcade, St Nicholas Market is flanked by queues come lunchtime, when locals are hungry for couscous aux sept legumes from The Moorish Café and jerk chicken with coconut spinach at Caribbean Wrap. Browse boozy, botanical and downright naughty-looking cakes at Ahh Toots art-focused bakery.

  • +44 117 922 4014
  • Go to Website
  • The Corn Exchange
    Corn Street
    BS1 1JQ

Bravas

Doubt you can get authentic Spanish tapas from the English husband-and-wife team behind this restaurant? Think again, because Kieran and Imogen Waite take their research seriously, often nipping to Spain to meet producers and source new recipes. On the menu you’ll find salt-grilled wild red prawn, Catalan lamb bombas with mojo rojo and alioli and, with a nod to their Bristolian roots, chorizo cooked in cider. Small plates start from as little as £3.20.

The Thali Restaurant Easton

Founder Jim Pizer fell in love with India’s cuisine after travelling around the country, launching a food truck at Glastonbury that would eventually become The Thali Café. Each one is bright, makeshift and welcoming, with hot-pink paint splashed on the walls, sepia-toned family portraits and hand-painted wooden signs. With a focus on sustainability and locally sourced produce, The Thali Café serves a rainbow of dishes inspired by all corners of India, from Goan beach snacks to Bombay street food. They’ve recently teamed up with the celebrated Indian cook Meera Sodha to create a menu celebrating India’s most sizzling “hero dishes”.

The Crafty Egg

Right in the heart (or should we say yolk?) of Stokes Croft, this toasty café serves up heart-warming fare helped along by cheerful staff and endless cups of artisanal coffee. Pull up a window seat and choose from a locally sourced menu of toasted bagels, fluffy pancakes, “crafty” cooked breakfasts and baked eggs, washed down with spicy masala chai or craft beer.

Bulrush

Topping list after list of Bristol’s best restaurants is Bulrush, the neighbourhood fine-dining spot that has had critics drooling over its seasonal tasting menus ever since it opened. Head chef George Livesey (who’s worked at the likes of St. John and Club Gascon) creates modern British dishes, artfully plated and created using local produce and foraged ingredients from the surrounding area. Expect local meats, West Country cheeses and organic veg alongside biodynamic wine and seasonal cocktails served in a serene room of grey wooden floors, white bricks and copper touches.

The Rummer Hotel

Secreted down a narrow alley near St Nicholas Market and housed in what was once a historic inn, The Rummer Hotel (which isn’t a hotel) has a micro gin distillery in its medieval cellar. Book in for a tasting before heading upstairs to the cocktail bar and restaurant, known for top-notch British pub grub with a twist (try the salted duck). The minder on the door is an indication that you’ll need to book ahead.

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