The National restaurant awards and Good Food Guide have paid some serious lip service to Bristol restaurants and it’s no wonder why. It is positively teeming with new restaurant openings, foodie events and fantastic suppliers. It’s only a matter of time before we uproot and move there – it’s that special. With this in mind, here are 10 IDEAL reasons why Bristol is every foodie’s dream.
If you know about food festivals, then you’ll know about Bristol. The city holds a number of excellent food festivals throughout the year which bring artisan producers as well as stalls from local restaurants – there’s so many it’s hard to keep up with them all. One of our favourites is Love Food Festival which runs all year round at various locations across the city. However the biggest celebration is undoubtedly Bristol Food Connections which takes over Millennium Square and The Amphitheatre and brings together over 300 chefs, farmers and food producers. Food festivals enjoyed in the sun with a glass of cold, Somerset cider, we could think of no better way to enjoy a summer’s day.
INDEPENDENT NEIGHBOURHOOD RESTAURANTS WITH SERIOUS CLOUT
Bulrush, Adelina Yard, No Man’s Grace and Bird in Hand all occupy spots not necessarily on the beaten path. While footfall may not be their friend, the clout and cooking of these great restaurants still bring punters in every night of the week. The neighbourhood, cosy nature of these places certainly does them no harm.
THE COLLABORATIVE NATURE OF THE CITY
Many of Bristol’s top restaurants play host to chefs from other cities for collaborative cooking nights. Recently, The Pony & Trap has seen one of our favourites, Michael Bremner of 64 Degrees in Brighton, grace its kitchen. Other top restaurants host regular nights with star chefs from the city, and there is generally an atmosphere of collaboration and support amongst producers, suppliers and eating establishments which all makes for a great vibe.
TINY, UNIQUE RESTAURANTS
With space at a premium and youthful resourcefulness not bettered anywhere else in the country, recent years have seen a host of new openings in tiny spaces. Box-E, in a shipping container, and Woky Ko, are just two of our favourites which now call the Wapping Wharf dock area home.
Bristol and the wider South West of England have some of the best produce in the country. Cheese is magnificent from this region, fish from Devon and Cornwall is driven up, freshly caught every day, and cider is consumed lustily and in great quantity. It’s a chef’s and a diner’s dream.
The city has loads of exciting markets throughout the year. For example St Nicks Market is home to some of the best street-food stalls in the South West. From Japanese to Indian, British to Thai, you can be transported round the world and back in a single day, leaving full and happy. The Harbourside Market is a community of foodies, makers, musicians and artists who turn Bristol’s Harbourside into a weekly festival – it has amazing street-food stalls that will make your mouth water.
This huge behemoth of a road cuts through Bristol and plays host to a number of great restaurants and bars. A night out of drinking, eating and carousing is sure to occur on Whiteladies Road. We particulary like the Cowshed, which celebrates local meat with aplomb, and Bravas, an extremely buzzy tapas joint.
The beautiful area of Clifton is quite the hike – the incline is steep and long – but you’ll be rewarded with wonderful artisanal producers, independent pubs and quirky, unique restaurants.
THE SANCHEZ-IGLESIAS EMPIRES
Peter Sanchez-Iglesias and his brother Jonray, who sadly passed in 2015, set up Casamia in Westbury on Trym before moving the critically acclaimed restaurant to its current location, overlooking Bristol’s floating harbor. Casamia is currently ranked 6th in the country by the National Restaurant Awards and offers a seasonal, innovative tasting menu which is simply mind blowing.
But that’s not all. The empire has expanded to incorporate two new ventures; Paco Tapas and Pi Shop – both on the same small strip as the mothership. Each do their thing with flair and expertise, the tapas carefully sourced and sherry flowing while the pizzas at Pi Shop are blistered, fresh and authentic. Bristol’s dining scene owes much to these incredible, ambitious brothers. Jonray’s memory lives on in the success and identity of all three offerings.
BRILLIANT CHEFS INCLUDING…
Josh Eggleton: With recent stints on Great British Menu bringing greater attention to the cheeky, charming chef, Josh Eggleton is hot property in the culinary world. His fine-dining, Michelin-star bestowed pub, The Pony and Trap, offers high level cooking in cosy, welcoming surrounds – a winning formula. He has also recently opened Salt & Malt, a fish’n’chip shop with excellent attention to sourcing and detail. He also has a hand in the excellent, sustainable Chicken Shed.
James Wilkins: Chef and owner of Wilks Restaurant, James Wilkins worked all over the world before settling in Bristol to open his fine-dining destination restaurant. A Michelin-star followed. The restaurant only offers a tasting menu, which is ever changing. We particularly like the section on the website dedicated to ‘in season and on the menu’, followed by a list of enticing ingredients, which whets the appetite for the seasonal, local food journey you receive here.