We take a look at the best dining options within walking distance (1 mile) of city landmarks worldwide. Here we offer our 5 IDEAL restaurants close to the Brunel’s SS Great Britain in Bristol.
No trip to Bristol would be complete with a visit back in time and aboard the iconic SS Great Britain, built by honorary Bristolian Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The great man (in 2002, in fact, named Britain’s second greatest ever) gave so many gifts to the region; the Great Western Railway which serves the city and the Clifton Suspension Bridge were both also products of his fertile, footloose imagination.
One thing we can’t credit him with, however, is Bristol’s much lauded foodie credentials. Indeed, delve into the history of meals served aboard the vessel and you’ll find evidence of a ‘biscuit that would break your teeth’ and preserved potatoes taken three or four times a week. Best then, to disembark and dive enthusiastically into the amazing restaurants just walking distance away. Here are 5 of the best restaurants close to Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Bristol.
ROOT (0.6 miles)
Vegetables are the star of the show at this cute, compact restaurant housed in a cargo container at foodie mecca Wapping Wharf. If the weather’s looking good, try to bag a seat out on the small terrace area with fantastic views of the harbourside; you can even catch a glimpse of the ship from here.
That’s if you can tear your eyes away from the food in front of you; prettily presented plates which vibrate with the colour of fresh produce and don’t sacrifice anything on flavour that just keep coming. We particularly love their wicked way with charred leaves and greens; on separate visits they’ve managed to make hispi and lettuce taste downright dirty. Right now you’d be foolish not to order any dish which leads with asparagus; guaranteed to be on the menu for the next month or so.
PACOS TAPAS (0.7 miles)
Paco Tapas is one of only a handful of Spanish restaurants in the U.K to hold a coveted Michelin star. What is more extraordinary is that they won it less than a year after opening; a mean feat by any restaurant’s standards. Part of the restaurant team behind legendary Bristol restaurant Casamia, the cooking at Paco Tapas is self-assured and supremely confident. Stuffed and barbequed quail (off an open grill capable of heating the whole restaurant) is a particular highlight, and the classics, such as simple tortilla espanola or ham croquettes, are delivered unpretentiously but with perfect aplomb.
BOX-E (0.7 miles)
There’s been a buzz about this place from the moment it opened in October 2016 in the Wapping Wharf development that calls so many great restaurants home. So much so, that getting a table in this tiny 14 cover operation ain’t easy. But spare a thought for the man behind the stoves; there’s even less room out back. How he manages to coax such flavour and finesse from such a small space is a wonder. Straightforward descriptions such as ‘guinea fowl, crushed potatoes, kale’ belie the huge amount of work which goes into each dish. So delicious, and so very reasonable, too. A must visit.
Another restaurant in Whapping Wharf? You’ve got to be kidding me. We’re not, we just couldn’t narrow it down when the restaurant offerings here are so damn good. Tare serves a four course, price fix menu in the £40 region (there’s also a vegetarian version), relying on the seasons and the fine produce of the South West to do their work. There’s no choice, and also no problem when the cooking is this uniformly, reliably brilliant. Flavours are precise, concise and in step with the compact, streamlined nature of the space. Michelin recently awarded them with a Bib Gourmand, and we wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t the last time the restaurant hears from the much respected red book.
SPOKE & STRINGER (0.2 miles)
Something a little different to finish with. Directly opposite the SS Great Britain is Spoke and Stringer, a surf shop slash restaurant slash cafe. Basically, it’s anything you want it to be, and about as close as you could get to the ship without being aboard or swimming in the Avon. But in humble, unassuming surroundings, you’ll actually find a pretty great lunch. There’s craft beer from local brewery Beerd and light plates with a Mediterranean lean. Note that the kitchen closes at 3pm, so if you’re after dinner, get over to the Wharf.
Top image © Fryncita/ Flickr
IDEAL tip: Have a drink or two at Bristol’s Grain Barge before or after dinner. This converted barge-cum-pub, moored just 500 yards from the SS Great Britain, is a great spot to soak up the Harbourside action.