Bristol is a city with its finger firmly on the pulse when it comes to dining out; its flourishing food scene – with its emphasis on independence and creativity – surely one reason why the city is regularly cited as one of the best places to live in the UK.
Here’s our guide to the hottest restaurants in town:
Michelin Star Restaurants
Set in the old Bristol General Hospital building on the harbourside and run by Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, Casamia has held a Michelin Star since 2009.
It’s welcoming and homely, with a serving team who are charming and professional in equal measure; proof if ever it were needed that a Star doesn’t equal stuffy!
The chefs bring the plates to your table themselves, and the skilfully prepared dishes are boldly flavoured and highly creative.
This buzzy tapas bar is owned by the same family as nearby Casamia and named after its patriarch, Mr Sanchez-Iglesias Senior.
The 8-seater counter is set around a large open grill where top quality ingredients are cooked, creating authentic Spanish dishes which are full of flavour.
Try the ‘Chef’s Menu’ for a best-of-the-best tour of Spain, with the likes of clams, jamón croquettes and wood-roast gambas.
An elegant yet unpretentious neighbourhood restaurant run by experienced couple, James and Christine Wilkins.
Chef James is well-travelled and skilfully balances different textures with flavours from around the globe.
The menu lists top quality French and British ingredients – and dishes are crafted using carefully honed techniques and a light touch.
A relaxed, cosy restaurant set over two floors; sit downstairs to soak up the atmosphere from the on-view kitchen.
Cooking showcases local – often foraged or organic – ingredients and preserving and pickling play a key role.
The imaginative and well-balanced tasting menu is the most popular choice; combinations are original and provide plenty of contrasts.
Bib Gourmand Restaurants
Bell's Diner & Bar Rooms
This bustling city institution has an über-cool bohemian feel, with evidence of its days as a grocer’s shop in each of the little rooms – and vinyl played on an old record player.
The fresh Mediterranean cooking shows a good understanding of ingredients and dishes are full of colour and flavour.
The well written wine list offers some 75 ml nips and service is friendly and engaging.
Vegetables take centre stage at this welcoming restaurant, with meat and fish taking a back seat.
It’s set in five first floor shipping containers on the Wapping Wharf redevelopment; the large terrace is a popular spot come summer – and the young team run the place with smiles on their faces.
Seasonal produce from small local suppliers is used in simple yet flavour-packed combinations; they reckon 3 small plates per person is about right.
Also located in several shipping containers on the popular Wapping Wharf redevelopment – and named after the term for their empty weight – is this tiny restaurant with space for only ten tables, run by two young chefs and their charming team.
The concise menu lists creative modern dishes – which are both pretty on the plate and super tasty.
Michelin Plate Restaurants
Second Floor at Harvey Nichols
A welcoming refuge when the shopping gets too much.
Tasty modern cuisine overlooking the quay.
Intimate 14 seater restaurant on Wapping Wharf.
No Man’s Grace
Unfussy cooking and a neighbourhood vibe.
Authentic Indian cuisine from all 29 states.
Gutsy, generous plates from a charming chef.
Welcoming pub serving local seasonal fare.
Pub classics, pizza and a great garden.
Cover Photo Credit: Diego_Torres