15 Cornish foodie restaurants to book now
It’s been a long time coming, hasn’t it - sitting with friends inside. Here's where we are making reservations for this summer in Cornwall.
Getting a table at one of these places the week you want it will be harder than drying unicorn tears. So, if you’re heading down this way, or just looking for somewhere new to try, you’ll need to get yourself organised, pronto.
Emily Scott Food, Watergate Bay
Emily Scott’s pop up at Watergate Bay in 2020 was a real beauty so we’re thrilled Emily has taken on permanent residence in the revamped and rejuvenated beachfront site at Watergate Bay, previously the Watchful Mary cocktail bar. With The St Tudy Inn now sold, Emily is concentrating all efforts into her eponymous restaurant – expect simple seasonal Cornish cooking made all the more spectacular by the decor and view.
Fitzroy, Fowey (and North Street Kitchen)
From the team that owns London restaurants Primeur, Westerns Laundry and Jolene came Fitzroy in 2019, opening in an old bank right next to the harbour in Fowey, and helping establish Fowey as a proper foodie destination. Under the guidance of head chef, Ethan Friskney-Bryer, and his wife and front of house, Hazel, the team at Fitzroy serve seafood and natural wines, small plate style. Everything, including the decor, is pared back and simple, letting the ingredients shine through, much of which is grown on the couple’s farm, or caught nearby.
Fancy a more casual lunch of oysters and a glass of white wine, or fried sole in a roll with a beer? Head to sister restaurant North Street Kitchen just down the road where you’ll find the slightly less formal kitchen from the same team.
Outlaw’s New Road, Port Isaac
During the first lockdown, Cornwall’s Michelin-starred super chef Nathan Outlaw decided to close what had been his flagship fine dining restaurant in Port Isaac, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, and re-opened with a new decor and feel, and a more casual menu – more along the lines of the Fish Kitchen down by the harbour (small, original and delicious seafood plates, cooked and served when ready – more like tapas). Since then, New Road has been awarded a Michelin star and re-opens in May with a new set tasting menu for £80pp.
The Rocketstore, Boscastle
With 400 miles of Cornish coastline and a history of fishing it is no surprise how many great seafood restaurants there are in Cornwall, and this bijou harbourside restaurant on the north coast in Boscastle is a favourite with locals and visitors alike. The garden is a gorgeous sun trap with a decidedly French feel. Inside, the place is tiny with just a few tables round the open kitchen, where chefs Alex and Freddie create sharing plates based around the catch from the boats in Port Isaac alongside seasonal veg dishes and perennial favourites (like the fried chick peas).
Verdant Seafood Bar, Falmouth
First and foremost Verdant were a brewery, creating Cornish craft beers and ales and the Seafood Bar grew from the team’s desire to create a brewery taproom with a difference. Step inside for a beer (or three) and you’re going to want something tasty to eat alongside it, so the Seafood Bar was born. Throughout lockdown they have been running the place as a takeaway joint but all that comes to an end, and you can now sit inside and eat crab loaded fries and tasty plates to go with what is a pretty extensive beer menu. Alongside their own beers on tap (they have up to eight at a time) you’ll find German Pils and more niche mixed fermentation beers.
Andy Appleton was the former Head Chef of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall and he set up Appleton’s with his partner Lyndsey in 2016, based at Trevibban Mill Vineyard near Padstow. In early 2020 they opened the doors at their beautiful new duck-egg blue Georgian building in Fowey, only to be closed shortly thereafter by Boris’s lockdown 1.0, so we are really looking forward to seeing what they are up to, culinary wise, after such an enforced hiatus. Appleton’s is loosely based on Italian cooking with a Cornish twist, alongside their famous Sunday brunches. Dog friendly on the ground floor.
Local foodies have rated Jude Kereama’s Porthleven restaurant with rooms, Kota, for years, but his stints on the BBC’s Great British Menu have brought his cooking to new eyes (and stomachs) and tables get booked up quickly at his flagship restaurant on the harbourside in Porthleven. Kota is the slightly more formal of his restaurants, heavily influenced by seafood and local fare. For a more relaxed version of Jude’s cooking, try Kota Kai instead. Look out for another new opening in summer 2022.
Prawn on the Farm, Nr Padstow
Katie and Rick Toogood opened Prawn on the Lawn first in Islington and then Padstow, before the Covid pandemic forced them to re-think their bijou Cornish restaurant. Leaving the building on Duke Street operating as a fishmongers, they relocated the rest of the operation just outside Padstow, into a tent in a field belonging to Padstow Kitchen Garden. Back for the second year running, the operation is slicker and less festival like for 2021, with a more permanent site higher up, so bigger and better – same views but nicer loos! Oh and running water and electricity (unlike last year, although the foot pedalled water heater did have a certain outside charm). As you’d expect, seafood and cocktails feature heavily on the menu, including local oysters, lobster and crab.
New Yard, Helston
Situated in the historic stable yard at Trelowarren in Cornwall, a private estate that has been owned by the same family for over 600 years, the restaurant is now in the hands of Caroline and Jeffrey Robinson, where seasonal produce grown and foraged on the estate leads the menu. Supper is served in the restaurant, or for more casual dining, head to the Pantry and Courtyard for lunch. New Yard were awarded one of Cornwall’s two green stars at the 2021 Michelin Awards.
The Shore, Penzance
After moving to Cornwall in 2008 and falling in love with the vibe, the community, the land and seascapes as well as the food producers, Bruce Rennie set up The Shore Restaurant in Penzance in 2015. Unusually for a chef, he works entirely alone in the kitchen and even helps serve the food alongside his one member of staff. Billed as an almost theatrical experience with small seasonal and very beautiful food, bookings open for June to August now. (No allergies catered for, nor dogs allowed – the restaurant is tiny).
Coombeshead Farm, Lewannick
On the border between Cornwall and Devon you’ll find Coombeshead Farm, a 66 acre working farm where they raise their own pigs and ducks and grow their own produce, as well as produce their own flour and bread. Rooms are available in the farm house and converted barns, which have been sympathetically and cosily renovated. It’s the food, which rightly focuses heavily on produce grown and raised at the farm, expertly, lovingly and innovatively cooked by Tom, head chef Oscar Holgado and the team, that foodies local and not-so-local return for time and time again though. And back for 2021 are their amazing Sunday lunches.
PLUS bonus feasts to keep an eye out for
New Eyes at Kudhva, Tintagel
The team from Temple at Bude are working with Kudhva and the Pearl Exchange to run a series of feast nights celebrating a time & a place with simple local food. The first series are in June and tickets are available online now. Stay afterwards in one of Kudhva’s sculptural Architectural Hideouts, the Danish Barn (above) or wonder back through the reclaimed quarry to your car and own bed.
Hidden Hut, Porthcurnick
By day Simon Stallard’s unassuming National Trust cafe hidden in the dunes behind Porthcurnick beach serves up delicious lunches – but it is the evening feasts where the magic really happens. Tickets get snapped up in mere minutes after release, with guests bringing their own, well, everything, except the food, which Simon and team create en masse over the fires and grills. Divine. Sadly no feasts in 2020, we have hopes they may return this summer, so one to watch.
Nancarrow Farm, Zelah
At Nancarrow it may be a working farm but it’s also extremely beautiful – you’ll find it right in the middle of Cornwall, pretty handily located for the A30, and their feast nights are legendary, usually featuring their own beef cooked over their communal fires. Summer feasts happen outside, on tables laden with wildflowers. Autumn and Winter feasts are held undercover, warmed by the wood-burners and lit by candlelight, but all are long tables and communal eating. Tickets for June’s feasts sold out in moments, but July’s have yet to be released.