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Harsher reports say the Stein family’s “large and buzzing” HQ near the harbour wall (but without any views) is “overpriced and you’re paying for the name”. But, a more representative view on the cradle of Rick Stein’s TV celebrity is that “despite the close proximity of the tables in the dining room, it’s still worth a visit”. Yes, probably there are restaurants “just as good but cheaper elsewhere in Cornwall” (and it’s not in the same league as Nathan Outlaw’s restaurants down the coast), but most reports still acclaim its “good choice” of “fantastic and well-prepared fish”, agreeable atmosphere and “friendly, knowledgeable staff”.
“We’ve been coming for many years and still it ticks all the boxes”, according to fans of TV Rick’s original HQ, who say this “brightly-lit and buzzy room” near the harbour (but without views to speak of) “continues to be the jewel in the crown of his empire and is a must-try if you’re in the area”: “not cheap, but delivering well-cooked, top-class seafood, including all the classics”, plus some more “interesting flavour combinations” (with lots of Indian and Asian tastes). Rapturous reports are relatively few, though, and the overall verdict is a little more middling: “Love Rick but they cram in punters at very high prices”.
“The original and still the best! – well worth the trip to Cornwall for the perfectly cooked fish, alongside some seasonal specials like spider crabs, moules and amazing seafood curries”: that’s the upbeat and still probably the most commonplace view on the Stein family’s first and still-iconic venture near the harbour – a “huge” room “squashed-in” with tables so “it can accommodate a big number of diners”. On the downside, its profile is nowhere near what it was, service “can be slightly erratic” and it can seem “very expensive”.
The Stein empire’s original flagship by this small Cornish fishing town’s harbour is a UK dining institution, and for many fans “it’s still one of the great places to eat the freshest fish from around the British Isles, with influences of cuisines from around the world”. It’s a “huge” operation nowadays though, and some regulars say that while “there’s nowhere nicer on quiet nights”, that when busy “they cram you in, and the noise is oppressive”. Likewise, food that, at best, is “not over-complicated and respecting the ingredients” can – when the kitchen is stretched – seem “slightly underwhelming and rather costly for a relatively simple meal”.
|Wine per bottle||£22.95|
Riverside, Padstow, PL28 8BY
|Monday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:45 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:45 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:45 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:45 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:45 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6 pm‑9:30 pm|
|Sunday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:45 pm|