Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Bristol
Hardens guides have spent 29 years compiling reviews of the best Bristol restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 192 restaurants in Bristol and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Bristol restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Bristol Restaurants
1. Bar 44 restaurant in Bristol 18 - 20 Regent Street - BS8
“Proper jamon, a good selection of small plates, and an excellent Spanish wine list with a wide range of good sherries” – “a great drinks list with something for everyone” – help inspire positive reviews on this Hispanic newcomer – “a great new addition to Bristol” and the first English branch of a small minichain originating near Cardiff.
2. Clifton Sausage British, Modern restaurant in Bristol 7 Portland St - BS8
“Remaining very popular with locals”, ‘the Sausage’ – a contemporary café serving various types of banger and other meaty British fare – “offers a good selection of food and (in an area where there are not as many good pubs as in the past) has become a haunt for a glass of wine too”. Its Bath sibling shut up shop in late 2018.
3. Casamia British, Modern restaurant in Bristol The General, Lower Guinea St - BS1
“WOW!” – “every mouthful is wonderful and foodgasmic” at the Sanchez-Iglesias family’s “sensational” HQ: a “flawless experience” that has regularly won a place at the top of our list of the UK’s top 100 restaurants. It marries a “stunning, stone-walled venue” on the ground floor of the city-centre’s former General Hospital with “sublime” dishes from a twelve-course tasting menu, with the option of “perfectly matched wine flights”. Getting a reservation is no mean feat though: availability is released on the first Tuesday of each month at noon (UK time) for the period four months in advance! And even fans “dislike being required to pay (non-refundable) in advance at the time of booking”.
4. Paco Tapas Spanish restaurant in Bristol Lower Guinea St - BS1
Near the docks, Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’s aim is to ‘transport you to Andalusia’ (well that’s what the website says) at his casual tapas haunt (named after his dad). As a concept, it’s “absolutely spot on” and “tapas of the highest quality, with every dish a delight”, alongside a decent list of wines and sherries. “Try to get a seat at the counter for top banter with the chefs and great views as they toss stuff into the open fire”.
5. Bulrush British, Modern restaurant in Bristol 21 Cotham Road South - BS6
Chef-owner George Livesey’s “very adventurous tasting menus” – full of “unusual ingredients and foraged items” – have made this modest-looking, former greengrocers a top star of the Bristol dining scene. Some reporters reckon it’s “a bit of a Marmite restaurant – love it or hate it”, but all are converted by the time they leave, and if some dishes “don’t look appealing on the menu or on the black plates, they certainly taste good”. Service is “friendly and well-informed”, and there’s an “interesting, mainly organic wine list”.
6. Wilson's British, Modern restaurant in Bristol 24 Chandos Rd - BS6
“The most innovative, original and seasonal food in Bristol at the moment” is the claim made by fans of Jan Ostle and Mary Wilson’s Redlands bistro – “a very small place” offering a “reassuringly limited choice of very well-sourced dishes (magnolia blossom and mackerel a surprise and a success) with service that’s charming, enthusiastic and helpful”. At the end of October 2019, the couple announced a further step towards hyper-locality, with new menus incorporating ever-more produce from their own expanding farm.
7. Spiny Lobster Fish & seafood restaurant in Bristol 128-130 Whiteladies Road - BS8
“Still the best fish/seafood in Bristol”, say fans of this long running operation (fka Rockfish Grill) from Mitch Tonks of The Seahorse in Dartmouth. “If we were confined to one restaurant forever, this would be it” – “excellent, very fresh fish”, “reliable cooking, good service and comfortable”.
8. Lido Mediterranean restaurant in Bristol Oakfield Place - BS8
A “quirky”, even “crazy place for a meal” – a “Victorian lido where you sit and watch Bristolians swim lengths in the open air” while you eat behind glass in the former viewing gallery. This “unexpected venue has even more unexpected culinary standards”, serving “rather interesting food with distinctive Mediterranean elements” – a legacy of former Moro chef Freddy Bird, who ran the kitchen here for 10 years – “and service that is friendly rather than professional. The pool and the building are the real stars, though”.
9. Bravas Mediterranean restaurant in Bristol 7 Cotham Hill - BS6
Fans “love this place” – a softly-lit tapas joint, in Cotham Hill, which has made a name for its “small plates and Spanish sandwiches done right”; if there’s a caveat it’s that “too many covers squashed into a tiny space” can spell noise and a “rapid turnover”. Owners Kieran & Imogen Waite – also behind Bakers & Co (Gloucester Road) and Cargo Cantina/Gambas (Wapping Wharf) – launched new Mexican eatery, Masa + Mescal, in Stokes Croft, in March 2019.
10. Bosco Pizzeria Pizza restaurant in Bristol 96 Whiteladies Rd - BS8
“Really great pizza and small plates” ensure that this Neapolitan-style outfit (also with a Clifton Village sibling) is “always buzzing”; it’s “particularly great in the summer when the windows are open to the pavement on a sunny evening”.
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