British, Modern Restaurants in Bristol
1. Clifton Sausage British, Modern restaurant in Bristol 7 Portland St - BS8
“As good a range of sausages as you could ask for, and the ones we had were very good!” – it does what it says on the tin at this descriptively named café; “cheerful service and a nice atmosphere” too.
2. The Olive Tree, Queensberry Hotel British, Modern restaurant in Bath Russell St - BA1
“Chris Cleghorn produces high-quality fare with a range of tasting menus” at this long-established and well-renowned venture (currently Bath’s only Michelin-starred establishment), in the cellar of a comfortable independently run hotel. This year’s average food scores were particularly high. There are still quibbles raised by some about the “slightly sterile basement dining room” and that a visit is “not cheap”. Such concerns were mostly drowned out this year, though, by the majority who pronounce it “virtually perfect in every respect: a Treat with a capital ‘T’!”
3. BANK International restaurant in Bristol 107 Wells Road - BS4
BANKis an independent neighbourhood restaurant nestled in the heart of South Bristol. Cooked over live fire and designed for sharing, our menu is perfect for a light lunch or a leisurely feast shared among friends and family....
4. 1766 Bar & Kitchen British, Modern restaurant in Bristol King Street - BS1
2021 Review: “Better food than expected” is to be discovered in this striking, light-filled (perhaps “noisy”) space – part of the recent £25m renovation of the UK’s oldest theatre, dating back to, er, see if you can guess. Open all day until an hour after the last evening performance, it aims to be a community hub, serving a menu devised by head chef Coco Barone (ex-Glassboat and Rosemarino). There are also pre-theatre deals, obvs.
5. riverstation British, Modern restaurant in Bristol The Grove - BS1
2022 Review: In the unusual and attractive setting of a former river-police station, “this long-established dockside restaurant still continues to offer value and quality, despite the change in ownership a few years ago (to Youngs)”, although nowadays in a much less foodie vein than in its heyday over 20 years ago. As of a 2018 refit, diners can opt for the Pontoon Bar, a popular brunch/lunch haunt, while upstairs “pre-theatre meals are also popular”.
6. Harbour House British, Modern restaurant in Bristol The Grove, Harbourside - BS1
2022 Review: This August 2020 newcomer in the docks replaces the long-standing Servernshed brasserie and aims for the style of a ‘relaxed lounge and pub’ while serving a menu of staples. No reports as yet, but – with the splendid waterside location and outside terrace of its predecessor – it sounds like a similar package for a relaxed bite.
7. Adelina Yard British, Modern restaurant in Bristol Queen Quay, Welsh Back - BS1
“A small restaurant serving glorious tasting menus” from chefs Jamie Randall and Olivia Barry, who set up shop in Bristol in this “pretty simple” venue near the Docks eight years ago after stints in some of London’s top kitchens (Galvin Brothers, Angela Hartnett). They work hard to keep things interesting, and a number of reports note the “top-notch wine flights”.
8. Box-E British, Modern restaurant in Bristol Unit 10, Cargo 1, Wapping Wharf - BS1
“Tiny restaurant but amazing food!”. Elliott Lidstone (ex-Ortolan and Hackney’s The Empress head chef) and his wife Tess opened their 14-seater spot “in two shipping containers at Bristol harbour’s Cargo development” in 2016, and it has become one of the city’s gastronomic highlights, earning national fame. Their 45-bin seasonal wine list is also a winner (with bottles available on a retail basis).
9. Root Vegetarian restaurant in Bristol Wapping Wharf - BS1
“The inventive food is amazing” at this dockside container venue, which flips the usual omnivore convention and casts vegetables as the stars of the show, with meat or fish in supporting roles. Part of Josh Eggleston’s Eat Drink Bristol Fashion operation, the venue is run by chef Rob Howell and his partner Megan Oakley (both ex-Pony & Trap). Reporters say they’re “made to feel welcome – nothing is too much trouble”.
10. Casa British, Modern restaurant in Bristol The General, Lower Guinea St - BS1
2022 Review: Chef Zak Hitchman has taken over the culinary reins from founder Peter Sanchez-Iglesias at Bristol’s brightest foodie star. And his ‘Casamia 2.0’ – the new, August 2020 iteration of this famous property (sometimes cited, including by us, as the UK’s best) – receives a mixed reception from reporters. Covers are down from 32 to 18, street art and bespoke projections enliven the walls and there’s a new sound system – making it “a joyous temple to food and inventiveness, with a fun club-like atmosphere” to those who vibe with its funky new guise. The quality of the cuisine is not in doubt. “The menu is brevity itself, giving no clue as to the clever interaction of the main listed ingredient and its supporting cast. And what is so impressive is not just the combinations of ingredients, producing visually attractive and novel taste experiences, but also the way dishes that have had similar predecessors are brought up to new, even more striking levels by the clever intensification of various elements.” But even some big fans note that “it’s a fine line between religion and cult, and the slightly messianic service perhaps comes down on the wrong side”. In some cases, the approach seems to verge on the confrontational (“we were told not to return if we do not like the music blasting away…”; “they did not allow for our dietary concerns, and if we couldn’t eat a course told us to skip it – a draconian and arrogant disregard for hospitality”). And then there’s the pricing which seems “hiked” and ever-more “greedy”. Even one or two rating the food “outstanding” say that as a result they “won’t be going back”. “Pity, because the food is just so enjoyably inventive and the atmosphere so unlike any of the other food temples in the UK.”
11. Pasture Steaks & grills restaurant in Bristol 2 Portwall Lane - BS1
2022 Review: This “wonderful steakhouse (which also does an exceptional Sunday lunch)” was opened by former Jamie Oliver chef-director Sam Elliott three years ago in a spruced-up Victorian warehouse, opposite St Mary Redcliffe church, and serves impressive cuts of West Country beef displayed in chiller cabinets, alongside vegetables and fruit from is own farm. It’s already made a big impact on the local dining scene, and has spawned a spinoff in Cardiff.
12. Lido Mediterranean restaurant in Bristol Oakfield Place - BS8
“A hidden gem” “in the heart of Bristol's university quarter” – this “balcony restaurant overlooks a secluded mid-Victorian lido”, now restored and once again full of swimmers. It’s a “well-designed, light-filled space with large windows”, and a “menu that offers imaginative combinations, including vegetarian options”. There was also the odd critical report this year, saying that standards had “deteriorated” of late, but even that said “the tapas served downstairs are still OK” (in the separate café area).
13. Sonny Stores British, Modern restaurant in Bristol 47 Raleigh Road - BS3
“This is how you treat great produce with care and respect and create beautiful things!” – so say fans of Mary Glynn and Pegs Quinn’s Italian-influenced two-year-old in Southville, whose “excellent” cuisine is informed by Pegs’s 18-year stint at the Hammersmith’s famous River Café. “Service is good and the place is lively and noisy (but some softening of the acoustics might help)”.
14. The Pump House British, Modern restaurant in Bristol Merchants Road - BS8
2019 Review: “What a lovely place” – this Victorian pumping station in Hotwells that once powered Bristol harbour’s hydraulic bridges was converted into a gastropub twelve years ago by Toby Gritten, formerly of local landmark Bell’s Diner. A perfect spot for a meal, a drink – or “just a cup of tea”. “Downstairs is a great bar, but it can be noisy, so if you want to eat, try the upstairs restaurant”.
15. The Pony British, Modern restaurant in Bristol 291 North Street - BS3
2022 Review: The team from the former Pony & Trap in Chew Magna – nowadays The Pony Chew Valley – opened for the first time in Bristol with this new venture in May 2021 (rather late in the day to inspire survey feedback). The menu features dishes cooked over open fire from chef Hugo Harvey. But the ‘bistro’ appellation seems a bit of a misnomer, as the only evening option (there is a cut-down lunch alternative) is a 4-course menu and you need to pay up-front if you book in advance (which is the presumption).
16. The Kensington Arms British, Modern restaurant in Bristol 35-37 Stanley Rd - BS6
A smart Redland gastroboozer, the Kenny is known across town for the “always excellent food, service, convivial atmosphere and great wine list” that make it “a total gem!”.
17. Wilks British, Modern restaurant in Bristol 1 Chandos Rd - BS6
2020 Review: “Elegant and imaginative cuisine” and an excellent standard of service again won nothing but rave reviews for James Wilkins & Christine Vayssade’s small restaurant in a Redland sidestreet, whose ambiance was “greatly improved” a couple of years ago “with a new feature street-art wall and intimate décor”. But in October 2019, the pair put it up for sale in order to pursue an opportunity overseas: hence we’ve removed the rating for now.
18. Wilson's British, Modern restaurant in Bristol 24 Chandos Rd - BS6
“Unpretentious, daring, and exceptional value” – Jan Ostle & Mary WiIson’s “accomplished” Redland bistro is widely acclaimed for its “fresh and interesting” take on “fabulous, locally sourced food”, most of which they grow on their own smallholding. “You could be forgiven for missing this small establishment in a residential street – we did! Tables are very close together, but this all adds to the atmosphere – it’s not a restaurant you’d expect to be tasting menu only”.
19. The Vincent Kitchen British, Modern restaurant in Bristol Queen Victoria House, Redland Hill - BS6
2022 Review: “Recently opened of all places in a retirement village” – a modern development of 64 apartments in Redland – “but open to the public”: this September 2020 newcomer is run by local caterers CleverChefs and occupies a light-filled space with open kitchen overlooking an arboretum garden. Open from breakfast and throughout the day, it wins strong early feedback for “assured cooking at reasonable prices”.
20. The Queen's Arms British, Modern restaurant in Chew Magna Silver Street - BS40
2022 Review: Opened in June 2021, this tastefully revamped old pub is the work of the Eggleton family – the team behind The Pony & Trap (now known as The Pony Chew Magna). The offering, realised by chef Jordan Meagher, “centres around proper ‘pub classics’”.
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