Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Cambridge
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Cambridge restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 25 restaurants in Cambridge and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Cambridge restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Cambridge Restaurants
1. Restaurant Twenty Two British, Modern restaurant in Cambridge 22 Chesterton Road - CB4
“Much better value than its main local competitor Midsummer House” – you will need to book two months ahead if you want to visit Sam Carter and Alexandra Oliver’s “very enjoyable” venue, “located in a Victorian terraced house with small cosy rooms” a short walk from the city centre (near the Cam and Jesus Green). One central London reporter acclaimed it as “worth the trip to Cambridge” thanks to its “very enjoyable” combination of personable service and very accomplished cuisine (all served – except at lunch and on certain evenings – via the now-obligatory tasting menu format).
2. Sticks'n'Sushi Japanese restaurant in Cambridge 2 Wheeler Street - CB2
The “surprisingly delicious and wide-ranging menu” combines sushi with yakitori skewers (the so-called ‘sticks’) at this extremely popular Japanese-inspired group, whose “bustling” branches betray the Scandi style of their Copenhagen-based owners. It’s “a perfect choice if not everyone wants sushi” (even if it’s “expensive and portions are a bit on the small side”). A tenth branch is promised in late 2022 in Westfield W12.
3. Pint Shop British, Modern restaurant in Cambridge 10 Peas Hill - CB2
This “useful stopping place in the centre of Cambridge” serves “solid pub food” and a “good selection” of craft beers. A boozer for only 10 years, it was once the home of E.M. Forster.
4. The Cambridge Chop House British, Traditional restaurant in Cambridge 1 Kings Parade - CB2
“Despite its tourist-trap location” on the Cambridge main drag, this steakhouse excels – for its “enormous slabs of decent meat, which has been properly cooked”, “fair prices” and a “good-value lunch menu”. It’s “essential” to eat in the “lovely atmosphere downstairs”, with “street-level views of King’s College Chapel”.
5. Trinity British, Modern restaurant in Cambridge 15 Trinity Street - CB2
This “good (mainly) seafood restaurant – always with good oysters” – is a decent option for a meal on a prime tourist site, directly opposite the Great Gate of the college of the same name. “Service is lovely”, and the “creative menu” is “now slightly SE Asian (coconut and/or curry with everything)”.
6. The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie British, Modern restaurant in Cambridge 16 Trinity Street - CB2
“A lovely bright and cheerful room, with good food and special touches” make this glossy British brasserie from Richard Caring’s chain a useful option for many in the Varsity town – although, like its many siblings around the country, it “lacks the glitter of the London original”.
7. Fitzbillies International restaurant in Cambridge 51 - 52 Trumpington Street - CB2
2019 Review: Despites both its iconic status – a Cambridge landmark since 1921 – and foodie ownership (FT columnist, Tim Hayward has owned it since 2011), this Varsity café (most famous for its Chelsea buns) inspires only limited and middling feedback: “more-than-adequate if pricey comfort food in a busy environment”.
8. Parker's Tavern British, Modern restaurant in Cambridge 1 Park Terrace - CB1
“A proper brasserie in a lovely refurbished hotel in the middle of Cambridge” – “who would have guessed that the once-dismal University Arms would house such a charmer?”. Ex-Launceston Place chef Tristan Welch champions local East Anglian produce on a menu that provides comfort rather than foodie fireworks. Rebuilt several years ago, this long-established hotel has a fantastic position, overlooking Parker’s Piece.
9. Garden House British, Modern restaurant in Cambridge Granta Place - CB2
“Focused on simple dishes, with excellent ingredients, all elevated by sharp cooking” – the year-old grill at this new Graduate Hotel (named for the previous hotel on this site) wins positive feedback in our annual diners’ poll (but too limited for a rating).
10. Steak & Honour Burgers, etc restaurant in Cambridge 4 Wheeler Street, Cambridge, CB2 3QB - CB2
2022 Review: “Consistently excellent burgers from a small fleet of vintage Citroën vans” – painted bright yellow and red – ensure this small local brand has high visibility around Cambridge. You can also sample the burgers from a more conventional bricks and mortar site in Wheeler Street.
11. Millworks British, Modern restaurant in Cambridge The Watermill, Newnham Road - CB3
2021 Review: This “meaty joint” occupies an attractive converted mill, complete with working water wheel. It “continues to please students and locals in its airy space overlooking river and millpond (I saw a kingfisher!)”.
12. Oak Bistro British, Modern restaurant in Cambridge 6 Lensfield Road - CB2
2022 Review: “Always a pleasure”, this indie bistro is a “local favourite”, twinning “very friendly service and reliable cooking” of an Anglo-European bent; take advantage of the attractive courtyard in clement months or pop in pre- or post-theatre.
13. Amelie Restaurants British, Modern restaurant in Cambridge Grafton Centre - CB1
2021 Review: Look out for the bright yellow Citroën van, if you want to try veteran restaurateur Regis Crépy’s latest venture, selling Alsatian pizza-type Flammekueche in a Cambridge food court. For a tasty, cheap ’n’ cheerful snack that’s a little out of the ordinary, these “light”, “fresh-tasting” and “reasonably priced” wafers of bread dough complete with toppings are just the job.
14. Midsummer House British, Modern restaurant in Cambridge Midsummer Common - CB4
“What an experience: from the brimming tray of Champagne choices and canapés to great coffee at the end and a parting gift”, this VIctorian villa delivers an experience that’s “very special”. It helps that it has an idyllic location, on the banks of The Cam opposite the college boathouses and surrounded by the greenery of Midsummer Common. In 2023, Daniel Clifford celebrates his 25th year at the stoves here. “There is alchemy at work with his magical combinations, creativity and attention to detail at every stage” – some very fine food, which helps make this one of the most commented-on destinations in the UK. Dishes are “prepared with wit and incredible to look at”. But they are also “phenomenally expensive, particularly if you also have the wine flight” and the level of value remains the main issue when considering a meal here, with almost one in five diners feeling the place is too “overpriced”. Still, “it always impresses even if it is somewhat pricey even when compared to London”. (“There will be moans about the bill, but, as I was hosted by my children for a big birthday, that was not my problem. What an experience it was. I am not sure I like being this age, but the celebration was second to none!”)
15. Navadhanya Cambridge Indian restaurant in Cambridge 73 Newmarket Rd - CB5
2022 Review: Ambitious and “exciting” Indian cuisine is on the menu at this Cambridge operation, which crossed the road into new premises in late 2021 (rendering obsolete complaints of “peeling wallpaper”). Reporters recommend choosing one of the tasting menus, which offer seven courses of standard, vegetarian or vegan dishes – “it meant that I tried dishes I wouldn’t normally choose and really opened up new flavours to me”.
16. Vanderlyle British, Modern restaurant in Cambridge 38 Mill Road - CB1
“So stunningly good” – there’s “no need for meat or fish” at Alex Rushmer’s “innovative and exciting” venture: “who cares if it’s vegan/veggie or not? This is simply outstanding tasty food which will totally blow you away”. The former MasterChef finalist ran the Hole in the Wall in nearby Little Wilbraham before launching here with Lawrence Butler in 2019. Top Tip – “the focaccia and yeast butter is a revelation”.
17. Stem & Glory Vegan restaurant in Cambridge 50-60 Station Road - CB1
Limited but positive feedback on this successful vegan, which shifted to this new location in a new development near the station in 2021. Worth remembering if you are catching a train and a place of pilgrimage for those who eat meat-free. It’s a rare Cambridge eatery that has spawned openings in the capital (see also).
18. Three Horseshoes British, Modern restaurant in Madingley High St - CB23
2019 Review: With its fortunes revived under the Huntsbridge Group of late, this “lovely old thatched building with sunny conservatory” joined the local, ever-growing Cambscuisine empire in January 2018; fans say it’s “back in business”, turning out “interesting and well-prepared” food.
19. Hot Numbers restaurant in Cambridge (West) 4 Trumpington Street - CB2
“Great coffee, great brunch sandwiches and great jazz music” are the name of the game at this coffee shop trio with venues in Gwydir Street (music), Trumpington Street and in the village of Shepreth south of Cambridge, where the in-house roastery and bakery are based – along with a pizza oven. Founder Simon Fraser fell for the Antipodean coffee culture while living in Melbourne, and returned to his home town to launch Hot Numbers in 2011.
20. Fin Boys restaurant in Cambridge (Central and South) 2 Mill Road - CB1
“An outstanding newish restaurant in Mill Road” – this restaurant, deli and ‘fish butchery’ opened in mid 2021, further bolstering the ever-more thriving local scene. Fish and seafood is right, left and centre to the offering with an eclectic and inviting mashup of Asian curries, pho, pasta and funky small plates. Earlier in the week is à la carte – weekend evenings are a tasting menu format.
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