Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Cheltenham
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Cheltenham restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 38 restaurants in Cheltenham and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Cheltenham restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Cheltenham Restaurants
1. GL50 Game restaurant in Cheltenham 8 Norfolk House, Chester Walk - GL50
‘Informal fine dining’ is the mantra at Jonas Lodge’s three-year-old, where a zero-waste ethos informs the cooking style, and where dishes are often zhooshed up with funky ingredients, pickling and fermenting. The majority of reports are upbeat, but there is the occasional caution of “some odd dishes, so choose carefully” (and sceptics feel that “the chef is aiming for shock value: I go out to enjoy myself, not to be challenged!”).
2. L’Artisan French restaurant in Cheltenham 30 Clarence St - GL50
This warmly authentic Gallic spot from chef Yves and his wife Elisabeth Ogrodzki, veteran restaurateurs who have cooked their way to Cheltenham from Paris, Provence and rural Leicestershire, wins consistent high ratings – and thrilled Jay Rayner of The Observer for channelling another age (the ’80s) “and beautifully so”.
3. Lumière British, Modern restaurant in Cheltenham Clarence Parade - GL50
“Our best meal of the year!” – “we benchmark all fine dining experiences against Lumière and nobody beats them”, say fans of chef Jon Howe and his front-of-house wife Helen’s small restaurant, whose “unassuming exterior camouflages” a “gastronomic delight”. “Sophisticated, balanced dishes with exquisite flavour” are “served with skill and passion” – and it’s “come through lockdown even better than before”.
4. Kibou Cheltenham Japanese restaurant in Cheltenham Regent Arcade, Regent Street - GL50
“What a wonderful experience” – this original of what is now a national chain (branches in Bristol, London and Solihull) serves “wonderful sushi” and other Japanese dishes that are “as good if not better since it moved to larger premises” – “the most stressful part of visiting is choosing from the menu!”. Top Tip – “the aptly named volcano roll”.
5. No. 3 Restaurants British, Modern restaurant in Cheltenham 12 Royal Crescent - GL50
2022 Review: Rugby World Cup AND Celebrity MasterChef winner Phil Vickery has opened his own restaurant, with his wife Jules and chef Tom Rains, after a year of running a delivery service, No.3 at Home.
6. Purslane British, Modern restaurant in Cheltenham 16 Rodney Rd - GL50
Chef-patron Gareth Fulford’s “intimate restaurant with great food and wine” is “a long way from the sea, but the fish is always beautifully cooked and so tasty”. It’s also “fantastic value”, offering a range of options from 2 to 7 courses. “This is up there with my favourites – I just wished we lived nearer”.
7. The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie British, Modern restaurant in Cheltenham Rotunda Terrace, Montpellier Street - GL50
“Do ask to sit under the rotunda” – which makes this spin-off from the national chain “a memorable place to eat”. “The food is not memorable, but overall it is fine and predictable, one can rely on getting a decent meal”.
8. Prithvi Indian restaurant in Cheltenham 37 Bath Road - GL53
“Classy in every sense”, this elegant 11-year-old shows “attention to detail in every department” resulting in “excellently executed takes on classic Indian dishes”, underpinned by “exemplary service”. It moved a few years ago to elegant Pittville Park premises.
9. No 131 British, Modern restaurant in Cheltenham 131 Promenade - GL50
2022 Review: In a prime town-centre location, this luxurious hotel (ultimately owned by Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton) is converted from a trio of Georgian townhouses. On limited feedback in this survey, the themes here are the same as in previous years: “attractive setting and good food… but all at a high price”.
10. The Coconut Tree International restaurant in Cheltenham 59 Saint Paul's Road - GL50
2022 Review: Part of a now eight-strong chain, this youthfully spirited Sri Lankan street-food venture is a laid-back and “homely” (mostly bar stool seating) spot to indulge in some “delicious” sharing plates and wacky “cocktails” – the latter sometimes on fire; best bit – it's “not pricey”, either.
11. Tavern Burgers, etc restaurant in Cheltenham 38 Evesham Road - GL52
2019 Review: “They’ve got a great menu of American-inspired comfort food” at this bar/bistro in the city-centre “and some real mastery at the grill. Brunches are good too”. Top Menu Tip: “whole deep fried globe artichoke with greek garlic mayo”.
12. Le Champignon Sauvage British, Modern restaurant in Cheltenham 24-28 Suffolk Rd - GL50
“A place to eat for people who prefer food to Instagram…” – “No visit to Cheltenham is complete without a meal at the delightful Champignon Sauvage” according to the many fans of David & Helen Everitt-Matthias’s long-established foodie temple, which remains one of the more commented-on rural restaurants in the UK. For its many long-term devotees, “this is the yardstick used to judge everywhere else as its combination of skill, service and value is so hard to beat”. Famously the kitchen is never open when David isn’t in it to cook, and the result is “innovative, often-foraged seasonal dishes” – “precise, original and beautiful cooking that never strains for effect” and “whose flavours sing on the plate”. “Friendly and professional service to match is provided by Helen”, who also presides over the “super wine list with a great selection of half bottles”. No-one has ever pretended the rather sedate room is a riot, but fans say “its serenity encourages conversation” and “still don’t understand why this outstanding restaurant lost its second Michelin star a couple of years ago”. Ratings here dipped a little this year, however, on one or two mixed (if far-from-damning) reports. Typical would be “our favourite last year was somewhat off its game this time and lacked a little sparkle”; or “the food was great as ever but the room felt dead… the wrong sort of hushed”. Perhaps the strains of these pandemic times? Or “maybe it’s just that everywhere else has upped its game?” Still, for the majority, “it’s wonderful and creates some of the best things ever eaten”.
13. Bhoomi Indian restaurant in Cheltenham 52 Suffolk Rd - GL50
“Reliably enjoyable and interesting” Keralan dishes are the attraction at this crowd-pleasing outfit from prolific local restaurateur Michael Raphel (Prithvi, Holee Cow), who was inspired by the flavours his chef grandfather brought from South India as an immigrant 50 years ago. A switch from fine-dining to a more casual approach a few years back has paid dividends, and now there is a spin-off in Oxford. Top Menu Tip – “the thali are particularly wonderful”.
14. Cowley Manor British, Modern restaurant in Cowley
Opening in summer 2023, this Cotswolds country house hotel near Cheltenham is now part of the Paris-based Experimental Group (owners of the Henrietta Hotel in Covent Garden). Jackson Boxer, chef-patron at high-profile London venues Brunswick House and Orasay, has been hired to take charge of the menu offered in the 50-cover dining room; there is also a 50-seat dining terrace.
15. 5 North Street British, Modern restaurant in Winchcombe 5 North St - GL54
Chef-patron Gus Ashenford and his wife Kate this year celebrate the 20th anniversary of their “small restaurant – a bow-windowed former tea room – in a pretty little Cotswolds town”, where they treat guests to consistently “amazing food”, “full of flavour and providing excellent value”. Gus trained under the late Michel Roux at the Waterside Inn, and his cuisine is underpinned by classical French techniques.
16. Muse Brasserie Fusion restaurant in Cheltenham 60 St George's Place - GL50
“Fabulous cooking, mixing Indian and French cuisines to offer unusual, superbly flavoured dishes” is the USP of this three-year-old collaboration, bringing together two chefs from very different culinary traditions – Franck Grillet and Pramod Tirunagari – and “it works!”, producing meals of “fine-dining quality in a relaxed bistro atmosphere, and at bistro prices”. The pair opened a spin-off in Bristol late last year.
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