Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Devon
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Devon restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 30 restaurants in Devon and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Devon restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Devon Restaurants
. Gidleigh Park
British, Modern restaurant in Chagford
“Set majestically on the upper reaches of the River Teign, on the very edge of Dartmoor”, Andrew Brownsword’s luxurious if remote Tudorbethan pile has set the standard for British country-house dining over four decades (initially under Paul & Kay Henderson, who sold up in 2005). “Service and ambience are, as always, unsurpassed” and “Chris Eden’s menu is superb” – even if he is yet to fully match the level of esteem achieved by some of his illustrious predecessors as chef, among them Shaun Hill, Michael Caines and Michael Wignall.
. The Ring Of Bells
British, Modern restaurant in Crediton
The Hayes, Cheriton Fitapaine - EX17
“A real gem”: this “lovely country pub with fab affordable food and a great atmosphere” is “greatly appreciated by locals and visitors alike”. To its credit, it “constantly invests to improve its offer”, most recently adding a “new barn and patio that have increased capacity”.
. The Rock Inn
restaurant in Newton Abbot
Haytor Vale, Dartmoor National Pk - TQ13
Beautifully situated on Dartmoor, this rural pub was consistently well-reviewed this year for its hearty and enjoyable bistro-style menu (it’s not a pub grub kind of place). There are nine bedrooms, too, and – if you stay – there’s the additional option of a lighter early bird supper.
. Rendezvous Wine Bar
British, Modern restaurant in Exeter
38-40 Southernhay East - EX1
“A go-to place for dining in Exeter”, this basement wine bar/restaurant with a walled garden near Cathedral Yard is “one of very few places in town where you can confidently go for a business lunch/dinner – no muzak, well-spaced tables”. “The menu is always filled with interesting things and sourced locally – meat and fish always of the highest quality”.
. The Salutation Inn
British, Modern restaurant in Topsham
68 Fore Street - EX3
“An excellent, good value, buzzy and atmospheric choice in this patchy region” – this old coaching inn near the River Exe has “a dedicated glazed restaurant atrium so it doesn’t look or feel like a pub”. A wide variety of menus caters well to just about any eventuality.
. The Galley
Fish & seafood restaurant in Topsham
41 Fore St, Topsham - EX3
This well-known seafood spot was closed for several months last year but reopened in the autumn under new head chef James Checkley, who received a classical training under Michael Caines. He has quite a rep to live up to and so far he seems to be succeeding: fans hail “the best fish restaurant in an area where there are lots of good ones”.
. Northcote Manor
British, Traditional restaurant in Umberleigh
Burrington - EX37
High ratings across the board for this “lovely old manor house” whose Georgian dining room (with contemporary murals) makes a “charming setting” for “food which never disappoints”, and where you are well looked after by “enthusiastic staff who really care”.
. Riverford Field Kitchen
British, Traditional restaurant in Buckfastleigh
Wash Barn - TQ11
“A vegetal cornucopia delight!” – this canteen at an organic veg box company’s HQ “oozes with enough excitement and deliciousness to make even the most hardened of meat-eaters squirm with pleasure”. They do serve some meat, but “vegetables are always the star” – “though the puds are pretty tasty too” – “all homemade of course and quite delicious”.
. Rockfish Exmouth
Fish & seafood restaurant in Exmouth
Pier Head - EX8
“We love the Rockfish chain” – and “Exmouth is our favourite”, say fans of Mitch Tonks’s West Country seafood group, which had eight branches as we went to press, with two more (Salcombe and Topsham) about to open, along with an online seafood market and a pioneering canned-fish operation. Despite being a multiple, it offers “top seafood, and the staff seem really passionate about the subject”.
. Crab Shack
Fish & seafood restaurant in Teignmouth
3 Queen St - TQ14
“Seafood platters on the back beach” are the big draw to this popular shack. All feedback this year was fundamentally positive, but sometimes with a catch. For example: “can’t help feeling the magic has slipped a bit and prices seem to have gone up”. But “the owners try hard, and it’s still worth a visit when you're in the area, especially on a sunny afternoon”.
. The Five Bells Inn
British, Modern restaurant in Clyst Hydon
Landlord James Garnham took over this lovely thatched pub in his boyhood village with his wife Charlie five years ago, building an excellent reputation for its food and hospitality. “We have now visited 3 times in as many weeks – which says it all!”.
. Cornish Arms
British, Modern restaurant in Tavistock
15 West Street - PL19
Chef-patron John Hooker and his wife Emma celebrate their 10th anniversary this year at this old coaching inn on the road to Cornwall (hence the name). Marks are down this year, with a couple of disappointing reports. Perhaps it’s just a blip because there is still plenty of enthusiasm for “John’s delightful, unfussy cooking”, which fans say “stays just on the right side of good value”.
. The Horn of Plenty, Country House Hotel & Restaurant
Afternoon tea restaurant in Gulworthy
Country House Hotel & Restaurant - PL19
This “long established hideaway on the Devon/Cornwall border” offers “modern British cooking using local ingredients with flair and imagination”. There are “fabulous views of Tamar Valley from the dining room”, and service is “enthusiastic, if sometimes a little untrained”.
. Elephant Restaurant & Brasserie
British, Modern restaurant in Torquay
3-4 Beacon Ter, Harbourside - TQ1
“Stunning food with excellent service” have earned plaudits for high-profile chef Simon Hulstone’s “faultless” flagship, which he opened 20 years ago – in the town where he grew up, as the son of a chef. He now has a 100-acre farm in Brixham, to guarantee supplies of his favourite produce.
. No 7 Fish Bistro & Wine Bar
Fish & seafood restaurant in Torquay
7 Beacon Terrace - TQ1
The “best fish”, landed across the harbour at Brixham, is what the Stacey family fixture, now 30 years old, is all about. Upstairs there’s an evening wine (and oyster) bar with panoramic views, and both venues provide ever-changing blackboard menus.
. Hotel Endsleigh
British, Modern restaurant in Milton Abbot
The “stunning” combination of “really good, classic food” and the “lovely setting” of “Humphry Repton’s last garden, overlooking the Tamar”, makes a meal in the original wood-panelled dining room here a real pleasure. There’s also a notable cream tea in the afternoon. Sibling to Hotel Tresanton in the Polizzi Collection, Endsleigh was originally the Duke of Bedford’s private lodge for hunting and fishing.
. The Pig at Combe
British, Modern restaurant in Honiton
Combe House, Gittisham - EX14
“Great food, lovely location, a dream of a kitchen garden” is the generally agreed verdict on this Otter Valley outpost of the boho-styled Pig hotel group, in a handsome Elizabethan mansion with a panelled dining room. There’s an “interesting focus on local produce”, including “lots of nicely cooked veg” from the kitchen garden.
. The Seahorse
Fish & seafood restaurant in Dartmouth
5 South Embankment - TQ6
Mitch Tonks’s Mediterranean-inspired harbourside HQ “always hits the spot” and is run “with charm and polish” – “the anchoiade and focaccia alone is worth a trip from the northern Highlands!”.
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