Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Devon
Hardens guides have spent 29 years compiling reviews of the best Devon restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 183 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
1. Gidleigh Park British, Modern restaurant in Chagford
Possibly “not as good as in the days of Michael Caines… but still a joy to behold”. It’s SatNavs at the ready, as you charge down single-track lanes on the fringes of Dartmoor to discover this plush gourmet Shangri-la, set in 100 acres of picturesque grounds. Andrew Brownsword’s famous Tudorbethan manor house has long been one of the UK’s foremost culinary destinations, but has not hit a proper stride since Michael Caines left (after 21 years) in 2016. Since that time, the hotel has seen a steady succession of new chefs. Michael Wignall came and went. Then Chris Simpson, lasted a year but he moved on in January 2019. Then, in October 2019, the establishment lost the second of the two Michelin stars it formerly held. The upheavals of this period have notably decreased the volume of survey feedback we receive, and there is also the odd disappointing report, too. What’s more eye-catching, however, is the resilient quality of the team, and the relative consistency of both ratings and commentary we receive (for example – “we got there and the executive chef had left two weeks before. The head chef had taken over and still did a brilliant job, the sommelier also did a stunningly good job; I am not always the best customer as I like to ask questions, but the service was absolutely excellent throughout”). In September 2019, Chris Eden joined from Cornwall’s Driftwood – perhaps he’s the man finally to capitalise on the enduring potential and appeal here?
2. Lympstone Manor French restaurant in Exmouth Courtlands Lane - EX8
“Gidleigh Park on steroids!”. Michael Caines “has shown exceptional skill” in creating this hugely ambitious and “luxurious” two-year-old (“you can see a lot of money has been pumped in”), which has a “wonderful setting, now complete with a vineyard”; and “once the grounds have matured a bit, it will be even more stunning than it already is”, and with excellent views of the Exe estuary. “Dining is split between several rooms so you do not feel you are in a crowd” and the “very confident” cuisine is “as you would expect of Caines: if not overly inventive, then classical, delicious and executed to perfection” from either the à la carte or the ‘Signature’ or (in the evenings only) ‘Taste the Estuary’ eight-course tasting menus. For many reporters it’s just an all-round smash hit, and an “unpretentious” one too. But there are others who qualify their praise. The “ornate surroundings” (“the pomp factor is off the scale”) can feel “very quiet and refined, but lacking buzz” and service though generally “very helpful” and “unobtrusive” is found on occasion to be a “work in progress” or “stilted”. Top Tip – afternoon tea is another option here: “the scones and sandwiches are particularly delicious”.
3. The Seahorse Fish & seafood restaurant in Dartmouth 5 South Embankment - TQ6
“British seafood at its best” is “worth a detour” at Mitch Tonks’s “buzzy” (if “rather cramped”) flagship. The “unfussy cooking” and “respect shown to the super-fresh produce always leaves you happy”; and it’s “a perfect little spot to hunker down over a long lunch, before walking it all off along the waterfront”.
4. The Old Inn British, Traditional restaurant in Drewsteignton
Ex-Gidleigh Park chef Duncan Walker continues to win stellar marks for his food at this appealingly cosy, low-key seventeenth century village inn, on the edge of Dartmoor, and run together with Anthea Christmas; if you stay over in one of the three comfortable rooms “breakfast is also excellent”.
5. No 7 Fish Bistro Fish & seafood restaurant in Torquay 7 Beacon Terrace - TQ1
“Outstanding, simply cooked fresh fish” features in all feedback on the Stacey family’s bright, relaxed restaurant (est. 1993), where you can eat the catch landed at Brixham downstairs – specials are listed on various blackboards – or pair one of 95 wines with oysters upstairs.
6. Rock Salt British, Modern restaurant in Plymouth 31 Stonehouse St - PL1
A “perennial favourite local relaxed foodie joint”, this ex-pub turned “bistro-cum-cafe-cum-restaurant” goes from strength to strength as a showcase for the “inventive food” of chef-owner Dave Jenkins, whose dishes “always delight, with lovely little touches and innovations that make total sense once you’ve tasted them”. They serve “great breakfasts, good-value lunches”, and “the best Sunday roast in town”.
7. Riverford Field Kitchen British, Traditional restaurant in Buckfastleigh Wash Barn - TQ11
“Incredibly tasty”, “healthy, hearty organic food” wins universal high praise for this “custom-built hangar” at the HQ of the organic veggie box company. The “wonderful meals” – “not strictly vegetarian but giving full emphasis to the vegetables!” – are “served on large refectory tables”, “by informed and friendly staff”. “The formula works, and I continue to be impressed”.
8. The Oyster Shack Fish & seafood restaurant in Bigbury-on-Sea Millburn Orchard Farm, Stakes Hills - TQ7
It’s not much more than a bright blue hut with a covered terrace, but the seafood on offer at this offbeat former oyster farm, set on the Avon estuary, has made it a known stop-off in this part of the world. Since the departure of longtime owner Chris Yandell in 2018, feedback on it has dwindled noticeably, but such as we have says it remains “consistently good”, with added marks for being “dog, child and everything friendly!”
9. Northcote Manor British, Traditional restaurant in Umberleigh Burrington - EX37
“It keeps on surprising… there’s nothing old or boring about it, so all good!” – this grand old hotel, set in 20 acres amidst gorgeous countryside and boasting a distinctive muralled dining room, is a “lovely place: so peaceful”. All reports say the cooking is good value too: both the three-course dinner menu for £49.50 or the ‘Gourmet Dinner Menu’: six courses for £65.
10. Thomas Carr @ The Olive Room British, Modern restaurant in Ilfracombe 56 Fore Street - EX34
Chef Thomas Carr is “exceptionally talented”, turning out “perfectly balanced” fish-centric food which “honours the ingredients” at this North Devon five-year-old, boosted last year by a paean from Jay Rayner. Ilfracombe is “a truly tough environment for a high-end restaurant, especially to survive year-round, so hats off to the chef and team”.
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Top Devon Restaurants
These are the top restaurants in Devon based on reviews by Hardens users.
The Old Inn
No 7 Fish Bistro
Riverford Field Kitchen
The Oyster Shack
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