Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Devon
Hardens guides have spent 30 years compiling reviews of the best Devon restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 187 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” three-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. Àclèaf at Boringdon Hall British, Modern restaurant in Plympton Boringdon Hall - PL7
2019 Review: “The Gallery in Boringdon has risen up the ranks of local Plymouth eateries” and “must be one of the best in the south west” nowadays. “Chef Scott Paton has worked wonders” in the dining room of this 40-room five-star hotel: “the setting is wonderful” and the cooking “memorable”.
4. 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”.
5. The Ring Of Bells British, Modern restaurant in Crediton The Hayes, Cheriton Fitapaine - EX17
2018 Review: This thatched pub is a “delightful Devon village venue offering a warm friendly welcome, pleasant garden with beer, cider (and with a olovely B+B cottage too”). Good marks (if on limited reports) for its “consistently reliable” fare, from a short menu focussed mostly on traditional-ish British dishes.
6. @ Angela's British, Modern restaurant in Exeter 38 New Bridge St - EX4
2019 Review: “Angela is front of house and husband Richard cooks” at this “little” restaurant in the town centre: “service is very friendly, and there’s a core following of patrons”. “There’s a small menu of old-stalwart traditional French dishes” (“lots of creamy vegetables and sauces”) with “everything freshly cooked to order” and delivered in “huge portions”.
7. The Horn of Plenty, Country House Hotel & Restaurant International restaurant in Gulworthy Country House Hotel & Restaurant - PL19
2018 Review: “Super views from the terrace” and window tables of the Tamar Valley are a constant at this long-established, “quiet and lovely” venture, in “a beautiful location”. But while fans hail “wonderful confident cooking with great flavours”, critics feel the cuisine is “too fussy” or rail at “haphazard service”.
8. The Greedy Goose British, Modern restaurant in Plymouth Prysten House, Finewell St - PL1
A Grade I listed house from 1487 that was “one of the few buildings in Plymouth to survive WW2 bombing” – Ben and Francesca Palmer’s “delightful” venture delivers “good food at great value”. Top Tip: on Tuesdays the 11-course tasting menu is half price, at £45.
9. The Swan British, Modern restaurant in Bampton Station Rd - EX16
“Steaks are particularly praiseworthy” at chef-owners Donna & Paul Berry’s “attractive pub in a pretty Devon village”, which serves “a good menu, with tasty, well-presented dishes”. They strengthened the team last year with the addition of head chef Olivier Certain, ahead of the opening of a second venue, Spelt, a neighbourhood sharing-plates outfit in Bampton’s old village bakery in September 2019.
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Colyton British, Modern
Àclèaf at Boringdon Hall
Plympton British, Modern £78