British, Modern Restaurants in Devon
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. 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”.
3. The Salutation Inn British, Modern restaurant in Topsham 68 Fore Street - EX3
With its “lovely, accomplished cooking” and “beautiful building in a riverside village”, this smart, eighteenth-century inn near Exeter is “brilliant for a weekend break”. All the food is highly rated – from the eight-course tasting menu to the “excellent beef sandwiches and moreish homemade soup” served in the less formal Glasshouse.
4. The Mason’s Arms British, Modern restaurant in Knowstone South Molton - EX36
“The quality and style of the food produced at this Devon country pub” is testament to chef-patron Mark Dodson’s 12 years as head chef at the Roux brothers’ legendary Waterside Inn. The pub itself is a gorgeous thatched cottage on the edge of Exmoor, dating back to the 13th century.
5. Cornish Arms British, Modern restaurant in Tavistock 15 West Street - PL19
The rough-around-the-edges pub that once stood here is long gone – these days it’s “clearly popular and well-regarded” owing to chef-patron John Hooker’s “consistently good” gastro fare that’s “tremendous value for money” too.
6. The Pig at Combe British, Modern restaurant in Honiton Combe House, Gittisham - EX14
“Have fun pottering around the kitchen garden” at the Pig group’s “lovely”-looking Otter Valley outpost, where “you can relax and enjoy provided you’re not seated on a wobbly chair – they do like shabby chic!”. Even fans concede the culinary performance is “a bit patchy” (sometimes all in one day) and while a good proportion of meals are “cracking” some do fall short: “what’s the point of going on about air miles when the food is this bland and expensive!?”.
7. The Jack in the Green Inn British, Modern restaurant in Rockbeare London Road - EX5
One of the better pubs in the Exeter area – this well-known gastropub near J29 of the M5 has been in the same hands for over 25 years, and wins praise for its “very reliable cooking” and “a great choice of local beers and ciders”.
8. Tytherleigh Arms British, Modern restaurant in Tytherleigh
Some “superb meals” and “service that’s always friendly but discreet” win solid ratings for this inn, near the Devon-Dorset border, that dates from the sixteenth century. “The menu’s not extensive but it’s local and original food, and there’s never a problem finding something good”.
9. The Arundell Arms Hotel British, Modern restaurant in Lifton
This well-run country inn near Dartmoor “never disappoints”, with a menu of locally sourced produce that makes much of its delightful setting. With 20 miles of private riverbank for the use of guests, it has been a centre for fly fishing since the 1930s, and in recent years it has developed impressive green credentials – heat and hot water are powered by its own ‘eco energy centre’, there are charging points for electric cars, and guests who arrive by cycle, bus or electric car earn a 20% discount.
10. Rendezvous Wine Bar British, Modern restaurant in Exeter 38-40 Southernhay East - EX1
This independent basement wine bar-restaurant is a “reliable city-centre standby” with a “lovely atmosphere”, plus a “decent menu” and wines – even a reporter who says “it won’t thrill you” says “it won’t let you down either!”
View full listings of 76 British, Modern Devon Restaurants
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