Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Totnes
Hardens guides have spent 31 years compiling reviews of the best Totnes restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 8 restaurants in Totnes and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Totnes restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Totnes Restaurants
1. Gidleigh Park British, Modern restaurant in Chagford
2021 Review: 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
2021 Review: “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. Riverford Field Kitchen British, Traditional restaurant in Buckfastleigh Wash Barn - TQ11
2021 Review: “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”.
4. The Seahorse Fish & seafood restaurant in Dartmouth 5 South Embankment - TQ6
2021 Review: “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”.
5. Rockfish Fish & chips restaurant in Dartmouth 8 South Embankment - TQ6
2021 Review: “The original Rockfish and still the best” – serving up the “freshest fish and scallops to die for” – and it’s also “nice to see unusual fish on the menu”. “The day's catch is always worth having and the different soles grilled are delicious”.
6. Elephant Restaurant & Brasserie British, Modern restaurant in Torquay 3-4 Beacon Ter, Harbourside - TQ1
2021 Review: With his “technically accomplished” cooking of “ingredients he sources locally, including from his own farm in nearby Brixham” and “day-boat Brixham fish that remains a marvel”, “much-admired chef” Simon Hulstone’s well-known destination in a Georgian terrace provides “sophisticated dining in South Devon”. Its ratings are dragged down however, by its toppish prices and those who query “where’s the spark: perfectly OK but it didn’t leave me jumping for joy”.
7. No 7 Fish Bistro & Wine Bar Fish & seafood restaurant in Torquay 7 Beacon Terrace - TQ1
2021 Review: “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.
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