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Bristol Eat List
Photograph: The Ethicurean

The 15 best restaurants in Bristol you need to try

Whatever your budget, and whatever cuisine you’re after, our pick of the best restaurants in Bristol can deliver

Written by
Sammy Jones
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Frankly, there’s nowhere better than Bristol for an unpretentious and delicious dining experience – even the higher-brow restaurants we list here share a sense of fun when it comes to their food. This city’s predilection for only the most ‘authentic’ restaurant offerings also means the turnover of eating establishments is fast and furious, and that the spots that make it past the one-year mark really have proved themselves something special. So whether it’s burgers, brunch or bar snacks you’re after, here’s a tantalising slice of the packed dining scene the South West is enjoying right now.

Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList. You can find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews restaurants here.

Best restaurants in Bristol

Bravas
  • Restaurants
  • Spanish

What is it? Sumptuous Spanish small plates.

Why we love it: Get a true taste of Spain at this tapas bar and restaurant owned by couple Kieran and Imogen Waite. This duo take their staff to Spain every year to ensure their food remains authentic and to cement their connections with Spanish suppliers.

Time Out tip: Try its sister restaurant, Gambas, too – it's based at the harbourside, and focusses on fish.

Poco
  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian

What is it? A place to eat well and feel smug about it.

Why we love it: Ethical is an industry buzzword that some restaurants only pay lip service to. Not so at Poco. The majority of its ingredients are sourced from the UK, most of the vegetables come from community farms in the Bristol area, and fish caught in Lyme Bay and certified by the Marine Conservation Society is served. None of this would matter if the food wasn’t up to scratch – thankfully, it is. 

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What is it? Yet another must-visit from the Pasta Loco team.

Why we love it: The Bristol cousins who launched the wildly popular Pasta Loco, Pasta Ripiena and La Sorella have opened yet another jewel in their culinary crown. Taking over the building that once housed much-loved Bell’s Diner was going to be no mean feat, but this tight-knit family team have more than met expectations. Think impeccable Italian food and an incredible wine list – all served with a twinkle.

The Ethicurean
  • Restaurants

What is it? Top-notch eats with epic views.

Why we love it: Set inside a restored Victorian walled garden twelve miles outside Bristol, the Ethicurean stuns with sweeping views over the Mendip hills and beyond. They've taken lockdown as an opportunity to cultivate two new offerings: 'The Ethicurean Lunch', an informal set menu served on a Sunday afternoon, and 'The Ethicurean Experience,' an immersive visit with dinner, drinks and outdoor exploring.

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The Ox
  • Restaurants

What is it? Quality steak plus expertly-made cocktails.

Why we love it: A lowly, easily-missed basement on Corn Street is where you’ll find cocktail bar and steak joint The Ox. Lit warmly by an array of small lamps, the atmosphere here is cosy and upmarket. Leather-bound chairs stand in neat rows, while food comes out on oh-so-hip wooden boards. Sample the Hyde & Co cocktails too.

What is it? A charming Italian joint known for huge portions.

Why we love it: This Italian neighbourhood joint has previously won breakfast and best Italian restaurant at the Bristol Good Food Awards, and its dishes are certainly deserving. Vegetarians can eat here happily, and there’s more than enough on the changing menu for meat-eaters too. Choose from antipasti, risotto, pasta, gnocchi and homemade bread.

Time Out tip: Make sure you leave room for dessert. 

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Sky Kong Kong
  • Restaurants

What is it? Organic Korean cafe serving dishes with a (delicious) twist.

Why we love it: One of the joys of Sky Kong Kong is not knowing what you’ll be eating. What you do know is that you’ll be eating well and paying little. Korean chef and owner Wizzy moved to Bristol after working in Michelin-starred restaurants in London. This is Wizzy’s showcase of her considerable talent: depending on the day, you might be served provençal fish stew, paella, Korean-style sashimi or pad thai.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian

What is it? Michelin-starred food with a well-thought-out tasting menu. 

Why we love it: Michelin-starred Casamia serves impeccably cooked and delightfully presented seasonal dishes. Yes, the twenty(!)-course tasting menu will set you back £180 per person, but if you blow your special occasion fund here, you won’t regret it. Fussy eaters beware – everyone eats the same menu here. Music lovers will adore it for its embrace of big tunes in the dining room, too.

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Chido Wey
Photo: Chido Wey

9. Chido Wey

What is it? A Mexican kitchen with a Californian twist.

Why we love it: The perfect addition to colourful Old Market, this Mexican restaurant ticks all our boxes for a night out with pals: fun, fresh, friendly, and affordable. Cheekily named dishes, like tacos called Carne-val 2.0 and Deep Sea Realness, sit excitingly next to killer cocktails including mouth-watering Mezcalitas and jugs of margheritas.

  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian

What is it? Excellent-value Middle Eastern-inspired small plates.

Why we love it: Purveyor of authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, Souk Kitchen offers a fantastic array of mezze for a fiver upwards including Cretan tomato salad and Aleppo chicken thighs. However, it’s not just exotic ingredients on offer here. The sausages are from Gloucester Old Spot pigs and most of the bread is made by Mark’s Bread a few hundred yards away.

Time Out tip: Booked up? There's another Souk Kitchen in Clifton.

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The Lido
  • Restaurants

What is it? Food with a pool view.

Why we love it: This first-floor restaurant overlooking the water is easily one of the best rooms with a view in Bristol. There aren’t many places where well-dressed gourmets mix with fellow diners in fluffy dressing gowns who’ve come straight from the spa. The food here has a Spanish feel and the wine list is comprehensive.

Bertha's Pizza
Photo: Bertha's Pizza

12. Bertha's Pizza

What is it? Always special sourdough pizza with a story.

Why we love it: Right at the top of Wapping Wharf behind some big yellow doors is some of the best pizza in the South West. This team live and breathe sourdough pizza, and it shows. Alongside the best local suppliers in the region, they whip up pizza with passion and creativity.

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The Pump House
  • Restaurants

What is it? Tip-top pub grub.

Why we love it: Sophisticated pub grub is what you’ll get here, perfect for after your harbourside stroll. The Pump House, tucked inside a beautifully renovated Victorian pumping station, belongs to top chef Toby Gritten, who serves fish fresh from the coast, fruit and veg from nearby allotments and pours local brews from Butcombe and Bath Ales.

What is it? An welcome glimpse into our meat-free future.

Why we love it: Oowee is a Bristol-born restaurant brand who’ve turned their back on serving IRL meat and are leading a plant-based revolution in Bristol and London. Their classic Sneaky Clucker burger somehow tastes like the dirtiest chicken burger ever while containing no animal products at all. Feed a carnivorous friend one of their many meat-free creations and they won’t believe their tastebuds.

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Pieminister
  • Restaurants

What is it? Festival food in the city centre.

Why we love it: Pieminister was founded in Bristol and offers a selection of classic and creative pies. We reckon it’s possible to survive for days on Pieminister pies and cider alone at Glastonbury festival – especially true of the Mothership, a behemoth of a meal, with a pie on top of mash, mushy peas, gravy, grated cheese and shallots.

Time Out tip: The bottomless brunch banishes any hangover. 

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