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The 16 best restaurants in Plymouth

Discover the best places for a Plymouth pit stop with our guide to the coastal city's best restaurants and cafés

By Lisa Harris
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Plymouth is sandwiched between Dartmoor and the English Channel, so its kitchens are stocked with the best local ingredients from land and sea, not to mention fresh produce coming up from the West Country. You’ll find many good restaurants in Barbican between the Guildhall and the theatre, while others cluster along the waterfront, in Sutton Harbour, and in the Grade I-listed Royal William Yard redevelopment along the River Tamar (a must-visit if you're looking for things to do in Plymouth). 

Greedy Goose restaurant, Plymouth

1. The Greedy Goose

Why go? To enjoy artful seasonal ingredients in Plymouth’s oldest building.

Francesca and Ben Palmer have retained two AA Rosettes since opening in 2014. Their striking dining room with stone walls and wooden floors hosts à la carte and seven- or 11-course tasting menus. The chef has fun with local ingredients, plating scallops on beach pebbles and smoked chicken on a bed of hay. Homemade truffled brie is something else. High-end.

The Boathouse Café

2. The Boathouse Café

Why go? For straight-from-the-sea fish and seafood.

All fish is caught on the restaurant’s boat, the Fiona Mary, or sourced from local fisherman like Moby Nick. Eat freshly caught crab and mayo sandwiches, local fish goujons, and hot or cold seafood platters on its huge harbourside terrace under the arches of Sutton Harbour. Mid-range.

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The Artillery Tower restaurant, Plymouth

3. The Artillery Tower

Why go? For the rare opportunity to eat dinner in a battlement with uninterrupted views of the Plymouth Sound.

This endearing restaurant in a fifteenth-century tower has a wood-burning stove and exposed stone walls. Open Wednesday to Saturday, it offers a three-course set menu or tasting menu featuring Cornish ham, dived scallops, roast Devon duck breast, and sherry ice cream. Chef Peter Constable makes all the bread, pasta, chocolate and fudge, too. High-end.

The Chancel restaurant, Plymouth

4. The Chancel

Why go? For a quick glass of wine or romantic dinner for two.

With dripping white candles, a wine bar upstairs and a romantic restaurant downstairs, The Chancel feels cosy and familiar. There’s a quick set dinner if you’re off to the theatre, or take your time over a classic British bistro menu favourites such as seafood platters, West country beef fillet steaks, roast lamb and fish pie. Mid-range.

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Quay 33
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. Quay 33

Why go? To dine at a cute little seaside bistro with views over the harbour.

A snug little restaurant run by chef Dave Morgan and his wife Diane, with pastel seaside decor and one of those something-for-everyone menus. Come here for good local fish specialities, Exmouth moule frites, fish pie or seafood risotto, as well as steak, chicken satay or caprese salad. Mid-range.

Barbican Kitchen

6. Barbican Kitchen

Why go? When you’re visiting Plymouth Gin Distillery and want to eat on site in an elegant restaurant.

Brothers Chris and James Tanner are in the kitchen grilling moorland dry-aged steaks on the Big Green Egg and turning out excellent plates of fresh fish, West Country beef ragu and the Barbican Kitchen ramen bowl with duck, bream or tofu. The restaurant is bright and cheery with turquoise finishes and vaulted ceilings. Mid-range.

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Platters restaurant, Plymouth

7. Platters

Why go? For fresh local fish in the heart of the historic Barbican district.

The nautical-themed seaweed-green leather banquettes and underwater wooden decorations on the walls are pretty unusual, but Platters is still a popular local. Mostly because of its generous servings, famous platters with three or five different fish, fisherman’s pie, freshly caught crab, and towering knickerbocker glories for dessert. Mid-range.

8. The Tudor Rose Tearooms

Why go? To have a proper English tea party in a secret walled garden.

The owner’s grannies knitted quirky tea cosies for each teapot, dogs are welcome, and all diets are catered for in this friendly tea room off the cobbled New Street. Go for breakfast, a good-value Sunday roast and, of course, afternoon tea. Don’t miss a slice of its famous multi-layered sandwich cake. Mid-range.

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Rock Salt Cafe, Plymouth
Richard Downer Photography

9. Rock Salt Café & Brasserie

Why go? To taste West Country ingredients that have been given an Asian-inspired makeover.

Rock Salt is fancier than a café but more relaxed than a restaurant and its food is homely, unfussy, and beautifully presented. The menu is varied with dishes such as sticky pork ribs, Vulscombe goats’ cheese mousse and Chang Mai spiced monkfish. There’s Sunday lunch and a tasting menu, too. Try to bag the conservatory seating, which is bathed in natural light from breakfast through to dinner. Mid-range.

The Mission
Photograph: Shutterstock

10. The Mission

Why go? To experience a classy neighbourhood restaurant in a historic building.

Set in the wood-panelled nineteenth-century Thomas Mission Hall, with vaulted ceilings and church-style chairs, this dining room feels like a banqueting hall. The menu is British-inflected, with chicken and dauphinoise potatoes, ham and Cornish cheddar terrine and rump steak with fries. Mid-range.

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Rockfish restaurant, Plymouth
Ed Ovenden / therockfish.co.uk

11. Rockfish

Why go? To let the kids run about in a large, family-friendly venue.

Mitch Tonks’ seafood restaurant sits in an impressive wharf on Sutton Harbour, with turquoise interiors and large windows that open on to the terrace in summer. Crispy calamari, crab cakes and fritto misto are classics, as well as grilled local catch. Arrive in style (and for free) on the Sutton Harbour Ferry if the swing bridge is closed. Mid-range.

Positano Italian restaurant, Plymouth

12. Positano

Why go? For a cheap and cheerful dinner at a local favourite.

Pizza and pasta roll out of the kitchen at this family-run restaurant. The menu offers so many dishes from across Italy – if it doesn’t have it, you don’t need it – including veal al marsala, fettuccine with brandy and parma ham, Hawaiian pizza and all the lasagnas, spaghetti and penne variations. Budget/mid-range.

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No 1 Pla Nueng Ma-now

13. Supha’s Street Food Emporium

Why go? For a smorgasbord of south-east Asian street food.

Supha’s has a backpacker feel with views across the waterfront, colourful walls, draping flower garlands and a reclaimed wooden counter. The menu is predominately Thai street food with Malaysian, Lao and Vietnamese dishes, such as larb, grilled chicken gai yang, massaman or Malay curries making an appearance, too. Budget/mid-range.

Harbourside Fish and Chips
Photograph: Shutterstock

14. Harbourside Fish and Chips

Why go? Because it’s an award-winning chippie that’s a little bit healthier.

Owners Sarah and Philip use groundnut oil in the batter, have improved chip size, and serve healthier sides in an effort to make chip butties better for us. And it works – Harbourside won the healthy eating prize at the 2016 National Fish & Chip Awards. Dig into its line-caught haddock and premium MSC cod and chips. Budget/mid-range.

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Jolly Jacks
Photograph: Shutterstock

15. Jolly Jacks

Why go? To pretend you own a boat and sit drinking cocktails on the Mayflower Marina.

Jolly Jacks is a local’s waterfront bistro with monthly sea shanty sing-alongs and morris dancing on St George’s Day. Traditional British food includes pie of the day, fish and chips, roast pork and chicken supreme, with sandwiches, Sunday roasts and breakfast on offer, too. Mid-range.

Samphire Brasserie, Plymouth

16. Samphire Brasserie

Why go? For vegan junk food with plenty of fries to curb those cravings.

Leave your calorie counting at the door and devour Samphire’s beer-battered ‘fish’ and chips, seitan ‘ribs’, or crispy fried ‘chicken’. There’s even vegan pizza with ‘bacon’ and macaroni cheese, with tofu cheesecake, cookie dough ice cream and sticky toffee pudding for afters. The deli sells vegan cheese, sandwiches, cakes and drinks to go. Mid-range.

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