How many scribes have tried to pick the best eight restaurants out of the melting pot that’s Cornwall’s famously vibrant food scene? And what constitutes “best”, anyway? Is it the poshest, the mostest (sic!), or the best value? Is it location, location, the vibe or the view, the celebrity chef or the Cornish culinarian? Unable to decide, we polled our people for their picks, and this is what came out of the mix. This isn’t a ranking list – they’re all equally awesome, and very different from each other!
1. Bush Pepper, Newquay
Centrally located in the popular town of Newquay, Bush Pepper is a contemporary, Australian style restaurant, using a mixture of Cornish and Australian ingredients and dishes. The owner and chef has travelled extensively (how very Australian) and brings together the best elements of dishes from all round the world at Bush Pepper.
2. Heligan Kitchen
The Heligan Kitchen and Bakery, at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, is a restaurant too. Heligan-reared meats are served along with Heligan’s own heritage vegetables in a homemade, even rustic feast of the best farm foods. There are always seasonal dishes and a selection of comforting bakes.
3. Kota Restaurant, Porthleven
Kota‘s chef Jude is half Maori and half Chinese Malay. The name of the restaurant means “shellfish” in the Maori language. In a three-hundred-year-old building right on the waterfront in the beautiful and historic port of Porthleven, Jude brings an Asian-Pacific twist to Cornish local produce. There’s also an extensive wine list chosen to complement the unique dishes.
4. Tinners Arms
The Tinner’s Arms, dating from 1271, is the only pub in Zennor. It was constructed to accommodate the masons who were building St. Senara’s Church, famous for the Mermaid of Zennor. Its ancient architecture has changed little – a wonderful atmosphere in which to enjoy a traditional pub experience with the food lovingly prepared using only the best local ingredients, including locally caught fish. The sun terrace is a great place to sit and watch the Atlantic Ocean.
5. Halzephron Inn
Tucked away in the lovely village of Gunwalloe, near to the beaches Church/Fishing/Dollar Cove, the strangely named Halzephron (from the Cornish als yfarn meaning Hell’s Cliff) is an inn with a history of smuggling. It has now turned to offering an award-winning service; named Cornwall’s Dining Pub of the Year on two occasions and featured in the Michelin Guide. There’s a changing daily menu of freshly cooked dishes with a friendly, family feel that is certain to please.
6. No 6
Number six had to be No.6, didn’t it? Paul Ainsworth’s No. 6 in Padstow is included in the Good Food Guide’s top 50 restaurants in the UK. It serves up stunning home-made fine-dining dishes, using only the finest local and seasonal ingredients.
7. Cracking Crab
The Cracking Crab is a stunning restaurant with a vast terrace overlooking the popular surf beach of Polzeath. With a wonderful menu and friendly staff, it’s the perfect place to take a break from the waves and soak up the sun. With hearty breakfasts, filling lunches and fine dinners full of the best Cornish seafood, it’s a firm favourite with local surfers and holidaymakers alike.
8. Del Mar Ristorante Pizzeria Italiano
Del Mar in Perranporth is a modern, informal restaurant, pizzeria and takeaway with a distinctly Mediterranean feel in the traditional Cornish setting. It’s very much a night out, often hosting live music and with quite an energetic, scintillating atmosphere. Described as “a little piece of Italy”, you can even watch your fresh lobster being cooked in the open kitchen before your very eyes.
If you’d like to come and dine out in Cornwall this season, there is a fantastic range of fabulous cottages available for you to rent through Cornish Traditional Cottages, not just in the summer but at any time of year.
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