Local guides

Where to eat in Bristol: A whistle-stop tour of hidden gems
Published 28 March 2022

Credit: Bakesmiths

Named the UK’s greenest city in recent years and with a well-deserved reputation as having one of the best food scenes in the UK, Bristol is considered by many to be a place where you can enjoy urban living at its civilised best. At one end of the scale are acclaimed restaurants like Casamia, Sonny Stores and Bertha’s, all of which attract travellers and critics alike, and at the other a fantastic array of simple lunch spots, cafés, bakeries and street food stalls. Mark Taylor, restaurant reviewer for the Bristol Post, gives us a personal tour. 

Overlooking Bristol’s historic floating harbour at Wapping Wharf, New Cut serves some of the best coffee in a city spoilt for choice. The minimalist, white-washed Sweven coffee shop on North Street, Bedminster, roasts its own beans, as does Full Court Press in Broad Street, just around the corner from the worth-a-detour Small Street Espresso.

FED 303
Credit: Fed 303

Fed 303 on Gloucester Road has mastered the art of breakfast and brunch, with a counter piled high with sweet and savoury bakes, salads and outstanding sausage rolls. An offshoot of Freddy Bird’s Little French bistro, Littleshop & Pantry on Northumbria Drive, Henleaze, started out as a lockdown-project provisions store and is now a go-to coffee and brunch venue by day and brilliant small plates ‘Night Kitchen’ in the evening. For some of the most exciting Japanese dishes, make a beeline for converted shipping container Seven Lucky Gods on Museum Street.

Central Bristol seems to have street food markets most days. Every Wednesday and Friday (11am-2pm), Finzels Reach Market on Old Temple Street has new traders most weeks, but regulars include She Sells Sushi, Hummusapiens, and Wood Chop Pizza. 

Credit: Hummusapiens/Facebook

Lockdown - and a lack of fresh yeast - transformed the menu at Bakers & Co on Gloucester Road (and now also at Wapping Wharf) as head baker Brett St Clair experimented with sourdough for every bake. As well as the croissants, sourdough is used in seasonal treats such as the rhubarb and vanilla Danish. Just outside Temple Meads station, Hart’s Bakery continues to draw a crowd with seasonal bakes like blackcurrant mousse doughnuts as well as its daily-changing lunch specials. For the best spiced cinnamon buns in the city, the jury is still out between Farro on Bond Street and Pinkman’s on Park Street.

Gyoza | Eatchu
Credit: Eatchu

When it comes to best-kept secrets, in-the-know locals are prepared to queue at lunchtime for the gyoza dumplings at Eatchu in St Nicholas Market, and for the ‘Kim Cheese’ toasties at Bakesmiths, close to the BBC studios on Whiteladies Road.

And if you want to end the day at a genuine ‘hidden gem’, acclaimed cocktail bar Milk Thistle still foxes visitors with its unmarked door and ‘ring bell for entry’ policy.