Hello food fans, as I am sure you know Cornwall has some of the very best eating and drinking establishments around full of cheer and heavenly tastes. In this blog we are going to take a peak at what we have found to be some of the best places to get clean tasty food around the glorious duchy of Cornwall. Please note that we will add to this blog as we try new places and wont stop on our quest to find the very best of what Cornwall has to offer.We are going to split them into categories like seafood and vegetarian so you can peruse easier and are not just confronted with a vast list of places.
Cornwall has a lot of choice, but it also has lot of places that are mainly tourist oriented and as such the quality can be not as good and the experience not as consistent as you would of hoped, with one visit being outstanding and the next not very so the places listed below are where the Cornish locales will go eat and be merry. Please comment and add your favourites so we can try them if not so already, thanks for reading and happy eating.
What visit could be made to Cornwall without trying the famous seafood, it would be criminal not to while something this fresh is readily available. The fish is landed in Newlyn and smaller harbours around Cornwall and things like fresh mackerel and line caught and even spear fished sea bass is real treat for any diner, pared with locally grown organic vegetables and your in heaven, or rather your in Cornwall. The places listed below excel at seafood and if that's what you are into these should be top of your list, in no particular order:
This establishment was a run down pub in the fishing village of Newlyn that got given a new lease of life by chef Ben Tunnicliffe and the result is a relaxed environment and very very high quality food that sometimes borders on being to rich but still is excellent value for money and as its right next to newlyn harbour, the freshness of the seafood is as you would expect is extremely fresh from the mornings landings. The menu changes everyday and if your a vegetarian they will make something up on the spot - something a lot of places wont do. We can recommend the Tolcarne for anyone looking for a fresh new fine dining experience in a laid back unpretentious environment.
2. Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar Newlyn
A new venture, again in newlyn, this time on the bridge as you come into the village that specialises in fresh seafood and not much else. Good quality seafood as you would expect being in newlyn and a small and intimate dining area, although its relaxes and easy going. The perfect place to eat some lobster and drink some champagne as you watch the world go by. Not a huge menu and nothing for vegetarians, but it is a seafood bar so this makes sense. Next time your passing we recommend popping into the bar to see what all the hype is about
3. Rick Steins Fish & Chips Padstow
Rick Steins is famous and put Padstow on the map, love him or hate him you can get very good fish and chips from them, however most of the fish is cooked in beef dripping and even many meat eaters say that this is not for them, although we reckon those that like it outweigh those that don't and there is the option to have in vegetable oil as well. Either way if your out and about in the beautiful quayside village of Padstow, its very likely you will partake in some expensive fish and chips, and bloody lovely they will be as well.
We found this place to be funky fresh with a clean modern style that is all about the food, it can be a little pricey but if your out in falmouth and are hankering for a seafood dish of high quality then make a line and book in advance for the Shack. Famed for its relaxed atmosphere and casual dining, you cant go wrong, just sit back crack a few claws and enjoy a some fine wines. The St Ives Lobster is well worth the cost, go on treat yourself.
5. The Rum & Crab Shack St Ives
Always a great atmosphere in the crab shack, not to mention some very nice and well priced rums from around the globe. Last time we visited we all had a great meal and brilliant time, you could almost call it a high class seafood meadery without the mead, and a lot more rum and of course fresh crab. Get there early or relax at the bar while a table becomes free as they don't take booking during the peak season. its s very popular establishment and serves both locales and tourists alike fresh clean tasty seafood. Think your a pirate? try 1 of each of there rum collection and you will be one if only for one day.
Vegetarian / Vegan
Cornwall has its fair share of food concious individuals and as such the organic / vegetarian / vegan selections are very popular both with the locales and the tourists. Nothing beats clean healthy food that leaves you feeling refreshed after dining and not weighed down, something you have from from richer foods. We love vegetarian food and thank god every day we live in Cornwall as the food comes from field to plate and is extremely good quality. don't take our word for it though, experiment with places on our list and see if you like our choices as much as we do.
1. Archie Browns Penzance & Truro
Archie Browns has long been a Penzance institution with fresh made jacket potatoes and salads being a major seller plus the homity pies and filled pita's full of delicious fresh salad and humus. Now in Truro as well they cater for the take away lunch needs of the healthy minded folk and also have a sit down restaurant that serves bigger plates for those that are taking a break from shopping or exploring the ancient city of Truro. whatever you get is super clean and super tasty, we eat there very often and love it, and know you will to.
What can you say about one of the best places i have eaten in the last year, not much really apart from try it, it was that good that I had another starter after my mains and it was so delicious. Not one to mind vegan food really , this was very good. fresh tasting and novel combinations make this a stand out recommendation against all others. Its worth trying if raw vegan food sounds like your nightmare, as once you try you will be stunned just how incredibly tasty everything is. We cant wait to go back and keep trying there great menu. The restaurant is modern relaxed and easygoing and the staff were pleasant and welcoming. It could do with more seating as it is quite small but really who cares, its the food that's the main attraction, next time your in Falmouth try it!
3. Secret Garden Truro - Now Closed
Had a stunning lunch recently and its no surprise that they are very well regarded on trip advisor, earning a certificate of excellence for their hand crafted beautifully presented food. They have plenty of veg and gluten free options as well as vegan delights for those that don't do dairy etc. It also has some non vegan / veggie options so all will be catered for but really its all about the quiche and salad, just so good, i need more in my life. Luckily they are pretty much next door so we can always indulge in the fantastic salads for lunch time. Always busy this sweet cafe has an outdoor sun-trap courtyard and is just a really pleasant place to relax and meet friends over a coffee or lunch.
4. Peppercorns Kitchen Perranuthnoe
One of the greatest outdoor gardens for relaxing and eating around, just up from the beach, it takes 2 mins to get to the beach and is the perfect start to any lunchtime. Sit outdoors in the sun and have really pleasant table service that's never rude or miserable, just a happy place full of happy people who all have one thing in common, the love of Peppercorn kitchens food. Its clean and refreshingly different food is Mediterranean influenced and very unique for Penwith.
Pubs in Cornwall are traditional meeting houses for villages and communities around the Dutchy. Sadly the decline of the quintessential British pub has been going on for many years now with independent pubs or free houses having to compete with identikit soul vacuum corporate pubs like "spoons". In 2015 we see less pubs than ever before although the food quality has risen to epic proportions in the ones that do serve food. All most people expect from pub fare is good ales and traditional meals at a reasonable price and the ones below certainly do that and some.
The Old Ale House in Truro has been a long time stop off on any self respecting Ale drinking tour of Truro / Cornwall but they also serve a heart and imaginative menu alongside the ales. The food is seasonal and as such always changing, this is a good thing as you will always get the best quality in season food at good prices. The food menu is done by the River Cottage team so you will already know the quality to expect before eating. We had a lovely relaxed lunch there and recommend this pub to all and any who are into quality food and drinks in a great atmosphere.
The food at the Victoria is of a very high standard for a village pub and the locales of Perranuthnoe are very lucky to have this on their doorstep. The dishes are both quintessentially Cornish and exotic but all based around high quality local ingredients. they have two lovely beer gardens, one over the road and on tucked behind the pub in cute courtyard and many a sunny afternoon has been spent sipping fine G&T's in the cool fresh air. If your looking for an easily accesible Cornish coastal pub that does a bit more than the traditional ploughman's then the Victoria is the spot for you. We found the food clean and tasty and while a cut above many others it was not grossly over-inflated and geared solely towards the tourists in peak season.
The Rising Sun has had a epic rise and now sits pretty as the best rated establishment on Trip advisor in the historic city of Truro. And for good reason, it does bar snacks and then a regular menu that has something for everyone to enjoy and the food is cooked with intent, Intent to be good tasty and clean. While its out the way a little bit from the town centre, its well worth the walk to visit the Rising Sun and relax in there beautiful beer garden while enjoying tasty and hearty meals. We have been twice now and will defiantly go again.
The Gurnard's head has long been a true Cornish pub although when I was child it was much rougher and readier in a quaint Cornish way. Now its a foodie pub that while it serves locales, it is much more geared towards the tourist season. Owned by the same people who have the Coastguard in Moushole it does very good food at a price, however it is worth it every now and again and some spectacular scenery awaits the walkers and ramblers who stop off here for a bite to eat. Although clearly my disdain for overpriced tourist pubs are evident, this place makes up for everything else with the food quality and frankly that's all that should matter. Go you wont be sorry you did.
This Pub is right on the beach, and we mean right on the beach, not just bordering the beach but slap bang on it. Yes this may be touristy but so is every beach based establishment in Cornwall during peak season. There is no better place to sit back and watch the surf while drinking some crisp cold drinks and eating some fresh pub food. from burgers to salads and everything in-between you are guaranteed a lot of choice that all comes well made with care and attention for the hungry thirsty masses of beach goers. This pub is great for a family early evening meal with the kids and even better without them for a party into the night.
Asian Food Cornwall
Asian style food in Cornwall has always been fairly substandard as the traditional Chinese based takeaways always served the same style of MSG heavy cooking for local taste buds but over the last few years the Thai restaurants and takeaways have breathed new life into the food scene - now most towns will have at least one or two decent Thai or Asian style eateries and the quality has improved a lot - I found that this was more about the clientele then the restaurants, As local Cornish people become a bit more worldly, so do their eating habits and once authentic Asian cuisines has been sampled you cant go back to plain old sweet and sour chicken balls with the neon sauce of doom. Below are a few of the best Cornwall has to offer.
Chantek A Thai & Southeast Asian Restaurant
Location - 15 New Bridge Street
We were lucky enough to try Chantek in May 2018 - and the experience which I will go into more detail below can be summarized as being one of Authenticity. Cornwall and Truro do not lack for Asian food, and they are on the whole very good but I would class the majority of them as the fast food takeaway variety made for the traditional UK consumer. Those that have been lucky enough to Travel will probably know what I mean when I say food here is not the same as food there and while there is a place for both styles, Chantek is very much an authentic and endearing Asian restaurant in Truro Cornwall. Upon entry into the property, you do get a sense of being in Asia as you walk through to the entrance at the back of the outdoor seating its hard to describe but you will see what I mean and I felt this was a nice touch as you clearly are not in Asia with the weather sometimes but.... I felt this led on to the dining experience nicely. We came for a late lunch and arrived after 2pm.
Once through the doors you are greeted by an open kitchen which as we all know is a great bit of a spectacle for the diners and helps build trust that these guys know what they are doing and are not afraid to show you. So into the dining room and again the decor and the atmosphere is consistent with the expectation but I have to say I am a big fan of the lampshades which are awesome. Anyway on to the food and drinks - which had some really nice options including exotic juices.
The menu reads well and has a good variety of dishes which will satisfy vegetarians and vegans but in a Thai Joint, lets not kid ourselves, I was there for the Chicken Satay which did not disappoint. Served with Satay sauce and some pickled veg salad. I will be returning for this dish alone and I recommend you try it. But it was not a one hit wonder, and we actually enjoyed all of our meal and time there including the dessert which often gets bypassed at Asian restaurants but the food was light enough to still have room for it which says a lot. So alongside the Chicken Satay we had Stir Fried Morning Glory, Tofu Green Curry and a Dim sum style dish that comes in lovely steamer and this was served with Black rice which is a pleasant change from the traditional jasmine rice - all the dishes are very different from what you would get from just any take out or Asian eatery in Cornwall - This is traditional cooking with flare, We will return and my partner and my young son also enjoyed it and Chantek is Child friendly which is great for families looking for a relaxed lunch / dinner in a non formal environment. They have also opened an Asian Tapas & Cocktail bar in the upstairs section away from the main dining room and this will be very popular for those trendy people looking to drink eat and dance the night away.
So in conclusion - Chantek was a lovely experience, and we will be coming back, the costs were not excessive and a meal for two with a nice variety of dishes will come to about 25 pounds - 40 depending on if you have alcohol and there is enough good choice on the menu to be kept happy each time you go and try new things - don't get me wrong the Green curry was awesome and vegan might I add and so is the Massaman but when you go - mix it up and try something new, you will not be disappointed and this is what I judge places on, be them expensive or not, do I feel like i have been ripped off - and the answer is no - I felt happy and relaxed from start to finish and I will be going back - and finally the staff were a delight from the waiter to the chefs everyone was polite and nothing was too much trouble. Want Asian food in Cornwall then you go to Chantek in Truro.
Fast Food Cornwall
Fast food in Cornwall has always been hit or miss with the usual soulless establishments like whackdonalds or BK being the go to place for fast food. But there is no need to waste your time or money on such places when Cornwall has the best meat around and now thank god a few honest eateries, that while the style is fast food, the quality is high, something you just wont get when you go to a corporate chain fast food joint. So if a burger and fries is your thing then check out our recommendations below.
The Hubbox started life as a novel and creative project that saw it begin its life on the piazza in the centre of Truro in a shipping container. It may of been small but the quality and the style of food was very new to Truro and Cornwall for that matter. They made a big name for themselves knocking out american style burgers, hot dogs and fries with some chicken and vegi options as well. So there reputation built to such a level that they took over and renovated the one eyed cat on Kenwyn street and now the Hub Box is a massive fast food restaurant that has not compromised quality or flavour. I wont lie I would not eat it regularly but when in the mood for fast food the BM Chick burger, fries apple slaw and a milkshake are the only things the quell the craving. Next time your in Truro head to Kenwyn street to see just what's up with Hub box. Cornish BBQ fast food at its best.
Habeneros Burrito Bar Truro
This new addition to the Truro and Cornwall food scene is a must try, situated halfway up Kenwyn street and just a few doors down from the famous Quintessentials Emporium. The food served is Mexican street food done very well. Nothing fancy or pretentious, just burritos, fajitas and nachos all made with fresh local ingredients and of course a great selection of chilli sauce ranging from the mild mango all the way up to the ghost and lime chilli sauce that will wreck you mentally as well as physically. The buriitos are wrapped and are very easy to eat on the go, something street food needs to be unless you have seating for people which Habeneros does but nothing beats a burrito in the park on a summers day.
Becks fish and chips is a Cornish institution, set just off the main road to St Ives, Becks has been a long time fish and chip favourite and while it serves seafood its more than just a fish and chippy, serving local fried chicken and other meats with hand cut chips including pies and all the usual chip shop favourites. This is what I call Cornish fast food, everything local deep fried and served with salt and vinegar, probably not great for your waistline but great for your taste buds. Just see the long line out of the door every night and you know that this is good local fast food.