Dining out is always fun and some of the best restaurants in the UK can be found in North Cornwall – and a blowout evening or two is a real bonus for many who stay with Raintree!
Many think of Rick Stein and his restaurants as still providing the backbone to the area’s eating. But with Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw now as well – and most significantly a growing number of young chefs inspired by (and often trained within) some of the more famous restaurants, there are plenty of other options.
To tempt you, below are some of the best gourmet restaurants as well as pubs and cafes that really make an effort with their food. Grouping is by location.
For more formal dining try Rafferty’s with a large cafe/restaurant. Run by Ed Rafferty, ex-restaurant manager at the Seafood Restaurant.
The Olive Tree is a second smart little restaurant in St Merryn – worth a try.
The Cornish Arms just outside St Merryn towards Padstow has been taken over by Rick Stein on a long lease from St Austell Brewery. Its not a restaurant but remains a good local pub – with food. The food is good standard pub fayre and the prices are lower than many gastro pubs. Often busy!
The View up at Higher Harlyn campsite is also another option – just out of the village with a sun terrace that enjoys distant sea views.
Padstow remains the hub. At the top of the tree remains The Seafood Restaurant. Fantastic food, fantastic ambiance – still a very special place for a special meal out. St Petroc’s and Rick Stein’s cafe give other dining options with quality food and service.
But there are some very good other options. Paul Ainsworth’s No 6 is superb or why not try the new seafood offering from Prawn On The Lawn – a small operation with only 24 covers and a menu that changes every day.
Or if you miss your curry fix, you could try The Journeyman – on the way to Wadebridge, between Little Petherick and St Issey. Quiet setting in Mellingey Mill – but seriously gourmet curries!
NEWQUAY – WAY
The Beach Hut at The Watergate Bay Hotel provides solid food – particularly good for recovering from a few hours surfing! Or you could travel further into Newquay, to visit The Stable for cider/pizza/pies or Rick Stein Fistral for curry/fish & chips both with spectacular views down over Fistral Beach.
Or for something a little different, you could try Gnarly Food at Retorrick Mill inland from Mawgan Porth, or Catch seafood bar and grill nearby if you are in the area set behind the beach at Mawgan Porth.
ROCK – SIDE
We think dining options are better this side of the Estuary! But of course, there are some great restaurants on the other side. A bit of a drive – yes. But do consider a water taxi across to Rock and an ‘appetite enlarging’ walk up to The St Enodoc Hotel. It’s very do-able, and the journey back after supper can be plenty of fun on a warm and still evening! The Mariners is now under Paul Ainsworth’s control and also well worth a visit. There’s also The Dining Room, a small fine dining establishment in the village.
FURTHER A FIELD
The other good option now is the St Kew Inn. This is certainly a drive as it’s well in land. Its now run by Paul Ripley of Ripley’s at St Merryn and serves good quality pub food. Give it a go for a lunch perhaps! Or if you’re cycling, take a trip to Wadebridge for lunch in The Stepping Stone – a hidden gem in the heart of town.