Restaurants and Cafes

Best Restaurants and Cafes in Cornwall

Over the past couple of decades Cornwall has propelled itself to being one of the UK's go-to foodie destinations. It stands to reason when you think about how much fish and seafood is landed here, and this is what tends to dominate the menu.

Along with fantastic coastal locations and plenty of quality local produce, the allure of super-fresh fish has led to a host of celebrity chefs following Rick Stein down to Cornwall. The likes of Paul Ainsworth and Michael Caines have both set up shop here over recent years - but it's not only Michelin Stars and fine dining. Think chilled out beach cafes, country pubs with a roaring open fire and fish doesn't have to be haute cuisine - we've got plenty of good chippys too!

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  • No. 6 // Padstow

    Paul Ainsworth - No.6 - Padstow

    This elegant Michelin-star restaurant in Padstow is part of the Paul Ainsworth family of restaurants. If you're looking for a restaurant for a special occasion, No6 is the place to come.

    Chef Chris McClurg and his team have created a menu of modern British classics: think wild turbot, fillets of beef and pigeon. The food is locally sourced where possible, adding a coastal Cornish feel to the dishes.

    The main restaurant is an inviting space, housed in a Georgian townhouse in the centre of Padstow. And if you fancy a cocktail, book a table at exclusive Ci Ci's Bar upstairs. For a small, more intimate celebration, ask about No6's private dining room.

  • St Petrocs Bistro // Padstow

    St Petroc's Bistro - Padstow

    St Petroc's is another restaurant from Rick Stein's stables, and this one is an informal delight. It's set away from Padstow harbour, which gives it a more chilled-out feel.

    The relaxed bistro serves French-inspired dishes, made from fine Cornish produce - naturally, there's always a choice of freshly landed fish. There's a children's menu, and your dog is welcome to join you at St Pet's - well in the outdoors areas anyway.

    Start or end the evening with a cocktail at Ruby's Bar. You could always plan ahead, and book one of St Petroc's ten elegant en-suite guest rooms… Planning a party? The private dining room caters for up to 14 people.

  • The Pig @ Harlyn Bay // Padstow

    The Pig at Harlyn Bay

    The Pig at Harlyn is just ten minutes' drive (or taxi. Treat yourself - the wine list's worth it) from Padstow. The 15th-century house makes a perfect hotel and restaurant, and a lot of their food is grown on site.

    At The Pig, the kitchen and gardening team work together to create fresh and lively dishes. They also have their own forager, who finds the best ingredients from the natural larder. As for other producers, well, The Pig has a 25-mile rule: nothing must come from further than that, including the beers, wines and spirits.

    Book a table in the characterful old house, or try their new Lobster Shed in the garden, which serves wood-cooked local seafood. For a real treat, book a weekend here in the hotel or one of the romantic "Garden Wagons".

  • The Sardine Factory // Looe

    Sardine Factory Looe

    Food doesn't come much fresher than the dishes served up at the Sardine Factory - fresh fish is delivered from Looe Market, located right opposite the restaurant. Set in a converted sardine factory, right on the West Looe quayside, the restaurant boasts fantastic views across the river to East Looe.

    Award-winning chef Benjamin Palmer heads things up here, you might recognise his name from his quarter-final placing on MasterChef: The Professionals back in 2011. Given this pedigree it will come as no surprise that the Sardine Factory has secured itself a Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide.

    The menu swings with the seasons, but Cornwall classics are a frequent feature. You can kick things off with a Cornish blue cheese starter, take locally caught crab linguine for main, then finish it up with a rice pudding.

  • 2 Fore Street // Mousehole

    Come to this pleasing little bistro for fresh fish with fantastic views. 2 Fore Street is in the centre of the village, looking out towards the busy little harbour.

    It's a lovely place to enjoy seafood and a glass of something chilled in the evening; however, it's equally good simply to stop here for a coffee in the morning. On a sunny day, try to get a table in the pretty courtyard.

    If you're heading out for the day, 2 Fore Street has also opened a deli recently (a bit further up the road in Millpool Courtyard. Stock up on delicious local bread, cheese and fruit for your picnic.

  • The Shore Restaurant // Penzance

    The Shore - Penzance

    There’s nothing overly fancy about the location of the Shore. Set on a crossroads on the edge of Penzance town centre this restaurant is all about the food. 

    Probably the best seafood in town, this bistro is run by Bruce Rennie, a chef with a wealth of experience from the Michelin starred kitchens of some of the biggest names in food. Now working alone in the kitchen, food is crafted around whatever is fresh and in season.
    Ingredients are collected daily and sourced as locally as possible, including the chef’s own garden. The rest from local farms and Newlyn Fish Market with fish and shellfish dominating the menu. 

    Along with Mediterranean, the other main influence on the Shore’s menu is Japanese.

    The Shore is reservation-only, and you pay for a set menu in advance. The restaurant seats only 14 and in the words of the chef “Your evening should be relaxed and laid back with little pomp or presumption.”

  • Porthminster Cafe // St Ives

    Walk along the sandy shore or boardwalk on Porthminster Beach, and you'll come to a gleaming white Art Deco building. This is the home of Porthminster Cafe, and some of the most coveted tables in town.

    Right on the beach, the cafe feels relaxed but its menu is always on point. It serves impeccable Asian and Mediterranean-inspired dishes, served with some of the best sea views in Britain. 

    Like many St Ives restaurants, it specialises in seafood; however, the team here also grow their own veg in the adjacent kitchen garden, and the desserts are (chef's kiss). Don't just save it for the summer: enjoy the windswept, winter Atlantic from the warmth of a window seat.

  • Kota // Porthleven

    Kota Restaurant - Porthleven

    If you're looking for dining with a difference, Kota's your calling. The restaurant's located overlooking Porthleven's picturesque harbour and run by critically acclaimed chef Jude Kereama, whose Chinese-Maori roots are showcased in his cooking.

    Super fresh local seafood is meticulously crafted into Asian-influenced cuisine. Dishes such as panko-coated hake and prawns with wasabi tartar have gained a mention in the Good Food Guide in 2019, which was followed up by a place on Harden's Top 100 restaurants the next year. Kota is also a regular recipient of the Michelin Bib Gourmand award.

    Good to know: The six-course tasting menu comes with a match made-in-heaven wine pairing, well worth a look at for an extra special date night.

  • The Idle Rocks // St Mawes

    Idle Rocks - St Mawes

    Pitched in the centre of St Mawes, overlooking its harbour, this award-winning restaurant's al fresco dining terrace takes eating out right to the water's edge.

    Executive head chef Dorian Janmatt fuses French-style cooking techniques and classic British dishes. And while meat and fish dishes are The Idle Rocks' bread and butter, veggies get a fair choice of options too.

    Beyond its dinner menu, the restaurant serves up traditional Cornish tea each day of the week – jam first, of course. It's served with a glass of Knightor Classic Cuvee, a crisp sparkling wine that's produced in Cornwall.

  • The Seafood Restaurant // Padstow

    Rick Stein Seafood Restaurant - Padstow

    This is the place where it all began… The Seafood Restaurant was launched in 1975, and its co-founder Rick Stein went on to become a household name, transform Padstow's foodie scene, and create an empire of eateries.

    The original Stein's is a restaurant of two halves: the family-friendly Seafood Restaurant,and the more grown-up Seafood Bar, where chefs prepare spectacular platters of exquisite fish and shellfish. Upstairs, the Terrace has lovely views of the Camel Estuary.

    The dress code tends to be smart casual. Children over three are welcome in the restaurant (but not the bar), and although Stein places in general tend to be dog-friendly (remember Chalky!), this one isn't.

  • Blas Burgerworks // St Ives

    Blas Burgerworks burgers

    "Burgers for people who give a damn!" Blas Burgerworks has been famous for its succulent offerings for years. A victim of its own success, Blas' tiny restaurant was just too small for the hungry customers who flocked here for the flavoursome burgers. But problem solved: Blas now majors on takeaways.

    As well as the legendary beef, chicken and bean burgers, Blas offers rotisserie chicken, and a special rotisserie of the day (example: Trevaskis pork). With sides, nibbles and drinks to order, you can easily put together a veritable takeaway feast.  Good news: all the burgers come with chips. 

    Blas advises booking your takeout in advance, by phone or email. Top fact: blas  is Cornish for tasty. Says it all.

  • The Square // Porthleven

    The Square - Porthleven

    A harbourside address, and a place in the Michelin guide have both given The Square a solid spot on Porthleven's dining scene.

    An ever-changing menu makes sure that only the freshest of dishes are plated up at this place. If Cornish crab's on the menu, we suggest you snap it up. Dessert is covered by the Square Deli which sits on the restaurant's sidelines, its homemade ice creams and sweet treats are the talk of the town. 

    Good to know: Dogs are welcomed here with open arms, and while they're not permitted indoors there's plenty of space for your pup to rest their paws on the terrace.

  • The Rocket Store // Boscastle

    The Rocket Store - Boscastle

    Not many things come fresher than the plates the Rocket Store serves up. Fresh seafood is delivered direct to the kitchen from the restaurant's very own boat, while meat is sourced from its nearby farm.

    The menu here is all about what's available when, but whatever plate you choose you can guarantee the freshest of foods. The hotel takes its position right on Boscastle Harbour, with the lion's share of seating outdoors.

    You can eat outside in all weather, with parasols fit for days when shade's required, and blankets and heaters for when temperatures take a dip.

  • Box & Barber // Newquay

    Box & Barber - Newquay

    A keen favourite with locals and visitors alike, Box & Barber sits a stone's throw from Newquay Harbour. Healthy breakfast bowls come with fresh fruits that burst with colour, they make for a great way to kick start your day before heading to the nearby beach.

    Breakfast burritos rate highly here, too, plus there's plenty of choice for veggies and vegans. Or if you're after something light, coffee and cake to go is a great option. If you're sticking around though, the front terrace comes with space for al fresco dining, perfect for taking in the sea air all while enjoying a tasty breakfast

  • Jubilee Pool Café // Penzance

    Jubilee Pool Cafe

    It's the perfect day: relaxing in Penzance's beautiful Art Deco lido, with a break for lunch on the sunny terrace.

    There's dining indoors and out at the Jubilee Pool, which serves breakfast and lunch, as well as delicious locally made cakes. Enjoy a plate of mackerel or some Cornish cheeses as you gaze down at the pool or out across Mount's Bay.

    After your swim, head here for a chilled glass of wine or a hot coffee, depending on your body temperature. You don't have to use the Lido to come to the cafe, and there's a separate entrance if you're here just to eat.

  • The Old Sail Loft // Looe

    Old Sail Loft - Looe

    The Old Sail Loft is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Looe. It sits right on the town's harbour front, and its history dates back well over 450 years, when its thought to have been used by smugglers and sea faring men.

    Flash forward to today and the largely unchanged building is home to one of the seaside town's best-rated restaurants. Fresh fish comes straight from Simply fish – the restaurants quay-side sister company.

    Favourites include whole Looe Bay lobster, paired with Cornish new potatoes in garlic and parsley butter. There are plenty of meat options, too. Or, if you can't decide between the two surf and turf has got you covered.

  • Porthmeor Beach Cafe // St Ives

    "The one with the booths?" Yes, that's the one! This lovely cafe right on Porthmeor Beach (the beach in front of the Tate) has a row of little three-walled pods, facing the sea and each with heater and lamp. You'll have to book well in advance, but it'll be worth the forward planning.

    Locals come here for the tapas, which as you'd expect, majors on seafood, but is also pretty good for veggies. It's also a favourite spot for breakfast or morning coffee, taken on one of the two terraces or the lively inside area. 

    Because Porthmeor Beach Cafe has a full drinks licence, you can also come here simply for a glass of something chilled (time it so you catch the Porthmeor sunset). Canine companions are welcome in the outside areas.

  • The Honey Pot // Penzance

    Food - Honey Pot - Penzance

    This much-loved little cafe is tucked away down a side street in the centre of Penzance. It's a favourite spot for breakfast, lunch, or simply catching up over a coffee, and in the summer, it's open Friday and Saturday evenings, too.

    The food is homemade and local, with a great emphasis on sustainable and seasonal. During the lockdown in 2020, The Honey Pot started to serve gorgeous, homemade ready meals, which were so popular that they still sell them.

    But let's be honest. Many of the locals come here for the cakes, which are amazing. The cake menu changes daily; however, there are always vegan and gluten-free options.

  • Porthgwidden Cafe // St Ives

    Porthgwidden beach cafe

    Porthgwidden Beach is a sandy cove tucked beneath The Island in St Ives and lined with traditional beach huts. It's also home to the laid-back Porthgwidden, the place to come if you love your seafood to be served with a view.

    There's a modern indoor dining room and a dog-friendly terrace, all looking out over the Atlantic towards Godrevy. The menu has a Mediterranean feel, with seafood tapas and incredible pizzas. Sitting on the terrace eating padron peppers, this really doesn't feel like the UK…

    Below the restaurant and directly on the beach, there's a takeaway and shop. Grab a cold beer, ice cream or warm coffee, depending on age and outside temperature. The cafe also owns the beach huts ("Pods"), and you can book them online.

  • Hotel Tresanton // St Mawes

    Hotel Tresanton restaurant

    With a collection of Mediterranean-style whitewashed buildings and seaward terraces you could be fooled into thinking this hotel's been plucked from the shores of Ibiza.

    The restaurant is housed in a separate building, and paired with an al fresco terrace offering stunning views of St Mawes Bay.

    The menu takes inspiration from its seaside setting, with fresh fish dishes in plentiful supply. Meat-eaters and veggies are taken care of, too, with beef filet and meat-free pasta dishes also sharing the spotlight on the menu. That's not all though, a lengthy list of wines covers perfect pairings, whatever you choose to eat.

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