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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  • Gylly Beach Cafe // Falmouth

    Gyllyngvase beach cafe

    Views don't come in much better shape than the ones that come for free when you dine at the Gylly Beach Cafe. It's perched on a Falmouth favourite beach, and locks in views of both Pendennis Castle and the Lizard Peninsula.

    A team of professional bakers deliver fresh loaves and cakes in the restaurant's bakery. There's a full menu to fill up on too, with Cornish breakfasts and super-fresh seafood dishes for lunch and dinner.

    Plus, if you want to make the most of every minute on the beach, the restaurant's daytime takeaway service makes sure you'll barely miss a moment on the sand.

  • 108 Coffee House // Truro

    108 Coffee House

    There's nothing like a well-cooked brunch to start the day, and 108 Coffee House in Kenwyn Street serves up one of the best around. They're open from 8 until 4, serving breakfast, brunch and lunch as well as keeping the coffees coming all day.

    108's emphasis is on local ingredients. The baristas make impeccable Cornish Origin coffees, while your tea leaves were grown in nearby Tregothnan Estate. From the milk to the pastries, most of their food suppliers are proudly Cornish.

    The modern-style cafe is a comfortable and welcoming space (including to four-footed guests), although you can also opt for takeaway. 108 Coffee House also wakes up the workers of Truro, providing an early morning coffee service to local businesses.

  • The Gurnards Head // Zennor

    You can't really miss The Gurnard's Head. The brightly painted old coaching inn stands out along the winding coast road west of Zennor. Today, it's a busy dining pub, owned by the Inken brothers and named after the nearby rugged headland.

    The food here is fresh and seasonal, and features a lot of locally caught fish. At least some of the menu changes daily, depending on what's been grown/caught; however, the Sunday lunch is a constant and a big favourite among locals.

    If you want to really unwind at The Gurnard's, book one of their eight, individually decorated en-suite rooms. All have views across the moors or coast; and this wild, remote location really is astonishingly beautiful.

  • Hooked! // Truro

    Hooked - Bar Restaurant - Truro

    Thanks to its open-plan kitchen, you have the fun of watching your fish being cooked in this popular restaurant and bar. Hooked! on Tabernacle Street serves locally landed seafood along with wines from Old Chapel Cellars and a selection of local beers and ciders.

    Try their speciality, Goan fish curry, or upgrade your usual nachos with their Mylor crab version. There's a Good choice of fish, meat and veggie tapas, or stick to something more traditional with classic fish and chips (haddock in Offshore beer batter).

    Hooked! Is a top spot for pre-theatre dinner. Book well in advance, and you'll also get a 10% discount if you produce your theatre or cinema ticket. It's open for lunch and dinner every day except Sunday.

  • The Boathouse // Newquay

    The Boathouse - Newquay

    This place takes street food to the seaside, The Boathouse is located on Newquay Harbour where it plays host to a bunch of friendly street-food traders.

    Fresh Cornish seafood is in big supply from here, but there's also plenty of other picks from right around the globe, too – from Thailand to Jamaica. Whatever you decide on can be washed down with Cornish lagers, ciders, or ales. There's plenty of good wine in stock, too.

    Check out their website for all the details as the line-up of stalls may change from day to day.

  • Firehouse Bar & Grill // St Ives

    Firehouse - St ives

    Fore Street's Firehouse has the finest collection of gins in St Ives. Call into its Gin Bar before (or after) enjoying a meal in its welcoming restaurant. High up above the streets, the dining area looks out over the town's rooftops towards the sea.

    As the name suggests, expect flame-grilled meats. There's also brick-fired pizza and rotisserie grilled chicken, and a whole heap of sides. This is definitely the place when you're hungry.

    Bar and restaurant are both open until late, so head here for a lively evening out. It opens again at 11 am, for rather more sedate coffee.

  • Elements // Bude

    Elements Restaurant Bude

    With a coastal-path pitch above Summerleaze Beach, it's probably no wonder this place is popular. You can follow your day at the beach with classic pub grub, kids are cared for too with a selection of dishes for mini diners. 

    Local acts take to the stage a couple of times a week, so be sure to head over to the restaurant's insta to check the line-up and grab a table.

    Good to know: This place gets super busy, especially in the summer, so booking is advised. It's got its beside-the-beach postcode to thank for that.

  • Bakehouse Restaurant // Penzance

    Bakehouse Restaurant - Penzance

    Step off the pavement in Penzance's Chapel Street and into what feels like a different world. The romantic courtyard in the Bakehouse Restaurant is full of fairy lights, plants and palm trees. Inside, the clean, contemporary decor is perfect for the restaurant's changing display of local art.

    The menu is also always changing, with fresh fish from nearby Newlyn and a lot of seasonal local produce. Even the wine comes from Penzance, from Polgoon Vineyard. 

    The Bakehouse Penzance is a family-run restaurant, and it's a child-friendly place. Your four-pawed dining companion is also welcome to join you. In fact, they might even get a treat…

  • Stones Bakery // Falmouth

    Stones Bakery - Falmouth

    You'll find Stones Bakery right on Falmouth high street. Fresh foods a given here, with all food on offer cooked right on site, and with an open kitchen you can watch the bakers live in action.

    Whether it's doorstop-sized loaves of breads, handmade pastries, or indulgent cakes you're after, Stone's has got your covered. And if caffeine's your calling, be sure to swing by as their coffee is top-notch.

    What's more, you don't have to miss out if you're not in downtown Falmouth, a delivery service is available during the week around the local area. Bakery bliss!

  • The Rising Sun // St Mawes

    The Rising Sun - St Mawes

    Set in the heart of St Mawes, overlooking the harbour, this welcoming pub is a popular first stop for day trippers off the Falmouth ferry. With views across the water and the Roseland this is one of the most scenic spots to grab a bite in town.

    The Rising Sun serves a contemporary menu throughout the day featuring a choice of pub classics with a modern twist using the freshest local ingredients. Along with an abundance of seafood offerings don't miss out on the slap-up roast dinner if you are around on a Sunday (vegan and vegetarian options available).

    Dogs are welcome at the Rising Sun but are not allowed in the restaurant itself. If you're bringing a pooch, just call ahead and the staff will sort you out seats in the dog-friendly bar area.

  • Poldhu Beach Cafe // The Lizard

    Poldhu Beach Cafe

    Poldhu Beach Cafe serves a selection of drinks and snacks from its plot beside the sand dunes on Poldhu Cove.

    You can opt to dine indoors in the cafe, on the deck that faces out to the sea, alternatively you can take your food to go and enjoy it on the nearby beach.

    Summer's menu is frequented by salads and ice-cold drinks while winter sees a switch to the likes of mulled wine and cider and dishes designed to warm you up.

  • The Rising Sun // Truro

    The Rising Sun - Truro

    This welcoming little place on Mitchell Hill is both a dining pub and a good spot for a drink or two. It's such a cosy and inviting place, that it's hard to believe that the 200 year old building was a deserted shell until just a few years ago when Tom and Katie took it on.

    Today, the Truro pub serves modern British food, specialising in local ingredients. Tuck into hearty dishes like loin of beef or pan-fried pigeon, or look out for the special catch of the day, typically served with greens and a seafood bisque.

    There are tables in the barn restaurant and in the courtyard. Families are welcome at The Rising Sun - just please let them know in advance so the high chair is set up for your young diner. The bar area is dog friendly - again, please tell the team when you book (and they'll get the treats ready).

  • Tabb's // Truro

    Tabbs Truro

    Tabb's moved to Truro from Portreath around 15 years ago, bringing with it the skills of chef patron Nigel Tabb. The food is elegantly modern European, and this being Cornwall, the fish dishes really stand out.

    With its fine dining feel and intimate atmosphere, the Kenwyn Street restaurant  is a good choice for a romantic meal. It can also take bookings for pre-theatre dining by arrangement. If you can, try to catch Sunday lunch at Tabb's, served twice a month: you will definitely thank yourself for this!

    The dining area itself is small (always book well in advance) with contemporary decor in unusual purple shades. Book a taxi for this one, as the wine list is full of carefully chosen gems.

  • Tate St Ives Cafe // St Ives

    Porthmeor Rooftops - St Ives

    It's all about the view on the top floor of the famous Tate St Ives, but it is also home to an excellent little cafe. After exploring the galleries, head upstairs to the Tate Cafe for a rejuvenating slice of cake and a cup of coffee.

    You don't actually need to visit the gallery to have lunch or a cuppa in the cafe. The ocean views from the cafe and its terrace are incredible at all times of year (although hang onto your sandwich if it's blowing a hooley and you're sitting outside…).

    The Tate and its cafe are often busy; however, up on the top floor, away from the busy streets of St Ives, it does feel like you've escaped the crowds for a while. Find a table on the terrace and breathe in that sea air…

  • The Thomas Daniell // Truro

    Thomas Daniell - Truro

    Truro has seen a real resurgence of good gastropubs recently, and The Thomas Daniell on Infirmary Hill has become a popular spot. Having suddenly closed early in 2020, The Thomas Daniell was relaunched by James and Jamie in October that year, with a mission to create a food-led pub serving home-cooked dishes.

    There's a wide choice on the menu, from Thai mussels to pan-fried duck breast. If you want something lighter for lunch, go for tacos or their chargrilled flat flatbreads. Sweet tooth? You will love their dessert menu.

    Food is served from 12 until 9, Monday to Saturday. Sunday is roast day, served 12-8. It's also a good place to unwind with a cocktail (who could resist a Gin & Jam?) or try one of their many gins or rums.

  • Birdies Bistro // Hayle

    Birdies Bistro - Hayle

    Birdies is a much-loved place among locals, visitors and bird spotters. It has an excellent location on the edge of the Hayle Estuary, and its large garden is the perfect place to look out for waders in the RSPB nature reserve (hence the name).

    It's open for breakfast and lunch daily, and serves dinner on Friday and Saturday evening (times can vary seasonally - please check). A Birdies breakfast has to be one of the best ways to start the day (try the waffles and fruit, or the hearty bacon sandwich in focaccia). For lunch, go for one of their excellent burgers or a local fish dish.

    The restaurant has recently revamped its popular outdoor area, and there's now a lot more seating, plus a covered area with twinkly lights for the evening. Inside, it's modern and airy, with large windows capturing those beautiful estuary views.

  • The Old Grammar School // Truro

    The Old Grammar School - Truro

    You sit on benches at scrubbed wooden tables - but that's where the resemblance to actual school ends. The Old Grammar School (TOGS) near Truro Cathedral, serves up a relaxed atmosphere, creative cocktails, and some of the best tapas in town.

    Pop in for a relaxed lunch of Mediterranean-inspired food while you're in town, or come back later for evening school, and enjoy their pitcher-perfect Mojitos. TOGS also hosts music and DJ evenings, as well as more chilled-out creative sessions during the day.

    Enjoy the (literal) old-school atmosphere indoors, or try to blag a table in their small-but-gorgeous courtyard for a spot of people watching.

    TOGS is open Tuesday-Saturday (check their website for further opening times).

  • The Admiral Benbow // Penzance

    The Admiral Benbow - Penzance

    If you want a glimpse of old Penzance's history and new Penzance's character, call into the Benbow on Chapel Street. The old inn has been serving up rum for over 300 years, and even appears in the Treasure Island novel.

    Inside, the decor is cosy and crowded, full of character and intriguing maritime artefacts. Tuck into a hearty plateful of locally caught fish, or choose a "mARRRRgaerita" pizza for the sheer joy of ordering it.

    Of course, you may simply want to come here for the grog and the atmosphere. Dogs are welcome in the Benbow, although as their website says, pups must keep their humans on a lead. (Look up at the roof as you leave. No, it's not the grog you've swigged - Octavious is always up there.)

  • Hub Box // Truro

    Hubbox Truro - interior

    Legendary Cornish chain Hub Box began in St Ives and is gradually moving up across the South West (and beyond). Its Truro location is a busy and popular restaurant housed in a former chapel. Take a seat under a stained glass window, or head for one of the lively outdoor spaces.

    The food is along the lines of burgers, barbecue and dirty fries, with sides of slaw and burnt end beans. The pitchers of coolers are perfect on a hot day (with the option of a dash of gin to liven things up), and they do a good range of ice-cream milkshakes.

    Hub restaurants are family friendly, and they don't just allow dogs, they love them. Book a table for a hearty lunch or dinner, or simply pop in for a coffee while you're shopping.

  • Mermaid Seafood Restaurant // St Ives

    Mermaid Seafood Restaurant - St Ives

    The Mermaid Restaurant is on Fish Street (where else?!) in the heart of St Ives' old Downalong quarter. This family-run restaurant has been a locals' favourite for years, thanks as much to its friendly atmosphere as its perfectly cooked fish.

    Go for comfort food like their pot of seafood, or try the monkfish cooked on skewers. There's always a fresh fish of the day on the menu, as well as meat-based and veggie options. During lockdown, The Mermaid's takeaway paella became a regular treat for many St Ives households.

    The cosy, fish-cellar feel contrasts with the minimal contemporary looks of most Cornish seafood restaurants, and that's part of its appeal. It's warm and welcoming, decorated with fantastic local details like vintage photos and fishing nets, while diners sit on pews from old St Ives churches.

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