The Henley Royal Regatta kicks off today, promising five days of the world’s best rowing in one of the prettiest towns on the Thames. But while we’re big fans of munching canapés in a corporate hospitality tent, we also like something more substantial to eat (not least to soak up all the Pimm’s). Read on for our pick of the best restaurants in and around Henley on-Thames.

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The Angel on the Bridge (below)

What: The Angel’s USP is its treasured riverside location, which is reckoned to be Henley’s finest: it’s perched at the edge of Henley Bridge and looks out over the Regatta finishing post. Assorted Brakspear beers are always well kept, the wine list is modest, and the food a nice mix of pub grub classics and modern Med fare.

Where: Thameside, Henley-on-Thames, RG91BH

The Bottle & Glass Inn

What: Locals are congratulating themselves on this newish rendition of The Bottle & Glass, a quaint inn with a thatched roof and characterful bar, located just a short drive out of Henley. The new team behind the operation have form, having met at the much-heralded Harwood Arms in London – so expect British fare with a modern twist and plenty of seasonal accents. Nice beer garden too.

Where: Bones Lane, Binfield Heath, RG9 4JT

Coppa Club

What: Despite being part of a grand old hotel in a quiet riverside setting beside pretty Sonning Bridge, Coppa Club is the sort of modern, chilled-out spot you’d find in a town-centre bistro. The loosely Italian all-day menu follows suit, with crowd-pleasing appeal and good-value prices, from a quality rib-eye steak to pizza and pasta.

Where: The Great House, Thames Street, Sonning-on-Thames, RG4 6UT

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The Crooked Billet

What: It may be squirrelled away down a windy back lane in the unexpectedly rural hinterland between Henley and Reading, but there are plenty of reasons why the quirky Crooked Billet gets packed to the gunnels. It’s photogenic, there’s a long and something-for-everyone menu, plus music nights, special events, cheery staff and more besides.

Where: Newlands Lane, Stoke Row, RG9 5PU

The French Horn

What: A splendid beacon of French classicism on the banks of the Thames, where chef-patron Michael Emmanuel ensures that the kitchen maintains high standards in classic food, style, attitude and presentation. Expect lots of luxury ingredients and an excellent wine list (and nice rooms if you want to explore it).

Where: Thames Street, Sonning-on-Thames, RG4 6TN

Luscombes

What: Situated just outside Henley in leafy Lower Assendon, Luscombes is an attractive eatery that oozes pubby olde-worlde charms with its rustic furniture, warm neutral tones and cosy fireplace. Lunch is an affordable deal, while dinner is a classy but pleasantly unpretentious affair, with generous space between tables and a menu designed by chef-patron Stephen Luscombe.

Where: The Golden Ball, Lower Assendon, RG9 6AH

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Orwell’s (above)

What: Named after George Orwell, who spent his childhood in the area, this brilliant eatery near Henley has been painstakingly realised by the dynamic duo of Ryan Simpson and Liam Trotman. Well-bred pubby charms, good looks and reasonable prices belie a defiantly British menu and stunning food based on locally sourced ingredients, foraged pickings, home-grown vegetables and honey from the owners’ hives.

Where: Shiplake Row, Binfield Heath, RG9 4DP

Shaun Dickens at the Boathouse

What: Brilliantly located hard by the river in Henley, The Boathouse features an all-day decked area offering stunning vistas and the prospect of fine-weather carousing. Shaun Dickens is a veteran of top-end kitchens including Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, so expect plenty of finesse and innovation here – although prices are very fair given the quality on offer.

Where: Station Road, Henley-On-Thames,  RG9 1AZ

Looking for more UK restaurant inspiration? Check out our list of the 100 best restaurants the length and breadth of the country, as chosen by SquareMeal’s readers and team of critics. Want to have your say on what makes the 2017 list? Vote here.

This article was published 28 June 2017