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This is where it all began for Cornish empire builder Rick Stein, but more than 40 years down the line, his illustrious flagship is still “simply glorious” and “a real treasure”. Quality is the watchword here: the spacious white-walled interior (designed by Jill Stein) is bright, modern and artily decorated with a no-bookings cut-price seafood bar at its heart, while the kitchen majors on exemplary fish cookery driven by “super-fresh” daily supplies from nearby Padstow quay. Flavours from Stein’s travels dominate the show, so start with some local Porthilly oysters before cruising your way through the likes of sea bass ceviche with smoked chipotle chilli, black cuttlefish risotto or the famously messy Singapore chilli crab. You can also take the classic route by ordering a whole Dover sole, hake and chips or turbot with hollandaise, before rounding off with Mexican rice pudding or apple tart. The atmosphere can’t be faulted, staff are “fabulous” and the authoritative list is stuffed with seafood-friendly whites; the waterfront location is also a dream – especially if you’re staying over.
SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2018 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in spring 2018. Thousands of readers took part and the results were moderated by SquareMeal’s editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The UK survey does not include any restaurants in London. Click here for the full list of SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.
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Boscarne Junction Station 14km
Roche Station 15km
Trerethern Touring Park 964m
Prideaux Place 992m
Mon-Sun 12N-1.30pm 7-10.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 2
I suppose it is to be expected when big celebrity chefs build an empire and then leave it to continue their expeditions elsewhere. All that promise and expectation building inside you from the moment you book, to being seated at your table is laid to waste, at the end of another ordinary night.
In short, this was an average meal with struggling wait staff, cramped tables and sound levels reaching higher than a teenage house party at one point. Several hours later I failed to pinpoint where it all went a bit wrong but I'd say it was somewhere in the fish main, which was alright. Just alright.
We were on the coast, with fish fresh from the sea yet it was surprisingly the melt in your mouth chocolate fondant and a well suggested dessert wine (Mas Amiel, Maury) that stands out for me. I think that says it all.
Food + drink: 4
We went to Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant as part of an “eating and drinking” trip to North Cornwall. Luckily I didn't read the reviews below before we went, otherwise we wouldn't have gone, but we had a lovely lunch which it would have been a pity to miss.
While I agree that the staff were not the most welcoming (whether when I called to book, or when they phoned to reconfirm, or in person on the day), the food was great. I had the japanese style crab for starters, followed by monkfish rolled in garlic and fennel semolina and panfried. My husband had the smoked salmon with beetroot, followed by the lamb for main course and we thoroughly enjoyed both.
The wine list was good, but I was disappointed not to see more wines by the glass, and not to see more English wines.
There was zero atmosphere in the restaurant – it was only half full (it was a Monday lunchtime during term time, so no surprise) and the staff had spread everyone out around the quite large restaurant so it was a bit like eating in a mausoleum.
It's worth noting that this restaurant is on an uninspiring street in Padstow with no views etc. You could be anywhere. If you want to enjoy the Cornish views, head 15 minutes down the road to The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth or to Jamie Oliver's 15 in Watergate Bay.
Starters, mains and drinks for two was £99.
Disappointing all round. Haughty service the likes of which good London restaurants have long since dispensed with, naff decor, erratic attention to the needs of the table and a meal that was hit and miss – lovely mussels and squid but very ordinary plaice, an overly rich fish pie and forgettable desserts. Its stellar reputation clearly does it no favours when the experience is such a let down. Wouldn't recommend it.
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