Like lots of trendy areas now, Bristol harbourside started out life as a thriving industrial area – playing host to a busy dock – and has been modernised into a buzzy home for shops, bars and restaurants.
We’ve done (the very demanding) job of working out the best Bristol Harbourside restaurants for you, so that next time you’re in the area you shouldn’t be hard pressed to find somewhere serving up delicious food.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional British pub lunch or something a little more exotic, we’ve got options to suit every taste. Take a scroll through our favourite Bristol Harbourside restaurants below, and let us know if you think we’ve missed off your top spot. We always love to know the inside scoop from locals.
And if it’s a Bristol harbourside café you’re after instead, just scroll down a little to the bottom section, where you’ll find a selection of those lovely spots.
Why: Sometimes only a burger will do to satisfy a really intense hunger, and we’ve found the perfect place to get your fill. Three Brothers Burgers serve up incredible combos at really reasonable prices. From beef and chicken to halloumi and mushroom, there are options for all kinds of burger lovers. One of our favourites is the Buttermilk fried chicken burger, which is served with special seasoning, lettuce and spicy mayo in a glazed brioche bun. At £8.25, we think it’s great value and there’s the option to add all sorts of delicious sides too. Deep fried pickles, anyone?
Where: Welsh Back, Bristol, BS1 4SB
No 1 Harbourside
Why: This South Western gem has a three-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association, meaning you can dine in comfort knowing that everything you’re eating has been carefully sourced and that the team are taking steps to reduce their waste and minimise their energy usage. When it comes to the food there’s a regularly-changing menu that reflects what’s in season, to make the most of the best ingredients. Mains are priced between £10-16 and typically include dishes like Cornish mussels in cider cream, chicken pot roast, and fish and chips.
Where: 1 Canon's Road, Bristol, BS1 5UH
Why: For Harbourside views you don’t get much better than The River Grille (part of The Bristol Harbourside Hotel), with its floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the water. What’s more if you visit at lunchtime on a Saturday, or for dinner on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday you’ll be treated to live music – either a live pianist or a jazz trio, depending on the night. All that ambiance deserves some good food to go along with it, and luckily The River Grille delivers. Choose from one of their menus (a la carte, set, pre-theatre, Sunday lunch) and treat yourself to their signature modern food. Expect dishes like blackened cod with wilted pak choi and chilli and ginger dressing, or a veal chop with wilted summer greens and roasting jus.
Where: Prince Street, Bristol, BS1 4QF
Prince St Social
Why: This modern bar serves up crowd-pleasing dishes throughout the day, even catering for breakfast. There’s attention paid to dietary requirements too, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on offer, as well as staff being able to tell you a full list of allergens on request. To start why not tuck into crispy squid rings with sweet chilli and mayo, or a crayfish cocktail topped with creamy avocado and that signature Marie Rose sauce. When it comes to mains there are kebabs, burgers and salads, as well as pub classics like bangers ‘n’ mash and roast dinners.
Where: 37-41 Prince St, Bristol, BS1 4PS
Why: After something quick and easy? Las Iguanas is your place. This casual Latin chain restaurant is the ideal place to sprawl out with the family or to meet pals for some drinks after work. The menu is split into sections for nibbles, tapas and mains from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Peru – so there’s quite the plethora of options. Go safe with guacamole, nachos and fajitas or try something a bit different with a creamy Brazilian chicken and crayfish stew, or Havana club and Jerk BBQ spiced ribs.
Where: South Building, Bristol, BS1 5UH
Why: As the holder of one of our coveted Bronze Awards, you know you’re in safe hands dining at Woky Ko. Created by MasterChef finalist Larkin Cen, this casual Asian eatery is housed in a small (but perfectly formed) shipping container right on the edge of Wapping Wharf. On the menu you’ll find a range of plate-styles, from small tapas-sized serves to sharing boards and individual mains. A couple of our favourites have to be the Korean fried chicken with kimchi and gochujang, and the chicken Singapore vermicelli noodles.
Where: Unit 7, CARGO, Wapping Wharf, Gaol Ferry Steps, Bristol, BS1 6WP
Why: As the name suggests you’ll be dining aboard a boat if you choose to eat here. This Bristol brasserie serves up classic French cooking on the banks of the harbour, and when dining here you can expect dishes like rabbit terrine with cornichons and celeriac remoulade, and confit duck with Toulouse sausage, pork belly and white beans. Prices aren’t cheap, with mains on average working out at around the £20 mark, but it’s a lovely spot for a special occasion.
Where: Welsh Back, Bristol, BS1 4SB
Why: Hello, who doesn’t like pizza? This popular Industrial-style pizzeria specialises in organic sourdough pizzas and cider. Toppings are typically locally-sourced and include things like slow-roasted pulled beef and Naga harissa marinated jerk chicken. If you’re a purest no need to panic, there are also some classic combos like the original favourite: the Margherita. Prices vary from around £8.50 to £13 and there are vegan and gluten-free options available too.
Where: South Bldg Anchor Square, Canon's Rd, Bristol, BS1 5UH
Why: If you’re the type of person who can never make up their mind when faced with a menu, you might just be in luck. This ‘world banquet and bar’ seats a whopping 700 people and is designed to look a little like a food market, with Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Italian and American cuisines all included. The design is eclectic and the food options can be a little hectic, but if you’re with a mixed group and have kids along for the day it’s a great one-size-fits all option.
Where: Harbourside, Canon's Road, Bristol, BS1 5UH
Why: The beauty of a chain restaurant is you know what you’re getting, it’s a safe bet. This particular branch of Prezzo is in an old Lead Works, so encompasses the industrial chic feeling of the Harbourside area and serves up all the usual Italian options. Start with an antipasti board of Italian meats or go for caprese salad; and for mains why not choose one of Prezzo’s comfortingly familiar pizzas or pastas.
Where: Anchor Road, Bristol, BS1 5DB
Why: At Riverstation, everything is made in house – whether that’s the bread you start your meal with or the ice cream you tuck into as a finale. This SquareMeal Bronze Award winner is housed in the former headquarters of the riverside police, affording it front-row seats to views of the harbour. If sampling their menu for dinner you can expect starters such as pan fried scallops with watercress and pickled apple, and for mains there’s typically a selection of crowd-pleasing classics with a twist; like steak served with a shallot and parsley butter or a skate wing finished with paprika.
Where: The Grove, Bristol, BS1 4RB
Why: Run by Michelin starred chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, you know you’re going to be getting dishes a little bit more special than your average Patatas Bravas at this Bristol-based tapas bar. There’s huge emphasis put on seasonality and the very best ingredients, which translates to plates on offer that are bursting with colour and flavour. A recent favourite of ours was the monkfish and Manteca with burnt butter, anchovies and parsley sauce, but classics are done really well here too, like the perfect Spanish omelette or a simple tomato salad that has just the right balance of acidity throughout the dressing.
Where: 3A, The General, Lower Guinea Street, Bristol, BS1 6SY
Why: Aqua deal in crowd-pleasers, with a menu made up of a comforting array of carbs and familiar favourites. As the name might suggest their specialty is seafood, but with a modern Italian twist. There’s focaccia to nibble on, fritto misto for starters and smoked haddock risotto for mains. This is the perfect spot for a mixed group, as there’s sure to be something everyone fancies thanks to the safety of an Italian menu.
Where: Welsh Back, Bristol, BS1 4RR
Bristol Harbourside Cafes
Sometimes you don’t want a full on three course meal, and that’s where the humble café comes into its own. Serving up tried-and-tested favourites like soups and sandwiches our pick of Bristol Harbourside cafes are all cosy little spots that make the perfect places to grab a quick lunch, take your laptop for an afternoon of working on the go, or meet up with pals at.
Bowl Of Plenty
Why: This wholesome, homely café on the Bristol Harbourside serves up an ethically-considered menu. Where possible the ingredients used are organic, with a large focus on vegetarian and vegan food. When meat is used, it’s used sparingly and it's carefully sourced. This little spot is only open for breakfast and lunch, so makes a great pit stop if you’re doing the walking route along the Harbourside. The food is a reliable mix of firm favourites – soups, sandwiches and pasta – plus a choice of a few regularly-changing bowls. You can expect things like stews, dahls and curries all to feature
Where: 133 Cumberland Road, Bristol, BS1 6UX
Dockyard Café Bar
Why: If you’re just after a light bite, rather than a full evening meal, the dockyard Café Bar could be the perfect place to stop for lunch while wandering round Bristol Harbourside. This café has quite the novel location, too, being located alongside the historic Brunel’s SS Great Britain ship. For little guests there are lunchboxes on offer, while the grown ups can choose from a menu of lunch classics – like toasted paninis and sandwiches, as well as homemade soup. The bakes here are a winner too, with delicious things on offer like Victoria sponge and ginger cakes.
Where: Brunel's SS Great Britain, Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Road, Bristol, BS1 6TY
Friska Victoria St
Why: Friska is tucked away a little from the Harbourside, but is just a short walk away and the leg-stretch will be well worth it. This Bristol hot-spot is renowned for serving up lunches with a global twist – you’ll find everything from Vietnamese to Turkish dishes on the menu. Pushing the boat out past leek and potato, you’ll be able to pick up a chicken Pho soup, and when it comes to sandwiches they’ve been given a twist too. Popular items include a BBQ pulled pork burrito and a halloumi wrap. If it’s a warm day and you don’t fancy something hot then there are lots of boxes on offer too, a bit like a very posh packed lunch. We love the sound of the crispy chicken and toasted pine nuts salad box. The coffee here is pretty delicious too.
Where: 36 Victoria Street, Bristol, BS1 6BY
Fancy eating out earlier in the day? Explore our round up of the very best brunch Bristol has to offer.