Best restaurants in Bristol

Our selection of some of the best restaurants in Bristol.

Updated on 18 September 2017

The Ox

The Ox

The Basement, 43 Corn Street, Bristol, Bristol, BS1 1HT

The team behind renowned bars Hyde & Co and The Milk Thistle have set their sights on steak, bringing their cocktail bar philosophy to Bristol’s dining scene. Occupying what was once the famed Markwick’s restaurant, this hidden basement has been exclusively done out with a marble staircase, assorted antique mirrors, rich colours and even a stuffed wolf. British beef from a local butcher rules on the menu, and the steaks are spot-on – cooked in the charcoal oven and served with triple-cooked chips. Otherwise treat yourself to roast pheasant breast with devils on horseback, an Ox burger or seared cod with bacon and clams, before signing off with bitter chocolate mousse or caramelised rice pudding with boozy prunes. Service is slick and cool, with low lights, loud music, craft beers and impeccable cocktails adding to the clubby vibe.

£30 - £49
Steak
British
Casamia

Casamia

The General, Bristol, Bristol, BS1 6FU

“I can still remember and describe every dish from the tasting menu” admits one reader who had a “phenomenal experience” at Michelin-starred Casamia – Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’s hugely impressive harbourside restaurant located on the ground floor of the old Bristol General Hospital building. Inside it’s “simple but stylish”, surprisingly warm and inviting, with enthusiastic staff aiding and abetting the busy chefs as they take diners on an immensely flavoursome gastronomic journey inspired by the seasons. One-word descriptions give few clues to the sheer brilliance of the food, but all is revealed once the “delicately complex” creations start arriving on bespoke crockery: ‘salad’ means a super-fresh mix of dark and light green seasonal leaves with charred broccoli, sweet carrot and savoury juices; ‘beetroot’ is a masterly combination of yoghurt sorbet, pickled fennel and beetroot risotto with soft rice and pistachio for texture; ‘rainbow trout’ brings together a superb confit with a bisque, some delicate roe and wonderful “skin crisps” – an outright winner among a clutch of “world-class” dishes. ‘Turbot’ and ‘duck’ are also subjected to mind-bending transformation, while desserts (if that’s the word) could include ‘passion fruit’ – actually a “staggeringly good” three-part riff (granita, jelly, seeds) topped by a tarragon-flavoured custard and little dabs of meringue. With culinary invention “taken to a new level”, a top-class wine list and explanatory table service often provided by the chatty chefs themselves, Casamia is a genuine one-off and a worthy winner of the SquareMeal Award for the Best UK Restaurant, 2018.

£50 - £79
Modern European
One michelin star
SquareMeal UK Hot 100
Riverstation

Riverstation

1 The Grove, Bristol, Gloucestershire, BS1 4RB

Excellent views across the harbour from this former headquarters of the riverside police combines with a downstairs all-day bar+kitchen with a glass-fronted restaurant above – the latter the recent beneficiary of a major revamp, softening the previous minimalist look. To-the-point cooking includes chicken liver parfait and red onion jam, deeply satisfying griddled swordfish with guacamole, lime and sweet chilli sauce, or good old ribeye with bearnaise and chips, with passion-fruit tart and blood orange sorbet for afters. The extended dock-side terrace is extremely popular during the summer months offering unrivalled alfresco in the city. One of Bristol’s best.

Under £30
Modern European
Wilks

Wilks

1 Chandos Road, Redland, Bristol, Bristol, BS6 6PG

Chef James Wilks got his first break as a teenager working at Midsummer House in Cambridge, before travelling the globe and cooking in some serious Michelin-starred restaurants including Michel Bras in Languiole. Fast-forward a few years and James now has his own Michelin-starred gaff in Bristol – with a mini art gallery attached. The food here is contemporary, seasonal and “faultless”, with West Country producers making a big contribution and culinary ideas gleaned from the chef’s travels: ballottine of partridge with aubergine purée, pickled ceps, rocket and partridge-jus vinaigrette; wild turbot fillet with bulgur wheat, kohlrabi, baby leeks, cured citrus and capers; dry-aged saddle of roe deer with butternut squash, red Russian kale, turnips, calcots, orange and juniper. After that, don’t miss Wilks’ signature meringues or desserts such as stuffed raspberry tart or even the French cheeses ‘selected and ripened by Hervé Mons’. Fixed-price deals are terrific value, and there are bargains to be had on the youthful wine list. “Great service for a special occasion too.”

£50 - £79
Modern European
The Lido Restaurant

The Lido Restaurant

Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol, Gloucestershire, BS8 2BJ

Set in a viewing gallery overlooking the 24-metre blue-tiled pool at Bristol’s regenerated Victorian lido, this comfortable breezy space is one of the most exciting eateries in town – with the bonus of a spa, poolside bar and other treats. The kitchen has forged a reputation for astutely handled food with broad Mediterranean overtones and influences ranging from Spain to the Middle East. Fuss-free, vibrant flavours shine through in a raft of colourful dishes running from ajo blanco with cherries and basil or lamb’s sweetbreads with girolles, broad beans and jamón to slow-cooked rabbit leg with peas, morcilla and mint or broad bean falafel with carrot and orange-blossom purée and Turkish salad. The wood-fired oven also gets a good workout (whole plaice with sherry butter, asparagus and crispy capers, say), while desserts might bring Jerez cream with poached cherries, anis de mono and almond biscotti. You can drop by for breakfast too, and a tapas menu is served in the poolside bar. The Lido’s various ‘swim and eat’ packages are also worth checking out.

£30 - £49
Mediterranean
Bell

Bell's Diner & Bar Rooms

1-3 York Road, Bristol, Bristol, BS6 5QB

Originally just plain old Bell’s Diner, this funky boho veteran has been given a lift following the arrival of new owners and a chef from the Flinty Red wine bar on Cotham Hill. There’s a touch more informality about the place now, with vintage curios strewn about the three eating and drinking rooms, plus a bright menu of eclectic small plates with a strong Mediterranean and North African tilt. Expect full-on seasonal flavours, a freewheeling approach and lots of fashionable artisan ingredients: white peach, tomato, goats’ curd and basil salad; roast hake with smoked ham hock, broad beans, peas and samphire; pork and chorizo albondigas with sweet pepper and saffron sauce. After that, how about lemon meringue tart or toasted marshmallow ice cream? As the name implies, Bell’s is also big on drinks, especially craft beers, local real ales, sexy cocktails and aperitifs, although top marks go to the wine list – a terrific compendium of bottles from sunnier climes with modest cash mark-ups.

£30 - £49
Mediterranean
Poco Bristol

Poco Bristol

45 Jamaica Street, Stokes Croft, Bristol, Gloucestershire, BS2 8JP

For his second Poco tapas bar, ex-River Cottage chef and author Tom Hunt has looked beyond Bristol to London's trendiest thoroughfare, Broadway Market. This all-day venue by the canal is a casual and inviting space, thanks to an open kitchen, communal tables and cratefuls of fresh produce from a local network including Growing Communities and E5 Bakehouse. Hunt chooses tasty over tarted-up every time, which makes for rustic brunch dishes such as pork belly sourdough sarnie and papas a la pobre (a Portuguese hash topped with fried egg) – all of which look and taste homemade. Meanwhile, the monthly tapas menu offers small plates, perhaps deep-fried oysters with kelp aïoli or lamb neck with anchovies, caperberries and chard. Come early for coffee and churros; otherwise spend the evening over seasonal cocktails, Poco's own Elderflower Saison beer ?or try the decidedly addictive kombucha tea (from Bristol's Pioneer).

Tapas
Spanish
The Albion - Bristol

The Albion - Bristol

Boyces Avenue, Clifton Village, Bristol, Gloucestershire, BS8 4AA

While the unusually deft revamp of this run-down city boozer has gone for the standard gastropub look – lots of wood, leather armchairs in front of the log fire, an open-to-view kitchen – the food is anything but predictable. Classic techniques are mixed with innovation & the result is season-driven, finely tuned cooking with strong, clear flavours. Eat in the bar, or ascend the tucked-away wooden stairs to the intimate dining room – the same menu is served throughout. At lunch, choose from familiar tapas (chorizo, salt cod fritters) or opt for the carte, which might promise anything from albacore with rosemary salt & heirloom tomatoes to steak, ox cheek & chips for two. With decent prices, Saturday brunch, a snappy wine list & a suntrap terrace – plus a warm welcome for drinkers as well as diners – this is a proper local with far-reaching appeal.

Under £30
Gastropub