Best restaurants in Cornwall

The most famous edible export of Cornwall is the Cornish pasty (or arguably, a jam-first cream tea), but the foodie scene in this county extends well beyond those distinctively crimped edges. The best restaurants in Cornwall are awash with predictably delicious seasonal produce, presented in increasingly creative ways by both stalwart local chefs and those who have migrated from big cities like London in search of a somewhat calmer coastal existence. Those who prefer a more relaxed meal will also find themselves spoiled for choice with cosy traditional pubs and an array of flavourful casual bites to suit any budget. Add a glass or two of the area’s home-grown wine, cider or ale, and you’ll have a recipe for success.

Updated on 09 January 2020

Boasting the longest coastline in Great Britain, as well as one of the sunniest climates, Cornwall is the UK’s ultimate seaside destination – and Cornwall’s best restaurants naturally take pride in this reputation, showcasing the abundant local seafood with relish. Whatever the occasion, the vast variety of restaurants in Cornwall can cater to it, from buzzy Newquay and central city Truro to scenic shorefront destinations like St Ives or Port Isaac.

Rick Stein’s name has become synonymous with Cornish cooking, with Padstow even sometimes dubbed ‘Padstein’ by frequenters of his famed Seafood Restaurant. But the TV chef is just one of many restauranteurs who are making the area a must-visit destination for diners, and their openings are all well worth your patronage. In fact, the only problem you might have when eating out in Cornwall is figuring out which menu to try out first.

Overwhelmed? Fear not: we’ve done our research and found the most exciting, innovative ideas being dished up throughout the county, so whether you’re taking a well-earned holiday, marking a milestone with a special meal or a resident in search of your next wow-factor plate, there’ll be something in our round-up for you. And if a listing takes your fancy, all you need to do is click through to read our full review and make your reservation. Proper job.

The Scarlet Hotel

The Scarlet Hotel

Tredragon Road, Mawgan Porth, Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 4DQ

Cornwall’s renowned eco-hotel and spa also houses The Scarlet Restaurant, which works with organic, sustainable suppliers from the area to create modern European cuisine. Breakfast, lunch and dinner (where a vegan tasting menu is offered) are all excellent, or for for a very special occasion, book the showstopping Champagne afternoon tea.
£30 - £49
Modern European
British
Rojano

Rojano's in the Square

9 Mill Square, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8AE

Another Paul Ainsworth property, Rojano’s is one of Cornwall’s best Italian restaurants; ideal if you’ve got a hankering for sourdough pizza or pasta, rather than the locally-favoured seafood. Be sure to save room for the signature ‘Whoopsey Splunker’ dessert; brown butter soft serve ice cream topped with roasted peanuts, Cornish fudge and Morello cherries.
£30 - £49
Italian
Driftwood Restaurant

Driftwood Restaurant

Rosevine,Portscatho, Truro, Cornwall, TR2 5EW

The 7-course tasting menu at Driftwood is a whistlestop tour through sumptuous delights from grilled Cornish monkfish with gnocchi to barbecued short rib atop celeriac and smoked bone marrow. There’s also a vegetarian version that’s equally thoughtfully devised, or pre-order a takeaway picnic and make the most of eating alfresco.
£50 - £79
Modern European
Zacry

Zacry's at Watergate Bay Hotel

Watergate Bay Hotel, On the beach, Watergate Bay, Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 4AA

Zacry’s brasserie makes the most of the ingredients found on its doorstep, from starters of Cornish crab with pickled cucumber and seaweed mayo to local plaice served with sauté potatoes and lobster butter. Settle into a leather banquette and tuck in to the confident array of flavours.
£30 - £49
Modern European
British
International
The Seafood Restaurant Padstow

The Seafood Restaurant Padstow

Riverside, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8BY

The clue is in the name: The Seafood Restaurant was opened by Rick and Jill Stein back in 1975, and has been a popular staple of the Cornwall restaurant scene ever since. Options range from the classic – fish and chips, lemon sole – to the ultra-creative; think Indonesian seafood curry or Singapore chilli crab.
Over £80
Fish
SquareMeal UK Top 100
The Gurnard

The Gurnard's Head

Treen, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 3DE

A picturesque, brightly-decorated pub with a short but very sweet menu of seasonally-rotating plates of regional meat, fish and greenery. Highlights include the eponymous gurnard with tomato, anchovy, olive and samphire, as well as a perfectly-cooked rump of beef and pork belly with fennel kimchi.
£30 - £49
British
Gastropub
The Idle Rocks

The Idle Rocks

Harbourside, St. Mawes, Cornwall, TR2 5AN

St Mawes’ hotel and restaurant The Idle Rocks has an award-winning seafood-heavy menu, with head chef Guy Owen taking inspiration from both France and Asia for his dishes. Enjoy the sight of the harbour as you sample delicate lobster raviolo or curried Newlyn hake.
£50 - £79
Modern European
Kota Porthleven

Kota Porthleven

Harbour Head Porthleven Helston, Helston, Cornwall, TR13 9JA

Asian-influenced dishes are the order of the day at Kota, created under the watchful eye of chef Jude Kereama, who you may recognise from BBC2’s Great British Menu. The food is sophisticated, with inventions like Cornish pork tonkatsu sat alongside Thai massaman curry, but it’s nonetheless a great option for families, thanks to the dedicated children’s room full of toys, books and games to keep smaller diners busy.
£30 - £49
Modern European
Prawn on the Lawn Padstow

Prawn on the Lawn Padstow

11 Duke Street, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8AB

Padstow’s restaurant is the second branch of Prawn on the Lawn, following its initial success on St Paul’s Road in Islington, and follows the same philosophy of being both a fishmonger and an eatery. Menus change on a regular basis depending on the catch of the day.
£30 - £49
Fish
SquareMeal London Top 100
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw

Restaurant Nathan Outlaw

6 New Road, Port Isaac, Cornwall, PL29 3SB

Nestled at the top of North Cornwall fishing village Port Isaac, two Michelin-starred Restaurant Nathan Outlaw serves up sustainable seafood ‘from tail to scale’. The exquisite fish-focused tasting menu is complimented by the clifftop views and accompanying wine flight – it’s not a cheap meal, but as an experience, it’s worth every penny.
Over £80
British
Fish
Two Michelin stars
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Ferryboat Inn

Ferryboat Inn

Helford Passage, Falmouth, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 5LB

The 300-year-old Ferryboat Inn’s riverside location means you can take in the view of the Helford Estuary as you dine. Stop by for a cosy Sunday lunch or hard-to-beat fish and chips and feel yourself unwind with every bite.
£30 - £49
Fish
Porthminster Beach Café

Porthminster Beach Café

Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2EB

Carnivores, seafood lovers, vegetarians and even vegans alike are brilliantly catered for at the Porthminster Beach Café in St Ives. Ask for a window table for a shoreline panorama that’s stunning regardless of the weather.
£30 - £49
Fish
Brasserie on the Bay at St Michaels Resort

Brasserie on the Bay at St Michaels Resort

St Michaels Resort, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 4NB

Brasserie on the Bay holds two AA Rosettes for its inventive selection of meals, built around Cornish staples including duck breast, rump steak and wild mushrooms for the veggies. If you’re after a healthier option, try its Garden Kitchen menu, which boasts an abundance of hearty, wholesome fare.
£30 - £49
British
Coombeshead Farm

Coombeshead Farm

Coombeshead Farm, Lewannick, Cornwall, PL15 7QQ

Tucked away amidst 66 acres of meadows and woodland, whether you stay in the five-bed guesthouse on Coombeshead Farm or simply stop in for dinner, you won’t be disappointed. The airy converted barn, with cool exposed brick and ceiling beams, serves up sustainable tasting menus and lighter bites that change with the seasons.
£50 - £79
British
The Mariners Public House

The Mariners Public House

Slipway, Rock, Cornwall, PL27 6LD

Owned by the same Paul Ainsworth of No.6 fame, dog-friendly Mariners has only been open since May 2019 but has already developed a reputation for excellence. Sunday lunch is particularly well reviewed, as are the cream teas, which come in both sweet and savoury incarnations.
£30 - £49
British
Gastropub
The New Yard Restaurant

The New Yard Restaurant

Trelowarren, Mawgan, Helston, Cornwall, TR12 6AF

Many restaurants boast about cooking with local ingredients, but much of The New Yard Restaurant's produce comes from its very own walled garden. The welcoming dining room gives you a choice of two menu styles: a more informal selection of small plates, or a set menu with bigger dishes such as sirloin of beef or salt baked celeriac.
£30 - £49
Modern European
Paul Ainsworth at No. 6

Paul Ainsworth at No. 6

6 Middle Street, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8AP

This Michelin-starred townhouse is the ultimate destination for contemporary British cuisine with, of course, a Cornish twist, particularly if you’re marking a special occasion. Arrive for your reservation early and enjoy an aperitif in the adjacent Cici’s Bar.
£50 - £79
Modern European
Rick Stein’s Fish and Chips

Rick Stein’s Fish and Chips

Events Square, Discovery Quay, Falmouth, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 3AX

Fish and chips is always a good idea, but Rick Stein’s Fish and Chips elevates it to a whole new level. Choice extends beyond standard cod and plaice to mackerel, salmon, sea bass and monkfish, served up with chunky chips, tartare sauce and crucially, scraps.
Under £30
Fish and Chips
Fish
Outlaw

Outlaw's Fish Kitchen

1 Middle Street, Port Isaac, Cornwall, PL29 3RH

It may reside in a quaint 15th century fisherman’s cottage, but inside Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen is a modern vision of warm woods and cosy cushion-lined benches. Head chef Tim Barnes has devised a collection of tasty seafood sharing plates like ginger cured mackerel and tandoori monkfish.
£30 - £49
Fish
The Cornish Barn

The Cornish Barn

20 Chapel Street, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4AW

Laid-back dining is the order of the day at Penzance’s The Cornish Barn, where the menu covers everything from steak and burgers to mussels in white wine and cream with rosemary. Planning a party? The Barn Room, Banquet Room and garden space are all stylishly decorated and available for exclusive booking.
£30 - £49
British
Bars

Stopping further along the coast on your journey? Our round-up of the best restaurants in Bournemouth might come in handy.