Fine dining without pomp and ceremony is standard in Bristol. No misogynistic dining practices observed here; women get handed menus too and sit can actually sit on the outside seats. Also, men are NOT expected to wear blazers. Bristol is very good at taking the stuffy tradition out of Michelin-star and fine eating, stripping it back to what it should be about – good food, good service and great drink pairings.
Here, we have collected the Michelin stars, the Bib Gourmands, and the Michelin guide-listed restaurants in Bristol. And you can eat at, drink in, and wear your trainers to every one of them.
Michelin Starred Restaurants
Chandos Road in Redland is where you will find Wilks. An unassuming, modest and informal restaurant where owners James Wilkins (head chef) and Christine Vayssade (restaurant manager) along with their incredible front and back team serve up creative and accomplished dishes. The food is inspired by the couple’s experiences and travels (they have worked and lived in Turkey, France and Japan) and local produce is the star of the show here. Wilks restaurant love the use of clean, light and seasonal ingredients, with an emphasis on everything that is ‘natural’. The kitchen team deliberately use butter and cream sparingly in order to let the real flavours shine through. Wilks offer plenty of choice – from a great value set lunch menu, an A La Carte option and two tasting menus (with optional wine flights) for those who would like to try and make your visit a bit special.
A charming rustic pub with outstanding food and service is what can be expected when visiting The Pony & Trap. Located in Chew Magna, with beautiful countryside surroundings and views, it’s worth the journey out. Josh and Holly Eggleton bring diners a warm welcome and a frequently changing menu using only the freshest in South West produce that has either been foraged for and/or supplied locally. Also, with their own working farm also on site, the food that arrives on your plate will not have travelled far at all. An Al A Carte lunch and dinner menu are available alongside the tasting menu and wine flights. The restaurant also runs special events and one off tastings. If you fancy superb food in unpretentious settings The Pony & Trap is wonderful for a special occasion, or for if you just fancy escaping the rush of the city for a while.
Probably the best known Michelin star restaurant in Bristol, Casamia is a fine dining experience like no other. A family affair, Sue and Paco Sanchez quit their day jobs back in 1999 to open the establishment, which originally served pizza and pastas like a traditional Italian trattoria. Sue and Paco’s two little boys helped from a young age, their passion in the kitchen obvious, and over time transformed the menu into something unrivalled. The menu at Casamia changes with the seasons, as does the interior of the restaurant. The dishes are designed to showcase seasonal produce at its best and are inspired by childhood memories, locations and people the chefs have met. Not much is given away on the menu, just the main ingredient which is indicative of Casamia’s ability to play on your senses. There are set lunch and dinner menus available with matching wine flights, after visiting, you’ll understand why Gordon Ramsay himself once called the Sanchez brothers, “two little geniuses”.
With being handed a star less than a year of opening, Paco Tapas is very firmly another feather in the Sanchez cap. You can enjoy padron peppers roasting on an open fire, jamon sitting on the bone. Sherry expertly kept and poured to bring the real taste of Andalusia to Bristol, Paco has taken tapas and turned it up to 11. Nestled between Pi Shop and Casamia, we are surely blessed in Bristol to have such fine dining so accessible to everyone.
John Watson and Julu Irvine head up No Man’s Grace in Cotham, a restaurant that all so often flies under the radar, but was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand in September 2015 and 2016. Simple,yet elegant dishes combining traditional British and modern European style food presented in a contemporary style is the order of the day here, with the restaurant once again making the most of all the produce on offer in the South West. An Al A Carte menu or 8 course tasting menus can be booked in for dinner, and there’s a set lunch menu where you can grab 3 courses for £20. What makes No Man’s Grace different from the rest is that they have a dessert bar, a place to come and indulge your sweet tooth. The everchanging dessert menu has a range of delicious options, all of which are paired with a dessert wine or a matching cocktail. The bar is open until late as well, so you really can get your sugar hit whenever you like!
Situated in not too far from the city centre is The Bird in Hand pub in Long Ashton. Serving mainly modern British cuisine, the staff here are no strangers to foraging for ingredients from the surrounding area. Meat is sourced locally and fresh fish and shellfish are delivered every day from the coast. The current menu features seasonal beauties such as roast wood pigeon, Cornish scallops, Mendip lamb and devilled whitebait to name just a few, with the most expensive main coming in at just £20. They also offer traditional Sunday roasts, although booking is strongly advised due to popularity. This is another fine pub doing Bristol proud, offering delicious seasonal British plates.
Michelin Guide Restaurants
This place might nab the title for having the most beautiful of settings, hidden away in a walled garden with views of the rolling Mendip Hills, is The Ethicurean. A perfect example and inspiration as to how food should be sourced and cooked; the garden here is bountiful and packed with fresh ingredients to be picked and used in their menu, which changes twice daily. Open for light bites, lunch, tea, coffee, cocktails, dinner or a full feast, there is an option for everyone here. A full feast (vegetarian and vegan options also available), a set three to five course menu that celebrates what the surrounding land has produced that day, with the knowledgeable staff revelling in talking about all of the food and drinks on offer.
Bulrush is something special. Since its relatively quiet opening in December of 2015, the restaurant’s reputation has flourished, and it is not difficult to understand why. They offer a beautiful, fresh,innovative menu which changes regularly, with every dish that is presented looking like a work of art. If you’re not a meat eater, they can cater for vegans and/or vegetarians and any other dietary requirements. I get the feeling that the kitchen team here love to be challenged and enjoy creating something unusual and different. It’s worth mentioning that the staff make this place a joy to be in, Katherine heads up the modest venue here and it’s clear that everyone involved is deeply passionate about what they do and the food you are eating.Our top tip is to go for the tasting menu, which is an incredible 9 courses for staggering value.
The sister restaurant to Bell’s Diner in Montpelier; Bellita is a glorious love affair between small plates and delicious hand-picked wines, which can be enjoyed in a lively, informal atmosphere. Dishes here are designed for sharing and inspiration comes from Spain, North Africa and the Middle East. Wines are chosen by owner Kate Hawkings, who is an expert on the subject, all bottles are made by female winemakers. Bellita is all about cheerful eating and drinking, in a comfortable setting where you are encouraged to enjoy yourself and feel relaxed. One dish that is worth mentioning has to be the 8 year old Galician Steak. This 1.3kg monster cut of sirloin on the bone is served with chicken stock, fried potatoes and salad. It’s enough to feed four people and has been raved about as one dish you must try in Bristol. The wonderful thing about a venue like Bellita is that you can get a group of friends together and order everything – that way you don’t miss out on tasting any of the fantastic dishes.
Tucked away on Welsh Back near King Street, in what used to be The Cherry Duck is where you will find fine dining restaurant Adelina Yard. They have been open for a little over a year but yet have already managed to find themselves listed in the Sunday Times Top 100 restaurants. Head Chef Jamie Randall and his team here work really hard to serve classic dishes with a modern twist, serving something a little different. Almost everything that is served here has been created in house. There are no airs and graces at Adelina Yard, you can rock up in your trainers, or your best formal outfit – the focus here is on having a unique experience with food, enjoying yourself and having a good time. The staff welcome you with open arms to the modern restaurant and depending on where you are seated you can have a view of the chefs at work or the beautiful waterside. This is a perfect place to bring people to impress, with unique and beautiful food without pretension.
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