Out of all our top-five lists of the year, Bristol’s best restaurants has been one of the toughest to choose. Bristol is slowly becoming a culinary hotspot and we are spoiled for choice with some great places to eat in every corner of the city. Although there could only be one winner, many just missed out from the list. So honourable mentions, better luck next time and please keep up the great work to Clifton Kitchen, Folk House Cafe, Olive Shed, Primrose Cafe and Cowshed.
1) Casamia, Westbury-on-Trym
First, they retain their Michelin star. They are the only Bristol restaurant to have a star and Jonray and Peter Sanchez-Iglesias are the youngest chefs in Europe to hold one.
Second, they only go and win Gordon Ramsay’s UK restaurant of the year in a programme watched by millions on Channel Four. This has bought untold publicity and recognition, and bookings have rocketed.
When we visited in August we described our meal as ”adventurous food of the highest order, constantly surprising (and) truly amazing”.
2) Culinaria, Redland
Culinaria is closed more than it is open. It is modest in its decor and unpretentious in its outlook. Step through the front door, however, and prepare to be served some of the finest food in Bristol prepared by one of the city’s best and most well-respected chefs, Stephen Markwick, who quietly and consistently cooks seriously good food with a seasonal menu that changes every week.
3) Flinty Red, Cotham
Flinty Red on Cotham Hill is owned by the team behind independent wine merchants Corks of Cotham just up the street, so it is no surprise that their wine list is substantial. The wonderful wine is also matched by the wonderful food, which on my visit included tapernade, salchichon Iberico and onglet, which I found out is the internal muscle supporting a cow’s diaphragm, served red raw.
4) The Lido, Clifton
When friends visit me in Bristol, I invariably take them to the Lido. It is simply a very special place and I will vouch that there is nowhere like it anywhere else in the country. Even if friends are not visiting, I will sit down in their cafe area with a coffee and a paper at the weekend. Their restaurant upstairs overlooks the pool with no day’s menu the same and all of their vegetables now coming from a half-acre smallholding on a farm in Pill.
5) A Taste of Poland, Horfield
This small Polish restaurant on Filton Avenue was my find of the year. It’s next door to a Polish food shop and is owned by the same family, who towards the end of last year decided to open a restaurant serving only the best in Polish cuisine and sourcing every ingredient from Poland. The best way to describe Polish food is that it is hearty, and A Taste of Poland serves big portions for big-eaters which will leave you full and very contented.