Bristol Picks

Whilst I still have plenty of exploring to do within the Bristol food scene and this list is subject to change, these are some of places I have particularly enjoyed so far. I always welcome any recommendations, so if you have any please do let me know!

Fine Dining…

Wilsons

I am guilty of leaving it far too long to visit Wilsons. I had drooled over my pals’ Instagram shots of beautifully plated dishes, read plenty of glowing reviews and listened on in envy when friends had been regaling me with stories of their visits. So on my birthday, I decided to book in for lunch, and I couldn’t be happier that I did. If the term ‘less is more’ was coined for an establishment, then it would be for here. White walls with opposite facing hand-written black menu boards and simple wooden tables and chairs leave nothing but a bright and airy feel in this modest restaurant. You can just about peek in at head chef and owner Jan and his team through the partially open kitchen. The menu is uncomplicated and changes regularly, with three dishes to choose from for each course. The ingredients used have either been grown, picked or hunted on Jan and Mary’s own plot, just outside of the city. Naturally, we ordered the entire menu (didn’t want to indulge in any FOMO) and starters included beef, oyster and mustard; mains were plaice, bone marrow, parsley and snails and the most wonderful but incredibly unfussy asparagus, morels, hens eggs and kings oyster (if I wasn’t such a tartare fiend, this dish would have come out on top.) Strong prime ingredients executed perfectly and without too much interference makes for impressive dining and I couldn’t fault a thing. Beautiful plates of colour I almost didn’t want to spoil but was licking clean by the end of each course as everything was so delicious.  Jan and all of his staff are wonderfully friendly and knowledgeable and this modern bistro easily ranks in my Bristol top 5.

http://wilsonsrestaurant.co.uk/ @JanWilsons

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Box-E

Oh Box-E. Where do I begin. Small, but perfectly formed – this shipping container restaurant forms part of the original Cargo crew down in Whapping Wharf. Elliott and Tess Lidstone are at the helm of this 14 cover establishment and what you can expect to find is British seasonal cooking, an impressive hand-picked wine list and a warm, personal dining experience from start to finish.  The Kitchen Table is exceptional and I would highly recommend it for a special occasion, or for if you simply just love food.  Watch Elliot create his masterpieces and enjoy a taste of everything alongside some special extras he might pass your way.  It would be rude not to indulge in the wine flight as well. The menu here changes regularly, with daily and weekly specials also making appearances. Everything here is fresh; produce arrives in the morning after being picked and is served for lunch and dinner – and as you can imagine, in such a confined space there is not much room for storage or plentiful waste, which Elliott is mindful of constantly when cooking, using his flair to put modern twists on his dishes. Box-E has also become famous for it’s delightful pannacotta and let me tell you, there are not many things I enjoy more than a damn good burger – but I’d trade one in for this dessert, enjoyed out on the terrace, with a Gin Slushy. These guys have a place in my top 5 too, easily.

http://www.boxebristol.com/ @boxebristol

The Ox

If steak is your thing and you haven’t visited The Ox already, then I highly recommend you pay them a visit. The team behind Hyde & Co. and the Milk Thistle etc. have served up yet another blinder with this restaurant. It could be that the décor and vibe is just a bit of me, think prohibition elegance with plenty of attention to detail (take a peek at the light fittings). The venue situated on Corn Street is tucked away under the Commercial Rooms and down some steps; you wouldn’t know it was there unless you spotted the understated sign above the doorway. This place does meat and lots of it, extremely well. The wine list is impeccable with some fantastic reds to accompany your meal. Whenever I visit it feels like I am part of a secret dining society, tucked underground with dim lighting and a polished interior; it feels like a lot of their secret cocktail bars, but with the added bonus of fantastic food. I would recommend this restaurant for special occasions and specifically for date night, it is intimate and cosy and you can chow down on amazing food here. Ladies, you can impress your fella by picking this place too – they might not even know it exists. It is worth noting that they sometimes run BYO nights, an early bird deal where you can enjoy an 8oz steak, fries and a glass of wine for £14 and they serve cracking Sunday roasts. They also have restaurants in Clifton and in Cheltenham. Clifton is in keeping with the fantastic décor and elegance that the Ox is so well known for but also offers a fantastic ‘casual dining’ menu; consisting of sticky ribs, chicken wings and both beef and chicken burgers. Sitting and eating at the bar NYC style is encouraged and it’s a great hangout for a relaxed lunch or early evening dinner.

http://theoxbristol.com/ @theoxbristol

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Bulrush

Bulrush is just something so special. I have already written about them on the blog but the restaurant is really worth visiting because it is simple, fresh, innovative food; presented beautifully in their modest venue. If they know they are good, it doesn’t show and that is also one of the things I love most about this place. Bulrush has been highly commended and praised by acclaimed food writers and publications but in no way has this gone to the teams heads, if anything, I believe it motivates them to work harder and create better. If you are not a meat eater, they can cater for vegans and/or vegetarians and I must admit, these dishes steal the spotlight a lot of the time and this is down to the kitchen teams creativity. The staff make this place a joy to be dining in but also because they are all deeply passionate about what they do and the food you are eating. Katherine is the boss lady and is also incredibly friendly, it is always worth seeking her out for a wine recommendation as well as she is knowledgeable when it comes to plonk. The tasting menu will set you back £48 for 9 courses which is staggering considering the variety and quality of the dishes on offer. Keep an eye on their social media channels for events and pop-ups they also take part in from time to time.

http://www.bulrushrestaurant.co.uk/ @BulrushBS6

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Adelina Yard

Adelina Yard is a restaurant tucked away in Welsh Back just to the end of King Street. This delightful venue is a modern affair with an open kitchen overlooking the dining area. Jamie Randall heads up the team here to serve European classics with a twist using their creative flair and as much as possible is prepared and made in house. The restaurant’s policy is ‘no thrills’, meaning you can rock up in your finery or come casual, the atmosphere is a friendly and relaxed one without any air of pomp or pretention. Meticulous planning goes into the menus and they offer al a carte, a stonkingly cheap lunch menu, a tasting and chef’s tasting menu.  Depending on where you are seated once inside the restaurant you can have a view of the chefs at work or the beautiful waterside towards the rear of the establishment.  What is most important here is that Jamie and Olivia simply want you to have a great time and enjoy delicious food, which is exactly what they deliver. This is a perfect place to bring people to impress, with unique and beautiful food without pretention.  I would also recommend this venue for a family dinner or a treat with friends, you won’t be disappointed.

http://adelinayard.com/ @AdelinaYard

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The Pony & Trap

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 is worth the journey out. Josh and Holly Eggleton bring diners a warm welcome and an ever changing menu using only the freshest South West produce, which has either been foraged  for and/or supplied locally to the pub. With their own working farm also on site the food that arrives on your plate will not have travelled far at all and this farm to fork ethos is only one of the reasons the restaurant is so special. Al A Carte lunch and dinner menus are available alongside the tasting menu and wine flights, with the restaurant also running special events and one off tastings. I would highly recommend The Pony & Trap if you fancy superb food in unpretentious settings – wonderful for a special occasion or if you just fancy escaping the city for a while, it is a real delight.

http://www.theponyandtrap.co.uk/  @theponyandtrap

Wallfish Bistro

Seafood fans and generic lovers of food will really enjoy a visit to the Wallfish Bistro in Clifton. The aim at this family run restaurant is to provide a great culinary experience using the finest produce that the Westcountry can offer. The menu is a mix of seafood fare and British classics, with their Sunday brunches becoming somewhat legendary. If you are a fish fan, choose from Portland crab, Exmouth mussels, lobster or scallops, depending on the catch. But if traditional is more your style, take advantage of wild bird terrine, pheasant, bacon and trotter pie or cote de bouef.  If you are lucky they might also be running their seafood platter on the specials menu. This is a cosy and bright venue, perfect for dinner with friends or family whether it is a special occasion or just meeting up. Couples will love the romantic setting and delicious food also, and aren’t oysters aphrodisiacs?!

http://www.wallfishbistro.co.uk/ @wallfishbristol

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Casual Dining…

Pasta Loco

Pasta flippin’ Loco. I have already made my thoughts known on the blog on how I feel about this diamond – but if you need reminding, this place has completely changed the game in the Bristol’s food scene.  Essentially a fresh pasta restaurant, but done to incredible standards. Chef Ben Harvey is the genius in the kitchen, changing the menu almost daily for punters; you can expect creations using fresh, seasonal ingredients, with some surprises thrown in. Portions aren’t shy and you’ll struggle to justify the price tags on the plates. But this is what the guys are all about – offering the people of Bristol fine cooking without having to remortgage your house. Dom is the brains out front working alongside his enthusiastic team as they bring the vibe and amazing cocktails to match (opt for a Negroni or Expresso Martini if you are a fan – you won’t be disappointed). Meeting Dom and having him present during your lunch or dinner is an experience in itself, and by this I mean a great one. Nothing is too much trouble for these guys and the value for money is outstanding. Expect high end food and wine at prices that will make you want to return again and again. Trust me.

http://pastaloco.co.uk/ @pasta_loco

Broken Dock

Broken Dock is one of my favourite places in Bristol. Situated on the harbourside, this little hidden gem is in the same vicinity as another great hangout, Spoke & Stringer. Between them, these neighbours have the perfect suntrap, tucked into their alcove. The most glorious outside space during the warmer months with fantastic views looking over towards the SS Great Britain – you cannot visit here without ordering a Gin & Tonic – it’s just the rules (the front of house team would agree with me I think). When the weather turns colder however, an intimate and cosy restaurant awaits you. Food here is served all day and all evening and includes brunch, bar snacks and sharing planks – there are vegetarian, meat and fish ones available, perfect for ordering with your friends and nibbling on whilst you enjoy some drinks. Broken Dock work with Bristol producers, ensuring that everything is kept local and the produce is fresh. I could easily while away whole days at Broken Dock, in fact I have many a time – so that may be the only snag in visiting – you may see me.

@BrokenDock

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Pizzarova

FUN is the order of the day at Pizzarova with a capital ‘F’. What started out as a Landover travelling the South West serving up sourdough delights; Pizzarova has grown and now thanks to popularity and a huge following, the guys have a permanent site in Bristol, on the glorious Gloucester Road. The process is simple, choose from the classic ‘Lady’ margarita pizza, indulge in their creative monthly special or simply build your own! They have a range of toppings for you to choose from and if you really cannot decide then you can have them all (it would be a lie if I said I hadn’t tried it). Pizzas are then thrown into their ovens for roughly ten minutes so the dough rises and the topping sizzle before being served with or without a hefty dollop of rocket. This is fast food that is not only very reasonable on your pocket but also fresh and delicious; the monthly specials are particularly creative and for the most part, tend to be vegetarian friendly. Keep an eye on Pizzarova’s social media for exciting news and events, they offer up ‘Free Pizza Friday’s’, pizza parties as well as sometimes giving out their now famous but elusive ‘pink cards’ – these entitle the holder to free pizza, for you and your friends, FOR LIFE. Do I need any more reasons to love them?

http://www.pizzarova.com/ @pizzarova

Souk Kitchen

Souk is a unique restaurant which serves Eastern Mediterranean and North African cuisine from their venues in Southville and Clifton. The restaurants are vibrant, colourful and very relaxed; whilst the food is simply delicious. They do serve brunch (Tip: if you are a fan of shakshouka, then try Souk’s version) , lunch and dinner although I would recommend getting a group of pals together for your visit and ordering plenty because you will want to try everything on offer here. Feel like you are on holiday whilst taking in the Middle Eastern feel of the restaurant and scouring some of the produce they sell from the venues. It is different from anywhere else in Bristol which is one of the reasons why I love the place. I would highly recommend trying the Ghalieh Mahi if it is on the menu– a Persian fish curry which is just outstanding.

http://soukitchen.co.uk/ @soukkitchenbris

Tuk Tuck

Serving from their home on St. Stephen’s street, Tuk Tuck offers epic Asian food that is not only extremely reasonable but incredibly delicious. The Bibimbap is a staple and simply fantastic; a bowl full of fresh vegetables and white sticky rice, topped with your choice of brisket, chicken or tofu. It is also not one to feel guilty ordering because it is pretty much healthy! (Although admittedly I smother mine in hot sauce).  You can also grab a do salad boxes or a speciality curry along with a choice of sides. This is a perfect lunch spot or a place to pop on your way home from work or before heading out for the evening – you can order to takeaway or alternatively there is some seating in their modest restaurant. Find them on Deliveroo and Wriggle Bristol where they often have greats deals on their meals too.

https://www.facebook.com/TukTuck-737841626257740/ @TeamTukTuck

Harts Bakery

You’d have to be living under a rock in Bristol to have not heard about Hart’s Bakery. This little gem is hidden away under an arch by Temple Meads Railway Station – but is a fully operational bakery. Packed to the rafters with  charm and more importantly, providing Bristol with devastatingly great cakes, pastries and savouries. Pastries are part of a three day process, upon which French butter is used to make them as tasty as possible – they come fresh out of the oven every morning, ready to enjoy with your morning coffee. Oh and the coffee, it’s provided by Extract Coffee Roasters – so another win there. You’ll be able to find treats such as croissants, cinnamon buns and their most famous custard tarts. However if you have more of a savoury tooth, speciality pasties and sausage rolls adorn the counter, with them changing pretty much daily (take a look at the masterpiece below that is pork and black pudding). There is seating at Hart’s, so you don’t always have to grab and go. Plus, every week there is a new lunch offer for just £5; as I write, this weeks is roast red pepper tabbouleh with Serrano ham, a soft boiled egg and herb oil (it also comes with obligatory sourdough for mopping). Sounds great right?

http://www.hartsbakery.co.uk/ @HartsBakery

Yurt Lush

I have always had a soft spot for Yurt Lush; not only does it offer a chilled out haven amidst the hustle and bustle of the centre, but their working ethos and the dishes coming out of the kitchen are all about great, home cooked food done to a high standard – the menu is created by Josh Eggleton and Oscar Davis, so you wouldn’t expect anything less. The Yurt is situated next to Bristol Temple Meads and has both inside and outside seating. In the colder months, log burners heat up the cosy Yurt, whilst in the summer you can enjoy pimms outside on their decking. Yurt Lush offers brunch, lunch, an evening bistro service and Sunday Roasts. They also have a salad bar so you can choose to have one made up, alongside daily wraps and sandwiches. The bistro evening service here is something really special. Yurt Lush believe it is best to use produce from local, reputable suppliers and always aim to keep food waste to an absolute minimum- with this in mind, the bistro menu uses ingredients and meat cuts you may not normally use or just throw away without second thought. Two courses will set you back £15 and three just £18 so it is an absolute belter of a deal for a delicious dinner. The seasonal menu changes weekly but always includes meat, fish and vegetarian options. A truly unique venue amongst Bristol’s food and drinks scene.

http://www.eatdrinkbristolfashion.co.uk/yurtlush @ChickenShedHQ

Bellita

Everything about Bellita is just a bit of me; if you are a fan of a stonking wine list, a fun, informal place to eat and drink and like the sound of sharing plates taking inspiration from Spain, North Africa and the Middle East – chances are it is a bit of you too. Bellita can be whatever you like, a pre-dinner pit stop for a glass of vino, a place to come with friends to have some drinks, a full blown dinner affair or just a few small plates over a catch-up, it’s a perfect all-rounder. Situated on Cotham Hill with the likes of Pasta Loco and Bravas as neighbours, Bellita is in good company and on par in terms of food and drinks. The menu here is designed to be shared, with no small plates coming in at over £12. Bar snacks include pickles, olives, pardon peppers and chorizo iberico – one of the standout items for me were the jamon croqueta’s (you must try them if you go). There are vegetable, meat and seafood small plates and also a selection of puddings. Owner Kate Hawkings is a master of wine and the wine list here is not overwhelming but practical; enough bottles for you to peruse without being there forever and ending up just picking one from random.  All of the wines available are from female winemakers and the menu gives a brief synopsis of the story behind each wine, which I think is a lovely touch. No bottles goes over the £40 mark. If you are a Negroni fan, watch out for the chocolate and marmalade ones. And hurry up and visit Bellita.

http://www.bellita.co.uk/ @Bellitabristol

Wokyko

Another resident down at Cargo in Whapping Wharf is Larkin Cen’s Wokyko and if you like Asian food,  this is the place to visit. Fresh, delicious dishes with a fun twist – the menu features the likes of baos, rice and noodle bowls, sharing plates and curries. My personal picks would include the seabass tartare, chicken vermicelli noodles and I couldn’t possibly choose my favourite bao – fillings include Korean fried chicken, ox cheek and even a salted caramel ice cream – now you can’t get that anywhere else in the city. Wokyko is also incredibly light on your wallet, with all mains coming in at under a tenner. The restaurants interior is Asian inspired and whilst you watch the team at work, why not take a glance up at the ceiling – you’ll find a lovely surprise.

http://www.woky.co/ @Wokyko

Gallimaufry

I’m pretty sure I don’t need to encourage anyone to go and eat at The Galli, because this Bristol institution already has a firm following already and is ever popular with food and drink lovers. But I’m going to pledge my love for them anyway, because I want too. If their instagram feed (which is packed full of beautiful food photography) isn’t enough to lure you to visit then I don’t know what will. Seasonal, fresh produce is first and foremost here and it is the beating heart of The Galli’s menu. The team believe in using ethical, traceable suppliers who are even able to tell you what boat caught the fish produce that is delivered on any certain day. The Galli serves everything from bar snacks and sandwiches, a full brunch menu (including their hangover sure of mackerel, chorizo, potato and red peppers), dinner and Sunday roasts. For dinner, you are able to choose from a selection of ‘Galli plates’, which are perfect for sharing, or the bigger evening plates. The Gallimaufry also offer plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. If you just want to stop by for a drink, Galli’s outside seating encompases everything that is great about Gloucester Road and is always buzzing. They also have live music on most evenings as well.

https://thegallimaufry.co.uk/ @TheGalliBristol

Bambalan

This might be the most casual offering in terms of venue from the Hyde & Co. group but don’t be fooled into thinking Bambalan  is resting on it’s laurels – it’s a seriously cool place to hangout  with it’s bright and bold tropical décor and huge outside terrace, which is perfect for the summer time as it’s a real suntrap which overlooks the whole of Bristol’s city centre. The menu is full of colour with vibrant, fresh dishes all cooked over a grill or in a charcoal rotisserie. Think mezze plates, breads and dips, flatbreads and babs (posh kebabs to you and me). You can also grab brunch and Sunday lunch here. Bambalan offers seasonal cocktails and most importantly fizz Fridays, where it is buy one bottle and get the next one free (WIN). This is such a great hangout for those sunny evenings upon where you finish work and want to head straight out for a tipple. It’s also a lovely venue to bring the family for a nice weekend leisurely lunch or dinner, perfect for pre-drinks before heading off for a night on the town or if you are attending a show at the Hippodrome or Colston Hall, you can grab a bite beforehand (even getting discount by showing your ticket). Wham, bam thank you maam.

http://bambalan.co.uk/@BAM_BA_LAN

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Bertha’s

Voted the best place to get pizza outside of London, Bertha’s is an experience not to be missed if you like a slice. Passionate about quality pizza, the idea came about whilst owner Graham was serving up dinner in his back garden,  from his steel wood-fired oven (her name was Bertha). The team have travelled across the pond to America and Naples in order to research how to make the best in pizza, and the result is just delicious. Dough is fermented for days and baked at 500 degrees for 90 seconds and toppings change along with the seasons. What I like most about Bertha’s is that it does not conform by any means. The pizza menu is unlike most I’ve seen, where meat normally takes top priority whereas here there are some different and you may say unusual topping combinations, which actually work incredibly well. The Umami Bomb is one of my favourites – it’s made up of mozzarella, smoked potatoes, black garlic vinegarette and aioli. Pull up a seat and watch the masters at work in the simple yet modern restaurant in Whapping Wharf – I would definitely recommend enjoying some of the Nocellara olives whilst you wait and also take a moment to peruse the NEGRONI MENU. Yes, a Negroni menu. There is a god.

http://berthas.co.uk/ @Berthaspizza

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Urban Tandoor

I’m a big fan of this intimate, understated Indian restaurant that is hidden away on Small Street. I stumbled across it unknowingly whilst walking past one day and have loved it ever since. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that we have some amazing curry houses in Bristol (Nutmeg, The Mint Room, Chai Shai and Krishna’s Inn to name a few of my favourites) but I love this restaurant for it’s charm, wonderful service and my favourite dish – the Guinea Fowl Jalfrezi. The menu is vast and varied and offers a selection of India’s greatest dishes from across the country. Classic curries  are served alongside old favourites and speciality dishes. The chefs here believe in serving authentic food and use less oil teamed with fresh ingredients so that dishes are not too heavy (you know that sick feeling you sometimes get from gorging on too much curry?!) Reasonably priced too, most mains hit he £11-£15 mark and there is plenty of selection. If you want quality, pop in here for your next curry club night out.

https://www.urban-tandoor.com/old_menus

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Under the Stars

Nestled smack bang in the centre of the harbourside is where you will find Under the Stars.  A glorious little vessel where which you can come aboard and feel as though you are somewhere else. Docked on the harbourside opposite the Watershed, there is both seating inside (which makes a cosy restaurant in the evenings) and on the top deck (the perfect suntrap in the summertime). At night, take your pick from their amazing tapas selection and pizzas and sit inside the vessel to enjoy a friendly atmosphere where they often have live music acts playing or open mic nights. They have a fully stocked bar as well and aim to transport you back to the 1920’s with their cocktail list. A bit of a novelty, a perfect place for a pit-stop or a romantic dinner if you are in the centre. They often have great tapas deals running on Wriggle Bristol as well.

http://www.underthestarsbar.co.uk/ @StarsBar

 

Bravas Bristol

Oh how I love Bravas. A Spanish eatery serving some of the best tapas in Bristol, not only is it extremely authentic food, but sit in the corner here and you might even forgive yourself for thinking you have been transported directly to Spain. It is an intimate affair, tables are stacked closely together (you could have a conversation with your neighbouring diners if you wish) and there are seats at the bar for if you want to spend an afternoon working your way through the wine list and the tapas menu (the perfect sort of afternoon if you ask me). They also run their ‘Bravas Gin Club’ on the last Friday of the month, where they showcase their current favour alongside a selection of pinxtos from 3-6pm. Forever busy, booking is strongly recommended. The menu has plenty to choose from and the gang at the restaurant do their homework, check out their Instagram @bravasbristol to see pictures from their latest European jaunt.  MASSIVE TIP: you MUST order the fried aubergine molasses. You’ll thank me.

http://www.bravas.co.uk/ @Bravasbristol

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Zitto & Bevi

If like me, you have been to Italy, you will know just what the small osteria’s dotted inside the small streets and alleyways are like, a place where people pop in to socialise and gather for simple yet tasty food and drinks to while away an afternoon or evening. If you have not been lucky enough to visit, then you can get a taste at Zitto & Bevi. Tucked away in Stokes Croft on Nine Tree Hill, the gang here have got it so, so right. I was impressed with how authentic it felt and couldn’t fault its charm. Depending on what time of the day you visit, you can take your pick of the menu, with small plates and finger food for during the day and more substantial meal choices for the evening. I sampled the olives, bruschetta, polenta, mozzarella and tomatoes all whilst sitting facing the window, soaking up the atmosphere. It was 10 out of 10. Oh, and the best damn Negroni sbagliato I have ever tasted.

https://www.facebook.com/ZittoandBevi/ @zittoandbevi

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Pata Negra

Pata Negra is my go to place for when I am entertaining friends, wanting delicious wines or just fancy a damn fun night out. This venue has it all (not to mention a self-service wine machine, HELLO). Spanish inspired, the décor is chic and sexy, with opulent little touches here and there. If you are coming to dinner, their tapas selection is fantastic (order the tuna tartare), perfect for groups as you’ll want to order lots and share. You do not necessarily need a reservation, as the casual setting means you can just rock up and the team will sort out out – if there is a wait however, you can take advantage of a variety of spirits, cocktails and plonk on offer. The atmosphere is always buzzing with the sound of music and chatter filling the first floor. However, if you are just after some boozing (eating is cheating after all), then the second floor, Noche Negra is the place to be. Serving amazing cocktails and DJ’s on Friday and Saturday nights, it is perfect for pre-drinks or to stay and make a night of it, throwing some shapes! Pata Negra also does excellent lunch deals, with three of their delicious tapas dishes for just £10. A great venue to eat, drink and play.

http://patanegrabristol.com/ @PataNegraBris

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The Urban Standard

Situated on both Gloucester Road and North Street, I have loved the Standards ever since they first opened their doors. Trading all day and late into the evening, these bar and kitchens offer cocktails, wines, spirits and quality food in a laid back setting. The décor has a stripped back, industrial warehouse style feel, which is simple, yet effective. Brunch, lunch, small plates and dinner options are all covered, depending on what you fancy – with a focus on keeping it local and offering value dishes which still taste  delicious. There is a whole range of menu items which take inspiration from everywhere across the pond. Whether meat, fish or vegetarian is your bag there is a range of plates to choose and they also do an amazing dirty Mac ‘n’ Cheese for those hangover days – three types of cheeses with truffle oil and topped with pulled pork – it is a thing of beauty. Sunday roasts are available as well.  These guys often get overlooked in a city where new openings appear every week but their staying power comes down to the fact they offer great service, and honesty, tasty food. These cool venues are perfect hangouts for eating, drinking and everything in between. Plus, they are opening in my home town. *Fist Pump*

http://www.theurbanstandard.co.uk/ @UStandardBris

 

Poco

The ethics behind everything that happens at Poco is one of the main reasons this restaurant is one of my favourites. Being part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association means all the food served is sourced for quality and can be traced back to the farmers and producers; it is fresh with non-processed ingredients and is the best of the season. Poco offers a gluten-free menu and they are happy to explain and provide information on how they source organic produce. Subjects that are all close to my heart. More importantly, the tapas are delicious. The menu changes frequently with the seasons however the classic dishes such as saddleback pork belly with fennel, deep fried oysters and labneh with buckwheat and rose are available year round and are glorious. For more information on how they are one of the best sustainable restaurants, do visit their website. Or better, go for dinner and have a chat with one of their passionate staff. This little haven is located right in the hub of Stokes Crofts beating heart and has a lovely rustic feel to the place.

http://pocotapasbar.com/ @PocoTapasBar

Swoon

If you are on the hunt for gelato-based loveliness, look no further than Swoon. I had to try it to believe the hype that I was hearing and let me tell you – I was making noises and smiling like I’d just won the lottery whilst walking down Park Street eating it. It is THAT good.  A fun and lively gelato joint where you can grab and go or sit in, they are open until late so you are able to get your fix and they have a big assortment of goodies for you to try, not just gelato in a tub but you can get swoondaes, gelato on a stick, macaroons and gelato cakes. All made the traditional way using high quality ingredients which are all shipped over from Italy, the end result speaks for itself, with flavours that are so apparent. My go to combination has to be dark chocolate sorbetto with mango; I always try the new flavours but cannot resist ordering my favourite. Keep an eye on their Twitter account as they often run polls for the next flavours us gelato loving lot would like to see in store.

http://www.swoononaspoon.co.uk/#gelato-to-fall-in-love-with @SwoonGelato

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No.25a Old Market

If I could create a café using my imagination and the stuff of dreams, I think it would look like No. 25a Old Market. From the genius’ behind No.12 Easton, this is another opening to grace this part of Bristol; the café and its interior is minimalist and beautiful, with one chrome wall being the standout and laid back hip-hop providing the background soundtrack. Upon arrival you will realise the place is bigger than it seems from the outside, with a basement area providing comfy sofas. Upstairs, you will find a wall of delectable goodies to purchase, some of which include coffees, teas, chocolate, pasta and plenty more. Opposite this is the chiller, where you can pick up local cheeses and meats. Not leaving anything out, there is also a selection of freshly made cakes to choose from the counter top and pastries which are supplied by Farro Bakery. These guys know their coffees and word is that they have just obtained an alcohol licence— so whether you are popping in for a caffeine fix or looking for something a bit stronger they have got you covered. OK, so leaving the best bit until last; if all of the above has not persuaded you to pop in and see these guys yet, let me just leave you with three words – OX CHEEK TOASTIE.

@25AOldMarket

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 Oowee Diner

Oowee diner certainly has generated quite a buzz in Bristol since it opened, which is impressive when most of the publicity generated has been by through word of mouth and reviews, rather than lots of self promotion or social media posts – as I write this, they still do not have a Twitter account (although their Instagram is something to behold @oowee_diner). This tiny establishment can be found in Montpelier on Picton Street where they are serving up seriously dirty burgers; think perfectly juicy beef smothered in as much cheese as you can handle, this is the stuff of dreams. These bad boys are extremely reasonable as well, with burgers coming in roughly at £8 a go. The Double C seems to be the big hitter at the moment (I have tried it and it was incredible) however, there are other chicken and meat options to choose from. There are also lots of menu choices when it comes to fries, whether you would like marmite and cheese, garlic butter (I had these and they were delicious), chicken, steak or squid, these portions come in a big box topped with whatever you choose and are easily enough for two people to share unless you can stomach them all yourself. My tip? Get there early, order and go for a beer whilst you wait and then enjoy the shit out of it. Filth like this needs to be appreciated.

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Pigsty

This little piggy (my fat ass) went down to Whapping Wharf and now can’t stay away from Pigsty. Occupying one of the crates in this modern development are the pork loving lot, which was founded by three brothers and their mate. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner they can cater for whether you want to grab a bacon or sausage bap on the go or come down later in the day for some serious porky treats. I can vouch for the Whole Hog and Pig Mac baps, both of which are just delicious but the hog croquettes and scotch eggs are also serious contenders for Bristol’s best piggy delicacies.  If you really can’t decide, why not do what I did and order the pig board? That way, you get a taster of everything on the menu and you wont be the little piggy squealing all the way home because you missed out.

http://jollyhoguk.com/pigsty/   @pigstyuk

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Burger Theory

I’ve got so much time for the guys down at Burger Theory. What started out as creative burgers being served at festivals and food markets has turned into a full blown love affair in Bristol, with the gang setting up permanent shop at Kongs on King Street (and now also back at The Golden Lion); I can safely say I have never had a bad experience here (and I have eaten a lot of burgers in my lifetime). The menu changes regularly and uses surprising combinations that work incredibly well, there are plenty of options to choose from and fantastic vegetarian options without taking away delicious flavours or offering a bog standard ‘mushroom burger’. Brioche buns save these bad boys from falling to pieces (as happens so often with burgers) and all of the produce used is local to Bristol so you can rest assured it is as fresh as possible – I also personally think this is reflected in the taste as well. I have a lot of love for the Prairie Girl fried chicken option (you must try it to become part of the movement), The Don and The Hairy Beast are also pretty insane. Did I mention they also do Kimchi fries? Say no more.

http://burgertheory.co.uk/ @BurgerTheoryUK

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Watering Holes…

The Library Wine bar

I heart the Library. Personally, everything about this charming little wine bar is just lovely. Situated on Cheltenham Road by the beautiful arches – I couldn’t think of a better place to spend an evening sipping on delicious plonk. Unpretentious and welcoming, dim lighting and candles make this bar intimate and romantic. Owner Louise is a girl after my own heart and will treat you as though she has known you for years, happily chatting away and giving advice and help on what to drink. This is a venue I can happily visit in Bristol solo because there is always a friendly face to talk too. Perfect for drinks with the girls, date nights or somewhere special to treat mum and dad; The Library often hold wine tasting evenings, alongside tapas Tuesdays, wine and cheese Wednesdays and Aperitivo Friday’s. Faultless if you ask me. (Tinder dates take note).

 http://www.thelibrarybarbristol.co.uk/ @208TheLibrary

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Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Living in Bristol we are extremely lucky with the amount of speciality cocktail bars on offer to us; however I think HMSS is an exception to the others. Whilst I am not saying it is better as I do love the prohibition themed secret bars, this place brings the fun a bit more. The bartenders all partake in having a good time whilst serving up one-of-a-kind drinks for you to enjoy and these are cocktails that you will not have seen anywhere else before! Upon arrival you find yourself in a public phone box at the entrance, before taking a seat in the cosy bar area. The atmosphere on the weekend is a party one with singing and dancing actively encouraged! This is a great place to visit for a night out or to start off your celebrations before moving on elsewhere, it is also perfect for birthdays or if you fancy somewhere different with a lively atmosphere.

http://www.hmssbristol.com/ http://www.hmssbristol.com/

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Bar Buvette

Understated and charming are two words I would use to describe Bar Buvette. What originally started as a pop-up is now a permanent fixture on Bristol’s Baldwin Street due to massive popularity; the owners were taking a winter break from their restaurant in France and decided to bring their wealth of knowledge and experience of the best French wine and cheeses over to us lucky Bristol punters. The restaurant is minimalist, almost looking half-finished, although I think this plays a part in its charm. Extremely reasonable, they have select wines by the glass and bottle on offer alongside fantastic cheeses, meats, olives and small plates, plus a regularly changing menu which hangs on a blackboard on the wall. If you love the best of everything French – pop into this little gem.

https://www.facebook.com/Bar-Buvette-359938264187972/  @BuvetteBristol

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