Cornwall is a photographers paradise, home to craggy cliffs, an incredible coastline, and mile after mile of open green spaces. But, if there’s one thing we know about stunning scenery, is that it’s not just a treat for our eyes. Cornwall’s rich and wild landscape is also the perfect place to grow delicious vegetables, rear award-winning meat and catch some of the most succulent seafood on the planet. Eating in Cornwall means tasting true freshness, and for the best restaurants in the South West, we’ve got you covered.
Cornwall restaurants to dine in
- 2 Fore Street
- Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen
- Paul Ainsworth at No6
- Rick Stein
- Trawlers on the Quay
- Port Gaverne Restaurant
- Idle Rocks Restaurant
- Harbour Fish and Chips
- The Watch House
Best for: American-style street food
After becoming too popular for its original location, this contemporary restaurant now sits inside a beautiful 19th-century Grade II listed Wesleyan chapel. Combining historic surroundings with a modern menu, Hubbox is inspired by American street food, serving indulgent dishes like crispy buttermilk chicken, slow-smoked beef brisket and pulled pork, all with a gourmet twist.
The restaurant’s executive chef, the internationally-renowned Alex Towill, worked in New York for years, and now brings a slice of the Big Apple to the heart of Truro. Best of all, there’s a hefty selection of craft beers on tap, the perfect way to wash down your 21 day-aged Cornish rare breed beef.
2 Fore Street
Best for: A decadent taste of the ocean
This chic Michelin-guide bistro sits in the picturesque little fishing village of Mousehole. Located inside an old lifeboat house, the restaurant blends seamlessly with its quaint and idyllic surroundings. Serving all day, the courtyard and garden is a lovely spot for cream teas, Cornish pasties or, of course, the catch of the day.
Owned by Joe Wardell, who trained under the internationally renowned chef Raymond Blanc, OBE, expect seafood that will make your mouth water and jaw drop. How do shell-roasted scallops with lemon and basil butter sound? Or maybe sea bass with puy lentils and roast tomatoes? This harbourside restaurant also boasts one of the finest views in Cornwall. Ask for a table by the window and watch Mousehole life go by.
Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen
Location: Port Isaac
Best for: A sustainable way of eating out
This intimate Port Isaac bistro is a must-see for any foodie visiting Cornwall. Serving tapas-style plates of locally caught fish and seafood, Outlaw’s takes a modern approach to British cookery, with the menu dictated by what the sea and local fisherman produce each day.
The brainchild of Michelin-starred chef, Nathan Outlaw; sustainability is at the core of this popular eatery. Nathan and his team only work with fisherman using low impact fishing methods that preserve our marine environment, meaning every serving of fruit de mer comes with a side order of self-satisfaction.
Paul Ainsworth at No6
Best for: Finding the flavour of Cornwall
Combining quaintness with quality, Paul Ainsworth at No6 is a Michelin Star restaurant inside a gorgeous Georgian townhouse. Nestled in the heart of Padstow, it creates modern Great British food using local Cornish ingredients. Inside, friendly staff, comfortable furnishings and a welcoming atmosphere make eating here feel like you’re eating amongst family.
Chef Patron, John Walton, was born and raised in Padstow and has spent his professional life bringing the tastes of his home to life. For those looking to find the flavours of Cornwall, there’s no better place.
Best for: One of the most famous names in Cornwall
Rick Stein is a well-known name in Cornwall’s culinary circles. After the incredible success of his Padstow restaurant, Stein now has four restaurants, a bistro, a cafe, a seafood delicatessen, a patisserie shop, a gift shop and a cookery school in town. Out of all these, our favourite is in Fistral Bay near Newquay. Echoing the wonderfully relaxed atmosphere of the nearby beach, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a quick fish burger during lunch on the beach or Indian and Thai-inspired cuisine at night.
The interior is open plan with wall-to-wall windows overlooking the beach, making for a perfect backdrop to grab a bench and enjoy cod, haddock or lemon sole, with a warm bag of chips and a cold glass of beer. Home-made sauces such as tartare and curry make fine accompaniments to any meal and Stein’s mark of quality shines through.
Trawlers on the Quay
Best for: A chef-prepared picnic basket
Known for its salads, seafood and spectacular shore-views, this pleasant spot is the perfect place to taste the Cornish coast. Serving quality local food bought each morning from the authentic fish market just 200 metres away, the seafood tasting menu here is about as fresh as its possible for food to get. A firm favourite with locals and tourists alike, Trawlers is one of the few restaurants that does justice to Looe’s vibrant fishing history.
While the menu changes on an almost daily basis, the restaurant’s commitment to freshness and originality always stays the same. What’s more, the restaurant also provides a chef-prepared picnic for guests who plan to cruise the West Looe River.
Port Gaverne Restaurant
Location: Port Isaac
Best for: An unbeatable wine list
Nestled inside a secluded cove, near the ancient fishing village of Port Isaac, this 17th-century hideaway has a 5 star AA rating and food to match. Awarded the ‘top food pub’ in Cornwall in 2017, it serves “ultra-fresh, coastal, no ego food”. Quaint, cosy and incredibly welcoming, Port Gaverne’s antique furniture and traditional features make you feel like your dining in your own living room.
Best of all, the restaurant is home to a sublime wine list, meaning you can find the perfect partner for your dinner, whatever you order. Historically, the surrounding area was a thriving trading port and a vibrant community of boat builders. Today, it’s the perfect place to base yourself while exploring the Cornish coast.
Idle Rocks Restaurant
Location: St Mawes
Best for: Eating al fresco
Fine dining doesn’t get much finer than this. Named ‘seafood restaurant of the year’ in 2018, this St Mawes eatery is home to an innovative and imaginative menu, including fresh, simple and locally foraged dishes, whipped up with French and Asian influences.
If you’re visiting when the weather is good, make sure you dine outside on the incredible waterside terrace. Sitting directly above the sea, you’ll overlook the very same water where your dinner was caught. While the food is incredibly classy, the vibe here is still very relaxed. The laid back atmosphere is perfect for family nights out.
Harbour Fish and Chips
Location: St Ives
Best for: A classic fish and chips
No list of the best restaurants in Cornwall would be complete without at least one dedicated Fish and Chip shop. The South West is known for its world-class chippies, and Harbour Fish and Chips is still a cut above the rest. This stylishly simple restaurant sits on The Wharf Harbour in St. Ives and serves up excellent views of the waterfront.
The menu is focused on traditional Fish & Chips, done to the highest possible standard, using local produce brought in every morning by local fishermen. While we know that fish is best served battered, Harbour also whips up a delicious grilled option for those looking for a lighter meal.
The Watch House
Location: St Mawes
Best for: Views of the Cornish coast
Nestled in St Mawes, on the beautiful Roseland Peninsula, this 19th-century coast guard’s lookout serves up contemporary style seafood and unbeatable views across the harbour. Striving to be the best restaurant on the cornish coast, the Watch House uses only the freshest local ingredients, often caught just hours ago by local anglers.
Run by award-winning chef, Will Gould, dishes include moules marinière, beetroot cured salmon and some incredible crab rolls. Inside, the restaurant is about as comfortable and welcoming as it could possibly be. You can lounge back in large booths in the bar or feast in the light and open dining room upstairs.