Devon restaurants come in all shapes and sizes, from mouth-watering beachside shacks to gorgeous country manors. Delicious fish is always on the menu. After all, the county is blessed with some of the nation’s best waters for bringing in fresh seafood. The local produce is equally revered by chefs, meaning that many menus are focussed on sustainable, seasonal ingredients. Head to one of the Michelin starred restaurants on this list for a truly memorable dining experience.
Best for: Seafood on the sand.
The Beachhouse is uniquely situated between the two wonderful go-to locations Salcombe and Kingsbridge, and has become a destination in itself. Transformed from a classic snack-shack, the Beachhouse has become one of Britain’s top seaside venues.
The restaurant overlooks the dramatic South Milton beach, where rambling and boating are the main activities. On the menu are dishes such as herby Salcombe crab, lobster Caesar salad and Italian seafood stew. The whitewashed shack serves breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the year.
Breakwater Coffee Shop & Bistro
Best for: Fresh fish straight out of the ocean.
Elevated above the sea and overlooking the little cove at the breakwater in Brixham, Breakwater Coffee Shop & Bistro has beautiful views across the whole of Torbay. An outside balcony provides the perfect lunching and dining experience when the sun is shining in this quaint fishing village.
Fresh local produce is the focus at Breakwater. Local fish merchants Brixham Seafoods are the third-generation fishing family that provides the catch. The drinks list also contains artisanal, South Devon brands such as Bays Brewery from Torbay and Sharpham Wines from Totnes.
Best for: Afternoon tea.
Gidleigh Park is an award-winning luxury manor, nestled on the edge of Dartmoor. Executive head chef Chris Eden joined the prestigious establishment in 2019, bringing a produce-led ethos to the kitchen. Regular clients are excited by his refined menus. They believe it is only a matter of time before Gidleigh retains its Michelin star rating.
In addition to the fine dining AA Rosette restaurant, this gorgeous manor also serves delicious afternoon tea. Enjoy warm scones, Devon clotted cream and freshly cut sandwiches served from a three-tier cake stand from the comfort of the lounge.
Best for: French classics.
“Mange bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup!” Eat well, laugh often, love much! This is the philosophy behind L’estuaire. This popular, contemporary restaurant in Topsham serves French classics in a relaxed and friendly environment.
The dining room is a stylishly modern, light, open-plan space with high ceilings. This is where popular dishes such as baked camembert, moules marinieres, steak tartare and seafood platters are served. A wide range of drinks, including wines and spirits from around the globe, flow freely in the bar too.
Best for: Michelin star modern British cuisine.
The exquisite dining experience at Lympstone Manor in Exmouth reflects head chef Michael Caines’ trailblazing vision for modern British cuisine. Championing the larder of South West England, celebrated chef Caines uses his creativity to transform regional ingredients into dishes of rare precision, flavour and focus.
There are three distinctly different dining rooms at Lympstone Manor. What more would you expect from a Michelin star restaurant? Each luxurious setting is named after a famous local point of interest. You can expect to find cool tones, crystal chandeliers, art deco ceilings, rotating fine art exhibitions and fragrant fresh flowers.
Old Market House
Best for: Harbourside seafood.
The Old Market House in Brixham stands on the site of the old fish market building on the harbour front. The space was previously used as net storage for the local fishermen. It now houses a modern restaurant with a large terrace for al fresco dining. An indoor wood burner keeps diners cosy in winter.
The menu is largely determined by what catch the fishermen have brought in each day. It usually includes local favourites such as Brixham mussels and Brixham beer battered market fish. If the sun is shining, be sure to take some time to soak up the views from the harbourside balcony.
Best for: A stylish local dinner.
Radius 7 is situated in the heart of the small village of Stoke Fleming near Dartmouth and offers beautiful sea view dining. The interior style is chic with rustic, reclaimed timber and beautiful hand-strung Edison lighting. It’s a contemporary restaurant that enjoys a relaxed atmosphere.
Using fresh, local, seasonal ingredients, the entire menu is cooked to order. This is great for those with dietary requirements, as items such as nuts, gluten or dairy can usually be removed. The specials menu changes daily and features Devon’s best produce with a regular focus on the region’s celebrated seafood.
Riverford Field Kitchen
Best for: Farm to fork dining.
Riverford Field Kitchen in Buckfastleigh is suitably surrounded by acres of organic fruit and veg. An open barn blends into the countryside, filled with long tables and a mass of colour on the walls from drying flowers.
Proponents of farm to fork dining, all of the seasonal, organic vegetables and herbs used in the dishes are picked from the on-site kitchen garden. Three courses are served at each communal sitting, which creates a bustling atmosphere that becomes almost celebratory as the food arrives. Riverford Field Kitchen is splendid for a special occasion with friends and family.
Best for: Fish and chips.
Rockfish in Dartmouth is located a couple of steps away from the glistening waters of the River Dart. It’s been voted ‘best UK fish and chip shop’ several years running, with a menu of freshly caught, local seafood. Interestingly, the kitchen has recently been transformed to create the very same menu for coeliacs and those suffering from gluten intolerance.
This Dartmouth restaurant has spawned many sequels. The Rockfish empire has since extended along Devon’s south coast, with six locations from Plymouth to Exmouth. Punters love to grab a scoop of chips for a quid and watch the boats from the water’s edge.
Best for: Sensational estuary views.
South Sands presents some of the most sensational views in Devon, with panoramic outlooks over the Kingsbridge estuary. Its elevated position and proximity to the beach give the impression of actually being over the water. This restaurant features muted colours, bare wood and a wide terrace for al fresco dining. It’s a lovely setting and is considered one of the best seafood restaurants in Salcombe.
South Sands specialises in seafood and uses the freshest ingredients, sourced locally. The sunny terrace is popular during the summer months and the whole restaurant has a vibrant ambience.
Best for: Stone baked pizza.
Stoned pizza house was created by four 16-year-old friends who toured campsites and pop-up venues with a wood-fired pizza oven back in 2013. The artisan restaurant specialises in stone baked foods, which have become a huge hit among the local and visiting surfers of north Devon.
You can also rock up to the Barnstaple restaurant in the morning for pastries and freshly baked goods. Yesterday’s left-over bread toasted with jam comes free with any coffee or hot drink!
Best for: The best value Michelin star lunch in the country.
The Elephant is a bright, welcoming restaurant overlooking the harbour in Torquay. This special Devon eatery has held a Michelin star for 15 years. Chef proprietor Simon Hulstone is proud to offer food and drink of the highest quality at affordable prices.
Book a table to enjoy an unforgettable three-course lunch of local, sustainable food that’s been lovingly prepared. The best that the English Riviera has to offer!
The Pea Green Boat
Best for: Fresh seafood.
With panoramic views overlooking the seafront at Sidmouth, The Pea Green Boat offers the ideal backdrop for a delicious lunch or dinner. With an emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients, all meat is sourced from within thirty miles of the restaurant.
The simple yet vibrant interior fuses soft, sea blues with contemporary colourful fittings. Stripped wooden floors and tables are minimal and the outside dining area makes an excellent al fresco dining spot on warmer days. The menu is heavily influenced by local seafood, while the name comes from Edward Lear’s famous poem ‘The Owl and the Pussy-cat.’
The Salutation Inn
Best for: Gastro pub grub.
The Salutation Inn is an 18th century tavern and high-end restaurant in the heart of the beautiful town of Topsham near Exeter. The traditional three-storey building stands proudly in the centre of Topsham town, an ancient fishing port with riverside walkways and small historic streets.
The inn is just a few minutes’ walk from the waterfront and features a light and airy glazed atrium. The glassy dining area is open for light lunches and cream teas. The restaurant section serves a gastro taster menu inspired by modern-day French cuisine.