Some of you may have noticed that I am very enthusiastic about food in Bristol, which is where I live. Since so many of my friends will be visiting my beautiful city this September for the UK Meet, I thought I’d give you a rundown of my favourite places to eat out. I love travelling, so I know what it’s like – you want to take in a new place, but finding the best places to eat and drink often takes some digging. Here’s what I consider some of the best.
If you’ve got any questions please feel free to drop me a line!
WHERE: the Harbourside, about 3-4 minutes walk from the Marriott
WHAT: Pizza, pies, cider
WHY: this is local Somerset food at its finest. The Stables serves three things and does it incredibly well, so on the menu you’ll find pizzas, pies, and local ciders (plus some wines, ales, and salads, but ignore those, they’re mostly for show). The menu tells you where local ingredients are used and the results are brilliant. I love The Stables, it’s good food done well. Can’t go wrong.
COST: about £15 for dinner (pie and a pint)
Anna recommends: Wild Rooster pie and a pint of Thatcher’s Gold
WHERE: Baldwin Street, 4-5 minutes from the Marriott
WHY: BECAUSE DESSERT. Seriously, this place is amazing. They have a huge range of ice creams, gelatos, sorbets, plus waffles, crepes, sundaes… If you have a sweet tooth (and I do), it’s brilliant.
Anna recommends: the Crazy Cherry sundae
Eat a Pitta
WHERE: St Nicholas Market, 5-10 minutes from the Marriott
WHY: this is my go-to, ‘I can’t be bothered to make dinner’ dinner. The guys are super friendly, the food is amazing, and cheap, it’s an all-round winner. Everything is vegetarian, and if you don’t pick tahini or a pitta, it’s vegan.
COST: £5 or less. Try to spend more than a fiver there. I dare you. You can’t.
Anna recommends: Falafel in a box. However much I love the pittas, they’re so messy to eat!
WHERE: St Nicholas Market, 5-10 minutes from the Marriott
WHAT: Kurdish wraps. Think kebabs, but with an Indian style naan bread on the outside
WHY: Oh my god, I could gush about this place for hours. Everything is cooked fresh to order. Delicately spiced chicken, amazing salads and sauces and pickles, and the star attraction: the bread. Now, I love bread. I really do. So this place hits all the right spots for me. It’s soft, floury, dough-y, naan bread style bread. And they wraps are HUGE. Definitely a meal in itself.
COST: £5 – £7, depending on what you order
Anna recommends: the chicken wrap with everything
WEB: they don’t have one, but check out the Trip Advisor here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186220-d5889272-Reviews-Matina-Bristol_England.html
WHERE: 2 locations. One in St Nick’s Market (see above) and one on Clifton Triangle (see below). The St Nick’s Market version is Grillstock lite; it offers a few sandwich options only. The Clifton Triangle location has a full sit-down restaurant.
WHY: oh, lord. This is probably the best American barbeque I’ve eaten outside of the American deep South. I’ve had barbeque in other American cities that wasn’t as good as Grillstock. True, it’s not true, hearty British fare, but this is great food for anyone who likes meat. Take a friend, laugh at them while they try to lick meat juices off their elbows.
COST: about £5 for a sandwich at St Nick’s market, £20 for a meal in Clifton
Anna recommends: ALL OF IT
WHERE: top of Park Street on Clifton Triangle. BEWARE: Park Street is a very steep hill. It takes me about 10 minutes to walk there from the Marriott, but it’s almost vertical. Oh, we love Bristol and her hills…
WHY: the building is BEAUTIFUL, the cocktails are amazing, and you feel well posh when you’re in there.
COST: yeah, it’s a little pricey. But worth it, in my opinion. Expect to pay £15 each for a drink and some bar snacks, or £8.50 for a cocktail
Anna recommends: Prosecco (always) and the bar snacks deal is pretty good – 5 for £18 will stop the bubbles going straight to your head!
WHERE: just off Clifton Triangle. See above for warnings about walking up Park Street.
WHY: It’s friendly, classy, the wine selection is huge, the food is great, and it’s reasonably priced for the quality of the food.
COST: £20 – £25 for a meal and alcoholic drink
Anna recommends: any of the sharing platters, they’re all amazing. Order one instead of a main dish, and watch all your friends scowl at you in jealousy as you pick your way through it.
WHERE: half-way up Park Street, a few minutes from the Marriott
WHY: my British friends are going to be making incredulous faces at me for putting Nandos on this list. If you’re British, move on, this isn’t for you. To everyone else – Nandos has become something of a British institution. It’s peri-peri chicken, which comes from Portugal (I’m aware of the irony of a British institution coming from Portugal, don’t worry), cooked over charcoal to make the outside crispy and delicious. There’s a stunning array of side dishes to choose from too, plus the vegetarian option is supposedly pretty good.
COST: about £10 – £15 (don’t forget free refills on the soft drinks!)
Anna recommends: if you don’t like your chicken too spicy, go for the lemon and herb option. Go wild with side dishes.
WHERE: Welshback, 10 minutes from the Marriott. Walk down King Street to get there and marvel in all the gorgeous history of the buildings.
WHY: because you can’t come to the south west without having cider. The Apple is a boat – a cider boat – permanently docked along the side of the river. Though it’s mainly a pub/bar, they also do Ploughmans, if you need something to line your stomach with.
Fun local fact: from the Apple you can see the Llandoger Trow, a pub which dates from 1664. Robert Louis Stevenson visited the pub and used it as the inspiration for the Admiral Benbow – the pub in Treasure Island.
COST: about £4 a pint, £8 – £10 for the Ploughmans.
Anna recommends: anything from the Thatcher’s company.
WHERE: Baldwin Street, 10 minutes from the Marriott
WHAT: Asian street food
WHY: This place is cool, cheap, and most importantly, the food is great.
COST: they offer a £5 lunch deal, expect to pay £8 – £10 otherwise
Anna recommends: the bao buns. They really are amazing.
Sticks & Broth
WHERE: Baldwin Street, opposite BaoWow!!
WHAT: more Asian street food
WHY: because ramen
COST: up to £15 (with a £6.50 lunch menu)
Anna recommends: chashu pork ramen
WHERE: Stokes Croft, which is about 30-40 minutes walk or less than 10 mins in a taxi
WHAT: great Indian food
WHY: first of all, Stokes Croft is a great experience in itself. It’s the culmination of everything you might have heard about Bristol – it’s hippy beating heart, street art home, stoutly refusing to conform. Oh! Calcutta! is towards the top of Stokes Croft. It’s ‘bring your own bottle’ for £1 charge, which is always good. The curries can be on the sweet/coconut-y side, so steer towards tomato-based dishes if these aren’t your thing.
COST: £10 – £15
Anna recommends: can’t go wrong with a great chicken bhuna
The Lanes/Ray’s Pizza
WHERE: Nelson Street, 10 minutes walk from the Marriott
WHY: The Lanes is a bowling alley. But this is Bristol, so it’s a vintage 1950’s bowling alley, imported from the USA. Attached to it is Ray’s Pizza, which is fantastic if you like pizza (which I do.) These pizzas are huge. HUGE. And great. Perfect, thin, crispy, Italian pizza. Order an alcoholic milkshake to go with it and you’ve got yourself a party.
Anna recommends: the pancetta pizza
WHERE: St Nicholas Street,
WHY: I hesitated with putting this one on the list, but with the inclusion of Grillstock, which is equally non-British, why the hell not. Bagel Boy is fantastic. The bagels are made fresh daily, of course, and stuffed full of a dizzying choice of fillings.
COST: about £8, including sides
Anna recommends: the Plough boy
Friday Food Market
WHERE: St Nicholas Market, 5-10 minutes from the Marriott (10am-4pm)
WHY: it’s a great local farmer’s market right in the middle of the city. Go on Friday, get your breakfasts for the rest of the weekend!