Wondering where to eat in Cornwall? For so many guests these days, food is not so much a distraction as one of the primary reasons to visit. It is all part of the food revolution that continues to gather pace in the region. The sheer amount of excellent seafood is eye-opening in itself, as top chefs bring their expertise to the region. But it is also about the general experience, from visiting local cafes, shops and markets to enjoying seasonal treats and lively food festivals.
Here at Talland Bay Hotel and Restaurant we pride ourselves on excellent and imaginative food. Head Chef Nick Hawke and his team simply wouldn't have it any other way, winning rave reviews with locals and non-residents besides hotel guests. Our fine dining experience has been decorated with various awards, while we also run dedicated foodie breaks in Cornwall for those who simply live to eat!
We are often asked for local tips on where we source our ingredients and where to find further great food experiences in East Cornwall. After all, there has probably never been a better time for local, family run and independent cafes, bistros and restaurants in Cornwall. So without further ado, here are ten of the best places to eat in Looe and beyond, as recommended by staff and locals:
Best Restaurants in Looe
The Ancient Mariner Bistro
Size really isn’t everything, as diners discover from culinary tardis The Ancient Mariner. An army of just two staff more than make up for lack of numbers with their food expertise and commitment to getting things just right. You get quality rather than quantity when it comes to choices on the menu, but the house specialities and the dishes you will find are fresh and reliably delicious. Add a relaxed atmosphere and more than a hint of personalized service and you have one of the best places to eat in Looe.
Must Try: Cider Mussels are delicious, served as a main or starter with fresh local bread.
Website/ Contact Number: www.ancientmarinerslooe.com
From the outside, you might think this eatery was a small pub or traditional inn. It is in fact a great little restaurant that offers imaginatively cooked food, with a strong bias towards local fish dishes. The new owners are striving for perfection and, as the name suggests, this is not cooking-by-numbers experience. More adventurous diners are in for a treat in this regard, whether you sample seaweed butter or fresh gurnard with beetroot and shallots.
Fresh, imaginative fare for the seafood lover (Image: Squid Ink Facebook page)
Must Try: Be bold and go for something new from the daily specials board. It is sure to be fresh and you may well discover a new favourite dish.
Website/ Contact Number:www.squidinklooe.co.uk 01503 262674
For an intimate dining experience that blends a taste of Italy with coastal cuisine, this Looe restaurant is well worth a visit. It’s a lively little restaurant and tends to be popular, so booking is highly recommended if you want to get a table at any busier time of the year. Hearty portions and richer traditional dishes are also ideal after an active day out. It is an old school Italian in the best sense of the word, but do be warned that they only accept cash or cheques currently.
Must Try: Lobster Thermidor
Website/ Contact number: 01503 264231
Cafés and Other Eateries in Looe
While it is always a treat to seek out outstanding local cuisine and restaurants, no food journey in Cornwall would be complete without a taste of simple, tasty and unfussy local dining too. Whether it's the temptation of home baked treats from a local cafe or enjoying the sunset with a good old fashioned portion of fish and chips, here are some of the best Looe eateries for lunches, afternoon teas and more.
A stylishly laid back, shabby chic feel dominates this local spot, along with more than a hint of old seaside charm. The atmosphere is lovely and relaxed too, even if the food and drinks on offer are seriously good. This is definitely the spot for a friendly and informal social evening, whether you go for gourmet finger foods or a taste of craft booze. Tarquin's Gin, Cornish Coffee and an excellent local meats are all par for the course here.
Must Try: Sharing platters, cocktails.
Website/ Contact Number: Click here for Facebook page.
For straightforward freshly baked delights and light bites, Daisy’s is an old school café and bakery with a difference. Well worth tracking down via a side street, this is the top pick for light lunches and cream teas by locals in the know. Don’t be afraid to ask for a tip off or two, because local savouries and homemade pastries take some beating.
Must Try: Pear and Goat’s Cheese Tart (above) is a homemade favourite.
Website /Contact: Try the café’s Facebook Page
Talland Bay Beach Café
Refreshments always taste better with a great view and this café certainly enjoys a lovely position overlooking the beach. It’s the sort of place you could happily while away the afternoon with a crab sandwich or a latte. But it is the home-baked goodies and many flavours of Roskilly’s Cornish Ice Cream that tend to win the locals’ fancy.
Home baking goodies and great views (Image credit: Talland Bay Beach Cafe Facebook Page)
Must Try: Freshly made cakes and tray bakes.
Website/ Contact number:http://tallandbaybeachcafe.co.uk
The Coddy Shack
Looe is not all about fine dining; and there’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned portion of fish and chips, especially if you’re enjoying a stroll around the town. The accolade of best fish and chips in Looe often depends on who you ask, but The Coddy Shack tends to be more adventurous than the rest and pretty consistent. It also offers table service for damp evenings or for those who would rather eat in comfort. Tasty, no nonsense seafood is the order of the day- and there is welcome variety beyond the classical fish and chips too. It is also dog friendly.
Must Try: If you want something different to the usual fish and chips, try the Thai Fishcakes or local scallops.
Website/ Contact number: www.coddyshack.com
Other Eateries & Restaurants Near Looe
Of course, foodie breaks in Cornwall are not just about the larger destinations and famous names in Cornish cuisine. One of the great delights of any trip is the chance to discover pretty small towns and villages and the local culture. Where small, independently run eateries dominate, you can expect refreshingly original menus and some genuine surprises along the way. Here are some recommended places to eat in Polperro and nearby:
Trewithen Restaurant (Lostwithel)
A family run restaurant with an unholy attention to culinary excellence and the details, this eatery is fact getting a reputation beyond the little village of Lostwithiel, where restaurants are not numerous, but definitely deliver on taste. Unpretentious fine dining is the order of the day, with a hand-picked, freshly prepared ethos winning Trewithen the sort of kudos far bigger establishments would kill for.
A tasty family affair at Trewithen (Image: Trewithen Restaurant Facebook page)
Must Try: For a posh pig-out, try their Kittows Belly Pork, slow cooked in cider, with sweet potato and cumin puree & port sauce.
Website/ Contact Number: www.trewithenrestaurant.com
Couch's Guest House (Polperro)
There's little substitute for experience and local knowledge when it comes to sourcing perfect ingredients and creating great dishes. Richard McGowen has been the owner and Head Chef at this Polperro restaurant since the age of 21. A full 14 years later he is still going strong with a loyal client base that tells you a lot about the quality of the menu. Fine local fish, wild mushrooms and other cherry-picked treats always go down well, as do some truly delectable desserts.
Must Try: Slow roasted pork belly (above), Salmon Ceviche Sticky Toffee Pudding with Cinamon Ice Cream
Website/ Contact Number: www.couchspolperro.com
The Kitchen (Polperro)
A cute restaurant with a friendly atmosphere and a refreshingly varied menu for lunches and dinners. Dishes such as Rioja Braised Lamb Shank and Parsnip Cakes with a Port Wine Reduction lift the bar well beyond the bog standard, while they also do some cracking desserts. Do be aware that it is closed on Mondays, while booking is highly recommended during busier times.
Must Try: Crab Cakes, Apple Gallettes with Clotted Cream Ice Cream & Salted Caramel Sauce
Website/ Contact Number: Click Here
Food Festivals & Gourmet Escapes in Cornwall
Looe Food Festival (Annually in June)
Always tasty and ever popular with locals and visitors alike, this event brings together all the best local suppliers and food producers. With plenty of stalls, specialists and experts demonstrating live, this is a great place to pick up foodie gifts and fresh inspiration. Click here for more information.
Delicious Foodie Breaks in Cornwall, UK
It is no longer a secret that Cornwall offers some of the very best foodie breaks in the UK. There is always something new to try here at Talland Bay Hotel, where our chefs insist on beautifully fresh, meticulously prepared dishes worth talking about. Why not treat yourself to one of our gourmet minibreaks for autumn and winter 2016/2017? Experience the best of our seasonal menus and explore the beautiful Cornish coast over three nights, with breakfast and dinners included. This autumn deal is just one of our special offers on Cornish luxury breaks, available throughout September and November. Click here to view further details or call us directly on 01503 272667.