I always say that food plays a huge part in my travels: from Venice to New York, I spend a lot of time researching the best spots to dine and where I can find the best local eats. And it always pays off! For me, part of exploring somewhere new is immersing yourself in local foods and discovering amazing things to eat whether it’s a Michelin star meal or street food. On my latest trip to Cornwall, I quickly discovered that it’s a real foodie hub and is home to some of the best local eats I’ve had for a long time. There is so much more to Cornwall than just a Cornish cream tea and pasties: from Michelin starred chefs to beautiful pubs, there is something incredible to discover wherever you go!
As well as telling you why Cornwall is the ultimate UK destination for foodies, I’ve also popped a quick guide to where to eat in Cornwall so if you’re planning a trip you have a few recommendations to get you started!
Why Cornwall is the ultimate foodie destination
1. It’s home to some of the best chefs in the country
As you make your way around the county, you might start to see a few family names pop up… Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw and Paul Ainsworth to name a few! These famous chefs have certainly made their mark in Cornwall, not only calling it home but also the location of their restaurants which are up there with some of the best in the country. From Paul Ainsworth’s No.6 in Padstow to Restaurant Nathan Outlaw to Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, each one celebrates the best of local produce and Cornish food in all its glory.
2. You will find the best local seafood
With the wind in your hair, the taste of salt on the tip of your tongue and the sand between your toes, there is nothing quite like eating fish and chips on the beach, is there? Fishing is big businesses in Cornwall and it’s home to several initiatives that make sure that fishing stays sustainable. This means the seafood at many restaurants is well sourced and with years of experience, the fishermen know the best places to find high-quality catches. From crab to hake, scallops to sole, Cornwall is perhaps one of the best places in the UK to eat seafood. In most coastal towns you will find local fishmongers so you can try your hand at cooking fish at home too.
3. And you’ll also find amazing independent businesses!
Wherever I go, I always try to seek out independent businesses and restaurants rather than heading towards the chains. Cornwall is home to so many wonderful local producers and in the small towns like Padstow and Rock, they definitely play a central part in the community. There are so many lovely farm shops in Cornwall which sell amazing local produce – I’m quite jealous! Padstow Brewing Co. is a great example of a local producer – you’ll only find their beers and ciders in local shops and it’s definitely created with love and passion for a good product. The Chough Bakery in Padstow is also well worth a visit if you are after a pasty – their classic Cornish pasty is award-winning and on the first few bites, it’s pretty clear to see why. Another great example of a local business making waves.
Where to eat in Cornwall
So now you know why it’s a great foodie location, here are a few of my favourite spots for great eats in Cornwall.
Fish & Chips: Stein’s Fish & Chips, Padstow
If you want good fish and chips, Stein’s Fish & Chips is the place to go. Chips cooked in beef dripping, locally sourced fish and mouth-watering extras make this well worth the trip. Rick Stein has set up restaurants in Cornwall after 40 years of holidaying in and around Padstow. His businesses are now run by family members but they still retain their Stein touch. He isn’t fussed about the Michelin stars, he is just passionate about creating great tasting food. You can either eat in or take away, but during peak season, expect the queues to be long. I would recommend getting a hake each (£9) and a portion of chips (£2.70) to share between two. Hake is like a meatier cod but it’s locally caught in Cornwall and is a much more sustainable option than the imported Icelandic cod. I would also recommend trying the scallops (£8.90) which are served with a sesame and soy dressing – they melt in the mouth and are very special indeed!
Find it: S Quay, Padstow PL28 8BL
You might also like: Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, Padstow
Find Dining: Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac
As far as incredible restaurants go, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac is up there with the best. It retains top spot in the Good Food Guide 2019 and has two Michelin stars. Sitting high above Port Isaac overlooking the dramatic Cornish coastline is a very unassuming location which pays homage to the best of local fish. Outlaw has created a menu which aims to showcase Cornish fish in all its flavour and fancy without manipulating flavours or taking away. Instead, he compliments the fish with the best local ingredients, enhancing the flavours rather than masking. Pricey but it’s something special and well worth saving up for. Tasting menus are £140 per head plus £75 for an optional wine flight.
Find it: 6 New Rd, Port Isaac PL29 3SB
You might also like: Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, Port Isaac
Brunch with a View: Seaspray Cafe, Newquay
If you are looking for a ‘grammable location in Cornwall, Seaspray on Fistral Beach not only has a great surf-inspired interior but a fantastic view along Fistral beach. You can pick up a full English for less than a tenner and it’s pretty damn good as well: everything is sourced locally and cooked fresh so you know you’re getting a plate of good food. Time it well and you can walk it off with a stroll along the beach if the tide is out. They also have great vegan options and are dog-friendly.
Find it: 14 Esplanade Rd, Newquay TR7 1QA
You might also like: Fistral Beach Cafe, Newquay
The Gastropub: The Mariners, Rock
The Mariners in Rock was recently taken over from Nathan Outlaw by fellow Cornwall-based chef, Paul Ainsworth who has opened it in collaboration with Cornish Brewery, Sharp’s. It actually opened just over two weeks before we arrived in Cornwall and although I hadn’t tried it under Outlaw’s ownership, I can already tell this pub is going to be a success. The interior is cosy, relaxed and modern and the food is some of the best ‘pub grub’ I have ever had. The Mariners offers classic food done exceptionally well and with Ainsworth at the helm, you wouldn’t be surprised that the menu is incredible. It remains the best Sunday roast I’ve ever eaten and it was so good we went twice in one week! Feast your eyes as the photos surely speak for themselves. But if you really need a recommendation, the ‘Dogs Pollock’ is amazing and the Cornish Rarebit is something else!
Find it: Rock, Wadebridge PL27 6LD
You might also like: Rojano’s in the Square, Padstow
Cornish Cream Tea: Trevathan Farm, St. Endellion
You simply can’t go to Cornwall without having a cream tea. Cornish clotted cream, homemade scones and jam are up there with the classic British eats and you’ll arguably find some of the best cream teas in Cornwall! We paid a visit to Trevathan Farm which is about 15 minutes drive from Rock just outside Port Isaac. Not only is it home to a fantastic farm shop which sells all your lovely Cornish goods from Tarquin gin to locally grown strawberries, but there is also an excellent cafe serving one hell of a Cornish cream tea. For £5.95, you get two scones with clotted cream and jam and a pot of tea to wash it down with. The scones were absolutely beautiful – so light and fluffy. And let’s not even get started on the Cornish clotted cream… Well worth a visit if you’ve got a hankering for a cream tea! And by the way – the cream goes first.
Find it: St Endellion, Port Isaac PL29 3TP
You might also like: The Cornish Cove, Port Isaac
I definitely feel like I have so much of Cornwall left to explore – after experiencing just a taste of what food the county has on offer, I definitely need to come back and sample more of its delights and try some more restaurants, perhaps a little further south next time.
Have you been to Cornwall? Where were your favourite foodie destinations?
Your Ultimate Cornwall Food Guide
Save this Google Map to My Places and pocket my favourite foodie spots in Cornwall for your next trip!
Simply open Google Maps on your browser, open the tab on the left-hand side and click on ‘My Places‘. You can then create your own map or add to this one.
Now, all the places you want to visit are easily accessible on your phone and you can quickly see what’s around you, wherever you are. You can also add notes to each point on the map.
Enjoy eating your way around Cornwall!
For more details on how to use Google Maps to plan your trip, check out this post by Katie Jane Collins.