Fine dining without pomp and ceremony is standard in Bristol. No misogynistic dining practices are observed here either; women get handed menus too, and the prices are even printed on them... Bristol is very good at taking the stuffy tradition out of Michelin-starred and fine eating, making it accessible and stripping it back to what it should be about - good food, good service and great drink pairings.
Here, we have collected the updated 2018 list of Michelin star and Bib Gourmands in Bristol – and you can eat at, drink in, and wear your trainers to every one of them. Of course, Michelin stars aren't everything – there are so very many stunning eateries of all shapes and sizes around the city, perfect for all manner of occasions and feasts. But if you're looking for something just a bit swanky to celebrate that special occasion with, or maybe you just simply want to treat yo'self, this list is here for you.
Michelin Starred Restaurants in Bristol
"High quality cooking, worth a stop! Using top quality ingredients, dishes with distinct flavours are carefully prepared to a consistently high standard."
Chandos Road in Redland is where you will find Wilks. An unassuming, modest and informal restaurant where owners James Wilkins (head chef) and Christine Vayssade (restaurant manager) along with their incredible front and back team serve up creative and accomplished dishes. The food is inspired by the couple's experiences and travels (they have worked and lived in Turkey, France and Japan) and local produce is the star of the show here. Wilks restaurant love the use of clean, light and seasonal ingredients, with an emphasis on everything that is 'natural'. The kitchen team deliberately use butter and cream sparingly in order to let the real flavours shine through. Wilks offer plenty of choice – from a great value set lunch menu, an A La Carte option and two tasting menus (with optional wine flights) for those who would like make their visit a bit special.
A charming rustic pub with outstanding food and service is what can be expected when visiting The Pony & Trap. Located in Chew Magna, with beautiful countryside surroundings and views, it's worth the journey out. Josh and Holly Eggleton bring diners a warm welcome and a frequently changing menu using only the freshest in South West produce that has either been foraged for and/or supplied locally. Also, with their own working farm also on site, the food that arrives on your plate will not have travelled far at all. An A la Carte lunch and dinner menu are available alongside the tasting menu and wine flights. The restaurant also runs special events and one-off tastings. If you fancy superb food in unpretentious yet beautiful settings, The Pony & Trap is wonderful for a special occasion, or for if you just fancy escaping the rush of the city for a while.
Probably the best known Michelin star restaurant in Bristol, Casamia is a fine dining experience like no other. A family affair, Sue and Paco Sanchez quit their day jobs back in 1999 to open the establishment, which originally served pizza and pastas like a traditional Italian trattoria. Sue and Paco’s two little boys helped from a young age, their passion in the kitchen obvious, and over time transformed the menu into something unrivalled. The menu at Casamia changes with the seasons, as does the interior of the restaurant. The dishes are designed to showcase seasonal produce at its best and are inspired by childhood memories, locations and people the chefs have met. Not much is given away on the menu, just the main ingredient which is indicative of Casamia’s phenomenal ability to play with your senses. There are set lunch and dinner menus available with matching wine flights. After visiting, you’ll understand why Gordon Ramsay himself once called the Sanchez brothers, "two little geniuses".
Awarded a well-earned star within less than a year of opening, Paco Tapas is very firmly another fine feather in the Sanchez cap – a cap also donned by the almighty Casamia (see above) and formerly the Pi Shop. You can enjoy padron peppers roasted on an open fire, jamon sitting on the bone (to the tune of the Christmas Song). Here, Sherry is expertly kept and poured to bring the real taste of Andalusia to Bristol, and served alongside the most stunning tapas you're ever likely to encounter.
Bulrush is something special. Since its relatively quiet opening in December of 2015, the restaurant's reputation has flourished, and it is not difficult to understand why they were awarded a Michelin star this autumn. They offer a beautiful, fresh, innovative menu which changes regularly, with every dish presented looking like a work of art. Vegetarians, vegans and all other dietary requirements are catered for sans problème - in fact, you get the feeling that the kitchen team here love to be challenged and enjoy creating something unusual and different. It's worth mentioning that the staff make this place a joy to be in; Katherine heads up the modest venue here and it's clear that everyone involved is deeply passionate about what they do and the food you are eating. Our top tip is to go for the tasting menu, which is an incredible 9 courses for staggering value.
"‘Bibs’ are awarded for simple yet skilful cooking for under £28 or €40."
This is the fancy pants of Cargo 2. Tare is a 2o seater fine-dining restaurant, in which the aim of the game is to serve up quality food using the best ingredients possible. The dinner menu (of which there is also a vegetarian version) is a 5 course tasting option for a staggering £44 - not bad at all considering the current seasonal menu includes courses such as Iberico pork cheek croqueta, melon pickle, mustard mayonnaise and Mojama, passionfruit, sesame, nori, ‘Grow Bristol’ daikon shoots, crisp noodles. Sounds awesome right? With a hand selected and carefully curated drinks menu as an accompaniment, this one is perfect for special occasions or when you fancy a real treat.
Standing in the ashes of the Chicken Shed, Root is a new concept in a familiar location. Gone is the "posh fast food" joint and instead is a small restaurant serving well thought out small plates with a heavy leaning on seasonal fruit and veg. Here you can dine on exquisite dishes of beetroots, mushrooms, hispi cabbage and fine cheeses along side carefully selected meat and fish dishes. Whether you're popping in for an intimate date night or group knees-up there will be something that appeals to everyone here.
Est. 1976, Bell's Diner is the Bristol food scene's bohemian, perennially-youthful Great Uncle, nestled in a picturesque corner of Picton Street. It's firmly at the heart of Montpelier - Bristol's contemporary cultural quarter - and the latest incarnation has been turning heads and satisfying stomachs since 2013, serving up stunning small plates of delectably Modern Mediterranean cuisine. The menu is awash with highlights. Stunningly tender rabbit, slow-cooked octopus and Cornish Clams all shouldn't be missed, although if you don't want to leave with food-envy then we'd thoroughly recommend tapas-style sharing (or subtly "borrowing" a forkful or two when your table-mate isn't looking). Vibe-wise, it's effortless: think down-to-earth chic and quirky decoration (accessories include a typewriter, a record player and other vintage curiosities) set amidst a relaxed, disarming atmosphere. Chef Sam Sohn-Rethel and his team bring to Bell's a relaxed enthusiasm for getting knees under tables, enjoying extremely good food and enjoying great wine, an ethos for which they've rightly received critical acclaim – and this autumn, a prestigious bib gourmand. If you have only one more evening in Bristol, spend it at Bell's Diner.