Christmas is approaching, fast, and we’re gearing up for the second most important day in all of Christmas … that’s right, it’s Friendsmas! For those not in the know, it’s the day where instead of arguing with your pops about who gets the last roast tattie, you do it with your mates instead. Because friends are the family you choose, amirite? A foodie feast, lashings of booze and a round of secret Santa. Heaven. 

We’ve rounded up some particularly perfect Wriggle venues, so you and your besties can celebrate Friendsmas in style. 

Bar 44 needs little introduction. They have received national attention and admiration for their Spanish-influenced dishes. Their appreciation of authentic ingredients is second to none and have now graced Bristol with their presence in the city. They are hugely knowledgeable about sherry if that's your tipple, and if it isn't they will be changing your mind. Think the finest jamón, the freshest fish, a table full of tapas: this is joyous food, best shared (or not!) with as many as possible.

Read more about Bar 44 (Clifton)

“I’ll have Yours please”. “Do you mean Ours?”. “OK Ours, I think.” “What will you have on yours then?”. Pizzarova break down their menu into… you guessed it… Yours and Ours. Confusion aside, a carefully created daily special – or the option of unlimited toppings on your own creation (in order to satisfy your bizarre anchovy/blue cheese cravings) – is not something to moan about. What's more, their pizza is made from slowly fermenting sourdough which has been rising for 69 years, giving a light and airy dough with a distinctive taste. Find ‘em atop Gloucester Road, on Park St or down in the new foodopolis of Wapping Wharf. Very stylish indeed.

Read more about Pizzarova (Gloucester Road)

The Bristolian has long been a landmark cafe/bistro for those in the know (welcome to the club). It shines like a largely edible gem-stone atop Picton Street, brightly and busily churning out all manner of honest grub (seasonal and local, don’t you know), specialty coffee and generally delightful vibes. It’s one of those rare places which induces a sense of yearning – invariably looking more attractive than one’s destination (usually work) – with it’s heavily foliaged terrace catching sunshine all day long. Think Amelie aesthetic, with Bristolian charm.

Read more about The Bristolian

Backyard is the brand new kid on the Triangle, serving up delicious chicken in all shapes and sizes, but also beautiful plant-based dishes. This intelligent restaurant is cashless and uses technology to offer you the ultimate customer experience: quality, speed of service and autonomy, thanks to their table-side ordering iPads - you have complete control over your experience!

Read more about Backyard

Brace & Browns have served the hungry masses for years with expert offerings of locally-sourced, top-quality British dishes. To this day, as fads come and go, Brace and Browns remain a steadfast bastion of top notch food and drink, served in a seriously chic setting. The staff are top-notch, the evening dishes are perfectly cooked and generously portioned, with a frequently changing seasonal menu– proving that these guys really are supreme rulers in the field of fine dining.

Read more about Brace & Browns

Holy guacamole! Viva la Mexicana is leading the way for Bristol's Mexican food scene - with its colourful decor, casual ambience and personable hospitality from owner Peter. A classic Mexican cantina restaurant nestled in Bedminster (or "Camaminster" in Spanish), here you can expect hearty Mexican fare - nachos, quesadillas and enchiladas - in relaxed surroundings, and with an excellent cocktail selection to wash it all down.

Read more about Viva La Mexicana

Liyas are bringing banging wraps and mind-blowing flavours to the good folks of St Werbs. Fozia, the hands and brains behind this homey spot named it after her niece Liyas, and serves up out-of-this-world food that's a perfect mix of Indian & Middle Eastern cuisine: packed with flavours, and oh-so-delicious! If you're in a sharing mood, you can also go all out for the mixed platter, it's overflowing with all the best items on the menu and quite honestly, we just can't get enough.

Read more about Liyas

The Last Word is a quirky cocktail bar and restaurant in the very heart of Clifton Village offering some of the most alluring cocktails in Bristol. Despite being a rather new establishment, there’s already a buzz of excitement lingering at its doors. Amongst the hums of chatter you’re sure to see a few trendy sorts casually swigging a dirty martini, or turning their hand to something equally as sophisticated.

Read more about The Last Word

Pata Negra is a top-notch Spanish tapas & wine bar in the heart of Bristol’s Old City. Along with its focus on the finest of cured meats, you’ll find a frequently changing menu of seasonal tapas, fresh seafood and vegetarian dishes. By championing authentic Spanish cuisine whilst maintaining a fresh and exciting menu, Pata Negra succeed in covering both corners of original creations and traditional treats.

Read more about Pata Negra

With a Michelin-trained chef at the helm, it's no surprise that the food at Dhamaka is utterly delicious – but what exactly can you look forward to? Modern, casual Indian food is the order of the day here, but don't get things twisted: you won't be sitting down to bog standard, oily curry house classics. Oh no. Whilst classic Indian cookery is up for grabs here (and it's bloody delicious too, may we add), at Dhamaka, the real stars of the show are the huge sharing platters – perfect for a date or mate night.

Read more about Dhamaka

Lucien Gordon of Patty and Bun fame in London has come back to Bristol and opened on Park Row. Heavy on the Bristol and South American influence, he is serving those burgers pink & juicy, using organic, high welfare beef and topped with West Country cheese. The patties are cooked on a proper wood fired grill for that sought after, char grilled taste. Veggies are catered for too, check out their buttermilk fried pepper burger, it's something different!

Read more about Asado

Wander through Cargo 2 down at Wapping Wharf, and you'll stumble upon the cosy, colourful, and creative little culinary treasure trove that is Bandook Kitchen. The menu is short but perfectly formed, offering a choice of Small Plates, Large Plates and Side Plates – we love ordering a whole host of dishes for the table to share. It's informal, vibrant and fun – perfect for catching up with friends and family.

Read more about Bandook Kitchen

The friendly team at the Coconut Tree are bursting with enthusiasm and knowledge about the delicious street food of Sri Lanka, and will delightedly talk you through the brilliant small plates menu that's been expertly designed for sharing. While you eat, we'd strongly recommend familiarising yourself with the Cocotail menu – the Coconut Tree's delectable range of sweetly feisty cocktails.

Read more about The Coconut Tree

Here's a place for those in the know about Japanese cuisine. Whether you've visited the country to savour the real deal, or just know your temaki from your teppanyaki add Nomu to your list of favourites. Take your fill from plump maki rolls, crisped-pumpkin croquettes, tempura-coated aubergine...The cocktail bar has a pull of its own, and makes Nomu a destination for late-night drinks or a quirky date spot.

Read more about Nomu

There are some excellent seafood restaurants in Bristol and Fishers is definitely one of them. Not only is the food hearty and delectable, they also offer great value for money. Their set menu is a steal and available every lunchtime and early evening, so you won’t need to push the boat out. Upon our last visit the starter of calamari was encased in a perfectly seasoned and crispy batter, shrouding an inner layer of fresh white skin - whilst being served with a soft dip of homemade tartare sauce. The mains were delightfully-moulded fishcakes served with dill potatoes and also whole plaice swimming in a rich butter and lemon sauce. If your appetite stretches then there’s even pud, like rich sticky toffee with butterscotch and ice-cream. With all things considered, you’ll find it hard not to go overboard at this brilliant seafood restaurant.

Read more about Fishers

Smoke & Glaze is a nod to shared passions for Southern American cuisine. All their food reflects a shared passion for cajun/creole cuisine, whilst the meat is full of flavour and falls apart with a hard stare! Their pickles, glazes and sauces are prepared from scratch to ensure their po-boys and burgers deliver a unique and irresistible flavour. No funny business and no compromises.​

Read more about Smoke & Glaze @ The Pipe & Slippers

Thin and crispy is the order of the day at Planet Pizza – forget stodgy sourdough that's more chewy crust than anything else – these elegant beauties are generously lavished with tasty toppings that extend right to the far reaches of the pizza stratosphere. About those toppings: there's a heavenly host of varied options that are absolutely out of this world (sorrynotsorry). Veg comes from the legendary Bristol Veg Market, whilst craft beers are courtesy of Bristol institutions Wiper & True and Bristol Beer Factory.

Read more about Planet Pizza

The Ox Steak and cocktail joint, hidden under the Commercial Rooms on Corn Street: legendary. You’ll find a menu packed with the choicest cuts of prime steak and tasty, meaty morsels. Expect a thick-cut steak which has been worked-on to extract as much flavour from it as possible – rich with caramelised crust and textured with tender, melting meat in the middle. They take wine just as seriously as they take their steak, meaning the wine list is exciting, ever-evolving and offering something for all tastes.

Read more about The Ox (Corn Street)

There’s no place like Gilan Kitchen to feast your eyes upon mouth-watering presentations of delicious Persian dishes. Enjoy these heavenly Persian dishes while being surrounded by authentic Middle Eastern ambience, all while sampling many tasty dishes from North of Iran, which are rarely found on Persian menus in the UK.

Read more about Gilan Kitchen @ Kookoo

Kansai Kitchen is a passion project from Liam, a Bristolian who enjoys nothing more than cooking his favourite Japanese dishes from his time in Japan. They only sell dishes as they are served in Japan - not adjusted for the western market - which means they use traditional Japanese ingredients, cooking techniques and presentation.

Read more about Kansai Kitchen @ The Hillgrove

Published -27th November 2019