Sampling quality local food and drink is one of the best parts of being on holiday, away from the everyday stresses of life and allowing oneself to indulge in the finer things in life. Cornwall where we live in South West England is blessed with some of the best pubs, cafes and restaurants in the UK including Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Restaurant at Watergate Bay, Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow and Nathan Outlaw at the St Enodoc Hotel in Rock. These three top restaurants all share one thing in common – they are all located in the area of North Cornwall but what about other areas of Cornwall?
The area of West Cornwall is very popular with holidaymakers. It includes the stunning coastal towns of St Ives, Mousehole, Porthleven and Penzance which are all very busy in the summer months when Cornish cottages all get fully booked so we thought we’d share some of the best pubs, cafes and restaurants in this area. This list is is no particular order – they are all great places in Cornwall to eat and drink:
12. Porthminster Café, St. Ives
Porthminster Café is an award winning seafood restaurant located right on Porthminster Beach in St Ives. This restaurant is a reflection of the beautiful town of St. Ives, with its welcoming atmosphere, spectacular sea views and exquisite food. The Porthminsters Monkfish Curry is a must try!
The café specialises in Mediterranean and Asian seafood cuisine. The café is open daily for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a selection of homemade patisserie and fine coffees from St Ives Small Batch Coffee Roasting Company.
Here’s a little video of the Porthminster Café:
11. Old Coastguard Hotel, Mousehole
This hotel is located in the small village of Mousehole, West Cornwall and while primarily a hotel; they have some of the best food and drinks in Cornwall. Not only this, but if you wanted to see a real part of Cornwall and escape the tourist attractions, then this is your ideal destination.
10. The Victoria Inn, Perranuthnoe
The Victoria Inn is located in a small seaside village, not far from Penzance. All of their food is freshly prepared, and is locally sourced from farmers and local fishermen catch the seafood. The Victoria Inn is not open on Sunday evenings and Mondays in the winter, but is open on Mondays in summer. It is a popular destination so when booking be sure to leave some time from then and when you are planning on arriving there.
9. Amélies at the Smokehouse, Porthleven
Amélies at the Smokehouse is a quaint harbourside café and bar, with a warm and friendly atmosphere, which allows customers to relax and enjoy the excellent food and drink available. Amélies has invested in restaurant tables made from re-claimed wood sourced from all over the West Country, the napkins are recycled and their wood fired oven is from a sustainable forest. Amélies also support the local Cornish fishermen – the ‘Porthleven Fish Dish’ is a must try.
Lunch on weekends is served from 12pm to 2pm and on weekdays 12pm to 2.30pm and the evening menu is available from 6pm to 9pm.
8. The Porthmeor Café, St. Ives
The Porthmeor Café is a wonderful restaurant that has renovated beach huts with electric heaters and blankets so that people can still eat outside when the weather is not at its best. They also have outdoor seating for when the weather really is good.
If you’re looking for something a little bit different but that still retains that authentic Cornish feel then look no further, while this restaurant does offer some different styles of food, there is still a great feeling that you are in Cornwall, which is a wonderful combination.
7. Bakehouse Restaurant, Penzance
This contemporary style restaurant offers something a little different to the classic pubs of Cornwall; they hold art exhibitions and it is tucked away from the main town. They serve the best aspects of modern British cuisine and seafood.
There are two floors, both as welcoming as each other. They are open from 6.15pm every night, except in winter when they are closed on Sundays.
6. The Gurnard’s Head, Zennor
With the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean you could not ask for a better location than the one the Gurnard’s head possesses. If the purpose of your trip is a getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then this is the place to go to sit back and relax. With classic British pub food and a very warm atmosphere you will feel welcome as soon as you arrive.
5. Tinners Arms, Zennor
Another located in Zennor, this classic British pub is one of the oldest in Cornwall built in 1271. There is no lack of character at the Tinners Arms, with a few cracks here and there, and a really warm atmosphere, you will feel right at home. They also serve some heart-warming foods for lunch and dinner. Children and dogs (as long as they are on a lead) are also welcome.
This is a place for those wishing to relax in front of the fire with a quiet pint of real ale and some cornish cheese or a locally reared steak. In warm weather you might prefer some locally caught fish which can be enjoyed on the sunny terrace which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. A great place to watch the sun go down!
4. The Admiral Benbow, Penzance
The Admiral Benbow is possibly the most famous pub in West Cornwall for being known as the beginning location of the book by Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island.’ The first thing you’ll probably notice is the statue of a smuggler lying astride the roof, musket in hand.
The Admiral Benbow has an abundance of character and charm, with imperfections that make it so attractive and impossible not to like. Its interior houses a fascinating collection of maritime artefacts rescued from numerous shipwrecked vessels which foundered on the Cornish coast during the last 400 years.
Many of its treasures are incorporated into the fabric of the building and the Captain’s Cabin restaurant is an amazing example of this with its fine woodwork from a Portuguese Man O’ War.
3. The Waterfront Inn, Portreath
The Waterfront Inn is located right on the beach, so that when you are having a lovely meal you can watch the surfers outside riding the waves. They have an assortment of different foods on the menu, from fresh seafood to wonderful locally sourced produce, you will find something that suites your tastes.
2. Kota, Porthleven
Kota is a restaurant with a menu that originates from the traditional food of the south Pacific. It was recently awarded a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide 2013 – one of just a few in Cornwall.
If you’re looking for something a little more exotic to eat, this is the place to visit. If you do like the look of Kota and want to go for a meal there it is best to call up and make a reservation, the number and other information is on their website.
1. Ship Inn, Mousehole
The Ship Inn is an attractive little village pub that is situated on the one of the loveliest harbours in Cornwall. With excellent beers and ales and some lovely warm food, the Ship Inn will make you want to spend the whole day there.
On winter days there is nothing better than a warm pub with a roaring fire to make you feel better, and on a summer’s day you can get refreshing drink and soak up some of the British sunshine.