Bristol is a hot spot when it comes to cool music venues, street art – Banksy left his mark all over this vibrant city – as well as its buzzing restaurant scene. Here’s our selection of top places to wine and dine your date in Bristol.
French food and romance go hand in hand, so La Guinguette ticks all the boxes for a romantic date night. Owned by three Parisian friends who wanted to bring the taste of Paris to the West Country, La Guinguette will make you feel like you have taken a short trip to the French capital. We recommend starting with a cocktail or a Kir Royale and then moving on to dishes like baked Camembert or steak frites. Don’t forget to leave room for a cheese plate or crème brûlée to finish off your Paris-inspired date night.
This cosy tapas joint transports you to the streets of Andalusia and makes for a wonderfully relaxed date night. Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias turns modern tapas into little works of art. Enjoy hand-carved jamon or their tortilla Española paired with a glass of sherry or two. You won’t be disappointed.
The Ox has established itself as a firm favourite with the locals and their steaks earned them a mention in the Bristol Good Food Awards in 2018. If you’re not in the mood for steak, there are some delicious vegetarian and fresh fish dishes to choose from. We recommend their pan-fried skate wing with brown shrimp butter or the roast cauliflower with lemon yoghurt and dukkah. If you’re into sharing, try the Ox Set Meal for two – a three-course feast that’s guaranteed to impress.
For great food in a fuss-free setting, Wilson’s is the place to be. The restaurant stuns guests with its stripped back décor and seasonal British menu created by Jan Ostle, who previously worked at The Clove Club in London. It comes as no surprise that Wilson’s was mentioned in the Good Food Guide shortly after opening its doors.
Ivy Clifton Brasserie
Fancy playing the modern version of Mr Darcy and his date? Then dine in style at the elegant Ivy Clifton Brasserie overlooking The Mall Gardens. After a stroll amongst the beautiful greenery, you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast, afternoon tea, or dinner and drinks. The extensive menu has something to suit every palate, from seafood and salads to comfort food classics like roast chicken and shepherd’s pie.
For special occasions or dinner with a difference, Glassboat should be your restaurant of choice. Situated in Bristol’s historic harbour, the floating restaurant offers stunning views across the water – those romantic sparks will soon be flying across the table. The menu consists of classic French dishes like rabbit terrine, confit duck, and Marseille-style fish stew.
This small and charming Southville restaurant impresses guests with seasonal small plates and a largely natural wine list. It’s very popular so be sure to book ahead for a chance to try dishes like pan-fried scallops, roast hake, and braised pork belly with burnt apple puree. The fantastic food and laid-back vibe are sure to impress your date.
Special nights call for special restaurants. The award-winning Wilks is owned by James ‘Wilks’ Wilkins and Christine Vayssade. The former started his career in London working for none other than Ramsay and the Galvin brothers, followed by stints in France and Japan with chef Michel Bras. If you and your date are serious about good food, Wilks is a must visit. Expect light and modern dishes with an emphasis on fresh flavours and seasonal ingredients.
Fish lovers will enjoy this restaurant offering a seaside-themed dining experience in the heart of Bristol. The restaurant prides itself on working with small, independent suppliers and supports ethically sustainable fishing methods. For a date night to remember, tuck into fresh oysters or try the hot shellfish sharing platter for two to share.
Visit OpenTable to make your reservation or discover more restaurants in Bristol.
This is a guest post from freelance journalist Beatrice Clark. She has written for Vogue, Glamour and Vanity Fair, among others, and has spent the past 15 years living in France, England and Scotland. She is currently based in Berlin and is always on the hunt for the perfect Eggs Benedict.