Check out our travel expertâ€™s guide to Bathâ€™s best independent places to eat and drink in 2018. You will find everything from the topÂ places to get yourÂ artisanÂ coffee fix andÂ gluten free cakes, toÂ some of the best places to eat and drink the night away.
Looking for restaurants in Bath? Want to know where to eat in the historical spa town? Our travel expert and Bath local Rhiannon Batten shares her insider tips for the best restaurants in Bath, along with where to find the best coffee, bakeries and gin bars.
Best cafÃ©s and coffee shops in Bath
Youâ€™re not going to go short of a caffeine kick in Bath. This pint-sized city is generously served by artisan coffee shops, the best of them including Society CafÃ©â€™sÂ two local outlets, Colonna & SmallsÂ and tiny Mokoko.
Colonna and Smallâ€™s
Head toÂ Colonna & Smallâ€™sÂ for a serious espresso. The brews, all double shots, change weekly, there are tasting notes for each one (including how the flavour changes when adding milk), and the in-house baristas are all experts (6 Chapel Row).
Which coffee to order:Â The Gigesa Grade 1 Washed, an Ethiopian coffee with promise of peachy sweetness, hints of melon and bergamot.
With two branches in Bath (a smaller one opposite the bus and rail stations mainly used by take-out customers, and a larger one beside the Abbey that also serves salad and quiche-style lunches) and a bakery cum coffee shop that also does breakfast bowls and lunches at Bristolâ€™s Wapping Wharf.
There are two elements that set Mokoko apart. One is the coffee, which is all single origin and roasted in-house (as well as the usual flat whites and cappuccinos you can choose between aeropress, chemex and syphon filter coffees). The other is its cakes, which are freshly baked at the Bristol bakery, change regularly and usually include a vegan choice or two. Current picks include the cherry cheesecake cruffin and banana and peanut butter cake.
Best tea houses in Bath
If tea is more your, er, cup of tea, youâ€™re also well catered for in Bath. The Tea House EmporiumÂ is great for stocking up on loose-leaf teas, as well as pots, tins and infusers, while Comins Tea HouseÂ is a serene spot to while away an hour or two making your way through its extensive menu of single estate teas or to fill up on cleverly paired food (Sri Lankan hoppers, matcha granola or gyoza anyone?). It also runs regular tea-themed suppers and tastings (read our full reviewÂ of Comins Tea HouseÂ here).
Best bakeries in Bath
Best afternoon tea in Bath â€“ Bath Priory Hotel
For a sit-down afternoon tea with all the trimmings, our top pick in the city is the decadent Bath Priory Hotel, especially in the summer when you can sit out on the terrace enjoying smoked salmon finger sandwiches, lemon drizzle cakes and raspberry tarts overlooking one of the best gardens in Bath.
If your budget doesnâ€™t stretch that far, head along Walcot Street to Didi Cakes and pick up something from its vast range of cupcakes (peanut butter, Black Forest and passionfruit cheesecake among them), a slice of vegan banana bread or a pear and almond tart to take away and eat in nearby Hedgemead Park.
For more conventional baked goods, Bathâ€™s most famous bakeries are arguably the cityâ€™s two Bertinet Bakery sites (a third outlet is also attached to the Bertinet Kitchen cookery school in Bath). Theyâ€™re known for their traditionally made breads â€“ sourdoughs, ciabattas, baguettes and foccacias â€“ but if you want a sugar hit look out for their superior twist on a Bath bun, essentially a sugar-topped sweet roll.
The Thoughtful Bread Company
Also good for a posh Bath bun, as well as all manner of other baked goods, is TheÂ Thoughtful Bread Company, a sustainably minded bakery and bakery school that focuses on seasonal, hand-crafted breads and cakes. It has been known to barter its bread for homegrown or locally foraged ingredients brought in by regulars and is brilliantly imaginative (one of its signature inventions is a little egg box filled with tiny flavoured breads and dipping oils flavoured with wild garlic and the like).
Best simple contemporary restaurants in Bath
There are grander places to eat in Bath (Menu Gordon Jones, The Olive Tree and The Bath Priory among them) but for a no-fuss supper, try these great restaurants
A simple seafood restaurant serving up its sustainable catch in various guises, including classic fish and chips (for our full review of Scallop Shell click here)
The place to satisfy carnivorous cravings isÂ The Chequers. Owned by the team behind two other well regarded Bath pubs, the Marlborough Tavern and the Hare & Hounds, this double AA-roseette-winning gastropub offers popular Sunday roasts, 35-day dry-aged rib-eye steaks and superb burgers. Itâ€™s also a convivial place to sit and enjoy a pint of Bath Gem ale (50 Rivers Street).
Food at The Hare and Hounds, owned by the same company, comes with some of the best views in the city (that crown looks set to be challenged by the recently opened Packhorse Inn, a community-run pub on the southern slopes of the city with a fabulously set beer garden and a menu overseen by Rob Clayton, of the cityâ€™s popular Claytonâ€™s Kitchen restaurant).
For a more decadent dinner, book a table at Henryâ€™sÂ and try dishes such as flat-iron steak with polenta, grilled leeks and pickled shallot or blood orange parfait with poached pear and toasted brioche (thereâ€™s also a full vegan menu).
Try this light and bright contemporary restaurant forÂ simple, home-cooked Greek food, served from the soul.
After moving from Vietnam to England at a young age with her family, Noya Pawlyn has become one of the most loved foodies in Bath and has recently transformed her popular Vietnamese supper club into a restaurant.Â
As well as serving informal but hearty sharing dinners in the evening, Noyaâ€™s Kitchen also opens for lunch, Tuesday to Saturday, offering a thali-style menu, presented as a tray os small dishes that diners eat clockwise, starting with an appetiser such as fresh summer rolls with punchy dipping sauce or a squidgy pork bun, followed by small portions of Noyaâ€™s favourite Vietnamese stews and broths, and finally a miniature dessert.
Best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Bath
Near-neighbour Bristol has long been prime territory for veggie eats but Bath is catching up. If meat isnâ€™t your bag, head to Beyond The Kale for juices, salads, smoothie bowls, beet burgers and Bath Culture House kombucha, The Green Rocket CafÃ©Â for cashew and coconut curries, chickpea and cider stews and salads, Chapel Arts Centre CafÃ© for flatbread and salad platters or Chai WallaÂ for veggie Indian street food served from a hole-in-the-wall.
There are also plenty of meat-free options for eating out in the evening, including Sol Kitchen Supperclub. In Larkhall, a 20-minute walk from the city centre, out along London Road (or take a scenic, off-road detour along the canal towpath), thereâ€™s a dedicated vegan restaurant, Nourish.
Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen
A real highlight for local veggies, however, is Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen, which serves high-end menus in a sleek, modern space; if the agnoletti with smoked Winchester cheese, king oyster mushroom and layered celeriac and monksbeard is listed, order it. Weâ€™ve also had one of our all-time top three desserts here â€“ forced rhubarb with almond amaretto cream, fennel sorbet and almond crumb.Â The house cocktails are always imaginative, too. Rhubarb vanilla martini, anyone?
And if you want to learn how to cook your own dinner, sign up for a course at Demuths, a specialist vegetarian and vegan cookery school just around the corner.
Best family friendly restaurants in Bath
Weâ€™re not fans of childrenâ€™s food shaped into faces but DoughÂ manages to side-step the silliness while adding just the right amount of cute by shaping subtle bunny ears onto its (otherwise simple margherita) childrenâ€™s pizzas (read our full review of Dough here).
Other places worth checking out with children include The Scallop Shell (see below) and Yak Yeti Yak,Â the cityâ€™s long-standing Nepalese restaurant, with its cushioned seating area, benign staff and mildy spiced, fun-to-dip momos. The latter has also set up a street food twist on Nepalese food, Phat Yaks, serving hot pots, pakoras, salads, curries and wraps.
Or head out to Hartley Farm, between Bath and Bradford on Avon, and fill up on eggs benedict, pulled lamb flatbreads or a Sunday roast before browsing the shelves of its farm shop â€“ or letting the children loose in the play area.
Ice cream, of course, is another classic route to keeping the kids happy. Swoon Gelato opened in Bristol last year and its seasonal gelatos and Swoon on a Sticks (think artisan Magnum) have gone down so well that itâ€™s just opened a second branch in Bath. Current guest flavours include cremino, a heady whirl of vanilla, chocolate and coffee but regular varieties include that childrenâ€™s holy trinity of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.
Best bars in Bath
Bath has no shortage of bars. From quintessential dining pubs like The King William and The Chequers to real ale pubs like The Raven and The Bell, microbrewery The Bath Brew House, The Electric Bear Brewingâ€™s tap room, and The Dark Horse craft cocktail bar, whatever your poison youâ€™ll find it in Bath. Donâ€™t missÂ Pintxo, a Basque-style tapas bar with a pretty garden and a dedicated sherry menu. Three new(ish) spots deserve special mention, however, as theyâ€™re offering something genuinely different.
The Canary Gin Bar
Donâ€™t miss this dedicated gin bar,Â which offers up to 200 gins to choose from. Try the new Bath Gin (Â£7) â€“ itâ€™s flavoured with 10 botanicals including burnt orange peel and cardamom, and Thornburyâ€™s 6 Oâ€™Clock, mixers included.
A wine bar and bottle shop â€“ now with two locations in the city â€“ that sells some extraordinary wines by the glass and serves imaginative small plates alongside them (its marinated octopus with smoky, lemon-infused hummus is legendary). It also does pre-bookable wine events and guest chef nights.
An indie-owned pub thatâ€™s stripped back and slightly out of town but has a welcoming fireside, board games, a range of handmade Scotch eggs and an ever-changing choice of craft bees (it also hosts tap takeovers in partnership with breweries like Kettlesmith, from nearby Bradford on Avon).
Tucked away in Milsom Place, thisÂ chic wine bar is a colourful spot to gen up on your grape knowledge. Make the most of eight state-of-the-art Enomatic wine machines, home to 32 changing wines available by the taster, glass or bottle.
With empty bottle lights dangling above your head, itâ€™s the ideal place to sip through your favourite vinous regions. A Sex, Drugs & Rock â€™nâ€™ Roll riesling didnâ€™t disappoint with its famously dry mineral finish, while a salty Azorean white had us challenged and delighted in equal measure.
Thereâ€™s plenty of local gin, craft beer and cider, too â€“ and the staff are super-knowledgeable. Thereâ€™s also tasty tapas to help soak up the booze, the highlight of which was the toasted Bertinet sourdough topped with 15-month- aged comtÃ©, warm honey, apricots and pistachios.
Best food shops in Bath
If youâ€™re in search of a crate of local food and drink to take home, the easy way to do it is to get one delivered from Taste of Bath. Or, for non-perishable foodie souvenirs, make your way to Mr Bâ€™s Emporium and Topping & Co.Â for cookbooks, MagalleriaÂ for obscure indie food magazines, and RossitersÂ and Kitchens Cookshop for cookware.
If youâ€™re self-catering in Bath, let someone else do the shopping for you and pre-order a delivery of Bertinet bread, Easy Jose coffee, Ivy House Farm milk and more from Three Bags Full. Or, make a beeline for some of Bathâ€™s best independent food and drink stores â€“ among them The Fine Cheese Co.Â and Paxton & WhitfieldÂ for cheese, and Wolf Wine, The Tasting Room and Independent SpiritÂ for booze.
Bath is also home to various markets, including Bath Farmers Market, which takes place at Green Park Station every Saturday morning and draws some of the regionâ€™s best small produce traders.Â You can pick up a wedge of Westcombe Dairyâ€™s tangy Somerset Cheddar or try a pint of Dick Willowsâ€™ proper West Country cider (Green Park Station).
On the third Sunday of the month between March and October thereâ€™s also theÂ Independent Bath MarketÂ Â for high quality baked goods, cheeses, charcuterie, preserves and pickles.
Best place to stay in Bath for foodies
Berdoulat & BreakfastÂ is a smart, two-bedroom b&b, set in a Georgian townhouse, and a definite step up in the style stakes. Not only have its photographer-architect owners, Neri and Patrick, revamped the building (originally designed in 1748 by John Wood the Elder, architect of Bathâ€™s grand Circus crescent among other honey stone beauties), theyâ€™ve also remodelled the traditional guesthouse breakfast.
Neri was born in Istanbul so, alongside granola or bacon and eggs, you can opt for a Turkish breakfast of orange juice, coffee, pomegranate salad, flaky cheese pastries, figs, honey-drizzled eweâ€™s cheese and baked eggs with sage.
Where to eat near Bath
The Bunch of GrapesÂ deserves a heads-up here. Although itâ€™s not in Bath but in Bradford-on-Avon, 20 minutesâ€™ drive away (or a 13-minute hop by train) itâ€™s travel editor Rhiannonâ€™s top pick in the area at the moment for a date-night dinner or lunch, drawing an unusually dashing line between decadent and unfussy.
A bar, cafÃ© and restaurant with a pretty oriel window, an unusual ceramic fireplace and an impressive collection of vintage cocktail glasses, its owners lived in southwest France for several years and theyâ€™ve brought with them an expert knowledge of handcrafted wines and wood-oven cookedÂ pissaladieresÂ alongside a small plates menu (think roast aubergine tartine with sweet red pepper and goat curd) and French-influenced Sunday lunches. Check the website for steak nights, guest chef dinners and special seasonal menus.
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