Thanks to big names like Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth, Padstow has become a firm fixture on Cornwall’s culinary map. Famed for its fine dining credentials and known for serving some of the best seafood around, you’ll be hard pressed to find a food lover who won’t look forward to a trip to the popular coastal town. But with so many tempting options to choose from, how do you decide where to book?
Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant
Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant has enjoyed an international foodie reputation since it first opened its doors in 1975. A dinner reservation here doesn’t come cheap, but it’s a must for seafood lovers keen to try the freshest catch of the day. We could have quite happily devoured everything on the . la carte menu and we recommend starting off your meal with some delicately sliced sashimi or six shucked oysters – served with cabernet sauvignon vinegar and a zingy shallot dressing.
Mains range from classic lobster thermidor to pan-Asian delights, and there’s a particularly good turbot with hollandaise dish if you aren’t watching your waistline. For something a little more theatrical, you ought to share the fruits de mer – a seriously impressive seafood platter piled high with half a lobster, crab, mussels, langoustines, scallops, oysters and razor clams.
Paul Ainsworth at No.6 (below)
An evening at Paul Ainsworth’s flagship restaurant is not easily forgotten. Housed within a beautiful Georgian townhouse, this Michelin-starred venue lies right in the heart of Padstow and serves an innovative menu of modern British cuisine. Head Chef John Walton is a master of his art and the food coming out of this kitchen is next level.
Lunch and dinner are both served as four course affairs, offering standout dishes like ‘fillet of beef with bacon bearnaise’ or ‘Sladesdown Farm duck with umeboshi condiment and steamed dumpling’. If you’re looking for that perfect, Instagram-worthy dish to round off your meal, you ought to order ‘A Fairground Tale’ for two. We won’t ruin the surprise, but it’s well worth forking out an extra £10 per person. With service and a wine list to match the level of the food, you’ll want to book your reservation months in advance to secure a table.
Burgers & Fish
If gourmet burgers are more your bag, ‘Burgers & Fish’ might be just the ticket. As the name suggests, this trendy restaurant in the centre of town specialises in one-of-a-kind burgers and unique fish dishes. They use a real charcoal grill to instil amazing flavour into their food and source only the freshest local ingredients for their plates.
Greens of Padstow
For a family-friendly option that’s totally unique, head to Greens of Padstow. Starting out life as a pitch ’n’ putt course, Greens is now half-restaurant, half mini-golf garden. Perched high above the harbour, with panoramic views of the town and Camel Estuary, you can work on your putting skills as well as tucking into lunch with a view. Dishes include everything from antipasti sharing boards to rib-eye steak or market fish of the day.
Prawn on the Lawn (above)
The last time we checked, these guys were off at nearby Trerethern Farm running a summer pop-up with local seafood and produce from Padstow Kitchen Garden. But depending on what time of year you catch them, their restaurant and fishmongers on 11 Duke Street is a fabulous little spot to snack on Porthilly mussels, fried oysters or whole lobster. We definitely recommend checking them out if you get the chance, but best check their website ahead of time to know where they’ll be.
Overlooking Padstow harbour, Mussel Box is a friendly little restaurant serving simple, delicious food that’s fresh from the boat. We challenge you not to order a big bowl of mussels once you smell sizzling garlic and fresh parsley mingling with the salty sea air. Or better still, why not take a box of mussels away with you and eat them as you dangle your legs over the harbour wall?
Independent wine merchant BinTwo serves quality wines by the glass, as well as first-class Champagnes and some seriously good coffee. They also offer a small-but-perfectly-formed food menu, with dishes such as dressed Padstow crab and a classic Maine style lobster roll. Naturally, the focus is on the wines and these guys will be sure to match your meal with the perfect glass of vino. So, pull up a chair on their al fresco terrace.
If 1940s interiors and tasty cocktails float your boat, look no further than Ruby’s Bar. Just a short stroll up from the harbour, Ruby’s is another addition to Rick Stein’s Padstow empire and offers a fantastic selection of gins, and cocktails such as Nitro Espresso Martini, Ceylon Negroni and Campari Fizz.