Somerset restaurants: 12 of the tastiest places to go

Picture provided by The Scallop Shell

Picture provided by The Scallop Shell - Credit: Archant

It seems Somerset is frequently adding new additions to its already hefty list of fantastic places to eat out. We pick 12 of the tastiest restaurants to visit in the county. Where’s your favourite place to go?

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1. Menu Gordon Jones, Bath

Menu Gordon Jones has a trophy cabinet of awards to its name, including ‘South West Restaurant of the Year’ in the Good Food Guide 2015, ‘Best Fine Dining Restaurant 2016’ at the LUX Hospitality Awards and a Tripadvisor Excellence Award every year since 2012. If we listed every single award we’d be here all day.

The restaurant’s suppliers are independent, right from the asparagus and mushrooms down to the snails and game – all have been carefully chosen by Head Chef and owner, Gordon Jones.

This is a restaurant with a twist. Diners let Jones take the reigns as supper options are out of your hands. Dare to be open-minded and inventive with your taste buds and you shan’t be disappointed with whatever is put in front of you on the night.

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2. The Willow Tree, Taunton

Here we have another Somerset restaurant with a plethora of awards under its belt. Accolades include a coveted Remy award, a spot in the ‘Top 10 Romantic Places to Eat in the UK’ and a maximum of five stars for its hygiene levels (always good to know).

Nestled alongside the River Tone, it’s easy to see why The Willow Tree has been noted as a romantic place to eat. Inside you’ll find plenty of nooks and crannies to while away the evening with a tasty three course supper over candlelight.

On the menu there’s a selection of fine dining starters, meaty mains and indulgent puds to choose from. The menu has a very modest set price of £27.95 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and £32.95 Fridays and Saturdays for three courses.

3. The Pony & Trap, Chew Magna

This Michelin starred restaurant-cum-pub can be found out in the sticks in the village of Chew Magna and it’s worth travelling out of town for.

We would tell you what’s on the menu but it changes daily (you can check what’s on offer ahead of your visit on the website). Expect upmarket interpretations of your favourite pub classics; meat and vegetables with an extravagant twist. One thing that remains firmly on the menu is the terrific Sunday lunch which has received rave reviews from diners.

In the summer, table reservations can be moved outside so that gourmet delights can be enjoyed al fresco.

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4. The Pig, near Bath

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An outstanding restaurant with a menu to match, this is an eatery with a twist. A ‘25 mile’ menu ensures that whatever hasn’t been sourced straight from the kitchen’s garden has arrived from field to fork from a local supplier.

Don’t miss the flatbread pizzas straight from the wood-fired oven, available 12-5.30pm every day. The Pig also plays host to a series of foodie festivals throughout the summer. Live music, yummy food and a fantastic festival atmosphere – what more could you ask for?

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5. Demetris Taverna, Weston-super-Mare

Demetris has a 30 year old reputation for authentic Greek dishes, friendly staff and a memorable evening out with dancing, singing and live Greek music regularly taking place each week (think of all those post-Tzatziki calories you’ll burn).

The menu is brimming with traditional Greek favourites; think mousakkas, stuffed vine leaves and mezedes. Demetris is a little slice of Santorini heaven in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare.

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6. Tamburino, Yeovil

Playing on the Mediterranean theme, Tamburino is another restaurant in the heart of Somerset that will take you back to summer holidays in the sun. If you fancy a little taste of Italy, this restaurant has plenty of authentic dishes on the menu to sate your appetite.

Diners can expect lots of sun blushed tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, crispy pancetta, meat dishes, pasta dishes, risotto dishes, pizzas, calzones and more. The menu might be large but don’t let that put you off. The quality of the food here is not compromised by any means and the service is attentive but not intrusive.

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7. Thai Kitchen, Frome

This tiny kitchen has made a huge mark on the Somerset foodie map. Everything about it is small (there are only a handful of tables in the restaurant so make sure you book ahead), the menu is limited but includes some wonderful dishes that change weekly, and there’s even a small courtyard to dine al fresco should you wish.

The flavours of the food here are said to ‘dance on your tongue’. The restaurant does not have an alcohol license so you can BYO for a small corkage fee.

Fancy making your own delicious Thai dishes at home? Visit the restaurant’s mini-supermarket for a range of spices, sauces and frozen goods to take home with you.

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8. The Kingsdon Inn, Kingsdon

If you happen to stumble upon this beautiful thatched pub, you’ll be in for a fine dining treat. The cosy interior has wooden beams and tiled floors aplenty and it has been decorated sympathetically to the historic nature of the building with lots of shabby chic furniture and neutral colours. It’s a wonderful spot to snuggle up on the weekend and feast with your family.

The menu is made up of a selection of British comfort foods with a few Mediterranean dishes thrown in for good measure. The only difficulty is choosing what to eat.

We love the local lamb chump with dauphinoise potatoes, pea puree and asparagus. Perhaps leave room for dessert as we hear the sticky toffee pudding is one of the best.

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9. The Sheppey, Wells

Venture away from the beaten track and you’ll find The Sheppey; an eclectic yet welcoming restaurant with a bonhomie atmosphere to match. It has been described as a ‘Somerset institution’ and we find it difficult not to agree.

People travel from far and wide to visit The Sheppey. Could it be the menu with a multitude of tasty options to choose from? Perhaps it is the continuous selection of live music that keeps people coming back?

From delicious Sunday lunches and juicy burgers, to steaks, fish and some splendid vegetarian options, it’s easy to see why this restaurant remains a firm favourite in Somerset and beyond.

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10. Little Barwick House, Yeovil

You’ll be in safe hands at Little Barwick House as the family-run restaurant has owners with a wealth of international culinary experience. The attention to detail they have put into their menu is second-to-none. From the extensive wine list down to the special service they provide to each guest that walks through the door; all of these thoughtful details add to a memorable dining experience.

There are several offers available on the menu. If you’re visiting at lunch you can have two courses for £27.95 or three courses for £30.95. Dinner is priced at two courses for £43.95 (available Tuesday to Thursday only), and three courses is £49.95.

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11. The Olive Tree, Bath

The Olive Tree is a sophisticated and upmarket restaurant, nestled in the basement of The Queensberry Hotel in Bath.

Diners can expect a gastronomical adventure when visiting this restaurant as there is a selection of tasting menus on offer. The menus have up to nine carefully selected dishes and up to six glasses of wine to accompany the food.

The portions might be small but the food is exquisite and prepared for by experienced Head Chef, Chris Cleghorn, who has worked with the likes of Michael Caines, James Sommerin and Adam Simmonds. Is it any wonder his exceptional levels of cooking have seen the restaurant receive no less than three AA rosettes in nine months?

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12. The Scallop Shell, Bath

Calling all seafood afficianados! The Scallop Shell is said to serve some of the most delicious fish suppers in the UK and there’s only one way to find out…go and try it for yourself of course!

The restaurant has received awards for ‘Best Seafood’ at the Bath Good Food Awards 2015 and ‘Best Independent Restaurant’ at the National Fish & Chip Awards 2016. It’s a must-visit for any seafood fan.

Fish and chips aside, The Scallop Shell serves a whole range of fish dishes: grilled lemon sole, scampi, scallops, oysters and sea bream to name just a few.

Love the foodie scene in Somerset? Keep an eye out for nominations opening for the Somerset Life Food & Drink Awards 2017! In the meantime, check out some of our other food-related content...

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