One or two of you may have noticed my penchant for all things foodish! Indeed I do It must be my Taurean nature, but Id become celibate in exchange for chocolate, cake and damn fine food!
Thus, I think its important, nay my duty to inform my fellow Bristolians, and those visiting our fair city of a few places to eat, and in the interests of fairness, good, bad and a few I havent been to yet but which are highly recommended.
I bet you though I was going to start at the top with the poshest restaurants, but Im not. Im going to start with cafes and Burger vans!
My usual place to eat out is the Fountain café in St George. Its one of the best greasy spoons for a fry up. £3.95s going to buy you a monster breakfast of bacon, sausage, egg, fried bread, mushrooms, fried potatoes, black pudding, beans, tomatoes, bread and butter and a cup of tea. Yes, its a coronary on a plate but its a good way to go!
The best dirty burger comes from a van in Broadmead, opposite Primark, greasy burger, onions, ketchup and cheese, it put McDonalds to shame.
A slightly healthier option is a van at the other end of Broadmead called The Tudor Cart, make sure you try the steak roll with plenty of butter and ketchup! You could also have a jacket potato if you were feeling virtuous instead! This place is so popular than when Broadmead bosses wanted to clean up Broadmead and get rid of the vans there was a petition to get it to stay!
Also highly recommended is Alis Café in Ashton, and The Buttery situated on the Wharf (Best bacon and egg sandwich in Bristol apparently)
So the breakfast and snacks have been digested and its time for lunch! According to a TV programme the other night Kingston Upon Hull is the obese capital of the country, believe me Bristol could quite easily overtake that!
In Bristol we have a plethora of sandwich shops, most extremely good. Theres a little one off of Queens Square, just try the red Leicester, ham and orange marmalade on poppy seed panini, the only thin that make me wish I still worked down there!
Always popular is the Pizza places, Deep Pan Pizza and Pizza Hut have their buffet lunches on offer, a fiver a person and eat as much as you like! Id go for Pizza Hut every time, Deep Pan Pizza is very lax, has limited choices and the toilets are vile.
If you fancy something a little more upmarket and trendy, try the Boston Tea Party on Park Street, specialty teas and coffees, salads and cakes to be consumed the lovely sunny courtyard to the rear.
If youre doing some shopping in the Galleries, Broadmead, or The Mall then youre spoilt for choice, its not necessarily good choices, but choices all the same. You have the McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, etc. The Galleries have a food court thats pretty dire, home cooked food, jacket potatoes, Chinese outlet and a baguette shop, all overpriced, poor quality and for some reason extremely busy.
My recommendation would be, strangely, a chain brain, its fairly new in the city so although its in the extremely busy Union Street, its never too packed. And the award goes to ..Subway! If youve never had a foot long Italian Cheese bread sub stuffed with meatballs, bolognaise sauce and topped with cheese then youve never lived! Ive had meals in top restaurants that were not as good!
Finished shopping, still not stuffed? No? Well pop along to Chew Valley Lake café for at and cake, better still down the river to Conham Vale, ring the bell and get taken across to Aunt Bessies Team Rooms for tea and cream scones.
So after getting home and lying down with a dose of Andrews Liver Salts for a couple of hours, its time to get dressed up, or down, for dinner. Not forgetting of course to get a bit peeved because that new dress you bought today didnt fit over your burgeoning belly!
I do have kids so we also look for places that are suitable for them, and there are quite a few but the vast majority are chain places, and none of them would rank in my top ten places to eat. The Harvester in Longwell Green, Brewers Fayre in Hengrove and Wishing Well also in Longwell Green regularly come up with dire food that I would be embarrassed to give to a dog!
However the major Pizza Places are always good, we recently went to a new Chiquitas thats opened in Avonmead that had a great kids menu, and was really good, lots of non spicy stuff as well. Although the very young waitress couldnt initially get her head around the fact that we would have preferred to finish our starter before having our main!
There are also many Italian restaurants in Bristol and Ive never been in one yet that hasnt been unhappy to have a child in there, and to do a portion suited to their size. Lastly take a look at TGI Fridays and Frankie & Bennys, Ive been less than complimentary about this two elsewhere, but Frankie & Bennys do great food for all the families, its just been the service. As for TGIs, you take your chances, Ive been in there and its been really good, another time I went in there and didnt go back for a year because it was so dire and dirty!
Put it this way, my daughters tooth fell out after chomping into her burger, on closer inspection said burger was rather overcooked, well, burnt! So we sent it back, another came exactly the same! We of course raised the issue of the charred burgers to the waitress, she came back with a message from the chef that they had to be like that because otherwise they wouldnt be cooked! I didnt hesitate to point out that McDonalds, a few 100 yards away had been managing to cook the exact same size burger with no problems at all! Needless to say I didnt pay for it!
But now I think that its time for the kids to be set aside and the big boys and girls to be sated! Are we talking a romantic date, something small and intimate, loud and lively, somewhere to go with friends, somewhere to pig out?
Are we in the mood for English, French, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese, Caribbean, Mexican? We have them all!
Lets have a look at the small and intimate, but Ive had to rack my brains! Bristolians seem to prefer bright, clean and modern to candlelight and red walls. The majority of the Italians are probably the best to go for, Sergios in Frogmore Street is on of the old school Trattoria types as is Mamma Mias on Park Row.
Keeping the Italian theme, there are a plethora of them in Bristol, Roam in Kingswood is probably my favourite, with jazz nights and meals out on the terrace. But to impress the ladies, San Carlo is Baldwin Street, it looks very posh and is more expensive than your average Italian and the food is fantastic. Pity about the service, the waiters can be snooty as hell and dont criticise the food!
Going for lively? Has to be Brave New World in Frogmore Street, a Chinese buffet restaurants that also has karaoke every night. Weekends are particularly popular with hen nights. Try Dynasty in St Thomas Street for a more upmarket place.
I have'nt tried Fuchsia in Bridewell Street yet, Im probably too common for that, its a minor celebs place because it also has a nightclub, indeed Charlotte Church has been spotted falling over in there!
The other type of restaurants that dominate the city are Indians. I never really went to them before meeting the other half but now weve sampled quite a few. Some have been fantastic but other are definitely wanting. East for example, on Bath Road, cold plates, inattentive waiters and every dish seemed to come in a standard sauce with different bits chucked in.
Compare this to Tamarind in Downend which everyone should try and visit, everything about it is just perfect. One thats also been recommended is Raj in Stapleton thats won loads of awards.
I could write forever but the last two I shall leave you with are experiences, not just meals.
The first is Glasnost in William Street, Totterdown, a small English/Fusion restaurant. Last minute decision to go out? Wont get in here then, Friday and Saturday nights can be booked up 3 months in advance, weeknights are thankfully only weeks wait! But it is definitely worth the wait, Glasnost is the original home of the now often copied Baileys and Maltesers cheesecake, just a pity I hated it!
On everyones list of Things To Do Before I Die list should be dining at a Colleys Supper Room.
Set in a Georgian house, furnished in a Victorian style there is only 1 sitting which starts at 7.30pm then the doors close. After a complimentary glass of Colleys Punch you crack on with the 7 courses which includes as many puddings as you like! Hurrah!
And that is just a few of the restaurants that Ive come across in Bristol, Im going to be really cheeky here and let you know that Ive reviewed some of them a little more in-depth on site. Youre under no obligation to read them but any advertising is good advertising. Ill leave you with the names of a few more restaurants below, but then Im going to have to rush off and get ready to go to The Barn restaurant!
Henry Africas Hothouse 4*
Nannys House 5*
Bella Italia 3*
Don Giovannis 3*
Happy Cocks 3*
Any Harvester -1*
Maes Knoll 4*
Ship Inn 3*
Churchill In 1*
Fox and Goose 5*
Bristol has more restaurants per capita than London. There's no denying it, we love eating out. Whilst there are still plenty of restaurants that I've to visit, here are the highlights: Juniper A lovely restaurant on Cotham Brow that serves food without any theme other than it is simply delicious. The portions are neither generous nor meagre. The food is high on taste and fresh ingredients, used in inventive combinations. The menu is always changing, so I can't recommend. It's all good. Simply divine. Cost without drink, about £15/head for two courses. Glasnost If this gem wasn't hidden away in Totterdown, it would have a waiting list longer than the current 1-2 week one. Booking is absolutely necessary. You'll be rewarded by a cosy atmosphere and good, hearty food with huge amounts of veggies to share. Main courses are better than the fairly good starters. Around £18/head for two courses. They have a mailing list (for their monthly menu) and offer 10% off on certain days if you return. A Cozinhas Friendly Portugese family affair in Kingsdown. Fantastic atmosphere. Visit it for the house speciality - a spectacular cauldron of seafood and meat for two. Enough said. Around £18/head for two courses. The Balti Hut Reliably good Indian restaurant in the vault of a town house off the top of Park Street. Very friendly service. Starters, main course and tips always manage to skim under £10. Will usually have a table for two available, but book if there are more. Anthem A warren of little rooms on St Michael's Hill. A 'feel-good' eaterie serving good food with plenty of choice for the discerning vegetarian. Around £15/head Las Iguanas Very unpredictable depending on the cook and staff, but when it's good it's really good. Go weekday to avoid the Whiteladies Road crush. And check out the early-evening deals (£5 for one course, £6 for
two, £7 for three). Duck fajitas are great and unusual. Renatos I don't know about the restaurant (also on King Street), but the taverna opposite does the best garlic bread I have ever eaten and serves until it closes (around 2pm). Closed August. Around £2.50 for a 10" garlic bread. Aqua Not particularly exciting food, but generous proportions and reasonable quality. The starters are particularly good. This restaurant gets points for catering for all tastes, making it good for 'work dos'. Around £12/head if you order before 7pm from a selected menu. Service is very reluctant. Wheelchair accessible. I mourn for 'The New Mayflower' - Bristol's best Chinese that was destroyed in a fire recently. Trying to fill the gap, there is the expensive Dynasty that at least serves Dim Sum. Don't even darken the step of Hullaballoos. Uninventive menu and poor-quality food. Meanwhile - I'll continue the search!