Somerset has to be one of the most beautiful counties in England. From the rolling countryside to the aesthetically pleasing towns of Bruton, Wells, and Frome to the bustle of Bristol and Bath – some could say it really does have it all. With a number of beautiful hotels in the county dragging a crowd with a taste for fine dining, Somerset has also undergone somewhat of a foodie revolution despite its perception as a sleepy countryside county. Nowadays, you’ll find seasonal, locally sourced ingredients at the core of many menus taking full advantage of Somerset’s pastures. Without further ado, here’s my guide to the best restaurants in Somerset – a list so good it’ll leave foodies pining for a visit to the West Country.
The best restaurants in Somerset: Bruton
The cosy farm-to-table Osip set in the heart of the county in the beautiful market town of Bruton is undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Somerset. A former ironmonger’s shop, Osip was awarded a Michelin star back in 2021 thanks to the craftsmanship of Britain’s youngest Michelin-starred chef, Merlin Labron-Johnson in case my word isn’t enough. Osip prides itself on simplicity, imagination, and a lack of pretension, as well as low milage ingredients. At Osip, there are no menus – instead, you trust in the kitchen to deliver delicious food for you. In return, they will deliver with gusto – all incredibly prepared dishes using ingredients grown in their plots of land nearby. In fact, the menu changes just like the weather. You can choose from the full Osip menu (featuring snacks, vegetables, baked breads and broth followed by larger plates and a range of desserts), or a shortened menu at lunch. Osip is also attached to the elegant hotel and Georgian townhouse, Number One Bruton, which is well worth a stay while you’re in Bruton.
At The Chapel, Bruton
The perfect spot for a romantic meal, At The Chapel is undoubtedly on the list of the best restaurants in Somerset. A self-professed ‘restaurant with rooms’, At The Chapel is a Grade II listed 17th century former chapel, and my word, does it have the wow factor when you walk in? It boasts a restaurant and bar, a bakery, and even a wine store. At The Chapel prides itself on using only the finest West Country ingredients, and brings a little slice of the Med to Somerset – quite literally in the form of its delicious artisan wood-fired pizzas. Menu highlights include the stonebass with fennel and rocket salad, and the squash and Westcombe ricotta ravioli. Wash it all down with a carefully chosen estate wine for the ultimate evening in Somerset. In summer, relax over an al fresco dinner outside in their jasmine-scented, sun-drenched terrace.
Roth Bar & Grill, Bruton
As if you weren’t already spoilt for fantastic dining in Bruton already, there’s also Roth Bar & Grill which must have a mention when it comes to the best restaurants in Somerset. Attached to Bruton’s Hauser & Wirth gallery, Roth Bar & Grill is the ideal dinner spot for art buffs. Led by husband and wife team, Steve and Jules Horrell, the pair work closely with farmers, gamekeepers, and gardeners in Somerset to produce a locally sourced menu of deliciousness. The restaurant even has its very own Himalayan salt room for dry-ageing and tenderising its meat from nearby Durslade Farm. It’s then onto the kitchen’s wood-fired grill and spit, so as you can imagine the meat dishes at Roth Bar & Grill are pretty special. Opt for the cut of the day – there’s some pretty incredible Wagyu – or try the beef ragu with saffron risotto and cavolo nero. The cocktail menu is as equally as delicious, and you really can’t go wrong with a Durslade Delight here.
The Old Pharmacy, Bruton
A stunning wine bar, bistro, and grocery store all located in a 500 year old former pharmacy, there’s no denying that The Old Pharmacy is one of the best restaurants in Somerset. There’s something incredibly refreshing about the fact that it has a blackboard menu that changes daily. In true Somerset style, there’s a focus on homegrown produce from the restaurant’s local farm – which you can also buy from the shop. The Old Pharmacy’s cuisine centres around this produce while taking inspiration from farmhouse kitchens in the countryside of both France and Italy. Exemplar small plates on offer include pea hummus with mangetout, pea shoots and flowers, and honeymoon melon with prosciutto. For something a little heartier, opt for a larger plate – the hand cut pappardelle with pesto and stracciatella cheese is a particular highlight.
The best restaurants in Somerset: Somerton
28 Market Place, Somerton
Bringing an air of city chic to the countryside, 28 Market Place can’t be missed on a stay in Somerset. Former Soho House director, Ben Crofton, and his wife Vanessa have managed to put Somerton on the map with 28 Market Place. One of the best restaurants in Somerset, 28 Market Place’s menu is entirely centres around reflecting the environment, the seasons, and its producers. Located in a gorgeous Grade II listed building in the heart of the town, the restaurant, bakery, and accompanying wine shop champions the best of the West Country. Menu highlights not to be missed include the soused Cornish sardines with horseradish creme fraiche, and the Somerset duck with quince and wood-fired celeriac. Dine in the beautiful courtyard adorned with plants, and don’t leave without picking up a sourdough doughnut on your way out.
The best restaurants in Somerset: Bristol
The Ethicurean, Bristol
A truly unique dining experience set in an Edwardian glasshouse in a walled garden backed by the Mendip Hills, The Ethicurean is undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in Somerset. Putting a celebration of the seasons at the heart of their cooking, you walk through the garden to get to the restaurant where the culinary journey truly begins. You can choose the Ethicurean Experience to receive a welcome drink and snacks, freshly baked bread and a range of savoury mains, dessert, and sweet treats across a period of four hours. Menu highlights include the Arctic char, leek, and Jerusalem artichoke. Finish your evening with a nightcap beside the fire pits in the garden lawn – the perfect way to end a magic evening in Somerset.
Paco Tapas, Bristol
A self-proclaimed family-run, traditional Spanish tapas restaurant, Paco Tapas isn’t just any old tapas place. In fact, its ever evolving menu is led by Michelin starred chef, Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, who brings something extra special to the plate. Be transported to Andalucia, thanks to authentic jamón and wood fired padrón peppers that can’t be missed from the handwritten menu. One of the best restaurants in Somerset, Bristol’s Paco Tapas prides itself on both tapas and its carefully created sherry list, so arrive hungry for both. Menu highlights include the seared tuna, Cornish lamb rump, and their jamón croquetas are simply to die for. Arguably the best tapas served in the West Country.
The best restaurants in Somerset: Castle Cary
The Garden Cafe at The Newt in Somerset, Castle Cary
One of the most impressive country estates and hotels in the country, The Newt in Somerset is also home to The Garden Cafe. With a menu focused on the produce growing in the gardens, The Garden Cafe also has beautiful sprawling views across the gardens and orchards below. Serving both breakfast and an all day menu including cream teas, expect to find fresh, local produce on your plate overseen by Ben Bulger, formerly of River Cottage. Try the charred January King with parsnip and potato cake with chicken sauce and sage for the most delicious of lunches. Do note that entry is through the Gatehouse and you will need a membership or a guest day pass on the day of reservation. You can while away the afternoon exploring the acres of formal gardens, baroque maze, and Victorian fragrance garden before or after your meal.
The best restaurants in Somerset: Glastonbury
Queen of Cups, Glastonbury
In the heart of Glastonbury, you’ll find one of the best restaurants in Somerset – Queen of Cups. A wonderful restaurant located in a 17th century inn, relax in a beautiful dining space or the courtyard when the sun is shining. At Queen of Cups, you can feast on incredible Middle Eastern sharing plates which showcase all the best seasonal and locally grown produce in true Somerset style. No matter whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or carnivore, you’ll find something delicious on the menu. Bringing influences from Wales, London, and her native Jordan, chef Ayesha Kalaji combines the flavours of her childhood with local produce. All the small plates pack a punch with both flavour and colour. Opt for the Queen’s Feast, a chef’s selection of savoury dishes, tapas style in either meat or vegan options.
The best restaurants in Somerset: South Petherton
HOLM, South Petherton
A modern restaurant with a focus on people and land, HOLM is the invention of the team behind successful London restaurants including Larry’s and Levan. Inspired by nature and the countryside of the South West, HOLM is one of the best restaurants in Somerset. It dishes up incredible food and drinks in a relaxed yet civilised environment. All food is inspired by the seasons, and they pride themselves on their focused wine list, full of delicious organic and biodynamic wines. Grab a table in the dining room with its abstract art and enjoy the tasting menu which will be served as it’s cooked. Menu highlights include the Westcombe cheddar fries with pickled walnut, and the treacle-cured sirloin with salsify and onion. Whatever you’re served, it’s sure to be a culinary treat.
The best restaurants in Somerset: Bath
Olive Tree, Bath
At home in the foodie city of Bath, the Olive Tree prides itself on ‘working hard to make it look easy’. In fact, Bath’s only Michelin star restaurant is also one of the longest established independent restaurants in the city too. Situated below the equally elegant Queensberry Hotel, classic flavours meet modern techniques at one of the best restaurants in Somerset. Committed to seasonality and using fresh, local ingredients, the Olive Tree showcases the best of British in regularly changing menu. Boasting simple flavours with a twist, the popular SIX or NINE menus featuring either six or nine courses, you’ll discover fresh, local ingredients. The Cornish monkfish cooked over Binchotan, leek, ginger, Vin Jaune, and sea herb is simply to die for, as is the Islands chocolate with Manni olive oil.
Upstairs at Landrace, Bath
Describing itself humbly as ‘a restaurant above a bakery’, Upstairs at Landrace is so, so much more. Aside from specialising in sourdough bread from stoneground British grains, the upstairs is home to one of the best restaurants in Somerset. Head up the spiral staircase for some of the most delicious food you’ve tasted in a while. In the morning you can find incredible cakes and pastries served alongside coffee. In the evening, you’ll discover a daily blackboard menu offering seasonal British cuisine that is lovingly cooked. Menu highlights at Upstairs at Landrace include the beef shin ragu fettuccine, the spatchcocked quail and harissa yoghurt, and the ricotta and cavolo nero ravioli. It’s simply delicious food served in the heart of beautiful Bath.
There’s my guide to the best restaurants in Somerset! Are there any you’d add to the list? I’m always looking to find new restaurants to my list so let me know in the comments if there are any others you’d share.