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Your guide to Gourmet Restaurants in Devon

As always, your comments and recommendation are welcome....please email us at the Devon Visitors' Guide with your comments and feedback: info"at"devon-visitor-guide.co.uk  (replace "at" with @ - we just do this to stop the spammers!)

If you're a restaurateur or hotelier, and you'd like some free exposure, email suppliers "at" devon-visitor-guide.co.uk


North Devon


The Old Custom House, on Barnstaple's new Strand

Phone 01271 370123

Chef: James Duckett; Restaurant Manager: Stefano De Raimondo
Cuisine: Modern European   
Current opening times: Dinner from 7.00pm Mon – Sat; lunch from 12.15pm, Tue-Sat.

"James Duckett at the Old Custom House" occupies a wonderful, listed building on Barnstaple's revamped Strand, overlooking the river Taw. In earlier days this was a busy port area from where, in Elizabethan times galleons sailed to join Drake in his defeat of the Spanish Armada. Now the Strand is a wide and largely traffic free 'boulevard'.

James prepares fine food from local fresh produce. His lunches are informal and relaxed, served tapas style with some 15 or so dishes from which to choose. In the fine weather you may eat outside on the south facing front of the restaurant on the Strand or in the private rear courtyard.

Dinner in either the downstairs restaurant or upstairs panelled dining room is a true fine dining affair with James's dishes lovingly prepared and served. You may select form a menu of four starters, four main courses and four deserts all of the highest order which reflect the impressive background and experience of the chef.

Since opening in August 2008, James and his team have established the Restaurant as a fine dining venue. James came to Barnstaple from the Ronda area in Spain where he latterly ran his own restaurant and before that was head chef at the boutique Hotel Casablanca there. Before going to Spain, James spent two years working in Sydney at two of Sydney's finest restaurants.

James commenced his career as a junior chef at a small Michelin starred restaurant near Bordeaux. He then moved to work at the Café Roux, under the legendary Albert Roux, at the Grand Hotel, Amsterdam. This led onto an appointment at the two star Le Gavroche in London under Michelle Roux and later, positions at L'Oranger, Gordon Ramsey's second restaurant venture; Fredericks in Islington; and then as part of the team which secured the second Michelin Star for the Square restaurant in Bruton Street, London under Philip Howard. James has also worked in the Caribbean as chef to celebrity guests on a chartered super yacht.

His restaurant manager is Stefano de Raimondo, who has an impressive front-of-house background in restaurants in his native Italy and Germany. He has joined James from Guernsey where he was, until recently, restaurant manager and sommelier at the Island's only Michelin starred restaurant, Christophe.

In short, whether you're looking for informal tapas at lunch or fine dining in the evening, this place will more than satisfy your expectations and give you a wonderful dining experience. It comes unreservedly recommended.


Chagford - Gidleigh Park

Andrew and Christina Brownsword have taken over Gidleigh Park, a wonderful country house hotel right on the edge of the superb scenery of Dartmoor, and have raised its standards to those appropriate of a hotel in such an unsurpassed location, featuring luxurious and comfortable rooms, superb food and wine, and friendly service. They have renewed the house in many ways, not least in respect of its decoration. Their own fine collection of 20th century paintings now features prominently. Great food and superb dining has always been a feature of Gidleigh Park, and the restaurant is rightly considered to be one of the finest in England, with 2 Michelin stars. Michael Caines MBE, Executive Chef, and his remarkable team are rightly renowned for their focus on innovative, modern European cuisine. There's an à la carte menu, as well as a Tasting Menu (which you will be glad to know changes weekly) and a Classic Tasting Menu (with the best of seasonal produce). For wine lovers, the wine list is superb: in fact, it may well be the finest and most extensive in England. Open to non-residents for lunch and dinner, there's no better way to enjoy a special occasion than to lunch at Gidleigh Park, and then spend the afternoon strolling in the extensive and beautiful grounds.
Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon, TQ13 8HH
Phone:  01647 432367  Fax: 01647 432574  Email: gidleighpark@gidleigh.co.uk   Web: www.gidleigh.com

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Gittisham - near Exeter, Combe House Hotel and Restaurant

If you are searching for words to sum up the character of a hotel, in the case of Gittisham, elegance, comfort and tradition will meet your needs. The elegant Great Hall offers a hint of the warmth, luxury and peacefulness of this comfortable family home with an informal and relaxed attitude for the guests. This Elizabethan hall shows all the features of an authentic English country house, with carved wood panelling and original family portraits. The grand staircase leads to one of fifteen ensuite bedrooms, each with its own charm and style, all warm and cosy. With fantastic views across the stunning Devon countryside towards Dartmoor, you can choose from master bedrooms and suites, richly decorated with sumptuous colours and fabrics, furnished with antiques or king-size and double rooms, with bath and hand shower or a large walk-in shower.
The restaurant provides the highest standard of food and an excellent wine list, specially selected by the enthusiastic proprietors and chefs. Select cuts of meat and game combine with local, freshly caught fish, seasonal vegetables and aromatic herbs hand picked from Combe's kitchen garden to produce a feast fit for a gourmand.
Gittisham, Honiton, Nr Exeter, Devon, EX14 3AD
Phone: 01404 540400 Fax: 01404 46004 Email: stay@thishotel.com Web: www.thishotel.com (I wonder what the story behind that web address is?)

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Virginstow -  Percy's Country Hotel and Restaurant

A great hotel, but also a great restaurant with two warm and wonderfully inviting dining areas. One restaurant area features oak floors, Douglas fir doors, an innovative ash and zinc bar, and fabulous pine beams - all of which gives a light and airy sense in the lounges and bar. The other has a more traditional feel, with oak-backed chairs, crisp white table linen, and wood burning stove. In both cases, the atmosphere is relaxed and informal.
The commitment to organic local food ensures you will have a memorable meal. The succinct options on the menu capture the very essence of local farming and gardening produce. Tina, the chef, is probably Devon's top woman chef, but she is also an extraordinary farmer. Her home bred and raised lamb is a masterpiece of organic farming: the fabulously fat-marbled flesh of this bespoke cross breed tastes simply amazing. Tina also sources a high quality selection of seafood at the daily fish auctions at Looe, fresh eggs from the farm's own Black Rock chickens, duck and geese. Food of this quality is rare. If you like freshness, you'll be delighted to know that home-grown vegetables, salads and herbs come out of the ground two hours before service. The highest quality organic duck and chicken are provided by an Exmoor farm. Wild mushrooms such as ceps and honey fungus are collected from the nearby woodlands. Game, roe deer and rabbit killed on the Estate also feature on the menu. Meanwhile, Percy's home reared pork gets better and better. The piglets grow fatter in dense woodland, feeding on organic acorns, beech bark, chestnuts and other natural goodness. All in all, this means flavoursome steaks, superb loins, tasty sausages, terrine, wonderful hams and delicious bacon are already being served and salami, Parma ham and really good pork pies are soon to join them.
Special diets are catered for, if a little notice is given.
Percy's Country Hotel and Restaurant, Virginstow, Devon, EX21 5EA
Phone: 01409 211236 Fax:  01409 211460

Awarded 17th position in The Independent's Best Fifty UK Gourmet Restaurants!

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Torquay - The Elephant Restaurant

Located on Torquay's harbour with lovely views over the local marina and bay, the friendly atmosphere of The Elephant Restaurant and Brasserie makes this a wonderful place to dine out. And The Elephant now offers two restaurants on this one wonderful site: The Room in The Elephant, a fine dining experience in a Michelin Star awarded restaurant, which is located on the first floor with breathtaking views of Torbay. The Elephant Brasserie is down on the ground floor, with a Brasserie style menu in a less formal environment. This place achieved the Restaurant of the Year award for the South West in Les Routiers awards. All the food is locally sourced and prepared to order. A large menu that caters for all tastes is offered in the Brasserie, and the prices are very reasonable. For the fine dining experience, head chef Simon Hulstone, a winner of the prestigious Roux Scholarship and so far the only British chef to win a gold medal at the world championships for chefs in France, offers an innovative and excitng menu.
The Elephant Restaurant, 3 & 4 Beacon Terrace, Torquay, TQ1 2BH
Phone: 01803 200 044   Fax: 01803 202 717  Web: www.elephantrestaurant.co.uk

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Plymouth - Tanners Restaurant

This superb restaurant can accommodate up to fifty diners, split into three rooms. One of these, the well room, allows diners to see one of Plymouth's original limestone wells. The atmosphere is relaxed and convivial, the setting stunning: thick medieval walls and original features create an experience which combines ancient history with  the best of modern food technology. The end result is a truly memorable occasion, be it dinner for two or a group occasion.
Tanners Restaurant is known for quality and attention to detail. The finest local produce is used to produce meals with style and flair. Peter Birnie, the AA’s Chief Restaurant Inspector selected Tanners Restaurant as restaurant of the year because of its strong reputation, warm atmosphere, good wine list, very fair pricing, friendly service and solid 2 AA Rosette cooking. It's seen as a very successful operation, with complete commitment to local produce and high standards.
Tanners Restaurant, Prysten House, Finewell St, Plymouth, PL1 2AE
Phone:
01752 252001 Fax: 01752 252105 Email: enquiries@tannersrestaurant.com
Tanners Restaurant received nationwide recognition when it was named AA Restaurant of the Year 2007 - 2008

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Exeter - Abode 

In every ABode hotel there is a Michael Caines restaurant, offering great modern cuisine based on local produce and products, served with style. Michael's experience at the two starred Gidleigh Park shines through in his eponymous restaurants. But in contrast to the grand dining experience of Gidleigh, Michael Caines' restaurants offer fine dining at a more affordable and informal level. The dining rooms are highly individual, with stylish design and efficient, friendly service. The atmosphere is relaxed but appreciative - of the fine cooking, that is! All the chefs have the opportunity to develop their own signature dishes, but all show an insistence on quality, consistency and local flavours. All the chefs create meaningful relationships with farmers, food producers, fishermen, and other suppliers. But while producing superb food is one aspect of the dining experience, the service must match: and here, it does, with waiters who look after our customers with that indefinable Michael Caines style.
ABode Exeter, Cathedral Yard, EX1 1HD
Phone: 01392 319955 Fax: 01392 439423 Email:
infoexeter@michaelcaines.com

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Rockbeare, Nr Exeter - The Jack In The Green Inn

The Jack in the Green is one of the best restaurants in the south west of England, offering excellent food, outstanding service and a warm welcome in comfortable surroundings. Matthew Mason, the head chef, leads a team who have achieved ongoing high standards of food, with great service and excellent attention to detail that has gained the place an outstanding reputation. The same chefs and staff who work at dinner time provide an extensive menu at lunch time; on Sundays they happily serve food through the whole day. Inside, there are different areas in which you can dine and enjoy the Jack In The Green experience. All of them are tastefully decorated and furnished. Dark wood tables, Simon Drew prints and soft leather chairs will keep you comfortable, while wood burning stoves keep the inn cosy and welcoming. Bread is baked every day on the premises, while the menus are governed by the seasons: all the foods represent Devon in season.  For example, October brings wild venison loin, well-hung and cooked to retain its wonderful flavour. With the right wine, food and drink like this takes some beating.
You'll be eating the very essence that the Devonshire countryside has to offer. And rightly so: for example, why serve lamb from New Zealand when the finest local Pole Dorset spring lamb is so close at hand? Wrapped in a lemon, garlic and rosemary coat, served with fresh garden brassicas and sweet root veggies, nothing could be simpler - and nothing could be more tasty!

The Jack In The Green Inn, Rockbeare, Nr Exeter, EX5 2EE
Phone: 01404 822240
info@jackinthegreen.uk.com

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Dartmouth - Dart Marina

Dart Marina has so many award winning food producers on its doorstep - perfect for the chefs here, who can create innovative, exciting and memorable meals, which are served in the relaxed River restaurant with its fantastic views over the harbour. This is truly a feast produced from the locality: lamb comes from Phil Bond at Blackawton, pork from Poole Farm, and well hung beef comes from farms where traceability is guaranteed and butchery an art. As for seafood: scallops come each day from Start Bay and superb oysters are grown in the wonderfully clean waters of Bigbury Bay. Each menu is produced to reflect the superb flavours and quality of farmers, growers and producers in this rich area. The chef, Mark Streeter, has worked in The Savoy and St James’s Club in London, and here he combines this experience with fantastic ingredients so as to produce fabulous food that sums up the land around us. The nature of the food shines through.
Dart Marina, Sandquay Road, Dartmouth, Devon, TQ6 9PH
Phone: 01803 832580 Fax: 01803 835040 Email: reservations@dartmarina.com

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Okehampton - Lewtrenchard Manor

At Lewtrenchard, the dining experience is without equal in the South West. Chef/patron Jason Hornbuckle creates food that is superbly prepared and beautifully presented using local ingredients of the highest quality. The quality of the cooking attracts many non-resident guests for dinner in the relaxed and cheerful atmosphere. The excellent and wide range of wines complements the superb quality of the food.
Lewtrenchard Manor, Lewdown, Near Okehampton, EX20 4PN
Phone: 01566 783 222

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Great prices on hotel rooms in Devon!
Check out the special low price offers at
Late Rooms.com