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
The Old Custom House, on Barnstaple's new Strand
Phone 01271 370123
Chef: James Duckett; Restaurant
Manager: Stefano De Raimondo
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,
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.
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
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.
Virginstow - Percy's Country Hotel and Restaurant
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.
Torquay - The Elephant Restaurant
Located on Torquay's harbour with lovely views over the
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Okehampton - Lewtrenchard Manor
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