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Nine Great Places To Eat & Drink In Bristol

At just under an hour away by plane, with frequent cheap flight on Aer Lingus and Ryanair, Bohemian Bristol is ideal for a food-hopping weekend away, and a gateway to the Cotswolds if you feel like some R&R afterwards. It's only 17 minutes by train from beautiful Bath (complete with its must-visit Thermae Spa), and 30 minutes by car to the Welsh border. It's safe to say you won't be stuck for things to do in the vicinity, but if you just want to eat yourself silly for a few days, it's ideal for that too. Here's nine great places we discovered on a recent weekend away there...



Hart's Bakery


There's a reason that posts about Hart's Bakery have gone global. Situated conveniently in a railway arch outside Temple Meads train station, we ran into two high profile food writers when we popped in, soaked from the lovely July weather, and a trip to Bristol without a visit here isn't really a trip to Bristol.



Go early if it's breakfast pastries you want (they were all gone by 10am), but there's a never-ending conveyor belt of savouries, cakes and sweet solutions that just keep on coming out of their ovens.



Lunch expands further to sandwiches, salads and hot plates, and we really don't know how they churn out so much variety every hour of the day. The sausage rolls here must some of the best in the UK, but we loved the apricot and almond bostock, the jalapeño corn bread muffins, the blueberry and sour cream flapjacks - basically every bite we put in our mouths.



Wilson's


Farm to table neighbourhood restaurant Wilson's has been awarded a Michelin Green Star for sustainability, with menus ranging from £30 for three courses, to £68 for a six-course set, and while it's definitely worth a lunch or dinner booking, this time we headed to their 'Bread Shop' a few doors down for elevenses.



It's home to their preserving, curing and fermenting operation (all served at the restaurant), and everything is made on site, including breads, pickles, tarts and cakes.



Their Eccles cakes (served with Lancashire cheese) are a nod to St. John who put them on the London map, and they're every bit as gratifying as the original. Canele are as good as it gets, and the Smørrebrød with ricotta and pickled cucumber tasted possibly even better than it looked (a tall order). Coffee is reliably good, staff are charming, and seating is minimal.



Sonny Stores


On a corner in a housing estate, somewhere between Temple Meads train station and Bristol airport, Sonny Stores describe themselves as "an Italian-influenced neighbourhood spot serving a daily changing seasonal menu", and the reality trumps the already appealing description.



Owner/chef Pegs Quinn cooked at The River Café for four years, and during lockdown he and wife Mary Glynn (whose background is in hospitality and events) started selling pizzas as 'The Lockdown Pizza Company'. As things started to reopen, Sonny Stores was born (named after their son, Sonny), and it's all so perfect and joyous that on several occasions since eating there we wonder did we dream some of it.



The pizzetta with Gorgonzola dolce, rosemary, pickled onions and honey caused diners across the small room to lose control of their vocals, the panzanella was so dazzling we found ourselves accosting staff on the way to the bathroom to find out exactly what type of vinegar was in there, and the handmade pastas are doused and filled with the most striking sauces, that will make not licking the plate an impossibility.



Staff are the loveliest and most welcoming we've encountered in an age, the short wine list is full of thoughtfully chosen bottles, and securing yourself a table in this small room will make you feel incredibly grateful for that day's life choices.



Little French


Ask a gaggle (the correct term) of food writers where to eat in Bristol, and Little French will be top of everyone's recommendation list.



The neighbourhood bistro in Bristol's Westbury Park is open seven days a week, serving "unpretentious French food" and bar snacks from chef Freddy Bird and team, in a space that's designed to merge 'classic French bistro' with 'contemporary Bohemian Bristol'.



On our visit there were some serious high points (the steak frites, the stuffed courgette flower, the chocolate mousse), and some letdowns (the flat fizz before we asked for a fresh bottle, the overly salty sweet breads, the too pink duck), but we didn't see the chef in the kitchen that day so think that might have had something to do with it.



Lunch is the same price as dinner so you can spend a pretty penny, and the wine list will make you want to dig deep into the coffers.



Bristol Beer Factory


Called "the home of independent beer in Bristol", Bristol Beer Factory's tap room is where to go if you're interested in tasting through the current range on tap and in cans.



The cheerful staff are only too happy to talk customers through the different IPAs, ambers and stouts, letting you taste what you'd like before deciding on a pint or a flight, and there's a big screen in the back showing whatever live sport is on that week.



There's a kitchen serving typical bar food, and don't miss the 'Clear Head' if someone's on the N/A - it's one of the best we've tried.



Root, Whapping Wharf