Ilfracombe, Lee and Woolacombe
The Antidote Wine bar and Restaurant (Thurs to Sat only)
Michelin listed (Bib gourmand) Modern british food produced using fresh local ingredients. Keeping the Michelin flag flying in Ilfracombe!
The Angel (Fri/Sat only)
This is the closest restaurant to the Fernery - about a 20min walk. The recent closure of a number of Ilfracombe's best restaurants has led to more and more people discovering this very characterful bistro like restaurant. The reviews consistently praise the food and the very reasonable prices. It is typically booked many weeks/months ahead so book early ! It is a small operation run by two people - it has a facebook page but no website. Bookings are via phone on +44 1271 866833.
Seventy One - Another long established restaurant on Fore street. Nicely cooked three course meals and a good wine list - small and intimate bistro-restaurant for grown ups!
Terrace Tapas - lovely tapas and cocktails in Fore Street but strictly no children under 6! Dogs allowed on terrace or in the bar if you ring first https://www.terracetapasbar.co.uk/
The Lime Kiln - In 2023 Ilfracombe is getting a new cafe/bar located in the new watersports centre right on the waterfront in a stunning location. The menu and intention to use locally sourced food look very very promising. There is already an established sister restaurant in Lyme Regis. Should be open in July.
Giovanni and Luca - Great Italian food and the best takeaway pizza in town www.giovanniandluca.co.uk/
Lynbay Fish and Chips
On the quay in the middle of Ilfracombe harbour the Lynbay consistently produces good quality fish and chips which you can enjoy without leaving the Fernery by using the JustEat app ! (£2 delivery charge for a min £12 order)
The Grampus Inn - Lee
Our 'local' pub - the lovely Grampus Inn - about an hour walk each way from the Fernery. Some of the walk is steep but a lot of it is along the SW coast path with amazing sea views. As well as brewing their own beer/distilling their own gin the Grampus offers food for everyone with many vegetarian/vegan offerings as well as venison. The venison chilli con carne is a favourite of ours. You can book evenings and sunday lunchtimes - otherwise get there early. Big garden so is child and dog friendly. Friday night is open mike night where local musicians gather to play together - lively folk and a great vibe.
Watersmeet Hotel Bistro
The Watersmeet Hotel is at the quieter end of Woolacombe and has an informal bistro restaurant with an outside terrace overlooking Coombesgate Beach below. The a la carte menu serves all appetites with British favourites such as Sirlion Steak, Tempura Battered Hake and Confit Duck Leg on offer.
Right next to the Tarka trail between Braunton and Barnstaple this grand and refurbished 'pub' (its an old manor house) has lovely views over the Taw estuary - particularly when the tide is in! Lots of tables in the garden so good for children and dogs - and cyclists! Extensive menu - if you are familiar with vintage inns you will know the menu. Due to its location it does not really have to try but the refurbishment has been done really well - a unique pub in a great location with solid family food.
Saunton Beachside Grill
Saunton Sands is a much quieter beach than Woolacombe with fewer but in many ways nicer facilities - not least the Saunton Beachside Grill - just rated by the Sunday Times (2021) as one of the best places to eat beside the sea in the UK. It is also one of the best local places to go if you just want a drink with a great sea view. Lots of genuine gastro burgers and steaks but lots of choice for vegans and vegetarians too. Recommended! The best way to get to Saunton is to drive to Braunton on the main road from Ilfracombe and then take the road to Saunton/Croyde. If you continue along the road to Croyde after leaving the grill you will see one of the most famous Grand Design projects on your left after a mile - the infamous and sad 'lighthouse on a cliff' that ended in divorce!
Saunton Sands Hotel
The Saunton Beachside Grill is part of the Saunton Sands hotel - the luxury, white, art deco hotel that has a commanding view over the whole area. You have choices - formal dining in the Dining room which requires smart dress or our favourite Afternoon Tea comprising of delicate finger sandwiches, jaw-dropping scones and a scrumptious selection of fine pastries – pure decadence. You can enjoy the fantastic view of Saunton Sands / Braunton Burrows outside on the Alfresco Terrace with a light bite and a drink. Book well in advance to avoid disappointment
Possibly one of the poshest fish and chip shops in Britain Squires has become a Braunton institution after opening 50 years ago. The building as it stands today, in Braunton high street, has been extensively adapted to accommodate a stylish but family friendly 130 seat restaurant, set over two floors, offering an enjoyable dining out experience whilst still offering their take away fish and chips. If you want good takeaway fish and chips then Lynbay on the quay in Ilfracombe is much nearer and just as good - see opposite.
Croyde and Georgeham
New Coast Kitchen (Tues to Sat)
All year round restaurant serving excellently cooked local food in the heart of Croyde - tables inside and outside at the front. In the winter months it does the best Sunday roast dinners in the area (we found out by accident having walked from Putsborough to Croyde and looking to eat on a whim) before switching to a brunch/dinner rhythm in the 'Summer Season'. Really good, informal but attentive waiting team that you only get in serious restaurants.
It took us a little while to try out the Blue Groove as it always looks very busy (as does Croyde generally). One day we braved the crowds looking for lunch and were not too impressed with the Thatch and Billy Budds but tried the Blue Groove and really liked it. The menu has much more variety and healthy options serving up an eclectic menu with a great variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. The vibe is also laid back and friendly
The Rock - Georgeham
This 17th Century Inn boasts five cask marque real ales, an extensive wine list and fantastic fresh food served in either of their cosy fireside bars or bright and airy conservatory. We can recommend the Sunday roast and it is a lot,lot,lot quieter than Croyde down the road
Sandy Cove Hotel
We discovered this hotel recently and can vouch for a friendly reception for non-residents. We had a lovely cream tea with scones which were still warm from the oven - the hotel has its own pastry chef. You can get anything from a drink, tea and scones, formal afternoon tea, informal meal (pizza from the pizza oven) through to a more formal 5 course taster menu in their relaxed 2 AA rosette awarded restaurant. So far so good but the Sandy Cove has an ace up its sleeve - the best sea views of any restaurant in the area. Outside there is a large terrace - perfect for an evening drink watching the sun go down. Even better it is open all year round.
Pack o Cards Inn
The Ley family owned a good deal of land in Combe Martin and elsewhere and had connections in court circles. Sir James Ley of Teffont Evais became, in 1625, the first Earl of Marlborough and Lord High Treasurer of England. His relative George Ley received a license from the Bishop of Exeter in 1677 to teach in a private school in Combe Martin and in 1688 he became overseer to the poor and joined what was then the local council that ruled the village. He enjoyed a game of cards and, legend has it that in 1690, after a large win, he commemorated the event by having a new house built symbolising the features of a pack of cards. It has four floors, to represent the four suits, thirteen rooms for the number of cards in a suit, fifty two windows, fifty two stairs and was supposedly built on an area measuring fifty two feet square. The shape was that of a house built of cards. We have not eaten here but it is an amazing building and......according to local Whatsapp groups it does the best roasts in the area. Go to the website to appreciate what a unique pub it is!