From Michelin-starred restaurants to snug old pubs; superb seafood to giant eat-on-the-move steak pasties, Cornwall scores top marks for its foodie offerings. Thanks to its long coastline and local ports, there is some excellent seafood on offer. Locally caught salmon, mackerel and scallops are just a handful of the must-eats. Being a seaside destination, there is also no shortage of opportunities to eat fish and chips by the beach. Besides seafood, you’ll find plenty of lamb, dozens of bakeries claiming to sell the best traditional Cornish pasties, farm shops stuffed with speciality cheeses and quaint cafés serving Cornish cream teas.
1. Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm, Truro
At Healey’s award-winning, multi-million pound HQ, fruity preserves simmer in the jam kitchen, England’s oldest whisky ages in the cellars, and a range of famous cyders are produced in the press house. In short, there is plenty for foodies to see. The biggest cyder-maker in Cornwall, this place brews the likes of Rattler, Cornish Gold and Healey’s Cornish juices. You can take guided tours of the farm, cellars and huge orchard, before taste-testing the full range of products. Families are more than welcome, with tractor rides and a petting farm open for younger visitors.
2. Camel Valley, Bodmin
They are a laid-back bunch at the Camel Valley vineyard, so don’t fret about snobbery if you’re not a complete wine buff. Everyone is welcome to take a tour of the place, discover the winemaking methods and road-test the vinos, including the team’s most famous label: Cornwall Brut. The winemakers themselves lead the tours, which usually include five tastings. And if you’d prefer to skip the tour, you can simply relax with a glass of wine on the terrace, taking in views of the countryside.
3. Chough Bakery, Padstow
The team at Chough Bakery sell 1,000 pasties a day at the height of summer, so they’re clearly doing something right. They stuff pastry with a mix of steak, potatoes, turnips and cream and mark it with the trademark Cornish side crimp. These are some of the best pasties in the south-west, and no trip to Padstow is complete without trying one. Not hungry when you’re passing? No problem. These guys run a mail order service too. Just give them your address and they’ll pop a pasty in the post.
4. Ben Tunnicliffe Sennen Cove, Sennen Cove
With huge windows overlooking the rugged sands of one of Cornwall’s best beaches, the dining room at this family-friendly restaurant is as impressive as the food. Locally sourced, seasonal ingredients dominate the laid-back menu, which majors in brunches, burgers and fresh seafood. It’s a family-owned business with Michelin-starred chef Ben Tunnicliffe heading up the kitchen, so expect a warm atmosphere and plenty of top-quality cooking. Kids are welcomed with open arms and even have their own mini menu.
5. Sam’s Cornwall, various locations
With more than 25 years in the business and eateries all over the county, Sam’s is a treasured Cornish restaurant brand. While they’ve got a handful of things in common, including a laid-back vibe, loads of fresh seafood and menus featuring original family recipes, each joint has its own unique personality. Music memorabilia covers the walls at Sam’s In The City in Truro, which majors in burgers and cocktails; Sam’s at Polkerris harbour is housed in a historical lifeboat station and features a wood-fired pizza oven; while Sam’s at Crinnis hosts live music in a beachfront tiki hut. So take your pick…
6. Porthmeor Beach Cafe Bar and Surf School, St. Ives
Sandwiched between the Tate St. Ives art gallery and a long stretch of Blue Flag approved golden sand, the Porthmeor Beach Café, which specialises in tapas and serves food all day long, has a seriously enviable location. But there is more to this spot than sea-view dining. The school here is considered one of Cornwall’s top places to learn how to surf, with beginners and seasoned surfers alike making use of its instructors and hire equipment. If you’re as charmed with this stretch of beach as most folks are, you’ll want to consider hiring one of the café’s beach huts to stash all your gear for a few days.
7. Fifteen Cornwall, Newquay
Most dishes at Jamie Oliver’s sea-view restaurant in Watergate Bay are inspired by Italian cuisine but with a Cornish twist, and everything is made to a seriously high standard. If that is not enough to tempt you to eat here, the restaurant’s ethos might swing it. Dine out at Fifteen and you’ll be supporting an award-winning scheme that gives disadvantaged youngsters a second chance. Like Jamie Oliver’s London-based Fifteen restaurant, the Cornish outpost is staffed by young apprentice chefs. Plus, all profits go to the restaurant’s registered charity, the Cornwall Food Foundation.
8. Woods Café, Bodmin
You can’t leave Cornwall without trying a Cornish cream tea (or two, or three) and at Woods Café they bake their scones fresh every morning. Located in the beauty spot of Cardinham Woods, this family-run café serves home-cooked grub, freshly baked sweet treats and hot pots of tea and coffee. The food is much like the venue, rustic and packed with charm. You’ll find the likes of pulled pork ciabatta with apple coleslaw in the summer, when dishes are served on the pretty outdoor patio, and slow cooked beef chili in winter, which is dished up alongside a roaring log fire.
9. The Coddy Shack, Looe
The battered fish and chips at the Coddy Shack is a Cornish staple, but there is a lot more to this place than takeaway. There is a lively sit-down restaurant here too, serving the best of Cornwall’s foodie offerings. From local scallops to Cornish brie and fillet steaks sourced from nearby farms, you’ll get a real taste of the area here. Live music is also a key weekend feature at this quirky venue, with local bands playing on Saturday nights. Feeling hungry? Tackle the Coddy Shack’s eating challenge: a two-pound fillet of cod, the same again in chips and a pound of mushy peas. Get it down you in half an hour and not only is it on the house, but you’ll also get your name on the leader board.
10. Maharajah Indian Restaurant, Newquay
Proud to be both the longest-running Indian restaurant in Cornwall and the only one in the country located on a sea-view clifftop, Maharajah is a Cornish institution. Take in the vistas through the dining room’s floor-to-ceiling windows while you tuck into dishes from every corner of India. The menu is extensive, with a mix of authentic Indian cuisine and British favourites, but the team are happy to help you navigate through it and will accommodate just about any request.