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  • Writer's pictureGreen Traveller

Where to Eat in Cornwall

As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to Cornwall, Jackie King picks out a selection of pubs, cafés, local food and food festivals.

Fish, glorious fish! With more more coastline than any other county – 258 miles of it, in fact – fresh fish is readily available, so whether it’s a big bowl of mussels on a sunny terrace, a crabmeat sandwich in a seaside café, or fish and chips enjoyed on the beach with the setting sun, Cornwall has venues and variety to suit every occasion.

But fish is only half the culinary story. You can't move two paces without coming across local produce: farms selling homemade ice cream, bakery windows filled with rows of plump pasties, shops bursting with home-reared meat and locally-grown produce – wherever you're based, you won't have to travel far to find picnic produce, supplies for the cottage or a refreshing ice cream.

And then there are the festivals – dozens of them. We've selected just a handful of the best, just to whet your appetite.

Google map: shows the location and details of all the places to stay, local food and drink, nearby visitor attractions and activities in our Green Traveller's Guide to Cornwall:

Green = Places to stay Blue = Local food & drink Yellow = Attractions Purple = Activities

Where to find local food and drink in Cornwall

The Gurnard's Head

Locals still prop up the bar, local artwork beautifies walls, and there’s a vibrant community spirit here. There’s nothing ‘done up’ about this place – just honest food created by people with passion in relaxed surroundings. Wood panelled walls in sage green, fresh flowers on deep sills, stacks of books. Dogs are as welcome as their owners in lovely rooms upstairs. The short menus focus on what’s brought to the back door from local producers – try the beetroot risotto or Primrose Herd pork with spring greens.

The Cove

Hidden in a small inlet near Falmouth, it’s The Cove’s fantastic food that keeps people returning time and time again. The chef, a Cornishman born and raised, whips up seasonal fare; the menu changes daily. Tuck into spring lamb hotpot, Cornish sole with Newlyn crab and peashoots, or prop up the bar for the afternoon and graze on tasty tapas – potted pigs cheek or Falmouth Bay scallops. The good wine list features sparkling wine from the local Camel Valley vineyard.

Ben's Cornish Kitchen

An unassuming but inviting little place – a white-painted front with sash window frames in pale green. As the name suggests, Ben is the driving force behind this operation: passionately Cornish and devoted to creating imaginative, decorative fare – try the local pigeon with hogs pudding (a Cornish take on the regular black version), langoustine and crab dumplings or slow roasted pork belly with hazelnut mayonnaise. Inside, there are exposed walls and high back wicker chairs; a wide metal staircase takes you up to seating upstairs.

Sam's of Fowey

Originally opened 25 years ago as a small-scale burger joint, Sam’s has developed into a fun and fanciful bistro selling good, quality food. The 14th-century merchant’s house has been decked out in a 1960’s retro theme: imagine American-style dining with a pink and green colour theme, intimate booths, and pop music memorabilia on the walls. Burgers feature heavily on the menu, of course, from the chilliburger to ‘The Beast’, for those with monster appetites. The bar and lounge upstairs is a funky setting for an aperitif or late-night cocktail.

Camel Valley Vineyard

On a sunny south-facing slope in the Camel Valley, rows and rows of vines soak up the mild climate, producing a range of sparkling and white wines. Back in 1985, the owners planted a few vines to see what happened. Almost thirty years later and the business has gone from strength to strength and they are now a multi-award winning vineyard, churning out some 100,000 bottles annually. Visitors can join the guided tours, learn about the history of the business in the info centre or enjoy a glass on the terrace.

Healey's Cider Farm

In 1986, with ambitions to resurrect Cornwall’s forgotten art of cider-making, the Healey family bought an old farm, a 16th-century press, and planted some orchards – today they are Cornwall largest cider maker. This is an entirely family-run business. There’s a museum, guided tours through the orchards on the back of a truck, a restaurant, and a huge shop selling a great variety of ciders.

Mr B's Ice Cream

Made using the locally sourced products and the finest Italian ingredients, Mr B’s offers ice cream in handmade cones, as well as sorbets, smoothies and milkshakes. Some of the more unusual flavours of ice cream include include Orange Yoghurt, Liquorice and Blackcurrant, and Damson Plum Pie. Mr and Mrs B and their young team churn out ice cream every day of the week.

Ann's Pasties

Ann’s love affair with pasties started when she was summoned in an emergency to help her mother make pasties at an agricultural fair. Twenty years on and Ann has become one of Cornwall’s best-loved pasty-makers, selling her pastry shells filled with meat and veg throughout the region. She even delivers to the rest of the UK, so rest of the country can enjoy her award-wining baking, too.

Moomaid Ice Cream

Cornish clotted cream is combined with milk from a happy herd of Holstein-Friesians that graze the grassy slopes near Zennor to create luxury ice cream. From sea salt caramel or fig and mascarpone, to lemon curd or green apple sorbet, there are over 20 flavours at this small family-run business.

Padstow Farm Shop

Offering ‘old-fashioned service with a smile’, Padstow Farm Shop has been selling its own traditionally reared lamb, pork and beef and vegetables grown on the farm since it opened in 2006. There’s a butchery, dairy, deli, and food cupboard, as well as an area dedicated to their signature whole wheat ‘Padstow Pasta’, grown using their own durum wheat. A wind turbine powers the farm shop and the land is farmed under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, so no nasty sprays or fertilizers are used.

Portreath Bakery

Based in the Redruth area, Portreath Bakery sells a huge range of freshly baked goodies, from a dozen different varieties of pasty, including sweet versions such as apple and cinnamon, to artisanal breads and delicious cakes – they are the only bakery in Cornwall to make the saffron ‘heavy’ cake, a Cornish cake traditionally made for fishermen when they returned to dry land, the scored crisscross on top signifying a fishing net. You can catch them at the town’s annual pasty festival in September.

Trevaskis Farm

To call Trevaskis Farm a ‘farm shop’ simply doesn’t do it justice: this 28-acre farm offers the complete local food tasting experience. There’s ‘pick-your-own’ (from raspberries and plums to beans and pumpkins, there are over 70 different crops are grown here), a fabulous shop stuffed with things from the farm (their own rare-breed pork, dairy produce, homebaked breads and a deli) as well as other local producers, an organic kitchen garden, and a restaurant serving generous helpings of homemade dishes, from pasties and soups to lasagne and ribs – they even do tours, workshops and courses on ‘grow your own’ and traditional farming.

Gylly Beach Café & Restaurant

Eat Cornish and buy Cornish: the passionate team at Gylly Beach Café are dedicated to supporting local producers. Tip up for lunch and you could tuck into a local mackerel sandwich; stay for dinner and sample the fish of the day, bought every morning at the Newlyn fish market. Interiors are sleek with spotlighting and funky white plastic seating, and the terrace looks out over Gyllyngvase Beach. Less able visitors should ask the team about the sandchair, a titanium wheelchair which can tackle sand and uneven terrain, and can be pushed right into the water for swimming direct from the chair.

The Norway Inn

This warm and friendly pub, located between Truro and Falmouth, sells award winning traditional ales in its characterful old beamed bar, with an exciting menu and daily-changing specials. The Cornish carvery offers an enticing selection of local meats and is served daily. Four luxuriously decorated bedrooms upstairs are decked in beautiful colours and have super comfy beds. Plenty of olde worlde charm, just a stone’s throw from Falmouth.

The Golden Lion

A traditional Cornish pub with restaurant with beams and granite, log fires and high back settles, monthly folk nights and a menu filled with tastes of the sea – scallops, fish and chips, seafood stir-fry. There’s a snug for groups who want their own space, and a campsite for travellers who want to stop a while longer. Beyond the award-winning garden with mature beds and picnic benches is the Sithians Reservoir: great for kayaking and windsurfing. There are four nature reserves within walking distance, too.

The Venus Café

Right on the beach at Watergate Bay, this takeaway café has queues from dawn til dusk, testament to its fantastic menu, friendly service and very reasonable prices, not forgetting the fabulous seafront location. Most of the food is organic: breakfast on organic sausage and eggs, grab an organic beef pasty and take it onto the beach for lunch, tuck into an organic burger in the evening. Organic teas and juices, too.


A relaxed café by day, an intimate candle-lit restaurant by night, but whenever you decide to rock up you will be guaranteed stunning, simple food made using the freshest ingredients from the best local suppliers. This young restaurant originally started out life as a gourmet picnic company, packing off walkers and open-air theatre goers with luxury hampers filled with local goodies, from bread baked in their stone oven to crab to local cider. Their fish comes directly from the fisherman who arrives daily into Porthleven harbour with his catch – dishes include Sicilian-style sardines and French fish stew. Their sustainable ethos reaches beyond the realm of food, too: tables are reclaimed and the oven is fuelled by wood from sustainable forests. A sunny terrace overlooks pretty Porthleven.

The Harbour Inn

In summer, the old granite building comes alive with colourful hanging baskets and window boxes. Inside, it’s cosy and charmingly ‘pubby’, whilst the courtyard over the road allows you to relax with a pint and enjoy the sights, smells, and hustle and bustle of the lively harbour of Porthleven. The seasonal menu includes dishes such as a medley of Cornish fish and ploughman’s with West Country cheeses and local chutneys. There are 15 comfortable rooms upstairs, too. Live bands, karaoke, quiz nights – the pub’s calendar is packed with events and gigs.

The Old Success

The bar in this 17th century inn used to prop up fishermen after a day at sea; these days, it’s filled with families and holiday-makers making the most of the stunning views and great pub food. The inn looks out to Britain’s only cape, Cape Cornwall: there are breath-taking views in all directions. Food, served all day, is hearty fare: burgers, steaks, scampi, and there’s a menu for youngsters. The twelve bedrooms upstairs are fresh and contemporary, with big sash windows giving fabulous views over Sennen Cove below, and three apartments for self-caterers. The coastal path stretches to Land’s End in one direction and Cape Cornwall in the other, and the Minack is close by – order a hamper and head off for an evening of theatre under the stars.

The Port William Inn

Tucked below the lofty cliffs on Trebarwith Strand, the Port William Inn used to be a harbourmaster’s house; the low ceilings and exposed slate walls hint at its former life, and there’s a smugglers’ tunnel leading to a cave on the beach – evidence of a more clandestine past. A long conservatory hugs the front of the inn: the perfect warm refuge to watch stormy weather unfold below, or there’s a terrace for calmer days. Dishes range from sandwiches and seasonal ploughman’s to more substantial pub fare, such as burgers, scampi, and steak and Tribute pie. The pub is right on the coastal path and it’s well placed for Tintagel and Port Isaac.

Sunset Surf

Gazing out across the sandy of expanse of Gwithian Beach toward Godrevy lighthouse, this café-cum-surf shop is run by a friendly bunch of surfers and is a lively place serving quick bites and cold drinks, from sandwiches and pasties to nachos and ice cream. Always packed with sun-kissed surfers and sandy-footed children, there’s a sunny terrace with picnic benches to the front and the surf shop next door has lots of knowledgeable staff.

The Wild Café

The view outside the huge picture windows is of the wild beach at Mawgan Porth, a stunning backdrop to the Scandinavian-inspired interiors within: think colourful plastic chairs, retro full-length curtains, gleaming wooden floors – like a scene from a Habitat catalogue. The food is simple, creative, colourful – and driven entirely by the seasons: from light bites, such as tapas, salads, sandwiches, to more substantial evening meals, like the stone baked pizzas – or try a daily fish special, such as pan fried gurnard or the Wild Fish & Chips, a trio of locally caught fish.

For more ideas for green holidays in the area, see our Green Traveller's Guide to Cornwall

Artwork for Green Traveller's Guide to Cornwall

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