For the holiday season, Kris and I have our own sweet little end-of-year tradition. As both our families are based internationally, it becomes super expensive to travel home during the holidays; for Christmas, it is often just the two of us celebrating. But post-Christmas, instead of binging on leftover mince pies and movies on Netflix, we book a short trip away. You can get some awesome last minute deals for the Twixmas period; in the past, we have visited Dublin, Stockholm, Luxembourg, Bath and Stratford-upon-Avon as part of our Twixmas trips. This year, we decided to visit Bristol for a few days. True to form, I did my research on the best places to eat and drink in Bristol beforehand.
COFFEE AND CAKES
Bristol has some fabulous cafés where you can hole up for a few hours for your daily caffeine fix. Most come armed with delicious homemade goodies if you are thinking of a quick bite with your cup of joe. Society Cafe is your goto harbour-side cafe for their tempting banana cake. Mokoko is perfect for a light lunch from their fresh homemade salads and quiches. Little Victories sells pastries from Bristol’s famous Hart’s Bakery, saving you traipsing to the original cafe in Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station.
WINES AND BEERS
Bristol has a European charm with its cobbled streets and narrow, romantically low lit alleys. Finding cozy pubs and wine bars to snuggle up in during the winter months isn’t a massive problem! From the ones we dived into, Strawberry Thief impressed with its charming floral, candlelit vibes, The Cottage Inn for its misty waterside views and the historic The Orchard Inn for award winning ciders, ales and cozy fireplace. If you are a wine buff, then I recommend a cute wine bar near Wapping Wharf called Corks in the new harbour-side development Cargo, made of former shipping containers. Whilst there, don’t forget to check out the craft beer bar The Wild Beer Co. Finally, the bar at the Avon Gorge Hotel in Clifton is excellent for views of the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge.
BRUNCHES AND LUNCHES
When it comes to Bristol food and eating out, you will be spoilt for choice. Due to the holiday season, a lot of the more must-visit restaurants of the city were closed. But in spite of that, we still managed to have some gorgeous food in some fantastic cafes and restaurants.
For delicious, hearty brunches, head to Rosemarino in suburban Clifton village. It is a quaint little Italian restaurant, high up on a hill and is a great place to fuel up before or after a brisk walk in clean country air. My research into the Bristol food scene strongly suggested that this city had some excellent Spanish restaurants; our lunch at Gambas was a tapas triumph, with their Gambas Pil Pil, Huevos Rotos and Grilled Beef steak. I am a sucker for historical buildings and their adaptive reuse, especially if they have found new life as a pub or restaurant whilst still retaining the original features. The Pump House, inside a former Victorian pumping station, was a fantastic gastropub offering superb local lagers, ales and gins. We tucked into whole roasted plaice and braised shin of local beef, both cooked well and delicious.
For outstanding, freshly caught fish and seafood, look no further than The Spiny Lobster. Its entry via their fishmongers next door sets the the tone that this place is serious about its freshness and quality of seafood.
When it came to deciding a restaurant for date night in Bristol , the Ivy Clifton Brasserie was a good choice. Now in its fourth year, this was one of the first Ivy Cafes to open outside of London and is set inside a former bank in Clifton Village. Whilst I was not always 100% blown away by the food here, factoring in service and overall ambience, it does make for an attractive, glam date night venue.
Finally, the Ox Bristol is a banging steak restaurant in an underground vault of a (you guessed it) former bank! They do a mean steak and have a well curated wine list. But this place is not just for meat lovers, but for lovers in general, as the restaurant has been voted one of the most romantic restaurants in Bristol!
The Bristol food and drinks scene is not only alive but thriving. Although we ate at a handful of places, it has given us enough of a teaser to return and explore this food-centred city further.
N.B. All photos and opinions are mine.