Bath is one of the UK’s most beautiful and historic cities, home to endless neoclassical buildings and the famous Roman baths. But it’s also a hotspot for foodies, with a wide mix of fine dining restaurants, cosy tea shops, trendy bars and traditional pubs to explore – all showcasing the fine produce of Somerset. Planning a weekend there? Allow local chef James Harris, who heads up the food side of the Beckford Bottle Shop, to guide you with his picks for the best bars, pubs and restaurants in Bath.
James Harris’ Pick: Best Restaurants in Bath
James is head chef at Beckford Bottle Shop, a wine merchant with an adjacent bistro focusing on small plates. It opened in 2015 and has quickly become a favourite for locals and visitors, with James cooking up a selection of ingredient-led dishes like courgetti fritti with aioli, mackerel with turnip, and venison with beetroot and granola.
Best Places To Eat in Bath
Menu Gordon Jones
A properly loved foodie spot and fully booked for months in advance. The daily changing menu and modern cooking sets MGJ apart from the crowd. The chances of receiving the same dish on different visits is null; incredibly seasonal, technical cooking contrasting hot, cold, texture and flavour. Dinner here is always exciting.
2 Wellsway, Bath BA2 3AQ, menugordonjones.co.uk
An iconic city break with a 3 AA rosette restaurant headed by Martin Blake, pushing the food to new highs. I would be very surprised if they don’t have a Michelin star in the next 18 months. Clean, well executed cooking with flavour and precision. They serve lunch, afternoon tea and dinner with the same level of attention to detail. Whether it’s a weekend away or a weeknight dinner after a spa day, the Royal Crescent has real finesse and wonderful service.
16 Royal Crescent, Bath, BA1 2LS, royalcrescent.co.uk
The place to go for a great cocktail. Dark Horse is a cosy, underground bar with a relaxed feel – whether you want a classic cocktail or something more inventive the drinks are built well and perfectly balanced.
7A Kingsmead Square, Bath BA1 2AB, darkhorsebar.co.uk
The best burgers in town without a doubt. Independently owned and using locally produced or homemade products, a proper naughty little spot. It’s been a staple of the casual dining scene in Bath for five years now with no signs of leaving soon. The all-American Smash is a winner every time, using beef from Gloucestershire and beautifully soft baps from a bakery in Chew Valley.
37 Moorland Rd, Bath BA2 3PN, magudiner.com
The Longs Arms, South Wraxall
Rob and Liz run my favourite pub in the area, it’s welcoming with fantastic food and drink to boot. They’ve held a Michelin Bib Gourmand for years and are number 28 in the Top 50 Gastropubs. You always know you’re in for a good time and a good feed here.
Upper South Wraxall, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 2SB, thelongsarms.com
The sister site to the Beckford Bottle Shop, the Canteen opened in January and serves a menu which ‘deserves to be gobbled up’ – to quote Grace Dent in her recent review. On Sundays they have the best roast in Bath and are booked up weeks in advance. The crumpet with beef tongue pastrami, mustard leaf and pickles is my current favourite on George’s menu, it’s fantastic.
11-12 Bartlett St, Bath BA1 2QZ, beckfordcanteen.com
A Vietnamese café in central Bath, Noya makes every dish to order with fresh ingredients. The menu is short and changes often and seasonally. The depth of flavour and balance of the dishes is bloody brilliant and really worth a visit. Noya also does cookery classes, which I haven’t been to yet, but have on good authority that they are incredibly informative and hands on.
7 St James’s Parade, Bath BA1 1UL, noyaskitchen.co.uk