Reading might not be the first place you think of when it comes to gastronomic delights, but Berkshire is actually brimming with culinary talent. From cool new concept members’ clubs to fine Michelin-starred French cuisine and renowned hotels, there’s something to satisfy all tastes. These are the very best restaurants in Reading.
Best Restaurants in Reading
The Great House, Sonning
Coppa Club is famous for its dreamy riverside restaurants and clubhouses, which are beautiful spaces to eat, drink and work. You’ll find the original in Reading: The Great House, a former Elizabethan coaching inn set on a quiet stretch of the Thames complete with a restaurant, bar, terrace and snug area, plus hotel rooms. The restaurant is open for all-day dining, serving everything from pasta to burgers, pizzas and salads, alongside an excellent cocktail menu. There’s a great breakfast on offer too featuring the likes of avocado on sourdough and buckwheat pancakes – perfect if you’re heading there to work and fancy a bite to eat, or for a more leisurely brunch on weekends.
The Great House, Thames St, Sonning, Reading RG4 6UT, coppaclub.co.uk
The name at the helm here is culinary director Skye Gyngell, who you’ll be familiar with from her work at Spring, Somerset House. Her seed-to-plate philosophy goes further than any other, with almost nothing going to waste, and menus carefully planned around seasonal, estate-grown ingredients. The menu changes with the seasons and the biodynamic farm’s output, but you can choose from the likes of carpaccio of River Test trout, grilled lamb with green tomatoes and swiss chard or roasted wild sea bass with borlotti beans and slow-cooked courgettes (delectable). Vegetarians will delight in the unmatched quality of the seasonal leaves and buttered greens, they really are good enough to eat on their own, and in large quantities. For sustainable dining in Reading, Heckfield Place is unmatched.
Heckfield Pl, Heckfield, Hook RG27 0LD7; heckfieldplace.com
If it’s Michelin-starred dining you desire, it might come as a surprise that Reading residents can find it right on their doorstep. Having retained its Michelin star for 18 consecutive years, this beautiful Grade-II listed building (that lost its top floor to a war-time bomb) is the perfect place for a romantic dining experience. Top Chef Tom Clarke has crafted a French modern menu with seasonal, local produce at its heart, with truly spectacular offerings for all dietary requirements. The vegetarian dishes in particular shine – the beetroot terrine and goats cheese mousse are excellent. Opt for the gourmand menu for an indulgent journey through L’Ortolan’s finest offerings, allow the excellent sommelier to wine-match your courses and always, always, save space for the cheese course.
Church Ln, Shinfield, Reading RG2 9BY; lortolan.com
The Reading Room
If it’s fine dining in the heart of Reading that you’re looking for, head to luxury boutique townhouse hotel, The Roseate, Reading, where you’ll find its restaurant The Reading Room. For a decadent dining affair (with tables positioned around the spacious dining room to allow for social distancing and a more intimate dining experience for your party), the tasting menu by award winning Executive Chef Rajesh Maharjan is packed with seasonal British produce and mouth-watering flavour combinations. Tasting menu highlights include the scallop and pork belly starter, perfectly-cooked beef sirloin and a palette-cleansing pre-dessert. If you go a la carte, the Dorset crab starter is a must, as is the rich-but-not-too-rich black winter truffle linguine. Save space for dessert, but just don’t make us choose between the dark chocolate fondant or the savarin baba. Both are absolute perfection.
26 The Forbury, Reading RG1 3EJ; roseatehotels.com
The Corn Stores
The Corn Stores, a beautiful three-story Grade II listed building right by the station, has been transformed into a cocktail bar, steak restaurant and members’ lounge. Locally sourced British ingredients are at the heart of the menu, devised by John Sparks, whether it’s the meat prepared and aged in the on-site butchery or the salmon smoked in the smokery. The steaks are the hero of The Corn Stores’ offering, with beef fat chips and macaroni cheese sides making for a real glutton’s delight, but before you tuck in, be sure to take a drink downstairs at the bar. The Corn Stores’ signature cocktail menu alone is well worth the train ride out of the city – we’ll take a New Toad Sour and a Butter Old Fashioned, please.
10 Forbury Rd, Reading RG1 1SB; thecornstoresreading.co.uk
After an energetic swim al fresco at the beautifully-restored Thames Lido, the chances are you’ll want to eat; luckily in the restaurant you’ll find a most appealing menu on offer. Thanks to strong connections with local producers the menu is tailored to suit the seasons and delivered with sustainability in mind. We’d whole-heartedly recommend the scallops and wood roast hake if you’re in the mood for fish; but check with the team to see what’s looking good for the day.
Napier Rd, Reading RG1 8FR; thameslido.com
Featured image: Jay Wennington, Unsplash