Pre-theatre restaurants in Bristol

Emily - Bristol Bites | Date posted - 01 Feb 2019

A trip to the theatre is a treat in itself…but book a table for a meal out before you go, and you can turn it into even more of a special occasion.

Seeing a show at the Hippodrome, the Colston Hall or the Bristol Old Vic? You’ll no doubt want to eat fairly close by so you’re not spending your entire meal panicking about whether you’ll be there in time for the start of the performance. So whether it’s a juicy steak, tapas to share or a vibrant Mediterranean meal, here’s our pick of Bristol city centre pre-theatre dining options…

The Ox - for steak and grilled dishes…

Just a short walk away from Bristol’s major theatres is The Ox: a beautifully decorated basement restaurant whose dim lighting and pre-Raphaelite paintings make it a cosy and intimate venue for a pre-theatre meal. The main focus of the menu is its steaks, from ribeye and rump to sirloin and bavette, with a choice of sides that includes triple cooked chips, mac ‘n’ cheese, deep fried sprouts with a Thai dressing and more. And if you’re dining in the early evening (5-7pm), take advantage of their two steaks for the price of one deal, too…

1766 Bar & Kitchen - for in-theatre dining…

Housed within Bristol’s Old Vic theatre, 1766 Bar & Kitchen prides itself on guaranteeing that you’ll get to your seat well on time after your meal – even serving your dessert in the interval if need be. Their three-course prix fixe dinner menu is available from 5pm every day, with delicious treats ranging from sticky glazed confit pork belly to cauliflower, blue cheese and cavolo nero risotto, to poached pears and panna cotta for dessert.

Bambalan - for fun and funky vibes…

Just a stone’s throw from the Colston Hall (just across the road, in fact) is Bambalan: a fun, upbeat place to dine where all the dishes are cooked either over charcoal or in their wood-fired oven. Try their babs – meat, fish or veggie flatbreads piled high with assorted toppings – or from a grill menu that features juicy rotisserie chicken, generously proportioned burgers and charcoal-roasted aubergine with Middle Eastern accompaniments, among others.

They’ll even give pre-theatre diners 20% off their food bill on production of a valid theatre ticket – and don’t miss out on their cocktail menu either…

Pasta Ripiena - for flavourful filled pasta…

On St Stephen’s Street in the old city you’ll find Pasta Ripiena: a restaurant entirely dedicated to the art of stuffed pasta. Priding itself on being the first ravioli restaurant in the UK, Pasta Ripiena’s kitchen team makes all of its fresh pasta daily, leaning towards top notch Spanish and Italian produce to create a varied menu that’s bursting with flavour. Salt cod and nduja ravioli; wild boar tortellini; black truffle, porcini and ricotta mezzaluna…each dish is lovingly crafted and comes with some excellent suggested wine pairings too.  

Under the Stars - for top notch tapas…

Food and drink on boats is something that Bristol does very well, and Under The Stars is one such place. Located on the harbourside, with the Hippodrome in its line of sight, you can choose whether you dine below deck or up top in the open air, watching the world go by. Decked out in 1920s prohibition-era style (and with a cocktail list that harks back to the same times), the food menu takes in the nautical travel theme to offer tapas dishes inspired by the Mediterranean. A citrusy beef tagine, a creamy wild mushroom tagliatelle, crisp deep-fried calamari with a garlicky aioli, fiery harissa-spiced chicken thighs…there’s something for everyone on this menu. And if not, there’s plenty of pizzas to choose from too.

A pre-theatre meal is generally not the long, drawn-out affair that an evening meal out in its own right will often be, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be just as enjoyable. Whether it’s a cosy meal for two or a buzzy, cocktail-filled evening, Bristol city centre has a wealth of great dining options for those wanting a treat pre-show.

Need more Bristol inspiration?

About guest blogger, Emily

Emily is originally from Essex and has lived in Bristol since 2009. Her blog, Bristol Bites, originally started in January 2010 and explores the amazing food options Bristol has to offer.
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