Bristol’s all gone a bit hip hasn’t it? It’s always been a pretty cool city but recently we’ve noticed a growth in the amount of little independents, different ideas, and truly unique spaces. It can be difficult navigating all this West Country coolness, so we’ve put together this list of quirky restaurants in Bristol so you’ll never get lost.
Under the Stars
Eating dinner on a boat? Sign us up thanks! There may be a plethora of places to hang out by or on the river in the city, but that doesn’t make hanging out on a boat any less exciting. And Under the Stars is one of the quirkiest restaurants in Bristol to do it. When the weather is nice, you can sit on the top deck and watch the river go past as you sip on a lovely wine, or get stuck into some delicious tapas. Our favourites include brie in breadcrumbs, crab croquettes (in true maritime tradition), or the sharing charcuterie platter. If it’s a bit chillier, the inside of the boat makes a perfect cosy spot for relaxing too.
There are few things in the world better than a good sausage. So when a restaurant appears that specialises in sausages, you know they’re probably onto a good thing. The Clifton Sausage’s ethos is to prove that when British food is done right, it’s up there with some of the best food in the world. They always have at least six types of sausage on the menu, with daily specials for slightly more out-there choices. And it’s not just sausage and mash you can tuck into; try out their sausage salads, toad in the hole, and sausage tasting platters for maximum meaty (or veggie) enjoyment.
We know, we know. We really love a restaurant in an unusual setting. Which is why Root, taking up residence in a shipping container, has got to be on our list. Serving up small plates in Whapping Wharf, this is a super cool space, with delicious food. Perfectly situated for sitting outside on warm days, the menu gives vegetables top billing. Try out treats like charred hispi cabbage with seaweed butter, mushroom with crispy shallot and fried hens egg, or potato gnocchi with walnut milk and greens. If you like a bit of meat on your plate(s), they also have bavette, chicken schnitzel, or smoked eel arancini.
Forget gym and swim, at Lido you can enjoy tapas and a swim, which we think is infinitely better. This place is literally what you imagine it to be; a beautiful historic pool, with a gorgeous restaurant on site, and really is one of the quirkiest restaurants in Bristol. There’s a poolside tapas bar serving up small plates, and a full restaurant indoors that overlooks the pool. Choose a swim and eat package where you can enjoy the water then the tasty food, or head straight for the restaurant. (Just remember not to eat before you swim, did your Mother never warn you about cramp?) The restaurant serves up dishes like seared wood pigeon, Lido fish stew, and chargrilled Turkish peppers with garlic yoghurt and pine nuts, and is even available to hire for private events.
Indian street food is going through a bit of a trendy revolution right now. No more big greasy curries, and dimly lit rooms, restaurants are popping up all over the UK, bringing fun, healthy food to hungry diners. And one of these is Thali Cafe. With neon graffitied walls, mismatched furniture, and quirky decor, this place seems super cool before you even look at a menu. Their food mainly consists of Thalis; a selection of healthy and nutritious dishes served together on one plate. Choose from Punjabi Paneer, Goan fish curry, and spinach tarka daal, and more, paired with salad, rice, yoghurt, potatoes and daal. They also do “take-home” tiffins, where you buy an insulated tiffin tin and fill it with delicious dishes you can enjoy in the comfort of your house. Delicious food and environmentally friendly. Win win.
Ok, ok, this is another boat restaurant. What can we say? We love a boat! And this upmarket floating eaterie is definitely up there with the cream of quirky Bristol restaurants. Previously a working barge, it has been converted to be a romantic spot for Bristol diners to enjoy food on the water. With the upper decks being made entirely of glass, this spot offers unrivalled views across the water too. Start off in waterside fashion with Dorset oysters, and enjoy classic dishes like Orkney scallops, cote de boeuf, or roast fillet of cod. While the menu may not be the quirkiest, the standout surroundings and glamorous location will make your visit here one to remember.