Best restaurants in Somerset

From courtyard bistros to contemporary country pubs, there’s a fabulous restaurant for every occasion in Somerset – even in the most unlikely places. Browse our pick of the best restaurants in Somerset

The Barrington Boar, Sunday lunch

The Barrington Boar, Ilminster

This contemporary country pub is run by husband-and-wife team Alasdair Clifford and Victoria Collins. Head chef Alasdair describes his cooking as refined comfort food, and his gratifying dishes have earned The Barrington Boar a spot in the Estrella Damm Top 100 Gastropubs list.

Taste the local terroir in tempting compilations such as slow-cooked lamb shoulder with Somerset ‘nduja scrumpet, and mille-feuille of celeriac, potato and Barrington wild garlic. Match your pick of the menu with sparkling wine made just a few miles away, or a local craft ale.

Ayesha Kalaji, Queen of Cups

Queen of Cups, Glastonbury

People travel from far and wide to feast on Middle Eastern-inspired dishes cooked by MasterChef: The Professionals contestant Ayesha Kalaji. The up-and-coming chef only opened Queen of Cups on Glastonbury’s Northload Street in 2021 but she’s already gained national attention for her creative food that splices Jordanian, French and British cuisines.

Sourcing seasonally and locally is vital to Ayesha’s mostly female kitchen team. All of the meat comes from Stephens Butchers next door and most of the fruit, veg and herbs are sourced from small farms within five miles of the restaurant.

An intriguing wine list showcases lesser-known vineyards and local wineries such as Mowbarton Estate and Glastonbury Vineyard.


Holm, South Petherton

South London meets rural Somerset at Holm, a contemporary restaurant housed within South Petherton’s former bank. Nicholas Balfe – part of the trio behind esteemed city restaurants Salon, Levan and Larry’s – returned to his home county in 2021 to establish this modern dining spot in traditional surrounds.

Nicholas and team are passionate about connecting with the land and local people, partnering with suppliers who share their sustainable ethos. Follow their lead by opting for the Chef’s Menu to sample dishes such as ricotta agnolotti with oyster mushroom and smoked butter, and smoked trout with celeriac and dill.

The Cotley Inn

The Cotley Inn, near Chard

The Grade II-listed Cotley Inn sits in the heart of the Cotley Estate in the Blackdown Hills and has been updated exquisitely in a contemporary farmhouse style by owners Maddie Beaumont and Ben Porter. Being part of an estate gives head chef Dan Brown access to an abundance of ultra-fresh produce to fuel his nose-to-tail cooking style – expect home-smoked meats and less conventional additions such as pan-roasted pigeon-breast waldorf salad, and honey and cardamom glazed guinea fowl.

Four country-chic bedrooms make this a delicious location for a stopover. Book in to explore the wine list and wake up to the mooing of the cows in the field next door.


Augustus, Taunton

This smart courtyard restaurant in Taunton’s town centre could easily be missed were it not for its stellar reputation. Observer critic Jay Rayner described Augustus as ‘a classy bistro that will look after you and make the world feel just that little bit better’. Expect high-calibre cooking in unpretentious surroundings from chef-owner Richard Guest. His style leans towards classic French cuisine while also celebrating seasonal British produce.

Queens Arms

The Queen’s Arms, near Sherborne

This contemporary dining pub is the kind of place you dream of stumbling upon at the end of a country walk. Everything – down to the celery salt sprinkled on the Bloody Marys to the pork scratchings devoured at the bar and the milk buns sandwiching dry-aged beef burgers – is crafted from scratch in The Queen’s Arms kitchen by its band of talented chefs.

However, the team don’t just cater for ramblers fresh from the Somerset/Dorset countryside that surrounds the historic building. Pub classics like Ashton Press cider and tarragon battered fish and chips share a menu with elevated dishes such as loin of Exmoor venison with jerusalem artichoke, grilled pear, cavolo nero and and pickled walnut sauce.

The Sheppey

The Sheppey Inn, near Wells

On first impressions, this Somerset find looks like any other countryside pub, but step inside and you’ll discover an eclectic wonderland of 1950s furniture, vibrant artwork and a funky soundtrack. Tamsin and Ben Costigan took over The Sheppey in 2020, adding their own retro touch alongside the building’s original blackened beams and wooden floors.

In the kitchen, head chef Tom Ollis fashions modern European food with a Somerset spin. Try the biryani bon-bons with coriander and lime yogurt, red onion and micro leaf salad, and poppadoms – followed by one of the inventive desserts served with a side of homemade ice cream.

The Holcombe

The Holcombe, near Radstock

The two acres of land that surround this Somerset inn supply its kitchen with much of the seasonal produce that fills its menus. Owners and chefs Alan and Caroline Lucas left London for a more idyllic life in the countryside, and their dream was realised at The Holcombe.

Sustainability is top priority for the duo. In the kitchen, Alan is a one-man prepping, pickling and preserving machine, and relishes finding creative new ways to use the produce from his plots and polytunnel. Expect to feast on uber-seasonal dishes such as local Buffalicious mozzarella served with garden beets, candied walnuts, pickled shallots and aged vinegar.

The Langford Inn, Somerset

The Langford Inn, north Somerset

Just five miles from Bristol Airport, this 17th-century coaching inn is a popular spot with travellers looking for a good feed pre- or post-flight. Head chef Ryan Granaski crafts dishes that showcase locally sourced produce, so the menus change regularly depending on what’s available. Seasonal dishes include the likes of cured Cornish mackerel with pickled fennel, ruby grapefruit and curried buttermilk, and jerusalem artichoke and mushroom tart with fried hen’s egg, English pecorino and truffle.

The Langford Inn is part of the Butcombe Brewery group of West Country pubs, so visitors can look forward to a cracking range of cask ales and beers on tap.

Thornbury Castle

The Castle at Taunton

Timeless elegance and award-winning culinary flair make The Castle a perennially popular choice in Somerset. Head chef Andrew Swann was named Best Trencherman’s Chef 2023, fending off stiff competition from some of the South West’s leading chefs.

Main restaurant Brazz is open for brunch and lunch but comes into its own at dinner, when low‑level lighting and leather banquette seating create an intimate atmosphere. The refurbished Drawing Room offers afternoon tea, light lunches and evening cocktails in a relaxed lounge.

Murrays of Clevedon

Murrays of Clevedon

Murrays of Clevedon has served locals and visitors to the Victorian seaside town for almost 40 years. The family-run restaurant, deli and wine shop is now run by Reuben Murray, who took the reins from his parents Gail and John.

Italian-inspired dishes pair imported ingredients with the best of the West Country larder. Crowd-pleasing classics such as handmade pasta, chicken milanese and aubergine parmigiana are complemented by seasonal specials. Don’t leave without perusing the shelves laden with lemons from Amalfi, prosciutto from Emilia-Romagna and extra virgin olive oil from Sicily.

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may, 2024


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