Foodie Vacations : Padstow, Cornwall

Padstow Harbour
Locally produced cheese at Rick Stein's Deli
Locally produced cheese at Rick Stein’s Deli

Cornwall is a food lovers dream. Fresh seafood is in abundance and the miles and miles of agricultural farmland produce some of the best strawberries, cream and cheese that England has to offer. So why travel thousands of miles when you could  spend a summer eating and drinking in Cornwall? Sometimes staycations are the best vacations!

Locally caught fish
Locally caught fish

With foodie holidays in particular becoming more popular, and the choice of restaurants, farm shops and markets becoming increasingly influential when deciding where to stay, my first recommendation is for a Foodie Vacation in Cornwall, or more specifically Padstow.

Padstow, Cornwall

You would be forgiven for thinking the only foodie offering in Padstow is Rick Stein’s empire of fish and chips, fine dining, and café grub but you would be wrong! That’s not to say Rick Stein doesn’t have a wide variety of  places you could go to eat…but it’s certainly not all that Padstow has to offer.

The following are just a few food highlights found in Padstow, Cornwall.

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The Basement

The Basement is set back into a courtyard just off of the harbour with an alfresco dining area offering beautiful views of the boats in the harbour.

The reason The Basement is loved by so many is because the kitchen consistently produces delicious, refined food made from local and seasonal produce. They boast that everything that comes out of their kitchen has been lovingly prepared by their team on site – from marmalade at breakfast to ice-cream for dessert.

The young team are also faultless. Their passion for good food clearly shines through and they have an effortlessly cool air that makes you feel very relaxed.

Stunning views of Padstow Harbour
Stunning views of Padstow Harbour

Food lovers will love The Basement not just because of the high quality food and fantastic variety (including top quality vegetarian dishes) but because its still relatively unknown. Margot’s, Paul Ainsworth’s and Rick Steins various establishments all have waiting lists that are month’s long. The Basement however you can book on the day, if not a day before and they’ll be happy to have you!

If travelling to Padstow, Cornwall this year I would make sure The Basement is on your lists of restaurants to visit.

Cherry Trees

If you’re looking for something more relaxed then the a sit down dinner, Cherry Trees is for you.

Cherry Trees famous Lemon Meringue Pie baked onsite
Cherry Trees famous Lemon Meringue Pie baked onsite

A couple-run cafe, the food is cooked fresh to order. Cakes and sweets are baked by Emma and the savoury dishes are made by her partner in the kitchen. With all of the restaurants in such a short space you’d be forgiven for not finding time to have a sit down meal here. But the cake lovers of Padstow should make sure they come in for a slice of Lemon Meringue Pie or one of the towering layer cakes.

Breakfast at Cherry Trees
Breakfast at Cherry Trees

Breakfast is also a must! They even lemon cure their own salmon.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

The Seafood

It’s no surprise that Rick Stein was going to make it on to this list. I love him as much as the next food fanatic but eating at all 4 of his establishments was a bit much even for me. If I had to recommend just one Rick Stein meal for your foodie holiday in Padstow it would be The Seafood.

Hot Seafood Platter at Rick Stein's The Seafood
Hot Seafood Platter at Rick Stein’s The Seafood

When you are holidaying on the North Cornwall coast you’d be foolish not to sample some of the fresh seafood caught daily. Although not as busy as it once was, Padstow does still have a working harbour with fishing boats mooring daily.

The only slight downside is if you’re visiting with someone who doesn’t eat fish. The vegetarian menu at The Seafood is fantastic but on the main menu the only non-fishy dish is Steak. A very good steak I might add! It’s just something to bear in mind.

On top of the fab food, you will also find a fantastic wine selection, cocktail list (with seasonal options) and Rick Stein’s beers alongside others from Cornish Breweries. So if you’re looking to wet your whistle pull up a seat at the bar.

Resident of the maternity ward in the National Lobster Hatchery, Padstow
Resident of the maternity ward in the National Lobster Hatchery, Padstow

One final bit of advice – don’t go to the lobster hatchery over the road before you visit, especially if you’re planning on ordering the lobster…

Paul Ainsworth at No 6.

A food lovers holiday in Cornwall wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Michelin starred restaurant Paul Ainsworth at No 6. Set in an adorable town house, the restaurant has a cosy, relaxed atmosphere and the staff make you feel right at home. There’s no dress code too so you can chose to make the occasion as fancy as you like.

Freshly baked bread
Freshly baked bread

Again there’s a fantastic vegetarian selection though you have to request a separate menu. Like most of the restaurants in Padstow the food is locally sourced, seasonal and prepared fresh on the premises. The quality of the ingredients and skill of the chefs really shines through. And it’s this incredible level of skill which makes Paul Ainsworth a must visit while you’re on holiday in Padstow.

Make sure you book well in advance, especially if you are on holiday in peak season. We are used to eating late with my job so happily opted for a sitting at 9:30pm but if you want an earlier slot its best to phone a month or so in advance.

Green’s

For ice-cream lovers look no further than Green’s. Set half way up the hill on the left side of the harbour you’ll find this cute cafe. It’s a perfect stopping point on the way back from a walk along the cliffs offering spectacular views as you cool off with a cold glass of something or an ice-cream.

If it’s something savoury you’re after go for their famous crab sandwich!

They also have a crazy golf course and a putting green for more serious golfers.

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These are just a few of my recommendations. Padstow really is crammed with fantastic places to eat.

Rojano’s in the Square, Pucceli’s and the Pad Thai from Rick Stein’s Cafe also get a special mention!

Sweet treats in Padstow
Sweet treats in Padstow

But, if your food tour of Cornwall isn’t just an opportunity to eat at some of the best restaurants the South of the country has to offer, you’ll also be pleased to here that their are plenty of shops selling a wide variety of goods from decorative plates, cookware, local produce and home-made confectionery. The pubs also offer a fantastic range of locally brewed ales and largers as well as some fantastic gastro pub grub.

The Old Custom House, Padstow
The Old Custom House, Padstow

Whether you are planning on cooking at home, eating in top end restaurants or somewhere in between food lovers on holiday in Padstow will be sure to have a fantastic time.

And…if you eat too much during your stay, don’t forget the Camel Trail is a short walk, or bike ride away so you can burn off those calories!

Tandem bike ride along the Camel Trail, Padstow
Tandem bike ride along the Camel Trail, Padstow

Happy holidays!

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