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Aug 26, 2014 02:06 PM

Bristol, Cotham, Stokes Croft, Cheltenham or Gloucester Road? For this weekend!

Hello folks

Down in Bristol this weekend and staying in Cotham.

Last time I was in the city I ate at Flinty Red and whilst it was good I didn't find it overly friendly... perhaps because there was a 'misunderstanding' with items appearing on our bill that we hadn't ordered... or because we booked and they still plonked us on the table right next to the door.

Anyway if best advice is to give it another try I will do, but what other places are there in this area (or across town) which are recommended?

Fairly relaxed cuisine wise (though Indian not a favorite unless amazing and fresh) but not into ostentation or 25 competing flavours when one or two quality ingredients get the job done better. Small plates approach favoured by my travelling companion but i am relaxed about that too. Happy to pay well for top notch grub, but nowhere up its own (insert preferred noun) please!

All suggestions gratefully received, thanks

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  1. Can't offer a suggestion but do empathise with your comment about table allocation.

    There's nothing more guaranteed to quickly piss me off about a place than when I've done them the courtesy of booking and they return that consideration by giving me a shit table - the one next to the door, bogs or server station. Seems to happen more than co-incidence would suggest which makes me think there's some explanation. Maybe restaurants start numbering tables from the shit location and, because I'm possibly the first to book, I'm getting Table 1. Or, perhaps, I'm just Mr Grumpy.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      Thanks Harters

      At least its not just me ! Slightly off topic but you been to anywhere new you rated particularly in my own fair city of Liverpool or elsewhere in the NW recently ?


      1. re: willowan

        Havnt been to Liverpool to eat for ages, I'm afraid.

        Best grub I've had recently has been Manchester House in, erm, Manchester.

    2. To be honest, if it is small plates you want and a chilled out atmosphere you could do a lot worse than have tapas on the under the stars boat restaurant. Not fancy but atmospheric and relaxed and some interesting drinks.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Foxeyblue

        Thanks for this. Am now told that other half's dad will be joining us, so something more traditional may be in order. Someone has mentioned Bell's diner to me...any good ?
        Any other thoughts ?

        1. re: willowan

          I went to Bell's a long time ago and it was good it is really a Bristol institution. I saw it has changed hands/chef since and MoL reviewed it in the Guardian a few months back giving a very good write up.

          If you want to head out to the country for a great pub the 'Pony & Trap" (near Chew Magna) isn't that far out of town, and is an oddity as its a real pub with a Michelin star and not at all up itself.

          The other place that intrigues me is (I think) "The Lido" which sounds good for a casual lunch.

          1. re: PhilD

            "Pony & Trap"?

            Isn't that Cockney rhyming slang? And, on the basis that it is, is the pub naming a deliberate joke?

            1. re: Harters

              Could be, but its quite an old pub a bit out of the way, so maybe named after the original transport. I

              t's 25th on the GFG best pub list so not so crap. It wa recommended to me by the chefs at my local, I was moaning the lack of good cooking in the area and they said the chef was starting to do great things. A couple of years later he had a Michelin star.

        2. Just went on the Good Food Guide's website looking for something else and this was linked from their front page:

          5 Replies
          1. re: Harters

            thanks all

            I knew the 'hounds wouldn't let me down.

            Will report back if of interest ?

            If not, thanks again anyway !

              1. re: Foxeyblue

                Okay folks

                A little delayed, but here goes !

                Friday night we ate at Bell's Diner


                which friends told me was a 'Bristol institution' -only to discover that since they last visited it had become a 'small plates' place.Given that my other half's dad is a 'meat n two veg' kind of guy, this could have been very challenging. Happily both the food was great ( I was particularly keen on the salt cod fritters - as good as in Jose in Londontown - the squid - clearly fresh - and also the rabbit stew with pomegranate seeds - wonderful ! ) but the wine was also fantastic. Bro in law was even impressed with the gutsiness of the Dao we had.

                Saturday lunch was unexpected find of the weekend - went to a little Italian place called Rosemarino


                in Colston ( near Christmas steps ). Only stopped in for coffee but ended up having amazing tortellini with sweet potato and a crab and lemon bruschetta. Pasta was literally a melt in the mouth wonder. Best I have had for a loooong time. Would be intrigued to go in the evening when it may be less of an oasis of calm and loveliness.

                Saturday evening was Bravas - of late recommended by Good Food Guide et al. This is trickier to be objective about - it was rammed so we sat at the bar. Near the antipasti holders to be precise, which = very little room to eat and/or food on jeans if you are a bit clumsy like me. Food was mixed - lentils with summer vegetables were sparklingly fresh and tasty - Iberico pork a la plancha was nice but a measely portion for £6.95 - essentially 7 pieces each smaller than a fresh anchovy - expensive particularly if you drop one en route to mouth like I did !! The fact that dropping one sticks in my mind says it all for me ( or perhaps about me ?!). Not great value. I would definitely go back midweek when it may be less frenetic, but on the evidence of last weekend Bell's is a better bet for quality food and a relaxed ambience.

                Finished off the weekend at The Epicurean near Wrington <somerset.
                for Sunday lunch.
                I love this place - went en route back from Glastonbury on a sunny Monday in late June and it was just what the food doctor ordered. Fresh and earthy vegggies and decadent cheese on toast in an idyllic setting. Sunday lunch though was disappointing. First, prices are hoicked up to the £9 a starter £20 your main ( perhaps because it is small and delightful so people hang round all day...but that was the most expensive food we had all weekend). Second 'because we hadn't ordered starters' ( ??) our mains took well over an hour to rrive. Eh ? Is it just me ? this did not compute. To be fair they gave us free drinks. Fine for me as none driver on a sunny day sat in the garden. Less consolation for our DD.

                Food when it came was lovely but, well, a bit lacking given the price tag, when we had already eaten so well elsewhere. None of that is to say do not go if you are in the area. It is a great place doing great organic food the right way. Just perhaps best avoided on a Sunday.

                Would be interested, as ever to hear what others think.

                Thanks again for your tips and help.

                  1. re: willowan

                    Thanks for the write-up :) Made a note to visit both the Italian and the cider shop near the Christmas steps next time I'm there!

            1. Hello folks
              Back In Bristol this weekend and see mine was the last post of significance....

              Will be spending some time near and in Colston hall - any recs around there for good grub and craft beers ?
              Is zero degrees any cop ?

              Thanks for any help you can give....