25 Best Restaurants in East Anglia, England

Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop

$ Fodor's choice

A frequent (and deserving) entry on "best fish-and-chips in Britain" lists, Aldeburgh's most celebrated eatery always has a long line of eager customers come frying time. The fish is fresh and local, the batter melts in your mouth, and the chips (from locally grown potatoes) are satisfyingly chunky. Upstairs you can bring your own wine or beer and sit at tables, but for the full experience, join the line and take out the paper-wrapped version. The nearby Golden Galleon, run by the same people, is a good alternative if this place is too crowded.

Butley Orford Oysterage

$ Fodor's choice

What started as a little café that sold oysters and cups of tea is now a bustling restaurant, with a nationwide reputation. It has no pretenses of grandeur but serves some of the best smoked fish you're likely to taste anywhere. The fish pie is legendary in these parts, and the traditional English desserts are exceptional. The actual smoking (of fish, cheese, and much else) takes place in the adjacent smokehouse, and products are for sale in a shop around the corner.

Market Hill, Orford, IP12 2LH, England
01394-450277
Known For
  • Legendary fish pie
  • Traditional, local flavors
  • Great, simple seafood
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No dinner Sun.–Tues. in Apr.–July, Sept., and Oct. No dinner Sun.–Thurs. in Nov.–Mar.

Great House

$$$ Fodor's choice

This excellent "restaurant with rooms" on the medieval Market Square takes deeply traditional flavors of the British countryside and updates them with a slight French twist. Served in an elegant, whitewashed dining room, the five-course, fixed-price dinner menus use a reassuring amount of local and regional ingredients. The selection might include breast of pigeon with caramelized endive or halibut with ginger foam and parsley sauce. The five spacious guest rooms have sloping floors, beamed ceilings, well-appointed bathrooms, and antique furnishings.

Market Pl., Lavenham, CO10 9QZ, England
01787-247431
Known For
  • Elegant, refined menus
  • Local ingredients
  • A French touch
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Jan. No dinner Sun. No lunch Tues., Reservations essential

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Jews House

$$$ Fodor's choice

This intimate restaurant is one of Lincoln's oldest buildings, a rare survivor of 12th-century Norman domestic architecture and worth a visit even if the cosmopolitan menu wasn't so outstanding. Typical main dishes include roasted rack of lamb with rosemary confit carrots or wild turbot with caviar hollandaise. For dessert, you might be offered pistachio sponge with mixed berries. The restaurant is a much more sedate place than its colorful and sometimes dark history suggests (the name is medieval—check out the story while you're here).

Maison Bleue

$$$ Fodor's choice

This stylish French restaurant, with the same owners as the Great House in nearby Lavenham, specializes in locally caught seafood. Typical choices include king scallops with squid ink and saddle of lamb with parsley and mushroom stuffing. Leave room for dessert, such as the indulgent Opera gateau, a rich chocolate and almond pudding. The three-course £39.95 lunch offers good value.

31 Churchgate St., Bury St. Edmunds, IP33 1RG, England
01284-760623
Known For
  • Elegant French cooking
  • Special-occasion dining
  • Great seafood
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon., Reservations essential

Memsaab

$ Fodor's choice

In a town ready to burst with cream teas, it's a bit of a surprise to find an Indian restaurant, let alone such an exceptional one. Among the classics one would expect from a curry house—from mild kormas to spicy madrases and jalfrezies (traditional curries made with chili and tomato)—are some finely executed specialties, including Nizami chicken (a fiery dish prepared with yogurt and fresh ginger) and tiger prawn bhuna (with ginger, garlic, and spring onion). The menu also contains regional specialties from Goa and Hyderabad.

Midsummer House

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Beside the River Cam on the edge of Midsummer Common, this gray-brick 19th-century villa holds a two–Michelin star restaurant set in a comfortable conservatory. Fixed-price menus for lunch and dinner (with five to eight courses) present innovative dishes that place a focus on seasonal, often local, ingredients. Choices might include freshwater prawn with gazpacho mousse or sautéed duck liver and conte cheese. Service is both informal and informative. If you don't want to pay the eye-watering cost of dinner here, come for lunch, which is around half the price at £150 per person.

Old Fire Engine House

$$ Fodor's choice

Scrubbed pine tables fill the main dining room of this converted fire station near Ely Cathedral; another room, used when there's a crowd, has an open fireplace and a polished wood floor, and also serves as an art gallery. The menu could include fenland recipes like sea bass with shrimp and dill sauce, as well as more familiar English fare, such as steak and kidney pie. Desserts might include treacle pudding (a sticky, steamed cake) or housemade ice cream.

Talbooth Restaurant

$$$ Fodor's choice

This sophisticated restaurant serving excellent seasonal British fare is set in a Tudor house beside the idyllic River Stour. Outside, there are lighted terraces where food and drinks are served on warm evenings; inside, original beams, leaded-glass windows, and a brick fireplace add to the sense of history. The menu at lunch and dinner may include thyme-roasted partridge with salsify and grapes, or John Dory with razor clam chowder. For dessert, try the fresh fruit pavlova. In summer, evening barbecues are occasionally held on the terrace.

Adam and Eve

$

Reputedly one of Norwich's oldest pubs, and one of the oldest in the country as a whole, this place dates back to at least 1249. From noon until 7, the kitchen serves such hearty pub staples as fresh, hot pies. Theakston and Adnams beer are available on tap, as is Aspall cider (the very alcoholic, British kind). Food is served until 6:45 pm. 

17 Bishopsgate, Norwich, NR3 1RZ, England
01603-667423
Known For
  • Extremely old pub
  • Good comfort food
  • Bit of a Norwich institution

Britons Arms

$

A converted pub, this cozy, thatched café and restaurant has famously good homemade cakes as roasts and afternoon tea. The building, which dates from 1347, has low ceilings, a garden that's open in summer, and a crackling fire in winter.

Brown's Pie Shop

$

More than you might imagine from the modest name, Brown's Pie Shop serves the best of old-school British food. Enjoy succulent beef, great desserts, and some very good, freshly made savory pies. There are also fish specials, steaks, and a small selection of vegetarian dishes. This restaurant, close to the cathedral, serves an inexpensive early-evening menu.

33 Steep Hill, Lincoln, LN2 1LU, England
01522-527330
Known For
  • Old-school pies
  • Cheap and cheerful eats
  • Hearty meals
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues.

Lavenham Blue Vintage Tearooms

$

The villages of England are awash with cream tea cafés, but none are as quaint and cute as the Lavenham Blue Vintage Tea Rooms. Having converted the ground floor of the 15th-century timber-framed cottage into a café, the proprietor set about making a name for the place with the best cream teas and door-stop sandwiches this side of the Broads. And if you can't manage another cream tea then indulge in a classic ploughman's lunch, a quintessential country lunch of cheeses, cold meats, pickles, and bread. 

Pickerel Inn

$

This 600-year-old inn is home to one of the city's oldest pubs, making it a good stop for an afternoon pint of real ale and bowl of doorstop-sized potato wedges. Watch for the low beams.

Pimento

$
Having made the arduous walk up the aptly named Steep Hill, you'll be pleased to find the excellent Pimento waiting for you. A highly regarded vegan and vegetarian restaurant, you can expect to find a mix of classic English tearoom fare, from filled jacket potatoes and scones with jam to salads and sandwiches (all vegetarian or vegan, of course).

Really Rather Good

$

A prime location looking out over the town square adds an extra incentive to dine in this charming, independent café and coffeehouse. Sandwiches, artisan coffee, cakes, and pancakes are the order here, and you can't go wrong with a classic cream tea, which is, ahem, really rather good.

31A Abbeygate St., Bury St. Edmunds, IP33 1LW, England
01284-756181
Known For
  • Delicious cream teas
  • Great location
  • Warm service
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No dinner

Restaurant 22

$$$$

Pretty stained-glass windows separate this sophisticated little restaurant from bustling Chesterton Road. The setting, in a terrace of houses, is low-key, but the food is creative and eye-catching. The fixed-price menu changes monthly and includes dishes like Australian winter truffle with Parmesan and Nidderdale lamb with smoked aubergine. For dessert, try the coconut parfait with chili sauce if it's available.

22 Chesterton Rd., Cambridge, CB4 3AX, England
01223-351880
Known For
  • Low-key setting
  • Creative approach to classics
  • Delicious desserts
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.–Tues.

River Bar Steakhouse & Grill

$$$

Across the river from Magdalene College, this popular waterfront bar and grill serves delicious steak, burgers, and pies, plus specialties such as lobster mac and cheese or salmon steak with molasses and spices. There's an extensive cocktail menu as well. Try a Frisky Vixen (rum with pineapple juice, lychee, and passion fruit) or head up to the roof terrace for a glass of Champagne. When dining, perhaps leave room for a classic sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

3 Thompsons La., Cambridge, CB5 8AQ, England
01223-307--030
Known For
  • Classic British mains
  • Rooftop terrace dining
  • Huge cocktail menu
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential, No lunch weekdays

The Lighthouse

$

Excellent value, this low-key brasserie with tightly packed wooden tables relies exclusively on local produce for its Modern British dishes, all imaginatively prepared. The menu focuses on seafood, including oysters and Cromer crabs. Desserts are particularly good.

The Marlborough

$

This friendly, 300-year-old pub across from Constable's school in Dedham serves traditional English pub food. Dishes such as Ploughman's lunch (cheese, bread, salad, and pickles) and steak and chips share the menu with classics like shrimp scampi. The pub also hosts five elegant guest rooms.

Mill La., Dedham, CO7 6DH, England
01206-323250
Known For
  • Traditional pub food
  • Proper village "local" feel
  • Good value guest rooms
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: No dinner Sun.

The Oak

$$$

This charming, intimate restaurant is a local favorite. It's near an uncompromisingly busy intersection, but the friendliness of the staff and classic bistro food more than make up for it. Typical mains include Cajun swordfish with green bean salad or Beef Wellington. Ask to be seated in the lovely walled garden if the weather's fine.

6 Lensfield Rd., Cambridge, CB2 1EG, England
01223-323--361
Known For
  • Charming walled garden
  • Good value set lunches
  • Delicious, regional seafood
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. No lunch Mon.

Three Horseshoes

$$

This early-19th-century pub and restaurant in a thatched cottage has an elegant dining space in the conservatory and more casual tables in the airy bar. Sourcing of ingredients is taken seriously here—the menu lists not only the suppliers but specific reasons for choosing them—and this is all put to good use in Modern British dishes with hints of the Mediterranean. Start with squid ink arancini, then move on to pork T-bone or a fresh catch of the day from the fish board. The long wine list is predominantly Italian, but there are also some good New World choices. Madingley is 5 miles west of Cambridge, about a 10-minute taxi ride.

Waffle House

$

This is the perfect antidote to all those meat-heavy English breakfasts—waffles, waffles, and more waffles on an imaginative menu. Breakfast choices include toppings like bacon and bananas, while later in the day you can order them with anything from hummus and avocado to free-range sausage. Or, skip to dessert and order yours topped with chocolate and honeycomb mousse, or "banoffee" sauce (a heavenly mix of banana and toffee)—sugar rush heaven.

White Horse at Blakeney

$$

Traditional British food with an imaginative twist is the draw at this former coaching inn. The hearty, house special fish pie is excellent, or you may opt for a plate of fresh local mussels. You can dine in the bar, the airy conservatory, or the more intimate Long Room. There are also recently refurbished guest rooms with sea views starting at around £129 for bed-and-breakfast in the high season.

Wig and Mitre

$

This pub-café-restaurant serves everything from breakfast to full evening meals in its old-fashioned dining room. The produce comes from the local markets; expect dishes such as rib eye with triple-cooked chips (thick-cut fries) or sea bass and crab risotto.