29 Best Restaurants in Stratford-upon-Avon and the Heart of England, England

Arkle at the Chester Grosvenor

$$$$ Fodor's choice

This sophisticated restaurant within one of Chester's most resplendent hotels is a real splurge of an experience, but completely worth it. The tasting menu, which features delicious British ingredients such as native lobster with Isle of Wight tomatoes or Scottish mussels will delight and surprise.

Hobsons Patisseries

$ Fodor's choice

Visitors and locals alike head for the half-timber Hobsons Patisseries to indulge in the famous savory pies or scrumptious afternoon teas. Just a couple of minutes walk from Shakespeare’s Birthplace, it’s an almost obligatory lunch stop.

1 Henley St., Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6PT, England
01789-293330
Known For
  • delicious cakes and pies
  • cheap eats
  • low-key afternoon tea

Lambs of Sheep Street

$$ Fodor's choice

Sit downstairs to appreciate the hardwood floors and oak beams of this local epicurean favorite; upstairs, the look is a bit more contemporary. The updates of tried-and-true dishes include herb-crusted rack of English lamb and panfried calf's liver with creamed potato, wilted spinach, pancetta, and crisp shallot. Desserts are fantastic here, and daily specials keep the menu seasonal. The two- and three-course fixed-price menus (not available for Monday lunches) are good deals.

12 Sheep St., Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6EF, England
01789-292554
Known For
  • good-value set meals
  • one of the oldest buildings in Stratford
  • modern twists on British classics
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch Mon., Reservations essential

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L’amuse Bouche

$$$ Fodor's choice

One of Malvern’s best restaurants, L’amuse Bouche specializes in French cuisine with a contemporary English edge. Start with the Severn and Wye Valley smoked salmon before sampling the Herefordshire fillet of beef or the twice-baked mature Godminster Cheddar soufflé. It also does a very good afternoon tea for two for £40. The restaurant is part of the Cotford Hotel; if you feel like making a night of it, the pleasantly traditional rooms start at £150 for a double.

Purnell’s

$$$$ | City Centre Fodor's choice

Business moguls and sophisticated foodies alike can be found sampling an aperitif in a comfy armchair before moving to the sleek, slate-floor dining room at this establishment run by a Michelin-starred chef. Located in a Victorian terracotta and redbrick building, this is where chef Glyn Purnell creates his adventurous modern British fare. In addition to a few à la carte options, you can choose from a couple of different, whole-table tasting menus, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. The "Purnell’s Journey" option includes haddock and eggs served with cornflakes, alongside monkfish masala. Chef Purnell is also finally turning his hand to vegan cooking and he also runs a bistro and cocktail bar (Purnell’s Bistro and Ginger’s Bar) on Newhall Street, which is a good deal more affordable. Prices at lunchtime are half what they are in the evening.

55 Cornwall St., Birmingham, Birmingham, B3 2DH, England
0121-212–9799
Known For
  • innovative take on British cooking, including some impressive tasting menus
  • tables booked up two months in advance
  • affordable lunchtime prices
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch Tues.

Pushkar

$$ | City Centre Fodor's choice

A vogueish dining room is the perfect setting for the inventive Punjabi cuisine at this popular curry palace and cocktail bar on bustling Broad Street. White linen tablecloths and accents of gold and amber create a plush dining setting, and the food doesn’t disappoint either. Try the spinach and prune cakes to start or the chef’s selection of five appetizers, the Pushkar Panorama, if you want to to try some unexpected flavors. Your server will guide you on the main, depending on how spicy you like things—the house specialty Tariwala Murgh is a good medium-spiced option and the buttered naan is heavenly. For dessert, try the Gajar Ka Halwa Tart, a bed of grated carrots with condensed milk and spices and a side of pistachio ice cream.

245 Broad St., Birmingham, Birmingham, B1 2HQ, England
0121-643–7978
Known For
  • good cocktail menu
  • independent curry restaurant in a sea of chains
  • late-night dinner service
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch

Rose & Crown

$$ Fodor's choice

Plain wood floorboards, comfy sofas, sturdy wooden tables, and solidly good food and drink set the tone at this contemporary gastro-pub with rooms on the town’s main square. It’s popular with locals, and the owners take pride in offering seasonal food with a focus on sustainability that mixes British and international influences with only the best ingredients. It has a good area for outdoor dining too. There are moderately priced bedrooms that provide stylish lodging in the pub and across the lane.

Simpsons

$$$$ | Edgbaston Fodor's choice

This bright and modern restaurant with rooms housed in a gleaming Georgian villa is known for its French-influenced cuisine with resolutely British ingredients. The assured and welcoming service makes it easy to savor specialties such as Aberdeenshire beef bavette and cheek or quail with elderberries and parsley, which have secured its Michelin star since 1999. A mile south of the city center, it's an excellent dining choice and has won accolates for its plant-based approach to cooking, too.

The Beefy Boys

$ Fodor's choice

There's a bit of buzz about the food scene in Hereford at the moment, with lots of restaurants using some of the region's bountiful produce to turn out delicious dishes. This spot in the regenerated Old Market area is leading the march, with much thanks to one of Herefordshire's most prized assets that makes frequent appearances on the menu: Hereford beef. The burgers are big and messy but very tasty. The cool diner vibe, with leather booths and low-slung lighting, along with a menu of boozy milkshakes and a cracking playlist, make this a place people want to be.

The Kingmaker by Glynn Purnell

$$ Fodor's choice

Open for dinner service six days a week, this restaurant, set up under the watchful eye of Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell (also known as the "Yummy Brummy") is located within the Delta Hotel Warwick. Fine dining dishes are served in the large dining room, with no shortage of surprise twists—think beef rendang with scorched lime.

The Townhouse

$$ Fodor's choice

Theatergoers tucking into an early supper to the strains of the piano in the bar, grandmothers enjoying afternoon tea, and couples lingering over candlelit suppers can all happily be found at this restaurant with rooms, which is part of the Brakspear Brewery. Chefs source the best ingredients locally where possible and serve up dishes such as oven-roasted duck breast and whole grilled plaice. There is also a good value pre-theater menu (£15 for two courses and a glass of wine for £3.50), which even includes steak.

The Walrus

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Run by chef couple Ben and Carla, half the excitement here lies in the ever-changing menu, which is genuinely committed to using local and seasonal produce. All the vegetables come from the restaurant's walled garden in nearby Ford, and the resulting dishes are impressive. Set menus make the price easier to swallow.

Albion Inn

$

You feel as if you’re stepping back in time at this Victorian pub; the posters, advertisements, flags, and curios tell you the idiosyncratic landlord keeps it as it would have been during World War I. The candlelit restaurant forms one of the three snug rooms and, unsurprisingly, serves traditional fare such as lamb’s liver, corned beef hash, and gammon (thick-sliced ham) with pease pudding. You can stay overnight here as well.

B:Eats

$

Located on Birmingham's revamped Centenary Square, this laid-back café/restaurant in Symphony Hall puts you right in the heart of the city's cultural action. Portions are huge, and options like buttermilk fried chicken wings and sticky maple fried chicken are served with healthy-sized Brummie bacon cakes. Open for lunch and pre-concert dining, as well as food and drinks, it also hosts intimate gigs.

Chez Jules

$$

Once a fire station, this bustling bistro is now unashamedly French and rustic, with red-and-white-check tablecloths and a menu chalked up on the blackboard. Start perhaps with some moules marinières (mussels cooked in a white-wine-and-onion sauce) or French onion soup, followed by grilled sea bass or a classic rib-eye steak with Café du Paris butter. The two-course, prix-fixe menu is a great value at £16.95.

Clarendon Arms

$

A location close to Kenilworth Castle and some good hand-pulled ales helps make this pub a nice spot for lunch. You can order home-cooked food, including steaks and grills from the bar or the ever-classic fish-and-chips. Another option is to sample more upmarket fare with an international slant at the next-door Harrington’s on the Hill restaurant, under the same management.

Hathaway Tea Rooms

$

For the perfect Stratford-upon-Avon break, duck into the quaint Hathaway Tea Rooms, housed in a 17th-century building on the High Street. These tea rooms are reputedly the oldest in Stratford and serve a selection of tea, scones, and sandwiches, or you can go all out and get one of the generous afternoon teas. The decor is slightly tired, and it's not the best afternoon tea you will have but the service is first-rate and it is still rather quaint.

19 High St., Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6AU, England
01789-264–022
Known For
  • quintessential afternoon tea
  • tasty scones
  • wide variety of teas and preserves to take home

Hussain's

$$

The luxuriant marigolds in the window might draw you in, but locals will tell you it's the Indian dishes that are the real appeal here. The extensive menu lists plenty of balti and rogan josh choices; for a little less heat, try the tandoori chicken with mild spices, cream, ground almonds, and mixed fruits, or increase the heat a bit with jhinga bhuna (king-size prawns in a spicy tomato sauce with onions, green peppers, and coriander). Wash it all down with Cobra draft beer.

6A Chapel St., Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6EP, England
01789-267506
Known For
  • range of tandoori specialties
  • local curry-house atmosphere
  • prompt, friendly service
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch Mon.–Wed.

Itihaas

$$ | City Centre

Birmingham has some of the country’s finest Indian restaurants, and this is one of the best in the city. The cooking concentrates on north Indian dishes like koyla murgh (chicken marinated in yogurt and seared over charcoal) and hara bhara gosht (a casserole of lamb cooked with garlic, chili, and spinach). The decor is traditional and colonial; potted palms and portraits rub shoulders with Raj-style antiques. The restaurant also has a second outlet in the food court at Selfridge’s.

18 Fleet St., Birmingham, Birmingham, B3 1JL, England
0121-212–3383
Known For
  • delicious Indian food
  • colonial-style decor
  • tasty tandoori starters
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch

Le Bistrot Pierre

$$

There's always a satisfied hum in the air at this large, modern, and bustling bistro, part of a small chain, that’s close to the river. It’s French and the menu makes that known; olives from Provence, sausage from the Beaujolais region, pâtés, mussels in a Roquefort sauce, beef bourguignon, and rustic French cheeses all appear. Croque monsieur (toasted ham and cheese sandwich) is a popular lunchtime dish. Vegetarians and kids are well catered for, and the service is amicable and attentive.

Restaurant Severn

$$

At this discreet restaurant set back from the main road in the center of Ironbridge, the concept is simple: locally sourced produce and modern techniques are combined to serve up a twist of British classics and European favorites. Start with the chicken liver parfait with gingerbread and cherry compote, before moving on to the wild mushroom risotto. Round off your meal with a selection of local cheeses, washed down with the wonderful wine on offer. The set menu (£32 for two courses, £39 for 3 courses) is reasonably priced.

Rhubarb at Draper's Hall

$$$

The dark-wood paneling, antique furniture, and intimate lighting of this 16th-century hall make this a distinctive dining spot for modern British cuisine. You might try the loin of Rhug Estate pheasant breast or loin of halibut. For dessert, the white chocolate mousse or rum creme caramel are excellent. The restaurant also has six gorgeous guest bedrooms if you wish to stay the night.

Shabab’s

$

This stalwart of the Birmingham curry scene is something of a local institution, serving up impressive balti since 1987. Tradition dictates that proper balti must be eaten from the same dish it is cooked in, and Shabab's long history guarantees a lot of flavor in its dishes.

163–165 Ladypool Rd., Birmingham, Birmingham, B12 8LQ, England
0121-440–2893
Known For
  • traditional lamb balti
  • BYOB policy
  • spices galore

Sorrento

$$

Family run, this Italian restaurant takes a respectable, old-fashioned approach to service. The menu of traditional favorites is cooked from family recipes and includes main dishes such as veal sirloin grilled with rosemary and garlic butter and black linguine with crab-claw meat and scallops. There’s also a hearty risotto of the day. Upon arrival, sip an aperitif in the lounge before being escorted to your table for a silver-service, white-tablecloth meal. Pre-theater dinners are good value.

8 Ely St., Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6LW, England
01789-297999
Known For
  • alfresco dining in summer
  • family restaurant for over 30 years
  • old-fashioned table service
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon.

The Bookshop

$$

One of the most exciting restaurants in Hereford (but not an actual bookstore), you can browse the nice selection of books while you kick back for a leisurely brunch or enjoy a long afternoon with great food and drinks in a hip atmosphere. Serving modern British food, the Sunday roasts have become a must for locals. The laid-back yard, shared with the burger joint and pizza place next door, is one of the city's coolest hangouts.

The Cliffe at Dinham

$$

Although there are lovely rooms in this 1850s redbrick inn near Ludlow Castle, the main draw is the food. The dining room serves good quality local dishes, but what really makes the modern British menu stand-out are its special evenings, such as Fish Night, in which fresh oysters and langoustines are cooked to perfection.

The Dirty Duck/The Black Swan

$$

The only pub in Britain to be licensed under two names (the more informal one came courtesy of American GIs who were stationed here during World War II), this is one of Stratford's most celebrated and consistently rated pubs, attracting actors since the 18th-century days of thespian David Garrick. Along with your pint of bitter, you can choose from the extensive pub-grub menu of fish-and-chips, steaks, burgers, and grills; there are also good-value light bites. Now part of the well-established Greene King Inns family, the biggest draw here is the lovely veranda that overlooks the theaters and the river.

The Opposition

$$

Hearty, warming meals are offered at this informal, family-style restaurant in a 16th-century building on the main dining street near the theaters. The English and international dishes win praise from the locals. There’s a good range of light options and fixed-price menus as well. Make reservations a month ahead in summer.

13 Sheep St., Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6EF, England
01789-269--980
Known For
  • historical setting
  • plenty of vegetarian and healthy options
  • summertime crowds
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No lunch Mon.

The Vintner

$$

The imaginative, bistro-inspired menu varies each day at this café and wine bar set in a 15th-century building. Tempting British and European-style dishes include confit leg of duck bigarade with dauphinoise potatoes and seared beef fillet Stroganoff. To dine before curtain time, arrive early or make a reservation. The building, largely unaltered since the late 1400s, has lovely flagstone floors and oak beams.

4 and 5 Sheep St., Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6EF, England
01789-297259
Known For
  • inventive pretheater menu
  • historic setting
  • excellent wine list