And the Top 50 Gastropubs 2020 are…
This year’s competition for gastropub greatness has been hotter than a freshly fried, triple-cooked chip. After much scoffing, quaffing and deliberating the UK’s top foodies and pub pros have agreed on the best of the best – and NINE of the West Country’s pubs feature in The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards (that’s one more than last year – yippee!).
Organised by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, The Top 50 Gastropub shortlist really matters in the foodie pub world, as it celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of the great British pub that serves awesome grub. The top spot was taken by The Harwood Arms in Fulham, but here are the nine pubs in the South West that made the cut, each of them taking advantage of local, seasonal ingredients, offering outstanding plates of food in a relaxed, rural setting.
So if you’ve ever wondered: is there top gastropub near me? Read on…
The Pony and Trap, Chew Magna, Somerset (No. 9)
Run by brother and sister Josh and Holly Eggleton, may have held a Michelin star since 2011, but the place still feels like a country pub. Very much a field-to-fork experience with all fresh ingredients coming from just across the Chew Valley and the farmland around.
The Cornish Arms, Tavistock, Devon (No.16)
A thriving gastro pub in the heart of town, quietly going about its very brilliant business. Dishes are unpretentious and great value (hence it has a Bib Gourmand). I’ve not yet been, but this is one to put on the list.
The Mariners, Rock, Cornwall (No 23)
Local pub food with a Michelin starred chef twist is the name of the game, with one of the best water views in North Cornwall on the waterfront of the Camel Estuary. We know, we’ve been there.
The Swan, Bampton, Devon (No.31)
This unassuming-looking pub doesn’t have a hint of pretentiousness despite its many awards. It’s great for families (and their four-legged friends), looking for excellent, hearty food and drink with a traditional, cosy pub atmosphere. Read our review for the full lowdown.
St Tudy Inn, Bodmin, Cornwall (No. 33)
Headed up by director and executive chef Emily Scott, St Tudy Inn hits all the prime Cornish pub buttons – think open fire, pretty stone building, and rustic food made from local Cornish produce. The Inn also holds a Michelin Bib Gourmand reflecting its value for money. I’m sold – book me in for lunch, dinner and the Sunday special!
The Longs Arms, South Wraxall, nr Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts (No. 40)
Groaning under awards and numerous times a Michelin Bib Gourmand (including 2019), this beautiful country pub serves up trad British grub, all homemade and home-smoked. Meat is sourced from Aubrey Allen – an ethical, welfare friendly supplier – so that’s another big fat Muddy tick.
The White Post, Rimpton, Somerset/Dorset borders (No. 44)
Equidistant between Yeovil and Sherborne, it’s more of a restaurant than a pub (though there is a bar and some leather club chairs and sofas for loafing). Straddling two counties, you can go with a friend and one of you can sit in Dorset and the other in Somerset. Try the 10-course tasting menu or Sunday roasts with five or six different roasts and revel in the far-reaching views across the countryside. A big Muddy thumbs up.
The Cadeleigh Arms, Tiverton, Devon (No. 48)
Super rural, surrounded by cows, in the hills above the valley of the River Exe, Nicholas Hack and Tina King serve up lovingly prepared old school favourites with a modern twist; local, sustainable and excellent quality. Book us in now.
The Five Bells Inn, nr Exeter, Devon (No. 50)
Award-winning fine dining as well as trad pub classics in a sleepy Devon village a few miles outside the throbbing metropolis that is Exeter. Run by husband and wife team James and Charlie Garnham, with head chef Charlotte Vincent. Go girl! Read our review.