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Restaurants in Cheltenham: 25 of the tastiest places to go

PUBLISHED: 16:04 17 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:34 17 August 2018

Enjoy a fantastic feast at The Clarence Social

Enjoy a fantastic feast at The Clarence Social

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If you’re a local looking to try somewhere new or you’re visiting the regency town on holiday, Cheltenham has some of the best restaurants in the Cotswolds. We’ve picked 25 restaurants for you to try...

1. The Ox, Cambray Place

Steak is the name of the game at The Ox; from delicious small plates, to tasty charcuterie boards, the restaurant is a must-visit for meat lovers. Inside, the eclectic décor, with a trendy cocktail bar to welcome guests, sets the scene for a relaxed dining environment.

We recommend: At £26, the fillet steak may not be the cheapest item on the menu. However, The Ox cook their steak to perfection and with triple-cooked chips and a creamy béarnaise sauce to accompany it, it’s worth splashing out on. Also, don’t miss the early bird special served Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm to 7pm which includes a 6oz rump steak, fries and béarnaise or peppercorn sauce plus a glass of house wine all for £15. Booking recommended.

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2. The White Spoon, Well Walk

Christopher White, a former culinary artist at Heston Blumenthal’s prestigious Fat Duck, opened the top-notch White Spoon in Cheltenham with the British themed menu becoming a hit with local diners. Expect delectable cuisine, attentive service and fine wines.

We recommend: Arrive for lunch on a Sunday and the White Spoon will serve up one of the best roast dinners to be found in Cheltenham.

3. Clarence Social, Clarence Parade

The Clarence Social has gained a fantastic reputation for its vibrant atmosphere, chic décor and being the place to eat whatever the time of day. Whether you’re craving avocado with scrambled eggs in the morning or a cosy dinner for two in the evening, the versatile venue, spread across three floors, caters to all. Also for lovers of gin, Clarence Social offers eight kinds for you to try!

We recommend: For those after a location to celebrate a special occasion, look no further than Clarence Social. It exudes sophistication, without being pretentious, making it ideal for drinks and dinner in style.

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4. East India Café, Promenade

The East India Café, on the Promenade, describes its dishes as ‘fashionable Anglo Indian food’ and was a finalist in the Restaurant of the Year category in the 2017 Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards. Expect fresh ingredients and tasty, healthy dishes. The restaurant is full of colonial antiques and vintage art, creating a contemporary yet quirky setting to enjoy your meal.

We recommend: If you’re on a date night with your significant other, the tasting menu - with seven delicious courses for £55.55 - is an indulgent treat.

5. Prithvi, Bath Road

For those who appreciate the finer things in life, this curry house is a must-go. Prithvi has a reputation for polished Indian cuisine and enhanced interpretations of your favourite classics. It is rated as one of the top restaurants in Cheltenham on Trip Advisor so make sure to ring ahead and book to avoid disappointment.

We recommend: The Newent chicken with mangetout, whole coriander and anise sauce sounds delicious. If you can squeeze in pudding, try the decadent chocolate delice with coffee cream and orange puree.

6. The County Kitchen, Grosvenor Street

The County Kitchen has rapidly gained a reputation as a top Cheltenham spot for food especially after starting evening dining on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant is small, intimate and the menu is carefully crafted. With fish, meat and vegetarian options on offer, there’s a dish to suit all tastes.

We recommend: We are partial to a vegetarian option on the odd occasion if it’s as tempting as the County Kitchen’s vegetarian lasagne with sweet potato, ricotta and spinach.

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7. No 131, The Promenade

Located in an elegant Georgian townhouse in the middle of the Montpellier area, No 131 is a lively spot on Cheltenham’s Promenade perfect for catching up over cocktails and dinner. Relax in the beautiful surroundings of the restaurant, indulge in the fine wines or carefully crafted cocktails and sample the delights of the menu brimming with European-influenced dishes.

We recommend: The menu changes regularly to utilise the freshest, seasonal produce. The classic British dishes are what we go back for; from traditional plates such as the decadent Beef Wellington alongside seasonal vegetables to a fresh slice of fish.

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8. Lumiere, Clarence Parade

Winner of ‘Restaurant of the Year’ at the Cotswold Life Food and Drink Awards 2015, Lumiere has a passion for creating excellent British food packed with bold flavours. The food always looks and tastes spectacular and they have a knowledgeable team on hand to ensure a memorable fine-dining experience.

We recommend: Dishes include creations such as Cornish monkfish with pork cheek, leeks, cauliflower and coco beans.

9. Le Champignon Sauvage, Suffolk Road

This two Michelin starred restaurant has been running since 1987 and with its reputation for exceptional French cuisine, relaxed dining atmosphere and award-winning chef David Everitt-Matthias, whose awards include Chef of the Year in the 2017 Cotswold Life Food and Drink Awards, is it any wonder? Besides that, any restaurant that bans the use of mobile phones at the dining table is a winner in our books!

We recommend: The menu is ever-changing with the seasons. We’ve tried the butter poached lobster, Jerusalem artichoke, pear and sorrel – it was delicious.

10. Siam Smile, Suffolk Road

Fans of Thai and Malaysian cuisine should head to Siam Smile. The dishes are consistently fresh as each meal is made-to-order, and the atmosphere inside is always welcoming thanks to the owner Chob and her team. Overall, it’s a great eatery to catch up with friends over a hot and tasty Asian supper.

We recommend: Lab ped is a moresome dish that we return to time and time again. It contains succulent duck breast, galangal root and fresh coriander, served with roasted rice powder and crushed chilli.

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11. Purslane, Rodney Road

Situated in the heart of town, Purslane is an independent restaurant, popular with the fish-lovers of Cheltenham, that boasts a reputation for flavoursome dishes. Purslane’s ingredients are sourced from inshore fishermen who catch and land their trawl in one day – so you’re safe in the knowledge your supper is sustainably fished and super fresh.

We recommend: The menu continuously changes throughout the year but we particularly enjoyed the hand-dived scallops from the December menu.

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12. Bhoomi, Suffolk Road

Local diners and those visiting the town are spoilt for choice when it comes to delectable Indian cuisine, and one of our favourites for a curry has to be Bhoomi. Fresh and succulent ingredients, stunning flavours and presented beautifully, expect authentic south Indian cooking. All the dishes are perfectly accompanied with light, fluffy steamed or lemon rice. The staff are attentive and knowledgeable, and it all makes for a stylish dining experience you’re unlikely to forget.

We recommend: Try the five course tasting menu, or six if you include the tasty pre-starter, to really enjoy the evening. An accompanying flight of wine perfectly complements the courses.

13. Koj, Regent Street

Having proved extremely popular as a pop up, Koj is here to stay. Run by MasterChef finalist Andrew Kojima, the restaurant has a tongue-in-cheek motto #NoSushi, aiming to prove that there’s more to Japanese cuisine than raw fish. For Saturday lunch time, diners can opt for flavoursome bowls of ramen or donburi bowls while in the evening there are plenty of grazing dishes to share among your party and appreciate authentic Japanese dining. The Koj Fried Chicken, or ‘kara-age’ as the Japanese say, is a must-order.

We recommend: Alongside the delicious dishes, our winner of Newcomer of the Year at the 2018 Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards also boasts an extensive drinks menu packed with Japanese beers (it’s not just a bottle of Asahi here), creative cocktails and Japanese sake.

14. Daphne Restaurant, Crescent Place

This family-run Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant offers hungry diners freshly cooked, traditional dishes crafted with skill and passion, and prepared from scratch. Enjoy a warm, friendly welcome in Daphne’s, housed in a gorgeous regency style building, and an elegant dining experience. The menu is extensive including tasty mixed meze to begin and dishes of carefully cooked meats packed full of flavour.

We recommend: The Turkish Theme Night is a regular event at Daphne’s which includes a three course meal and belly dance show for £19.95. Visit the website for upcoming events.

15. L’Artisan, Clarence Street

For a slice of authentic French dining in the heart of Cheltenham, look no further than L’Artisan. With wafts of homemade crusty bread and aromas of delicious red wine, you will be transported to a small French village just over the Channel. Yves and Elisabeth Ogrodzki provide an unforgettable experience; with dishes that are a ‘work of art, appealing to the eyes and the nose as well as the taste buds’. This gorgeous, intimate restaurant offers a warm welcome and attentive service alongside the truly tempting dishes.

We recommend: Whether you opt for the melt-in-the-mouth fillet steak or a slice of fish, you’ll be delighted with L’Artisan’s tasty menu of French classics.

16. KIBOUsushi, Regent Street

Finalist in the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ at the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards 2018, the menu at KIBOUsushi is a fantastic selection of sushi, ramen, tasty sharing plates and hot Japanese favourites, with diners (including us) raving about their delicious dishes. The staff are knowledgeable and attentive, and are happy to offer advice if you’re undecided on what to eat. Inside KIBOU is a cosy, snug sort of place and booking is advised as it tends to fill up quickly.

We recommend: If you’re craving sushi, KIBOUsushi is the place to go – and people travel from far and wide, to sample the great choice of freshly, handmade sushi.

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17. The Suffolk Kitchen, Suffolk Parade

Nestled in the heart of the trendy Suffolks, The Suffolk Kitchen is a friendly spot, with a relaxed, cosy atmosphere. The menu is inspired by seasonal British food, and this is reflected in the hearty Full English breakfasts, delectable fillet steaks and the slow braised pork belly with textures of cauliflower, honey roast root vegetables and pork reduction. This restaurant is perfect for brunch with friends or an intimate dinner with a partner in the evening.

We recommend: Keep an eye out for the restaurant’s much-loved wine tasting suppers: three courses of delicious food alongside Prosecco on arrival and five types of carefully selected wine from around the world.

18. The Coconut Tree, St Pauls Road

The Coconut Tree is a more recent addition to Cheltenham’s restaurant scene, and is already creating a stir among locals. Claiming to bring authentic Sri Lankan street food to the town, diners can expect freshly cooked, rich and spicy tapas-style dishes packed full of flavour. Alongside the delicious dishes on the menu, sample the artisan beers or an exotic cocktail. With a lively, vibrant atmosphere, and a DJ playing music on the weekends, you’ll be transported to somewhere far away with your drink in hand!

We recommend: Waiters are on hand to ensure you choose dishes that you fancy. A selection of smaller and larger plates to share between your party is the perfect way to try many tastes of Sri Lanka.

19. The Daffodil, Suffolk Parade

Housed in a magnificent 1920s cinema and complete with sweeping staircase and art deco features, The Daffodil in the Suffolks oozes Hollywood glamour. From the intimate cocktail bar upstairs to the grand dining hall, it feels likes a treat to be dining here. There’s impeccable service, classic dishes with an inventive twist and you can end the evening upstairs in the cocktail bar with a bottle of fizz to share or a tasty concoction carefully crafted by the talented mixologists.

We recommend: If a three course affair is what you’re after, try the twice baked cheese soufflé with fresh chives and truffle oil to start. A melt-in-the-mouth treat, this dish alone is worth a visit to The Daffodil!

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20. Petit Coco, Bath Street

The classic French-style bistro, Petit Coco, on Bath Street has gained a great reputation through word-of-mouth and many online accolades. You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to Paris as you settle down by candle light in the intimate and stylishly decorated restaurant. Francophile foodies can enjoy entrées of garlic, chilli and parsley prawns or crêpe aux champignons (mushroom crêpe) and mains including coq au vin, aubergine and lentil gratin or opt for the poisson du jour if you’re a seafood lover.

We recommend: We have it on good authority that the comté cheese soufflé is a delectable starter and it’s got to be crème brulee for dessert.

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21. Indian Brasserie, Bath Road

Although the Indian Brasserie has adapted their menu to focus on creating healthier meals, as well as offering gluten-free dishes, diners can still expect flavoursome and authentic Southern Indian, Balti and Tandoori fare. The restaurant is cosy and intimate with modern interiors and attentive service, making a great setting for whether you’re dining in a large party or enjoying a romantic dinner for two.

We recommend: We would choose their melt-in-the-mouth lamb in our curry or opt for the beautifully cooked Goan seabass with fresh tenderstem broccoli.

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22. The Mayflower Restaurant, Clarence Street

Opened in Cheltenham in 1982, The Mayflower Restaurant on Clarence Street has been a firm fixture on the town’s foodie map for over 30 years. The friendly, family-run restaurant strives to bring their hungry diners traditional Chinese dishes cooked following original family recipes, as well as introducing new dishes to try. Service is warm and attentive, with many customers returning again and again.

We recommend: If you’re dining with a group, we recommend ordering the banquet menu. Sample a selection of The Mayflower’s popular dishes including the flavoursome crispy aromatic duck and pancakes, Mandarin spare ribs and crispy fried shredded beef.

23. Montpellier Bar & Grill, Montpellier Terrace

Montpellier Bar & Grill is already causing a stir, with diners flocking to try the grilled fare and delicious cocktails at the recently opened restaurant. Offering the ‘ultimate grill experience’, the menu allows diners to build their own meal with plenty of meat dishes and accompaniments to try. Think spicy, marinated chicken, flame grilled burgers in brioche buns and prime steaks with sides including Caribbean spicy rice, corn on the cob and fries.

We recommend: With stylish interiors, including industrial lighting, wood panelling and a nod to Cheltenham’s racing heritage, the Montpellier Bar & Grill is a great setting for a relaxed lunch or evening dinner – with a cocktail to hand of course.

24. Olive Albero Ristorante, Albion Street

Hidden on the ring road behind Marks & Spencers on the High Street, Olive Albero Ristorante is worth searching for. The family-run restaurant prides itself on a menu full of rustic, age-old Italian recipe dishes using fresh, local produce. Start with olives and a bread basket with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin oil before devouring one of the tasty pastas or topping filled pizzas.

We recommend: The lunchtime special served at Olive Albero Ristorante is great value for money – you can enjoy any pasta or risotto dish, or pizza, for £5.99.

25. Marinades, 56 High Street

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the extensive a la carte menu served at the family-run, relaxed Caribbean restaurant at the top of Cheltenham’s High Street. Signature dishes include curried goat, jambalaya and guava glazed pork, all packed with plenty of authentic flavour. Make sure to leave room for a pud – our go-to is Marinades’ homemade rum and toffee bananas served hot with vanilla ice cream.

We recommend: Fancy dinner out but on a budget? The mid-week early evening Caribbean menu, available Tuesday to Thursday 6-8pm and Friday 6-7.30pm, offers two courses from just £9.95 per person.

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