Restaurants in Cheltenham: 25 of the tastiest places to go
PUBLISHED: 15:28 22 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:53 23 August 2019
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.
2. The Curry Corner, Fairview Road
Father and daughter duo Sam and Monrusha Krori celebrated the Curry Corner's 43rd anniversary in Cheltenham this year - and what a culinary journey it's been. Over the years, the Indian restaurant has featured on Gordon Ramsay's The F Word as Best Local Restaurant, won more than 25 awards, including 2 AA Rosettes and 'Chef of the Year' and 'Restaurant of the Year' at the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards.
We recommend: Utilising local produce is important to Sam and Monrusha and diners can expect plenty of that when perusing the menu. We adore the flavourful Gloucestershire bred Longhorn beef curry and Cotswold Lamb Shank Masala.
3. Marinades, 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.
4. 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.
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.
5. East India Café, Promenade
The East India Café, on the Promenade, describes its dishes as 'fashionable Anglo Indian food' and has won a number of awards including 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. Continue the night at East India Café's Memsahib Gin and Tea Bar, a few doors down on the Promenade.
6. Prithvi, No.38 The Park
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 A La carte menu changes regularly to utilise seasonal ingredients but we love to sound of the Welsh lamb, ox tongue, curried lentils, pakora, wild orange curry on the current menu.
7. Ginger & Garlic, High Street
Ginger & Garlic has quickly garnered a reputation for its deliciously authentic and great value Asian food, especially its Korean dishes. The restaurant itself is laidback and atmospheric - and you're unlikely to nab a table unless you book in advance. Oh, before we forget, there's a private karaoke room at the back!
We recommend: A bibimbap, an authentic Korean rice dish, is always our go-to. Served in a hot stone bowl, sticky white rice is topped with seasonal vegetables, Gochujang sauce, a fried egg and a choice of beef bulgogi, eel, chilli chicken, mixed seafood, pork or tofu and kimchi.
8. Lumiere, Clarence Parade
The award-winning, 3AA Rosette - and winner of Restaurant of the Year at the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards 2019 - 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: The six or nine course tasting menu gives diners the opportunity to sample a number of chef Jon Howe's innovative dishes.
9. 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 Cornish Skate Wing or Lock Duart Salmon Fishcake.
10. Le Champignon Sauvage, Suffolk Road
This 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?
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.
11. Bar & Wok, High Street
At Bar & Wok, dining is a fuss-free, informal affair and diners are made to feel at home as soon as they walk through the door. The menu is packed with authentic Oriental dishes; from a vast selection of small plates to stir fried noodles, freshly barbecued meats and homemade curries. Although you'll leave feeling full to the brim, we never miss ordering one of the starter platters before our mains (you won't regret it).
We recommend: A stone throw's from the Brewery Quarter, it's the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before heading to the cinema or for a game of bowling or round of mini golf.
12. Domaine 16, Regent Street
If an evening involving cheese and wine sounds right up your street, you won't be disappointed when you visit Domaine 16. The menu is every cheese lover's dream: think carefully curated cheese boards, cheese fondue and plenty of cheesy starters (including the delicious camembert fritters).
We recommend: It's got to be the cheese fondue. Served alongside white baguette, new potatoes and charcuterie (ordered separately), it's a wonderfully indulgent treat.
13. 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 restaurant to catch up with friends over a hot and tasty Asian supper.
We recommend: Lab ped is a moreish 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.
14. The Looking Glass, London Road
Although it's relatively new, the Looking Glass in Charlton Kings is already carving a reputation among the town's thriving food and drink scene. Head chef Leon Rock creates innovative, well-presented dishes that utilise fresh, locally-sourced produce - and the tasting menu is a great way to indulge in some of the most popular choices on the menu. Definitely a treat worth having!
We recommend: We were fans of the beef and chips - a rump, pan fried kale & foraged mushrooms and triple cooked chips. Yum!
15. 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 a previous A la carte menu.
16. Koj, Regent Street
Having proved extremely popular as a pop up, Koj is firm favourite among foodies in Cheltenham. 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. During lunch, 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.
17. 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. Booking is recommended.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. The Coconut Tree, St Pauls Road
Bringing authentic Sri Lankan street food to the town, diners can expect freshly cooked, rich and spicy tapas-style dishes packed full of flavour. Artisan beers or exotic cocktails are served alongside the delicious dishes on the menu. After a visit earlier this year, revered food critic Jay Rayner gave The Coconut Tree a thumbs up.
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 the many tastes of Sri Lanka.
21. 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!
22. 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.
23. Indian Brasserie, Bath Road
Although the Indian Brasserie has adapted their menu to focus on creating healthier meals, as well as being 100% gluten-free, 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.
24. 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.
25. Fire Station, St James Square
The aptly named restaurant and bar boasts industrial style, modern interiors, in a sympathetic fashion to its former days as a fire station. It's a fantastic venue for drinks - its one our favourite bars in Cheltenham after all - and it also serves fantastic food from breakfast through to dinner. The Hanger steak with chips and seasonal greens is our go-to.
We recommend: Bottomless brunch! Served every Saturday (10am-3pm) and Sunday (10am-1pm), enjoy two or three courses with unlimited Prosecco, belinis and mimosas. We're fans of the Eggs Royale with a side of their delicious hash browns.