Calling all brunch hunters, pizza lovers, fine food enthusiasts, street food fanatics, vegetarians, ice cream aficionados, pre-theatre diners and all-round food lovers! Gastronomically speaking, Bristol is currently one of the most exciting cities in the country and this year we’ve had all sorts of folk recommending places to eat out in the city in our weekly #FoodFriday blogs - from craft beer brewers to actors, food bloggers to critically acclaimed chefs, an Olympic gymnast to food tour founders and hot air balloonists.

Now as 2017 draws to a close, we take a look back over the blogs to bring you the most popular places to eat in Bristol as recommended by our gastro-minded Food Fridayers…

And the winner is…

SouKitchen

Our #FoodFriday contributors have been singing from the rooftops about this place and its Middle Eastern dishes – the spicy Shashouka in particular. SouKitchen has two sites – one in Southville and one in Clifton, both work perfectly for twinkly evening meals with friends, speedy lunches or lazy, lingering breakfasts. Generous in portion sizes as well as taste, SouKitchen creates dishes with interesting flavours, such as the melt-in-your-mouth Persian fish curry. There are also plenty of exciting options for vegetarian and vegan diners. The staff are lovely, the setting colourful and relaxed and it’s brilliant value for money.

Souk kitchen

Image - Souk Kitchen

2nd place...

The Thali Café

The Thali Café does a fine job of bringing authentic flavours of real India to Bristol. If you’re after somewhere with a restaurant-feel but more laid-back than fine dining, it’s a perfect midway option. Go for brunch at weekends and grab a masala dosa as big as the table with a mango lassi or chai tea. Their Goan fish curry, veggie Thoran, Dhals and bondas are also delightful. With a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, it’s a great place to bring the family and you can eat like a king for a modest sum (and pay with Bristol Pounds!) Regulars should invest in one of their metal ‘tiffin’ carriers, their neat, eco takeaway system which you can fill up to order from a choice of five Thali Cafés in the city.

Thali cafe

Image - Thali Café

Joint 3rd place...

The Ox

The Ox never fails to impress and is ideal for a special treat or date night. Choose from two locations - The Ox Clifton, or The Ox Corn Street. Inside, the décor is cosy and sophisticated, think prohibition elegance - oak panels, ox blood leather seats and murals with dim lighting, making it feel like you’re entering a secret dining society, or one of their speakeasy cocktail bars.  The Ox does meat extremely well, serving steak that’s immaculately cooked alongside a blinding wine list and killer cocktails. It’s also a great spot for a Sunday Roast; their roast beef rib-eye, carrot purée, Yorkshire pudding and horseradish is fantastic.

The Ox

Image - The Ox

Poco Tapas Bar

If you find yourself exploring Stokes Croft, Poco is an absolute must.  The intimate tapas bar has a lovely atmosphere, topped off with an open kitchen so you can watch your food being made right before your eyes. The seasonal menu is influenced by the owner’s travels and is all about local, organic, seasonal tapas. Their sustainable ethos has won them a lot of awards and deservedly so. All the options are listed on a big blackboard and there's new dishes every day. They’ve got scrumptious sourdough, amazing cocktails and they also take Bristol Pounds. Make sure you check out the street art scattered throughout the area and the live music on offer at The Canteen, just across the road.

Swoon

There is a reason why Swoon was recently voted the best ice-cream in the UK.  Their authentic Italian gelato is made in-house and their flavours change on a regular basis, depending on which ingredients are in season. A fun and lively gelato joint, there are all sorts of goodies for you to grab and go or sit in and try other than gelato in a tub - swoondaes, gelato on a stick, macaroons and gelato cakes - all made the traditional way using high quality ingredients which are all shipped over from Italy.  What’s more, gelato tastes creamier than ice cream, yet has around 50% less fat…so what’s stopping you?! Swoon are open quite late, so you can follow up dinner with a few scoops of the city's best gelato!

Swoon Gelato

Image - Swoon Gelato

Hart’s Bakery

A charming, friendly and wondrous artisan bakery, hidden under the Victorian archways of Temple Meads Railway Station. The team here specialise in sourdough and handmade pastries and there’s a continually changing selection of cakes - try sticky ginger cakes, custard tarts, brownies and buns the size of your head, all washed down with a delicious espresso. The coffee is just as good as their baking, and that is saying something!

Joint 4th place...

Pinkmans

One of the top twenty-five bakeries in the UK, everything is baked throughout the day in open view. Famous for its pastries and ‘sourdoughnuts’, Pinkmans also do sensational breads, mouth-watering Viennoiseries, ‘bostocks’ (a twice-baked buttery brioche, with orange liqueur, frangipane and almonds) and incredible pizzas. Go with time to spare – you’ll spend ages ogling the delights on offer, which are like little works of art.

Pinkmans

Image - Pinkmans

The Lido

A day here feels like a mini holiday. Follow up a swim, sauna, steam and spa with a long feasting session in the poolside restaurant - the Wood Roast Scallop starter is divine. There’s also a tantalising tapas menu for those that want something less fancy.

Lido bristol

Image - Lido Bristol

Spicer & Cole

There are 3 of these independent cafés in Bristol – Clifton VillageGloucester Road and Queen Square, all perfectly positioned for a pick-me-up after a morning’s shopping or sightseeing in the city. Counters overflow with homemade cakespastries and tarts - making it impossible to resist a cheeky treat accompanied by a scrumptious cup of Joe.

Wild Beer at Wapping Wharf

Wild Beer’s menu gives a serious nod to their Harbourside location. If you’re not a massive fan of the traditional ‘English’ offering of battered cod and chunky chips, this is the place for you. The spiced panko-coated, creamy white fish goes fabulously well with one of their sour beers.  A great spot to indulge a taste for hops alongside a well-considered gin list.

Wapping wharf wild beer

Image - Wild Beer at Wapping Wharf, credit Jon Craig

Bell’s Diner

While Bristol’s foodie scene expands at an exponential rate, there are a few places which have been delivering exceptional food for years now. Bell’s Diner is one of them. A bona fide Bristol institution – here you’ll find wonderful food, passionately prepared, and not at all pretentious.

Bravas

When it comes to tapas, this is the place to go. Everyone else knows it too – the place is packed night after night. A relaxed, authentic Spanish style tapas bar, every mouthful of each dish is pure heaven. Try the deep fried aubergine with molasses or mussels with white wine and aioli – absolutely scrummy!

Café Kino

Delicious, ethically-sourced, wholesome vegan food in the heart of Stokes Croft. The spicy Kino burger and fries for under a tenner is a bargain and delicious to boot. Vegan or not, this is a brilliant place for a meal or just a quick coffee. Local art hangs on the walls and there’s a continuously changing event programme including life drawing and music.

Related

The Ox Corn Street
Restaurant
The Ox

The Ox is a bastion of simple, top notch, British fayre. Situated in the heart of the Old City, you’ll find a menu packed with the choicest cuts of prime steak and tasty, meaty morsels.

The Ox Clifton
Restaurant
The Ox Clifton

The Ox Clifton offers a bastion of simple, top notch, British fayre, cooked to impeccable standards.

The Canteen
Bar
The Canteen

Nestled in the belly of Hamilton House in the thriving mix of Stokes Croft, Canteen brings you good things like affordable home-cooked food, free live music every night, space for local art and a place to meet, plot and play.

Swoon
Café
Swoon

Authentic artisan gelato bar with a dash of Italian swagger and style. Handmade treats including sorbetti, gelato sticks and individual gelato monoporzioni. Providing locally roasted coffee and baked pastries, hot and cold drinks.

Pinkmans
Café
Pinkmans

Bakery serving breakfast, lunch, salads, sandwiches, cakes & tarts, sourdough pizza, fully licensed.

The Lido Restaurant
Restaurant
Clifton Lido food and pool

Critically-acclaimed restaurant overlooking The Lido in the Clifton area