Ian Emery, animal lover and Project Manager for Bear Wood - Wild Place Project’s new multi-million pound brown bear exhibit - shares his #FoodFriday picks for those who have a bear-sized appetite!

Bear Wood and Bristol Zoo Project Manager, Ian Emery

Image credit: Bristol Zoo Gardens 

L'Osteria

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Italian food, and in Bristol you really can’t beat L’Osteria in Quaker Friars. The service is always pleasant and I’m sure staff love watching the reaction when they bring out a truly enormous pizza. Be brave and try to tackle one on your own! For those not in the mood for pizza I would highly recommend their Orecchiette di manzo al limone (pasta fresca, beef filet strips, sweet peppers, rocket, onions, garlic, mascarpone lemon sauce).

Saffron Mediterranean

I first sampled the exceptional mezze lunch menu at Saffron while looking for a quick stop in Clifton and was not disappointed. It's probably the best mezze I have tried, so I just had to come back and sample breakfast too (not on the same day I might add!). They do great breakfast classics (eggs Benedict, a full English, etc), but I opted for the Turkish Breakfast - sujuk, feta and Turkish style beans in a tomato sauce with sourdough bread. Utterly delicious.

Brunel Raj, Clifton

It's fair to say that Bristol has no shortage of good curry houses, but the one that tops my list has to be Brunel Raj in the heart of Clifton Village. This place has all the charm of a traditional, authentic curry house, and to top it off the food is outstanding. I honestly cannot recommend a favorite dish, as I’m always trying something new and am never disappointed.

The Mall Deli, Clifton

Now, I know what you’re thinking…Clifton again?! But I’m often based at Bristol Zoo Gardens, and when you love your job you tend to spend a lot of time there. For a quick lunch, The Mall Deli is my go-to. I usually opt for a deli box, which has a fantastic selection of savoury fillers (falafel, bhaji, pasty, etc) and a really varied, fresh choice of sides. If the sun is out, the adjacent park is a peaceful haven to enjoy it in.

The Brassmill

I found this good-sized pub restaurant while doing a training course in Keynsham. With half an hour to kill before my train home, I decided it would be rude not to enjoy a cheeky cider on the sun patio overlooking the Weston Cut canal where the River Chew meets the Avon. I didn’t have time to eat on my first visit, but having skimmed the menu packed with classic pub dishes, I knew I’d be heading back soon.

This Vintage Inns pub is only a short walk from Keynsham train station, which is less than a ten-minute journey from Temple Meads, making it an easy escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. With an excellent range of ales, cider and beers, The Brassmill is equally perfect for a summer meal al fresco or a cosy winter fireside dinner.

About the author

Ian is the Project Manager for Bristol Zoo and Wild Place Project, which this week opened its brand new Bear Wood exhibit on the outskirts of Bristol. Having spent the last 10 months immersed in an ancient woodland habitat where bears, wolves, lynx and wolverines roam, he is looking forward to taking a few weekends exploring his favourite eateries in Bristol again and more long walks with the dog. Finally, in case anyone asks “what’s a brown bear’s favourite treat?”, Ian can tell you it’s dates and honey!

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L'Osteria

L’Osteria is a local Italian restaurant serving simple good food in a cosy atmosphere. While some things have changed since 1999, the pizza’s are still perfect for sharing in an intimate surrounding.