Cambridgeshire’s food scene is blossoming. Having welcomed new eateries, established a handful of game-changers and kept long-standing favourites, diners are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing great places to eat and drink in the region. Here are our top picks to add to your culinary list of places to go and things to try this year.
Fresh from top Peterborough eatery Clarkes, local lad and self-declared food geek Lee Clarke has gone solo. His chic new restaurant in Priestgate has original 15th-century pillars, copper artwork, glittering lights, and a beautiful open kitchen where diners can witness the magic happen. Outside is a bespoke chef’s garden growing pea shoots, rosemary, garlic and thyme, an apple tree, raspberry beds and bursts of bright flowers.
This local favourite is now lovingly run by Michelin-star-trained chef Nick Marriott and businessman Oliver Swain. The classy decor nods to the pub’s nautical heritage, with ceiling beams made of 14th-century ship timbers adding to the building’s inviting character. This results in a warm atmosphere that’s ideal for fine dining and drinking. The Mermaid at Ellington is quickly creating a name for itself thanks to its contemporary and exiting menu of international cuisines.
Fondly known as ‘the restaurant on the river’, Galleria is one of the best loved eateries in Cambridge. Its enviable location at the foot of Magdalene Bridge, on the banks of the River Cam, means that this is a lovely spot in summer – the two riverside terraces are perfect for al fresco dining. Promising exquisite food, great drinks, attentive service and an ever-evolving menu, Galleria is somewhere you’ll want to visit again and again.
The White Pheasant
The White Pheasant in Fordham has put itself on the gastronomic map as a destination for fine food and seamless service. It’s the epitome of country dining and features an open fire, wooden floorboards and chic furniture. Having achieved two AA rosettes for its culinary excellence, the menu focuses on seasonal, British dishes that are carefully prepared by the talented kitchen team and served by attentive staff. The White Pheasant is one of the best-kept secrets in the area, so book yourself a table quickly before word spreads.
Fitzbillies first opened its doors on Trumpington Street in 1921 and has been famous for its ludicrously sticky Chelsea buns ever since. Since Alison Wright and Financial Times’ food writer Tim Hayward took over five years ago, this lively Cambridge has become and institution. It’s open all day for breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch, afternoon tea and, of course, cakes and is a popular hangout for locals and an unmissable destination for those visiting Cambridge.
The Crown Inn
Set among chocolate-box buildings with thatched roofs and glorious Cambridgeshire countryside sits the picturesque Crown Inn. Originally a saddlery, this Grade II listed building boasts a modern country style complete with soft lighting, feature walls and wooden furniture. The team’s ethos is to create a fine dining experience within a relaxed setting – and that’s exactly what they achieve. Personal service backed by a top chef and excellent food makes for a remarkable experience.
Quy Mill Hotel & Spa
Deep in the English countryside, amid the neat lawns and gardens of the Quy Mill Hotel is the two-AA-rosette-awarded Mill House Restaurant. Housed in a stunning historic building that dates back to the 17th century and was once a watermill, it embraces its heritage, proudly displaying the water wheel and using the original Miller’s House as the base for The Mill House Restaurant. Gastronomic offerings are just as charming as the surroundings – glance at the carefully considered menu and it’s clear the kitchen team is keen to show off local ingredients to the best of their advantage.
The Carpenters Arms
Run by award-winning restaurateurs Richard and Heather Hurley, this fantastic pub and restaurant has featured in The Good Pub Guide multiple years in a row – and it’s easy to see why. The menu changes with the seasons and is a welcome list of traditional English dishes that keep local diners and those from further afield coming back for more.
The Chequers of Orwell
Formidable husband-and-wife team David and Tina Cheng – a Cordon Bleu-trained head chef and a delightful host, respectively – have successfully transformed The Chequers into a haven of fine food and drink. This picturesque public house in the village of Orwell, just a few miles from Cambridge, has a snug, comfortable feel and is full of rustic charm. As for the menu, it’s devised from a mixture of well-done pub classics and carefully constructed modern dishes. Whatever dish you choose, rest assured that everything is freshly prepared on-site using local produce as much as possible.
Want to more good places to eat? Read the full Cambridgeshire Food & Drink Guide on Issuu.