Due to Devon’s rural location and ideal farming conditions, the county is renowned for producing some of the most fantastic food and drink in the country, with varied local cuisine offering something for everyone.
With a number of celebrity-owned restaurants, Michelin-starred restaurants and niche food festivals, our guide to food and drink in Devon will allow you to make the most of the delightful delicacies on offer during your holiday in Devon.
The county is lucky enough to be able to boast a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, one of which - Gidleigh Park in Chagford - has a wonderful two. North Devon eateries The Masons Arms in Knowstone and Thomas Carr at the Olive Room in Ilfracombe each hold one star each, while The Elephant Restaurant and Brasserie in Torquay and Michael Caines’ Lympstone Manor also each boast a coveted star.
To add to these top quality restaurants, celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and world-renowned artist Damien Hirst own eateries in Devon too, while the Michelin Guide also recommends a large number of other fantastic establishments - so you can be assured that you will be able to find an exceptional dining experience.
Pubs and Restaurants
Fine dining aside, there are plenty of fantastic local, independent restaurants which are well worth a visit.
Boasting two marvellous coasts, it’s no surprise that there are a huge number of eateries by the coast, using some of the finest, freshest and tastiest seafood ingredients imaginable, and with stunning vistas overlooking the gorgeous oceanside.
If you’re looking for somewhere more casual to enjoy a bite to eat and a glass of something local, why not try one of the county’s lovely pubs?
Found in the middle of the countryside, on the stunning coast with views out to sea or in the cities next to the hustle and bustle, there are many fine establishments from which you can choose.
You’ll also find many dog-friendly pubs and restaurants in Devon, so you can bring your four-legged friends along too! A selection of these will also offer a water bowl or even a treat for your loyal companion.
If you’re going to reward yourself with a tipple or two whilst staying in the county, then why not relax with a pint of something local. From what the locals like to call ‘scrumpy’, more commonly known as cider, to local ales brewed in Devon, to craft gins distilled in some of the most beautiful parts of the county, there’s definitely a beverage for everyone.
One of our favourites is Duende Restaurant on the edge of Exmoor. Offering five-course seasonal tasting menus, including fish and game dishes, it sits on the Devon/Somerset border and is a great place to stop by and sample local produce.
Devon is arguably most famous for its Devonshire cream tea: a scone topped with cream and then jam which is a must try while visiting the area. You’ll find it on the menu of almost every tea room in the county, but make sure to apply the toppings in the correct order!
Devon is also famous for its pasty (crimped on the top!), with the earliest known record of the recipe deriving from Plymouth dating back to 1510. A lesser known dish that is also associated with the county is white pudding, a highly spiced pork dish, with an oat variation called ‘Groats pudding’ often found in the traditional pubs on Dartmoor. Not forgetting other treats such as ice cream and fudge.
Although a staple wherever you are by the coast, it goes without saying that Devon’s fish and chip shops and restaurants are among the best in the country. From award-winning takeaways in North Devon to relaxing restaurants with contemporary décor in the south of the county, you’re sure to find a fantastic chippie near your holiday base.
However, the above cuisine wouldn’t be as tasty as it is without the help of the delicious local ingredients, ranging from high-quality meats to fresh fruit and vegetables. With farming still an important industry in the county, you’ll be able to find local produce at its best. You can even witness the wild free grazing cattle and lamb on the moors, such as the Red Ruby Devon cattle and Devon closewool sheep.
For the perfect opportunity to sample some of Devon’s delights, then head to one of the many traditional farmers’ markets that are still running today. Okehampton, Tavistock and Widecombe in the Moor are all noted for their ancient markets and offer the finest seasonal produce throughout the year.
Here’s an idea - why not make the most of a visit to one of the brilliant farmers’ markets and stock up on a whole host of goodies before heading off to enjoy a picnic?
Devon’s food festival calendar is one of the busiest in the UK. Ranging from all-encompassing shows to more niche celebrations of a certain product, there are plenty of exciting food related events to experience. Exeter Food Festival is one of the largest in the county and usually takes place in April, showcasing the best local foods as well as celebrity chef appearances and demonstrations taking place. A few more unique festivals include the Clovelly Herring Festival, Sausage and Cider Festival in Honiton and South Devon Crab Month.
Whether food ranks highly in your holiday itinerary or not, there will be countless opportunities to delight your taste buds during a holiday in Devon. For more information about the county, be sure to take a look at our guide to Devon beaches, our map of Devon, and our extensive guides on things to do.
Be sure to also check out our great range of self-catering cottages we have throughout the county. From large homes big enough for all your family and friends to cosy cottages perfect for a romantic trip away, we have the perfect accommodation for you.