7 restaurants in Stratford-upon-Avon you shouldn`t miss

From hip and happening brunch cafés to Michelin and traditional British, discover the culinary culture of England's literary hub!

With a history that can rival top cities, and as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, it is no wonder that Stratford-upon-Avon has developed a culture all of its own. The culinary scene epitomises this rich culture, and the restaurants in Stratford-upon-Avon represent traditional British, Mediterranean and award-winning Michelin-starred cuisines that use only the finest ingredients.

As a frequent visitor to this historic market town who jumps at the chance to experience the many different flavours represented in Stratford-upon-Avon’s restaurants, I can’t get enough of both the tried-and-tested classics and innovative re-imaginations of dishes that local chefs are bringing to the town. From classic British fayre to Mediterranean delicacies, here are some of my favourite places to eat in the Bard’s home town.

Honey Blue: Stratford's hottest independent café

Honey Blue is one of the most talked about cafes in Stratford-upon-Avon and the owners have generated a real buzz. The café is located on Shrieves Walk in a rather unremarkable red brick building just a street away from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Bancroft Gardens.

As you walk through the door into Honey Blue, the strong scent of fresh coffee engulfs you. Small plants sit in the centre of the light wood tables and wooden buckets of seasonal vegetables add atmosphere to the café. Alongside a cup of fresh coffee, complete with milk poured to create impressive shapes on top, there is a small but well thought-out menu of brunch dishes to choose from.

Succulent mushrooms in a cream sauce on a sourdough bread slice or roasted tomato and red pepper soup served with a side of cheese-topped crusty bread are the stand-out brunch dishes. Each is seasoned perfectly to allow the fresh ingredients to sing and the smells to linger as you tuck in.

Salt Restaurant: Award-winning Michelin dining

As a crowd-funded venture, Salt is a remarkable fine dining restaurant, winning a Michelin star and countless accolades for head chef Paul Foster. Set in an atmospheric timbered building, the restaurant is relaxed, with simple light-wood tables, chairs and wood paneled walls.

Foster has created a menu that showcases the best of British ingredients, presented in innovative and attractive ways. An eight-course tasting menu is the signature offering at Salt, each dish combining the smells of land and sea, tastes of sweet and sour, and textures of succulent and chewy.

Tomatoes with salami, scallops with a pea and elderflower salad, slow cooked pork cheeks with almond and sultans, and strawberries with thyme custard and butter pastry are just some of the favourites on the menu – all presented on fine china and accompanied by paired wines.

Lambs Restaurant: Market-fresh ingredients in a historic setting

Using only market fresh and local ingredients, Lambs restaurant is located in a picturesque white and black beamed 16th century building on Sheep Street in Stratford-upon-Avon. The chefs take pride in the Michelin-starred quality of their dishes, with succulent breast of Gressingham duck served with savoy cabbage, bacon and croquette potatoes, a vegan chilli with lentils, kidney beans and rice, and a mouth-watering, marbled chocolate mousse cake being particular favourites.

Inside Lambs, exposed brick walls, black oak beams throughout and dark leather-backed chairs create a unique atmosphere that is both relaxed and gives off a hint of the history of your surroundings.

Loxley's Restaurant and wine bar: Synonymous British dining

Loxley’s Restaurant and wine bar bills itself as one of the best wine bars in Stratford-upon-Avon, but it has also gained a local reputation for its innovative British creations. The restaurant spans two floors on Sheep Street and includes vibrant designs in the dining rooms, as well as a rear courtyard for al fresco dining.

The menu at Loxley’s showcases the freshest British ingredients, sourcing many from local producers. The Sunday roast epitomises this best of British approach. Served on a simple wooden table with a leafy wallpaper backdrop and gentle music playing, the rich smell of 28-day, dry-aged roast rib of beef, loin of pork, leg of lamb, roast chicken or nut roast braised with goose-fat-roasted potatoes, cauliflower cheese and seasonal greens fills the air.

The food at Loxley’s is worth a trip in itself. The a la carte menu is served throughout the day, featuring a variety of meats, soups and salads, vegetable dishes and indulgent desserts.

Countess of Evesham: A restaurant cruiser on the River Avon

The Countess of Evesham restaurant cruiser sails along the River Avon, passing the most historic buildings in the town, whilst serving a delectable menu of British ingredients cooked by acclaimed chefs.

The intimate cruise passes through three historic canal locks and past the 15th century Holy Trinity Church and the monument where Shakespeare is buried. Onboard, the atmosphere has a luxurious old world feel, with wood panel walls, green cushioned chairs and fine white linens on the tables.

A well-executed menu awaits diners. Creamy roast parsnip soup served with crisp bread, a fillet of salmon coated in lemon and dill cream with new potatoes and roasted vegetables, and an apple crumble with custard are complemented by a selection of fine wines and fizzes.

The Woodsman: Fine British recipes inspired by traditions

The Woodsman is a centrally-located restaurant that takes its inspiration from historic huntsmen who brought the freshest ingredients home. The interior is luxurious and enticingly old-world, with wooden tables and chairs, spotlights and neutral tones.

The restaurant embraces centuries-old English cooking techniques to bring together traditional flavours, scents and textures of the British countryside. Whether you choose to sample the cuttlefish ragu with hazelnuts, grilled haunch of wild fallow deer or hay-baked celeriac with cheese and truffle, the experience harks back to a time when the woodsman returned home with the fresh flavours in surrounding forests.

El Greco: A taste of Greece in Stratford-upon-Avon

At El Greco restaurant, chef patron Dimitrious with his wife and son have designed a menu of traditional Greek dishes that bring the tastes and smells of Greece to the heart of historic Stratford.

The restaurant is located in a historic white building on Rother Street, just steps from Shakespeare’s birthplace and the world-famous theatres. Simple decor is key, with white walls, dark wood tables and leather chairs.

The 20-dish El Greco signature mezze is a feast for the senses. Dish after award-winning dish is brought to the table – creamy taramasalata, hummus and spanacopita, followed by loukanika sausages and chicken souvlaki sizzling on the plate and super-sweet baklava pastries.