West Cornwall has become something of a foodie destination with a tempting array of gastro pubs, award winning restaurants and cafes. Long gone are the old “scampi & chips in a basket” days we remember from family holidays to Cornwall in the 1970s and 80s. Happy memories! These days there’s an emphasis on home-grown, local and organic produce. We really are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out, with some of the best seafood on our doorstep.
Please bear in mind for 2021 that while most of the restaurants and cafes have reopened again, many are either operating with reduced table numbers or on a takeaway basis only. We recommend checking their individual website’s to find out how they are operating currently and booking up well in advance if you’d like to eat out on particular days during your stay.
Here we’ve listed our personal favourite eating places both within a short drive of Pengelly Retreat’s lakeside luxury lodge and Cornish yurt and slightly further afield for days out exploring. And finally, we’ve shared our top choices of where to indulge in a traditional Cornish cream tea – because, well, you can’t come to Cornwall without tucking into a cream tea at least once!
Choose your favourite restaurant nearby or pick up some goodies from one of the local delis and markets to enjoy in your self-catering accommodation. With a big bundle of your favourite goodies to try and plenty of kitchen facilities for you to use in both our lakeview Boat House log cabin and Sail House yurt, you can savour every moment – and every bite – from your idyllic retreat!
Eating Places Within a 15 minute drive
To avoid that annoying “sorry we’re full” moment, it’s always worth booking your table for lunch or dinner in advance. Many eating places get very busy, especially in the summer season. Opening times do vary, so always have a quick check before making a special journey somewhere.
The pretty fishing village of Porthleven is an easy 15 minute drive away from Pengelly. It’s a bit of a foodie centre these days with plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants to choose from. Our favourites include bistro Kota Kai and its fine dining sister restaurant Kota who specialise in seafood with an Asian fusion twist. Our choice of cafe for brunches, light lunches, pizzas and ice-cream has to be Nauti But Ice on the harbour-front. We also really like the Square at Porthleven, also on the harbour, a bistro serving delicious meat, fish and vegetarian dishes using seasonal produce. The Mussel Shoal, a cafe kiosk with outdoor tables overlooking the harbour is also a popular option – head here for moules frites and a beer in the sunshine.
10 minutes up the road from Pengelly you’ll come to the town of Hayle, set on the estuary. It’s easy to drive to, or a quick taxi ride. There’s a good fish and chip restaurant (also a good takeaway option): Sanders Fish & Chips on Foundary Square at the Viaduct end of Hayle. Or check out Lula Beach Shack by the estuary, which offers Cornish seafood and ribs to takeaway or tuck into at a table with a view, see their Facebook page for menus and events. If you’re looking for a decent pub then head up the road towards the Copperhouse end of Hayle and you’ll come to the Cornish Arms: a nice traditional pub with tasty food. In the other direction, towards St Ives, you’ll find two lovely eating out options in Lelant: Birdies Bistro overlooking the estuary and the Old Forge who have an brilliant range of pizzas (including gluten-free options)
Trevaskis Farm Restaurant, nr Connor Downs
About 13 minutes’ drive from our country retreat on the Gwinear Road you’ll find Trevaskis Farm. There’s an excellent farm shop/market here open daily 8-8 and a restaurant, open daily, and serving hearty breakfasts, lunches and dinners. There’s a wide selection to choose from on the menu and Trevaskis often gets fully booked for their Sunday lunches. They are famed for their huge cake and pudding counter, filled with delicious looking treats including chocolate éclairs bigger than your head!
Goldsithney village pubs
If you’d like to go to the pub for some decent pub grub and a pint then Goldsithney village is a good bet. It’s about 10-15 minutes’ drive from Pengelly Retreat and has two good pubs pretty much opposite each other as you drive through the village. The Trevelyan Arms claims to have the best fish and chips – a bold claim, we don’t know if it’s true, but you will get a good meal here and it’s dog friendly. On the other side of the road, The Crown pub, also gets good reviews.
Eating Places Further Afield
It’s difficult to choose a short-list of further afield favourites as to be honest you could write a whole website on the topic. So for now we’ve just chosen a few of our personal favourites. Any others you think should go on? Let us know:
St Ives is an easy 20-25 minute drive from Pengelly – well the drive is easy, but you may struggle to get a parking space once you’re there… Lovely to visit out of season and plenty of eating places and cafes to choose from, however it does get very busy in the peak holiday seasons so be warned! Porthminster Beach has a gorgeous position literally on the beach and is good for a pricey but posh meal out. You could also check out it’s sister restaurants – Porthminster Kitchen and Porthgwidden Beach Cafe. New to the scene and featured on Rick Stein’s recent TV series is foodie restaurant Source Kitchen on a pretty cobbled street. Or check out the HarBar Kitchen at St Ives Harbour Hotel for a chic evening of dinner and drinks with sea views. If you’re looking for something simpler (and a lot cheaper!) then grab a takeaway pasty from St Ives Bakery on Fore Street, just make sure the seagulls don’t nab it off you first!
Great for a day out exploring the Lizard is stuffed with beautiful beaches and wild spaces. If you’re looking for a good lunch spot then book a table at New Yard Restaurant at Trelowarren. This is a rural estate of woodlands and meadows with a small spa, restaurant and craft shop all open to visitors. The food is high quality at the restaurant and their Sunday roasts are recommended. For hearty meals and homecooked fare in a fabulous traditional pub then we like The Halzephron which you’ll find on the way to Church Cove, Gunwalloe.
This is such a gorgeous area of woodlands, estuary and countryside with tiny winding roads. It’s a great area for walking and beautiful gardens such Glendurgan and Trebah. Foodwise we really like the Potager Garden Cafe, just outside Constantine – a cool little cafe in gardens with healthy and hearty options (open Thur-Sun and Bank Holidays). For a traditional pub with great food and a hidden rural location try Trengilly Wartha, also near Constantine. A little further into the Helford area, on the other side of Falmouth, you’ll find Enys Gardens, a must-see in spring for their bluebells, and the recommended Pandora Inn nearby at Restronguet Creek.
There’s plenty of eating places in and around the cathedral town of Truro. If you are there for a day out then we’d recommend Penrose Kitchen, at Shortlandsend, just outside Truro. A lovely tucked away restaurant with high quality food and an ever changing menu. In Truro itself we like seafood restaurant Hooked, which has a fab range of local seafood and tapas, ideal for lunches. Our favourite pub is The Heron at Malpas, a pretty little village overlooking the estuary just outside Truro – good pub food, lovely views and friendly staff.
Marazion and Mousehole
You’re likely to visit both of these picturesque fishing villages during your stay with us. Marazion is the gateway for St Michael’s Mount and a pretty little village and sweep of sandy beach in its own right. Here we like the views from the Godolphin Arms restaurant towards the Mount. The Mexico Inn at Longrock also has a great reputation for it’s food and friendly welcome. Around the coast you’ll find the pretty harbour village of Mousehole and if you are lunching here then we like The Old Coastguard, sister property to the Gurnards Head at Zennor. The food is good here and the views from their gardens over the sea are gorgeous.
Favourite Cream Teas
And finally no visit to Cornwall would be complete without a good old Cornish Cream Tea (or two). All in the name of research we’ve sampled a few ourselves and these are some of our favourites:
Godrevy Cafe, NT Car Park at Godrevy
A cafe with a view over the dunes and out towards the sea if you sit on their top deck. They have tasty, locally-sourced food here and the cream teas are great.
Polurrian Hotel, Mullion
And while we talking views the Polurrian Hotel, near Mullion, has unbeatable sea views (even on a rainy day) from the huge floor to ceiling windows of their restaurant and lounge. The cliff-top location and pretty gardens make this one of our favourite stop offs for an afternoon cream tea. Check opening times in advance as sometimes the hotel is closed to non-residents.
Tremenheere Kitchen, Gulval, nr Penzance
The cafe at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens does one of our favourite cream teas. Lovely garden location and delicious scones – what more could you want! The perfect place to relax and enjoy a cuppa after a stroll around the pretty gardens with their views towards St Michael’s Mount.