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Exceptional places to dine out in Devon

There is no shortage of great places to dine out in Devon from your self-catering cottage, but when you are staying for just seven days, how do you narrow down the options? Here are some hidden gems and off-the-beaten-track favourites recommended by a local, which will certainly not disappoint.
With a constant supply of fresh fish, seafood and prime meat right on the doorstep, Devon restaurateurs have no excuse for inferior quality food. Here are a few suggestions to start your gourmet treasure hunt.

Chambers, Plymouth Barbican

Located in Notte Street, and sandwiched between the historic Barbican waterfront and the Law Courts, this cosy first floor restaurant in a locals’ favourite. Not only does it serve exquisitely devised menus to tantalize the taste buds, it also has a very sensibly priced two course dinner menu for £16.95 as well as a mouth-watering a la carte menu.

Starters are always very generously sized and the Day Boat Crab Fish Cakes are a great choice. Main courses include the divine Beef Wellington, or Goat’s Cheese and Vegetable Wellington for Vegetarians. If they ever have ribs on the specials board, they are the best in the world!

Olive Tree, Exeter

The Olive Tree has a refined atmosphere, thanks to the understated décor featuring an Italian carnival theme. Located on the ground floor of the elegant Queens Court town house hotel, dishes are creatively served and delight the palate with a fusion of flavours. With a two AA Rosette award, Head Chef Darren Knockton continues to raise the standard of dining out in Exeter.

Salty Monk Restaurant, Sidmouth

Another two AA Rosette restaurant is located in a charming former Salt House once used by Benedictine Monks who traded the salt at Exeter Cathedral.

Run by husband and wife team Andy and Annette Witheridge, the menu features the very best of British produce. All items are freshly made on the premises, including the bread, pasta and ice cream. Enjoy fresh pan-fried Wild Boar and Woodland Reared Pork Terrine, Channel Squid or the Confit of Creedy Farm Duck. The three-course evening menu with coffee runs around £42.50.

The Masons Arms, Knowstone

After a day out hiking on Exmoor and working up an appetite, the informal rustic bar at the Masons Arms is a great place to head for near South Molton. Whether you want a pint of real ale or a glass of fine champagne, this award-winning restaurant can satisfy your every need.
Located in a 13th century thatched inn, chef/owner Mark Dodson has been recognised with a Michelin star. If you really want to enjoy your visit, attend the Masterclass with Mark on the first Wednesday of the month followed by a two-course lunch. Bookings are essential.

Quayside Restaurant, Brixham

Brixham harbour is lined with eateries, but the AA Rosette Quayside Restaurant is one of the best in Torbay. It has a vibrant atmosphere and panoramic views across the harbour. The summer menu typically focuses on fish, including a delicious Platter of Fruits de Mer for two to share. For more casual dining, browse the menu of British Pub classics in the adjoining Ernie Lister Bar, named after a local character.

If you are staying in a Devon cottage during peak season, or at weekends, you will certainly need to make a reservation to ensure a table at these top choices. Bon appetit!

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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