Food & Drink
Delicious Food from Land and Sea in South Devon
Our patchwork of fields and great seascapes are not just pretty to look at, they provide plenty of local produce that is simply delicious. Rare breed beef and lamb, vineyards and orchards, chilli farms and bakeries, and of course the freshest seafood from local fishermen, are all on our doorstep. This abundance of locally sourced food is prepared with pride by artisans, acclaimed chefs and bakers. We have bustling market towns with independent food retailers, farmers’ markets, food and drink festivals, farm shops and fish shops.
Our cafes, pubs and restaurants cater for all tastes and budgets, and our visitors comment on how friendly the locals are. Most cafes and pubs are dog friendly too.
Your first port of call might be a coffee shop, hotel, pub or cafe serving a Devon Cream Tea, with the jam on top of course. Here is a list of places (we’ve done our research and tried them all!):
Seabreeze Cafe, Torcross (Dog Friendly outside)
Avon Mill Cafe, Avon Mill Garden Centre, Loddiswell (Dog Friendly)
Aune Valley Cafe & Farm Shop, Loddiswell (Dog Friendly)
Cottage Hotel, Hope Cove (All Dog Friendly)
Stokeley Farm Shop & Cafe, Stokenham (Dog Friendly outside)
Ocean’s Reach restaurant, Bolberry (All Dog Friendly)
Fresh fish and shellfish are a speciality of this area and Britannia Shellfish not only have a shop next to the beach at Beesands selling fresh catch daily, they now have a super little cafe, serving coffees, locally produced cakes and cream teas, huge platters of wonderful fresh fish and shellfish. The ‘shack’ as it is known is technically outdoors, but under a cover with patio heaters. There’s a takeaway too – large soft baps with bacon or sausage, or fresh fish and chips. It’s a great place to eat fish pulled from the water just a stone’s throw away.
The Oyster Shack is a quirky seafood restaurant located near Bigbury beach offering a great selection of oyster and mussel dishes, plus a ‘daily catch’ menu, and something to choose for those not so keen on fish! Eating indoor or out, it’s very informal and friendly and the cocktails are great too!
We have several excellent pubs in nearby villages serving local food and drink for a wide range of tastes and budgets. We and our guests recommend:
The Tower Inn, Slapton (Dog Friendly)
The Queens Arms, Slapton (Dog Friendly)
Church House Inn, Stokenham (Dog Friendly)
The Cricket Inn at Beesands (Dog Friendly)
Bear & Blacksmith at Chillington (Dog Friendly)
For Sunday lunch you can’t go wrong with a visit to The Sloop Inn at Bantham, The Church House Inn and Stokeley Farm Shop Cafe, both at Stokenham, or The Village Inn at Thurlestone. Booking is advisable in all pubs for Sunday lunch.
If it’s a restaurant with views you are after then situated right on the quayside in Kingsbridge, with mooring and parking is The Crabshell Inn. This is a popular place for families and groups with an easy menu for all tastes. There is a pizza oven; they serve thin and tasty pizzas with a range of toppings. You could combine lunch or dinner with a Stand Up Paddleboard lesson on the calm waters in front of the restaurant.
At Bolberry (where you can park in the National Trust car park) Saturday morning Park Runs take place, so pop along to watch, take part and for a coffee and lunch at the Oceans Restaurant and Bar. Dog friendly.
Our nearest farm shop Stokeley Farm Shop supplies locally sourced meat and fish, fresh fruit and vegetables. And there is a pizza oven and cafe serving traditional cream teas and big breakfasts. It’s about a 15 minute drive from Dittiscombe or you could incorporate a visit there into a walk around Torcross.
Other recommendations for big breakfasts are Avon Mill Cafe and Aune Valley View Cafe, Heron Valley Cafe and The Ring Feeder, all dog-friendly.
You cannot return home without trying out a renowned South Hams crab sandwich. We’ve seen grown men beaten by the size of the sandwiches at the Cove Cafe Bar in Hope Cove!
Do you have special food requirements on holiday? Fortunately there are many places that offer vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options on their menus: The Fortescue Arms in East Allington have an extensive vegan and vegetarian menu, The Seabreeze Cafe and the Start Bay Inn at Torcross; the Crabshell Inn and Cafe Asia in Kingsbridge; the Sloop Inn and the Gastrobus at Bantham and the Oyster Shack Bigbury; the Cove Cafe Bar and The Cottage Hotel in Hope Cove. Most of the delicatessens in Kingsbridge also offer gluten free cakes and savoury snacks.
Jane Baxter, TV chef on Saturday Kitchen, has her own restaurant in Kingsbridge, serving up delicious menus with a local flavour. Wild Artichokes has pop-up events running throughout the year, served in a communal style and byo wines and beers with a small corkage charge. Visit her website www.wildartichokes.co.uk for more information.
Tried and tested by Dittiscombe residents, Janey’s Feast Kitchen Deli offer locally sourced, healthier alternatives to takeaway and delivery food. Janey will create bespoke meals for you or just deli boxes and picnics.
We enjoy regular farmer’s markets twice a month in both Kingsbridge and Dartmouth with luscious cakes and locally tended and reared meat for sale. The Totnes Good Food Sunday Market is held once a month, apparently the largest monthly food market in the West Country.
To discover more about the food and drink from our area there are several well established food festivals during the year: CrabFest, is held in Salcombe in May; the Dartmouth Food Festival in October; and Nourish in Bovey Tracey in September. The market towns of Kingsbridge, Ashburton and Totnes all have food festivals during the season.
Read Ruth’s blog about dining out in the South Hams.
We recommend booking tables at chosen restaurants well ahead (we can recommend The Anchor Stone cafe at Dittisham and the Cricket Inn at Beesands).
Places to eat – Crabshell Inn (pre book online, lots of outdoor tables if nervous about coronavirus), Start Bay Inn (takeaway only currently) and Seabreeze Cafe at Torcross (takeaway only currently although there are a few outdoor tables and right on the beach front anyway
The Tower Inn Pub – in Slapton great roast on a Sunday , lovely log burner very cosy , menu good , nice vegetarian / vegan options. Friendly and relaxed. There is a great take out Indian restaurant in Kingsbridge (Maha-Bharat) and the Fish and Chips down at Slapton.
All of Ruth & Jon’s recommendations are worth trying – especially fish & chips at The Start Bay Inn, The Tower Inn, Stokeley Farm Shop and do seek out The Tradesman’s Arms at Stokenham!