The Best Restaurants with a View in Bristol
When it comes to views in Bristol, you get the best of everything. There’s newly constructed modern buildings, historical buildings that are hundreds of years ago, the harbour, and the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Avon Gorge all within a few minutes of the city centre and within 20 minutes, you can be at the coast or in the countryside. With so many stunning and picturesque views to take in, why not do it while enjoying a delicious meal or a nice drink? We’ve put together a list of some of the best restaurants with a view in Bristol to help you take in all the city has to offer.
The White Lion Bar and Goram & Vincent
Located inside the Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin, the White Lion Bar has a glass wall that provides panoramic views of Avon Gorge, the Clifton Bridge, and the Somerset hills. The bar’s interior was recently refurbished and also features a spectacular terrace. In addition to a wide selection of beers and other drinks, the White Lion offers food every day from 12 pm to 9 pm. They have classic pub dishes like burgers, loaded fries and pizza, as well as curries, ribs, and fish and chips. The hotel also recently added a new restaurant, Goram & Vincent, which offers French and British dishes with the same breathtaking views.
The restaurant was named after the legend of Goram and Vincent, which tells of two giants who loved the same woman named Avona. After Vincent won Avona’s heart, Goram was so upset he stomped his foot and created the Giant’s Footprint, which can be seen at Blaise Castle estate. Many have never heard this legend, but the new restaurant provides an opportunity for the story to be told again. Hotel guests can purchase packages for two and three-course meals, but you don’t need to be a guest to enjoy a delicious meal and take in the view at either the White Lion Bar or Goram & Vincent.
360 Café and Rooftop Terrace
Another restaurant overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Avon Gorge is the 360 Café and Rooftop Terrace at the Clifton Observatory. The historic windmill was first built in 1766 before burning down twice and being converted to an observatory in 1828. From there, the observatory was used as a variety of venues, including a communications and patrol base and an air-raid shelter. In 2015, the observatory was sold to a new owner who restored it and, in 2017, opened the new museum. Today the observatory is home to the museum, camera obscura, 360 Café, Rooftop Terrace and Giant’s Cave. Both the 360 Café and Rooftop Terrace are newly renovated and feature stunning panoramic views. The café is open daily from 10:30 am to 5 pm and offers breakfast, toasties, and other snacks in addition to hot and cold drinks like their famous hot chocolate.
You can enjoy the view seated inside the café or outside on the rooftop terrace. The terrace is also home to the rooftop bar, which is open Thursday through Saturday from 5 pm to 10:30 pm. The bar offers boards, including charcuterie and cheese boards, for individuals or sharing and nibbles like pretzels, popcorn, and nuts. While you’re at the observatory, make sure to check out Giant’s Cave to take in the view from a new perspective. Giant’s Cave is a 200 ft natural cave that travels down 90 ft and opens 250 ft above Avon Gorge. The cave was first discovered when excavating to start construction of the bridge in 1835 and has been open to the public since 1837.
A casual bar and restaurant moored on the Bristol Harbour, the Grain Barge offers panoramic views of both the harbour and the city. The barge was built in 1936 and used to transport barley and wheat between Bristol and Cardiff. It was bought and refitted in 2007 and used a lot of restored and recycled materials to craft an interior that reflects the barge’s industrial roots. Executive Chef Charles Mooyaart’s goal is to show guests that food can be fun and to do that using locally and ethically sourced seasonal ingredients. In recent years the restaurant has become more focused on sustainability, joining the Sustainable Restaurant Association and shifting to a more plant-focused menu
They do still serve fish on board but make sure to source it from MSC certified suppliers. Everything on the menu is made fresh onboard the barge, and there are a number of gluten-free options. The Grain Barge also has an extensive range of craft beers, ciders, wines, and cocktails. They are big supporters of local independent breweries, and the majority of their beers come from either the Bristol Beer Factory or St Austell’s. The barge also has the unique and intimate Hold Bar, which regularly hosts live music and comedy shows. They also host exhibitions and have the work of local animator and illustrator Laurel Molly on display until the start of July.
Right on Bristol’s harbourside, Riverstation is regularly referred to as one of the best spots for outdoor dining in the city centre. Even in the winter, its views of the river can’t be beaten. Riverstation’s location is also incredibly convenient, with public transit and parking available within metres of the restaurant. Bristol ferries can also dock on the restaurant’s pontoon by request allowing you easy access to the rest of the city via the river. In addition to their al fresco dining, Riverstation has two floors, the restaurant is upstairs, and the Pontoon is downstairs. The Pontoon offers a relaxed setting for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, as well as the Pontoon Bar, which has a wide selection of beers, ciders, cocktails and wines. They offer unique small and sharing plates, vegetarian options, and classics like beer-battered cod and buttermilk fried chicken. Upstairs, the restaurant offers the same spectacular harbour views in a fine dining setting. Head Chef Anthony Smith creates stunning dishes using local and seasonal ingredients. Everything served in the restaurant is made in house, and the menu changes regularly as seasons change and ingredient availability fluctuates. The restaurant also has an extensive drink menu which is carefully selected and reviewed to compliment the dishes being offered.
Under the Stars
Floating on the Bristol harbour, there aren’t many better views available than what Under the Stars has to offer. The restaurant has been making Mediterranean tapas on the harbour since 2010. Their dishes are inspired by travel and the many places ships have visited after leaving Bristol Harbour. The chefs regularly add new and exciting dishes to the menu based on what seasonal ingredients are available, but there are always vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available. Under the Stars also has an extensive drinks menu featuring beers and ciders from local breweries and favourites from around the world, as well as cocktails, wine and rosé. To complement their drinks menu, Under the Stars added pizza to their menu. Everything for the pizzas is made fresh onboard and can be easily customised. Under the Stars has indoor seating as well as a top deck for year-round outdoor dining. No matter where you sit, you’ll enjoy a delicious meal and a fantastic view of the Bristol Harbour.
Located on a harbour inlet directly across from the SS Great Britain and Bristol’s Floating Harbour, Broken Dock is a secluded escape from the city serving up award-winning food. The team is committed to sustainability and quality and source the majority of its ingredients from Bristol. Everything they offer is made to order, so you know you’re getting the freshest meal possible.
Broken Dock is open daily for brunch, lunch, dinner, and drinks. Brunch starts at 10 am Monday through Thursday, and 9:30 am Friday to Sunday. Their menu includes a wide range of items from sirloin steaks and pan-fried salmon to pigeon breast. Head Chef Tom is always looking for new ways to utilise local and seasonal dishes and push the limits of food. On Sundays, they offer a special brunch menu as well as a few different roasts. For every meal, they have vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, and they try to be as accommodating of dietary preferences and allergies as possible. Broken Dock also has an extensive drinks menu making it a popular and trendy place for after work drinks or on weekend afternoons.
The Christmas Steps
Tucked away by the Old City, Christmas Steps is one of the most picturesque areas in Bristol. The steps were built in the mid-1600s and are known for how steep they are. The stairs were replaced in the 1880s and are now, like many of the buildings lining the street, grade II listed buildings. Located at the base of Christmas Steps is the Christmas Steps Pub, an old school pub offering craft beers and ales, an extensive top-shelf selection, and an impressive wine list in addition to delicious food
They have a rotation of beers from local breweries as well as traditional favourites, and they also regularly change the menu based on ingredient availability and season. The pub’s menu includes vegan and vegetarian options as well as classic pub food like burgers and fish and chips. They offer roasts on Sundays and have live music most weekends.
If you’re looking for a great meal along the picturesque coast, head to nearby Portishead just 20 minutes from the Bristol city centre. Aqua Portishead is located right on the marina, offering waterfront views and a convenient location. The original Aqua opened in 1998 in Bristol, and over the last twenty-plus years, they’ve opened an additional three locations. Today, there are four Aqua restaurants, two in Bristol, one in Bath, and of course, one in Portishead. Each restaurant has its own talented team serving some of the best contemporary food in the area.
Aqua is open daily from 9:30 am, offering brunch until 4 pm on Saturdays and until noon every other day of the week. Recently, they were named one of the best and booziest brunches in Bristol for their bottomless brunch available every Saturday for £30. From noon, their main menu is available, which features a variety of dishes including seafood linguine, herb-crusted rack of lamb and duck two ways. Every dish at Aqua is made with the finest ingredients, many of which are locally sourced and served with the utmost care making it the perfect spot to celebrate a special event or just enjoy a meal out.
Just down the Portishead marina from Aqua is La Marina, an authentic Italian restaurant with views of the Severn Estuary. The owners of the restaurant are originally from Sorrento, a town famous for its delicious food. After working in restaurants around Sorrento for many years, they moved to Bristol and brought their delicious dishes with them. Their dishes are made using the highest quality locally sourced ingredients
La Marina offers all the classic Italian dishes that you know and love as well as unique ones you probably haven’t tried before. They have a number of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options making it a great venue no matter your needs or preferences. La Marina is also a great choice if you’re looking for a waterfront location for your next event. They can host up to 100 guests and work to create the perfect menu for each event.