Whether you are after an evening of fine dining, a scrumptious afternoon tea, some hearty pub grub or fish and chips by the seaside, Suffolk’s excellent eateries will leave you simply spoilt for choice. For a mouth-watering fry-up to start your day, head to the Lemon Tree Bistro in Ed Sheeran’s hometown of Framlingham. With pretty views overlooking St Michael’s Church, this quaint spot offers traditional Suffolk breakfasts. Bread comes from the locally-renowned Pump Street Bakery in Orford and eggs are produced at nearby Worlingworth Hall.
Veggies will be pleased to hear there are plenty of meat-free dishes, too. For something a little different, try Gastrono-me in Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Its imaginative menu allows you to sample a taste of France with a pain perdu, take a culinary trip to Mexico with some huevos rancheros or transport yourself to India with The Masala scrambled eggs.
Just outside Bury St Edmunds, the surroundings at Theobald’s restaurant are as impressive as the food. The owners converted the 16th-century period property to a restaurant in 1981, and it’s a great setting for dinner with an abundance of beams and atmospheric lounge. Meanwhile, a delicious, leisurely brunch can be taken on the Lady Florence, an ex-Admiralty motor fishing vessel. You will enjoy a three-hour feast while sailing along the rivers Alde and Ore, with your journey promising beautiful views and an altogether memorable experience.
Elsewhere, atmospheric afternoon teas are on the menu at The Swan at Lavenham, an oak-beamed hotel in High Street which dates all the way back to the 15th century. Served in the Gallery Restaurant from Monday to Saturday, your delectable fayre will be served on fine Royal Worcester crockery, and you will have a selection of over 20 Newby teas from which to choose. A tea sommelier will be on hand to recommend the ideal blend for your taste, ensuring it is just right for you.
Suffolk’s lively county town of Ipswich features a plethora of dining opportunities, with its scenic marina a superb backdrop for a meal out. Amongst the many eateries on the waterfront is Bistro on the Quay, housed in a former salt warehouse boasting lovely views. There are a la carte and fixed price menus available at both lunch and dinner, with an extensive wine list including indulgent varieties from all four corners of the globe.
With pretty views overlooking St Michael’s Church, this quaint spot offers traditional Suffolk breakfasts. Bread comes from the locally-renowned Pump Street Bakery in Orford and eggs are produced at nearby Worlingworth Hall
Fish and chips
Of course, if you’re visiting Suffolk’s stunning coastline, your trip simply wouldn’t be complete without some traditional fish and chips. One of the county’s most popular purveyors of this English classic is Aldeburgh Fish and Chips, which has been feeding locals and holidaymakers alike since 1967. You will often find queues halfway down High Street clamouring for its locally-sourced produce, with haddock, cod, rock eel and plaice all on the menu.
And don’t forget that other English seaside staple – ice cream! Some of Suffolk’s best can be found at the Beach Café on Southwold’s historic Victorian pier, or at the town’s tea room. Alternatively, make your way to Thorpeness Meare and indulge in a 99 overlooking the glorious boating lake. And not forgetting Parravani’s. The Parravani story started in 1898 when 15-year-old Giuseppe Parravani, armed with little more than his brother’s name and the word “Norwich” scrawled on a piece of paper, left the poor farmlands of Italy and travelled across mainland Europe to Norfolk.
Reunited with brother Domenico, the teenager worked in his sibling’s ice cream business on Ber Street, before starting his own venture from a horse and cart in Bungay. Now the company relies on a handful of stainless steel machines and a fleet of ice cream vans to sell their 30 flavours throughout Norfolk and Suffolk.
For a big birthday or anniversary, the award-winning restaurant at Hintlesham Hall on the outskirts of Ipswich is a great option. Set in a picturesque 16th-century, Grade 1-listed manor house in the rolling Suffolk countryside, the venue has been renowned for its exquisite fine dining since 1971. Today, it appeals to all tastes and dietary requirements, with herbs picked from the hall’s own famous garden. Along with a la carte and table d’hote menus, there is an excellent selection of lighter bites.
Ipswich’s The Forge Kitchen smokehouse focuses on bringing you simple food, cooked as nature intended over smoke and fire. The former Loch Fyne fish restaurant was completely refurbished in 2017, with its new owners offering everything from hot-smoked pork belly to turmeric-roasted cauliflower steak.
Of course, if you’re visiting Suffolk’s stunning coastline, your trip simply wouldn’t be complete without some traditional fish and chips
When there’s nothing else for it but a good old-fashioned Sunday roast, the Hadleigh Ram is just the ticket. Awarded with a Michelin Bib Gourmand, this attractive eatery will certainly delight your taste buds, with Wagyu beef sourced from Earl Stonham and pork reared at Blythburgh. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for, with sample dishes including a Parmesan panna cotta and pan-fried gnocchi.
A great family-friendly pub is the Ramsholt Arms, located on the banks of the River Deben in the village of the same name. As the only south-facing pub on the river, the pub is blessed with gorgeous sunsets, while kids will love crab fishing on the jetty once their tummies are full. Menu favourites are seafood and sharing platters, with American barbecues held at the weekends in the summer months.
If ale is just as important as the food for you, check out one of local brewer Adnams’ own pubs in the county. These include The Bell Inn in Walberswick, a 600-year-old hostelry situated on a picturesque village green close to both the Dunwich River and the beach. As well as the real ale, give an Adnams Copper House Gin or an East Coast Vodka a whirl.
Suffolk abounds with fantastic independent coffee shops and cafes, such as Honey + Harvey in Woodbridge’s Thoroughfare. Named as one of the Sunday Times’ 25 top coffee shops in 2017, this artisan venue focuses on locally-sourced, organic fare which ranges from frittatas to flaguettes, plus fresh salads and much more. It’s also open on Friday and Saturday evenings; sip a cocktail while you nibble some Thai-style squid or home-made scratchings. This popular cafe opened a second branch in neighbouring Melton in 2017.
Woodbridge is also home to the award-winning Cake Shop Bakery; pick up a tasty bite to eat as you explore this pretty riverside market town. A family-run business of more than 70 years standing, the bakery is now on its third generation and is much-loved by locals. If you like a cake and a cuppa with a side order of souvenir, pay a visit to Crafty Coffee in Felixstowe. Close to the sea front, this charming cafe offers hot and cold drinks plus home-made cakes, along with the chance to paint ceramics or do some decopatch to take away with you.
Awarded with a Michelin Bib Gourmand, this attractive eatery will certainly delight your taste buds, with Wagyu beef sourced from Earl Stonham and pork reared at Blythburgh
You may be looking for a light bite in truly grand surroundings. If so, you’ll find that Ickworth House is an impeccable choice. This is a Georgian Italianate palace set in an idyllic English landscape close to Bury St Edmunds, with a seasonal menu available at the West Wing Café. This National Trust property applies its ethos of conservation to its produce, with free-range eggs, farm assured meat and Fairtrade teas and coffees all on offer.
Suffolk boasts its own completely veggie pub – the Vegetarian Red Lion in Great Bricett. While its menu changes on a regular basis, sample dishes include arancini balls, mushroom stroganoff and gardener’s pie, all of which are served in a traditional pub environment. For some of the best produce from across the county, pop into the Suffolk Food Hall in Wherstead, near Ipswich. Its owners pride themselves on being the ‘Champion of Champions’ of local food, and you are invited to sample some culinary delights in its cafe and Cookhouse Restaurant while overlooking the Orwell River. Pick up some treats from the on-site shop before you leave – you will be glad you did!
In a coastal county like Suffolk you can be assured that its seafood is top notch – with the Butley Orford Oysterage well known for its exceptional quality. Shellfish, smoked salmon and, of course, oysters are amongst its many delicacies, all served in a relaxed atmosphere on Market Square. The oysterage’s shop, Pinneys of Orford, can be found on Quay Street; this family-run business has been serving customers since 1959.
International options are plentiful in this quintessentially English county. For spicy curries, try the family-run Maharani in Ipswich which has been in business for more than a quarter of a century. Its extensive menu includes everything from Ceylon cuisine to Bengali dishes, with its customer service making it a regular haunt for many.
For a taste of the Orient, Wong’s Chinese Restaurant in Mildenhall’s Market Place specialises in Cantonese, Peking and Szechuan dishes, with set menus available for two or more people. Or there’s the delightfully-named Giggling Squid in Bury St Edmunds if Thai food is your thing. You’ll eat your spring rolls and jasmine rice in an atmospheric locale, with exposed brickwork and a charming library of books to pore over between courses.
This is a Georgian Italianate palace set in an idyllic English landscape close to Bury St Edmunds, with a seasonal menu available at the West Wing Café
Pizza the action
If it’s authentic Italian pizza you’re after, Enzo’s Pizzeria in Southwold will satisfy all your cravings. This is a quirky little place, with its walls covered in Fulham Football Club and Robert De Niro memorabilia, brimming with the personality of its eponymous owner. Wash your Quattro Stagione down with a bottle of artisanal Italian lager, La Bassa.
Pizza and pasta is the order of the day at Cleone’s Italian Restaurant in Halesworth, with a regularly-changing menu making the most of seasonal produce. Set within The Angel, a traditional 16th-century coaching inn, there is also a firm focus on sourcing ingredients as locally as possible. Indeed, the restaurant’s meat comes from Bramfield, its fish from Lowestoft, its bread from Saxmundham and its eggs from Beccles.
You can tickle your tastbuds with some Eastern fayre at Alaz Turkish Cuisine, which opened in May 2018 in Sudbury’s Church Street. The menu includes fire-grilled specialities like kuzu kaburga – tender lamb ribs – and tavuk kanat, which are marinated chicken wings. Bon appetit!
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