To make your stay a bit more fun, here are our food and coffee tips from the area near the Gallery Lodges, including some gluten free options. Happily the list of good food grows longer year on year and the street food vans, in particular have great quality food to match the restaurants and cafes.
We have started with our most local food places in Braunton, then some recommendations at Saunton, Croyde, and Georgeham. Keep reading to find out what’s instore on the beaches, and finally some ideas for eats if you are heading further afield around the North Coast to Exmoor.
Braunton top picks:
Siam Bistro if you like Thai try this local gem. Increasing in popularity year on year you may need to call ahead to book a table or a take out. The lunchtime specials are incredibly good value and in the evening, mixed starter is recommended. Will do gluten free if you ask (check the soy sauce). http://www.thesiambistro.co.uk/
The Riverside Restaurant A favourite allrounder for breakfast, lunch and evening meals. Very reliable chef and service with some really tasty, locally sourced food. Cater for Gluten Free and a new vegan menu in 2020. http://www.theriversidebraunton.co.uk/
Squires Fish & Chips is a complete all rounder – filling and perfectly cooked Fish & Chips. At peak times you have to queue for the restaurant, but it is great value. For the take out, we recommend using their CLICK & COLLECT option. Can’t beat their chips; in our opinion they are perfect! The gluten-free among us should try Poached Cod. The chips are always fried separately too. http://www.squiresfishrestaurant.co.uk/
Tambapanni, Sri Lankan street food van. Our favourite food choice in 2021. We eat here almost every week! Authentic Sri Lankan Food cooked with a passion. Delicate flavours, meat, veg, gluten, dairy free and vegan options. Heaven on a plate. Served from their food van at Braunton Tesco and Georgeham on certain days of the week (usually Friday and Saturday respectively), they move to Croyde at Cherry Tree Farm campsite in the middle of summer so please check out their facebook page for times and days. https://www.facebook.com/tambapannicurry/
Thongsay Thai street food van – tasty, good portions and very authentic – an ever growing business – we were enjoying pre-ordered take-out from their front door during lockdown and now they are on the road with a catering van currently Saturday at Tesco and Thursday at Georgeham, but find their latest where-about on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tthaicatering/
Wild Thyme Café fun and trendy surf café for coffee, cakes, breakfast and lunch. Plenty of outdoor tables. Has gluten-free options, sometimes including GF scones. http://wildthymecafe.co.uk/
Gaining popularity for serving traditional evening dishes with a fresh fish of the day option, and also a good place for a breakfast, or sandwich and cake at lunchtime. https://atonedining.co.uk/
SQ is an evening favourite for pub food in a modern setting, and also offers a great breakfast. The live music on certain nights makes this a popular venue. http://sqdining.uk/bar/sq_bar_restaurant_braunton_devon.php
Surma Tandoori is our local classic Indian Restaurant and take out and under new management. We had a tasty Balti, Coconut rice and nan. However, the Dansak was over sweet for our tastes. https://surmatandoori.com/
The Black Horse is a new addition to our curry options. They are a small traditional pub in an historic corner of Braunton, tucked away behind St Brannock’s Church. You can walk out that way following the foothpath at the pedestrian crossing opposite the main village carpark. Their main website doesn’t have a link to their take out options so try this one instead https://the-black-horse.square.site/ They are also doing £10 curry and pint, steak and pint and bbq and pint nights at the time of writing – see their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BlackHorseBraunton
The Williams Arms is the thatched pub in Wrafton – the Barnstaple side of Braunton, so about 2 miles away from The Gallery Lodges, a long standing favourite for their carvery, they have added outdoor covered seating for this season. http://www.williamsarms.co.uk/
The Aggi Inn nearer the village centre also does great, reasonably priced pub food and is a favourite with the locals. http://www.theaggibraunton.co.uk/
St John’s Garden Centre at Ashford, is on the main road to Barnstaple. Now a locally run garden centre, they have a great formula for breakfast and lunches as well as a nice selection of cake as well. A range of gluten free and vegan cakes, as well as gf fish and chips. There is also a health-food delhi and re-fill shop located at St John’s. https://www.stjohnsgardencentre.co.uk/st-johns-lane-barnstaple/
Chinese take-away – we have to admit we don’t eat Chinese, so based on local opinion we suggest The Hong Kong Chef as the preferred choice in the village. 01271 814530 (But maybe check out the Thai take away options listed above first…)
Coffee coffee coffee…
51 degrees North – a take out coffee stop can be found outside Tesco Braunton most mornings. Justin is a perfectionist and you will be delighted by his coffees. Eco conscious, happy to serve you in your reusable cup. They now also have a comfortable cafe in the gym behind Tesco. https://51degreesnorthcoffee.com/
Heart Break Hotel on Saunton Road – coffee and doughnuts are their specialty. Ever increasing in popularity. https://www.heartbreakhotelcoffee.com/
Saunton and Croyde
Another top recommendation is:
The Beachside Grill at Saunton Beach. You can enjoy al fresco dining on the terrace with a range of food from burgers to vegan that is sure to please. The management is alert and the waiters will look after you well even if you just want a tea or a glass of wine. https://www.beachsidegrill.co.uk/
The Thatch is a bit of a local landmark. The place for surfers and visitors to enjoy good food and beer. It’s a little pricey due to it’s reputation, but the atmosphere is lively and food ticks all the pub food boxes from steak to nachos and classic puds. Live music nights. https://www.thethatchcroyde.co.uk/
Blue Groove in Croyde is open from breakfast to dinner and has some popular favourites such as moules marinere and Caribbean lamb curry: their mains menu is called from Pakora to Pies… It’s a creatively decorated place with a fresh and bright atmosphere in their sunrooms. http://www.blue-groove.co.uk/
New Coast Kitchen has now opened in Croyde village center – https://newkitchen.co.uk/
Georgeham If you want more of the country pub experience and some great food try either of the two pubs in Georgeham. A bit of a drive so best to call and book ahead, about 20 mins by car but they both have a cosy country pub vibe. Can be a bit busy in peak season.
The Kings Arms – http://kingsarmsgeorgeham.co.uk/ live music nights
and The Rock Inn –http://therockinn.biz/.
Beach Food at the Car Parks
Beachside Grill (see above) and Saunton Break takeaway which is a cheaper option https://www.facebook.com/sauntonbreak/
Down End Cafe, on Down End near the Croyde Bay. Check out the surf whilst enjoying quality burgers, skinny fries, and salad bowls. https://www.parkingcroyde.com/ New number plate parking enforcement here – make sure you pay at the machine before departure!
Baggy Point Croyde
Sandleigh National Trust café & Baggys Café are both at the start of the Baggy Headland near the National Trust Car Park. Nice headland walk and some good cake and coffee and afternoon tea option. Sandleigh always has a gluten free pasty, cake and scones. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/baggy-point/features/eating-and-shopping-at-baggy-point
Putsborough beach operate their own food take-out with a small beach shop. You can get drinks and a range of meals including bacon butty or cheesy nachos. https://www.putsborough.com/
Woolacombe – Marine Drive
The Porthole is a new and welcome addition to Marine Drive. Located about 1/2 way between Putsborogh and Woolacombe, the Porthole is a small cafe with a creative and tastey lunch and cake offering. With tin cups and plates to keep it beach friendly it’s worth a visit on a walk along Woolacombe beach or dunes. If you like to cycle then this could be a destination for you. https://www.facebook.com/theportholewoolacombe/
Woolacombe – Barricane Beach Café
As if one Sri Lankan Food option wasn’t enough here is another. A bit of a holiday tradition for many families, especially if you get a sunny day with low winds, take your own drinks and eat your curry on the beach as the sun starts to go down. A plated meal with one Meat or Veg option. 20 min drive away at Woolacombe. Seasonal and weather dependent so do check on facebook https://www.facebook.com/Barricane-Beach-Woolacombe-163881457003060/
Places to Eat on your North Devon and Exmoor Days Out
OK the choices are vast and personal so it’s hard to know where to start! Ilfracombe and Lynmouth both have a lot of different cafes and snack bars and part of the fun will be in the discovery, I am sure. Here’s just one of two more remote places that you might like to consider:
Between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin, Storm in a Teacup is a tiny cafe in a converted lifeboat and they serve great lunches. A little tricky to find (enter through the holiday park entrance). Worth calling by if you are exploring out that way. https://www.boatcafeilfracombenorthdevon.co.uk/local-area/#directions
Harbour Deli at Combe Martin Pete’s favourite traditional breakfast for a very reasonable price and a counter of superb home made cakes for afters. Then take a walk up to hangman hill and back to work it off! See maps in the Lodge. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g551660-d4178654-Reviews-Harbour_Deli-Combe_Martin_Exmoor_National_Park_England.html
National Trust Café, Watersmeet at Lymouth. Great woodland valley location and some nice food. Accessed by a scenic walk along the river or by a steep 1/2 mile path from a roadside car park. See maps in the Lodge.
Hunters Inn at Heddon Valley. The pub is in a stunning location and a you can couple this drive with a beautiful woodland walk to the beach or up around the headland. Now also The Buttery, a National Trust takeout coffee and cake shop. See maps in Lodge. Narrow scenic roads to access the car parking. National Trust members park for free.
Marwood Hill Gardens and Cafe. If you want to get away from it all, here is the place about 20 min drive, peaceful valley and gardens with an old fashioned, traditional cafe run by volunteers. https://www.marwoodhillgarden.co.uk/