The Earth’s oceans are full of fish and shellfish that can only dream of being caught off the coast of Cornwall. To play an important part in one of a Michelin star chef’s delectable dishes is a high held ambition – can’t you imagine the disappointment a pilchard feels when it ends up in a fish burger sold at 3AM from an inner-city takeaway? Now picture the lucky pilchards that end up in a stargazy pie from a seafront Michelin star restaurant in Cornwall. It really made their life worth the trip, didn’t it?
Being in Cornwall, seafood is a diet cornerstone, so it’s a pleasant pastime for gastronomes who love nothing better than a quest to find the best food at an inspiring restaurant. Michelin Guides do some of the legwork for us, endorsing the very best food around, yet it’s a widely held misconception to think that their accolades are only bestowed on the most exclusive and expensive eateries around; it’s the food and presentation, not the ambience, the demeanour of the staff or the shade of the wallpaper their envoys reward, it's simply how well the chefs fulfill their briefs of delivering lovely food to their bellies. The price tag isn’t always, although it often is, an indicator of taste quality. Check out these Michelin star rewarded takeaways in Singapore for instance.
41 to visit
There are 41 Michelin star-emblazoned restaurants and cafes in Cornwall as of February 2020. With seafood a cornerstone of the local diet in Cornwall, it probably comes of no surprise that a huge proportion of the 41 restaurants with a star are specialists. Perhaps the most famous of all is the Padstow-based chef legend Rick Stein, who came to the village in the 1970s. Now his restaurants and brand are a household name in the UK, with a string of restaurants, cafes and chippies all across the Duchy. Other chefs of note that have established an enviable reputation in Cornwall are Nathan Outlaw, Paul Ainsworth and Ben Tunnicliffe.
We have compiled a guide to where you can find some of Cornwall’s most interesting Michelin-starred restaurants and cafes. Why not stay in a holiday cottage in Cornwall? We have accommodation all over the Duchy that is close to all the fine food centres like Padstow and St Ives. For budding chefs, some of our properties have excellent kitchens for if you’re feeling inspired enough to create your own fine food creations!
🍽️ Skip to full list of Michelin star restaurants in Cornwall
The spiritual heart of fine-dining in Cornwall, there’s more these days to Padstow than Rick Stein. That’s not a disparagement, but with five Michelin star restaurants in the village, home to a variety of renowned chefs, you’d be seriously remiss to stop at the biggest name in Padstow, alone. So, who else is in ‘town’? Paul Ainsworth at No.6, Caffe Rojano, and Prawn on the Lawn. Padstow is a picture-perfect vision of Cornish life, centring around a working harbour edged with pubs, galleries and gift shops. Sat on the Camel River close to the estuary, you can catch a ferry over to Rock, where there are two more Michelin star restaurants: The Mariners and Dining Room.
Stay in: Padstow – The Linhay | Sleeps: 4 guests with 2 dogs
Heading north from Padstow, Port Isaac plays host to not one, but two Michelin-starred restaurants managed by the same chef, Nathan Outlaw. Celebrating his love of all foods of subaquatic origin, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw and Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen would be said to dominate the fine dining scene in the village, yet a third establishment halts the dominion, The Stargazy Inn. Offering food that covers a broader base, great if seafood frightens your palate. Port Isaac is an archetypal Cornish village with a quaint harbour at its heart and tiny stone houses that run up and down the hillsides. It’s gorgeous.
Stay in: Pibbies | Sleeps: 4 guests
Head to the far west of Cornwall and you will reach one of the remotest large towns in England, Penzance. Penzance is also the gateway to West Penwith. Encompassing Newlyn, Porthcurno, Sennen, Land’s End and Zennor, this area of Cornwall remains untamed in the main, the only man-made embellishments beyond the farms and villages being the abandoned tin mines. An inspiring wild land, several of Cornwall’s Michelin-starred restaurants can be found this far out. At least five in fact: The Tolcarne Inn (Newlyn), The Gurnard’s Head (Zennor), two in cute Mousehole – The Old Coastguard and 2 Fore Street, and Harris’s (Penzance).
Stay in: Burnt Toast Cottage | Sleeps: 5 guests plus 2 dogs
High on the foodies list of places to visit in Cornwall is St Ives. The famous artists’ enclave is a hive of culinary wizards and sorcerers and there are four Michelin star restaurants in amongst its windy narrow streets including: Ben’s Cornish Kitchen, Porthminster Beach Café, Porthmeor Café Bar and Porthgwidden Beach Café. St Ives is a lovely place to spend the day, so why not flex the wallet with some quality cuisine during your visit?
Stay in: Rivington | Sleeps: 4 guests
The southerly regions of Cornwall are home to even more excellent restaurants, this part of the Duchy has also been blessed with some Michelin Guide endorsed eateries too. Head to busy Fowey for the choice of Fitzroy or Q. Porthleven is the place to go too, as there is more than one great place to eat, so discover the wonders of: Square, Kota and the ubiquitous Rick Stein. On the Roseland Peninsula you can also find Idle Rocks and the Watch House in the tucked-away beauty of St Mawes.
Stay in: Brambles at Pendriscott Lodge | Sleeps: 2 guests plus 1 dog
Read our guide to food and drink in Cornwall to see an even wider choice of places to get go for breakfast, lunch and dinner during your holiday.
We have a great selection of holiday cottages in or around each town or village with a Michelin star restaurant. So, whether you are planning a romantic break or a family holiday to Cornwall and plan on eating out a few evenings, we have just the property for you.
We advise booking ahead at all of these restaurants and cafes where possible to avoid disappointment. Some of them are booked up weeks in advance, particularly during peak periods.
Complete list of Michelin restaurants in Cornwall 2020
*correct as of 20/02/2020
Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 - @akingabroad
Stargazy Inn @stargazyinn
The Gurnard's Head @gurnardshead
Porthmeor Beach Cafe @porthmeorcafe
Rick Stein - Porthleven @theneilfletcher