Bath is a touristy city and so unsurprisingly a lot of the cafes and restaurants in the centre are aimed at catching sightseers. Most go for a ye olde worlde tea shop angle and can be found around the backstreets leading from the Abbey and the Romans Baths. Sally Lunn’s (www.sallylunns.co.uk) is the most famous, and although it didn’t make my Top 20 it is worth a visit if you want the quintessential Bath tourist experience.
But if you’re looking for something a bit more modern you’ll be spoilt for choice as Bath has a glut of ‘modern British’ restaurants and local produce is a big thing here. Bath had the first farmers’ market in the UK and eating establishments have picked up on the push to eat local.
Celebrity chefs are starting to home in on Bath and over the last few years Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have set up with Jamie’s Italian(www.jamieoliver.com/italian/bath) in Milsom Place and River Cottage Canteen (www.rivercottage.net) in Komedia on Westgate Street.
Gastro-pubs are also popular and some worthy mentions that didn’t make my Top 20 are Gascoyne Place (www.gascoyneplace.co.uk) near the Theatre Royal and the King William (http://kingwilliampub.com) , which is a little way from the centre on London Road.
Monday seems to be a popular day for restaurants to close, so check the opening times in my Top 20 if you’re having a long weekend in the city. Lunch generally is 12-2pm and dinner is from 5.30-10.30pm – unlike on the Continent most people eat early and tables book up quickly around 7.30/8pm.
Expensive restaurants offer set lunch menus that can work out to be excellent value and I’ve indicated this in the price advice section where applicable. Cheaper places tend to offer mid-week evening offers and I’ve also highlighted these in my Top 20.
It’s best to reserve a table on Friday, Saturday nights, Sunday lunchtimes and on Thursdays around Christmas time as lots of people come to Bath for late-night shopping and then make an evening of it.
Some restaurants include service so check the bill before you add anything –the service charge is optional so can be removed if you feel things weren’t up to scratch. While most restaurants accept any credit cards, some won't take American Express, so check before you order.