Staying in Cheltenham – here are our top 10 tips for dining out
Whether you are staying in Cheltenham for one of the many events or Festivals that this town plays host to, you are visiting friends or family or you’re here for her, the chances are you will want to dine out at one of the many restaurants or places to eat in the town. How do you choose which one though? Well we have done all of the hard work for you and have hand picked 10 gems of restaurants for you. If you stay with us long enough or frequently enough maybe you will get to try them all? We are very much looking forward to welcoming you and you being able to try out our recommendations.
This restaurant was opened in 1982 and badges itself as “The home of Cantonese Cuisine”. It never disappoints. All the food on their extensive menu is freshly prepared from the finest ingredients, the service is warm, genuine and friendly and the restaurant has a lovely atmosphere. Very popular with visitors and locals alike booking ahead is highly recommended (and essential at weekend or when the races are on. The restaurant also has a great range of set menus. Some of our favourites include their crispy duck, sizzling chicken in black bean sauce and crispy chilli beef, but none of their dishes will disappoint you.
Set in the beautifully restored Rotunda building, in the very social part of Cheltenham called Montpellier, this restaurant is a relatively recent addition to the Cheltenham scene. Their modern British and international menu has something for everybody. They are open 7 days a week for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner and eating here, always feels like a special occasion. Our top tip when booking is to ask if you can be seated in the Rotunda itself, a great place for people watching.
The Clarence isn’t just an excellent restaurant but it also has a lively, sophisticated bar (with amongst other things an excellent gin menu) and a chic “speakeasy” style cocktail bar in the basement. The Clarence appointed a new French Head Chef in 2020 and rebranded their restaurant Flamant. For this guide we are focussing on the restaurant which is situated upstairs, yet still has the buzz of downstairs. The Clarence offers a winning combination of an award winning chef and a fantastic menu. They offer an excellent value midweek set menu, a bottomless brunch (a great way to start your day, a tempting a la carte menu and one of the best Sunday lunches in the town.
Situated just a couple of 100 metres away from Spa Court, this restaurant would have been on our list anyway, especially for meat lovers. Proudly offering stylish British cuisine they have an excellent choice of steaks – which includes a 30 oz T-Bone and a 36 oz Chateaubriand. For starters look out for their Ox cured meat board.
Looking for a refined and sophisticated approach to Indian dining then look no further. Prithvi has returned to its spiritual home in Bath Road, a very short walk from Spa Court. The restaurant promises a memorable dining experience and it never disappoints. Our recommendation would be to ask the restaurant for their recommendation which they will always make off the back of knowing your likes and dislikes, particular if the owner Jay Ahmed is on hand.
131 is situated overlooking Cheltenham’s Imperial Gardens and is very cool. It offers a great choice of places to eat from in the summer a large covered patio area in front of their building, the bar, their Gin & Juice bar area (our favourite) to the restaurant itself. Definitely one of those “see and be seen” kind of places, the food is very good and reasonably priced.
As the name suggests French favourites feature strongly here as well as Brasserie Blancs own signature dishes. The restaurant has a large bar area with a great vibe and an atmospheric dining area that is light and airy with high ceilings. The food hear never disappoints and the staff are always knowledgeable and happy to help. A great choice for a leisurely breakfast, lunch or a special dinner.
Kibou has been serving up award-winning Japanese food in the heart of Cheltenham for the last 7 years. They started life as a basement restaurant on Regent Street with space for around 20 diners. As their small operation grew, so did their reputation and the number of happy customers returning to enjoy our great food and atmosphere. Fast forward to today and they are now in new, larger premises just down the road. They are still the same Kibou that Cheltenham has come to love, serving all your favourite handmade sushi, the tastiest of ramen, katsu and tempura, as well as heaps of other truly authentic Japanese dishes. Plus, they’ve extended their range of cocktails, sake and Japanese beers & whiskeys.
Purslane gets its name from a low trailing plant with small yellow flowers that can be foraged on the seashore. It will come as no surprise then that this restaurant’s claim to fame is its fish. Their menus change bi-monthly to reflect the seasons and also include meat, game and vegetarian dishes. They also offer working lunches, a tasting menu and an excellent value early menu.
The Mensahib Gin and Tea Bar
Situated right in the heart of Cheltenham, this tastefully decorated bar and dining destination is the brainchild of the owners of the also excellent East India Café (also worth a visit). The food here as the name suggests is reminiscent of the days of the Raj, featuring Anglo Indian Tapas. Our recommendation here would be to go for their excellent Mensahib Tasting Menu, a culinary tour expertly paired with a unique blend of gin based drinks.
We hope you enjoy our selection off restaurants. If you fancy a short trip out of town we have a couple of other recommendations for you. For the country house dining experience, have a look at the stunning Ellenborough Park Hotel and for a great country pub dining experience, try the Gloucester Old Spot pub.