The best places to eat in Stratford-upon-Avon
You don’t have to live on Sheep Street
The X15 pulls up on Bridge Street. The children flow out and forward straight through the golden arches and into McDonald’s for a cheeseburger. Unless you’re really hankering for a Big Mac, there are plenty of other places you can go.
1. No. 9 Church Street
You would know No. 9 even existed at first glance. It has the exterior of the period residential area, and the interior matches. Low ceilings, like all the furniture was removed from an open plan living room and a cosy atmosphere. Their best dish used to be an onglet steak that has since been usurped by the tediously common ribeye.
Start with scallops before moving onto something involving pork. The menu changes very regularly but previous favourites include a trio of rare breed pork from the local Black Pig Company. The kitchen goes further with their specials. Eat them. (The specials not the kitchen staff.)
2. Giggling Squid, Thai Red Curry
Stratford’s town centre is peppered with failed attempts to capitalise on the tourist destination’s monstrous foot fall. 23 High Street, which the Giggling Squid calls home, was a microcosm for Stratford’s declining central retail sector. After Pizza Hut upsticks to the Maybird out of town no one had stuck there, until now.
The only chain in a list otherwise solely populated with local businesses, the tapas style Thai food is an absolute stand out. Sticky rice so good you would happily consume it while up to your waist in subzero paddy water. Avoid the more contrived concoctions available for superb red or green curry.
3. Bouche Bakehouse, Cinnamon Bun
Did you know that there is a thing called a cronut? Did you know that this thing called a cronut is a pastry cross between a croissant and a doughnut? And did you know that they can be gin and tonic falvoured? Neither did I until I met the mind blowing baked goods of Bouche Bakehouse. Anywhere else Bouche’s produce would be described as innovative and experimental, but that’s their norm.
If you want the bun of your life, follow their Instagram to find out where the inspired rising sun bakery-cum-van is visiting next.
4. Baraset Barn, Sunday Roast
Typically the reserve of Range Rover mummies looking for a sun sent glass of fizz, the Baraset offers food in equal measure to middle class entitlement. Not in Stratford proper, nestled into the Aleveston cross roads, the menu is unremarkable in its standard gastro fare but the quality is undeniable. Sunday roast is robust. Dessert is alternative to the sticky toffee flavoured monotony with which Stratford has become synonymous in so far as they offer a chocolate fondant.
5. Rooftop Restaurant RSC, Cocktails With A View
The food is good at the RSC Rooftop restaurant, okay. It’s good. But to suggest that anyone is paying any attention to their food when this is the view is, frankly, absurd.
If you manage to stop staring out at the 360 view afford to you make sure you start with the cocktails. Provided by an excellent bar and management, rasberry vodka Collins or a simple English garden are best. If it’s too early for gin then afternoon tea is a delight and a disappointment – but only in so much as you will be too full to eat the dinner menu.
6. Bamboodle, Pulled Pork Chilli Noodles
As unorthodox as a strip club in a medieval market town, Bambooble is situated above a strip club in a medieval market town. The mixture of Asian street food fresh from an open kitchen and the antics to late ensue, heavily insinuated by the Tattinger bottles pre-iced on the bar, is novel. The vibes are obscure and so is the food, but in a pleasantly surprising way.
7. The Vintner, Braised Lamb Shank
Thesps booze at the Dirty Duck but they eat at the Vintner. Meak attempts at antipasti and the like mean that jubilant post-performance actors who want anything other than a riverside drink head to Sheep Street. Worth the high prices.
8. Lambs, Lamb, again
What, it’s next door to the Vintner? What the menu is virtually identical? Yeah, so what? It’s just as good.
9. Il Moro, something you can’t pronounce
There isn’t a shortage of Italian dining in Stratford, not by any means. So a Sardinian place is refreshing. Testament to its quality is the relocation from Greenhill Street to a premise that one else has been able to survive in on the Shakespeare Street roundabout. The Flat Chicken, an oyster bar and a cafe before it all floundered.