The Best Restaurants In Winchester, Hampshire

Forte Kitchen’s hot smoked mackerel
Forte Kitchen’s hot smoked mackerel | Courtesy Forte Kitchen
Helen Armitage

Hampshire’s county town Winchester is not only a haven for history buffs but also for foodies, boasting everything from but cosy pubs to a Michelin starred restaurant. So whether modern British cuisine takes your fancy, or French fare and authentic Thai treats make your mouth water, be sure to check out these top restaurants the next time you are dining out in Winchester.

The Chesil Rectory

Voted restaurant of the year in the Hampshire Life Food & Drink Awards, The Chesil Rectory is a beautiful restaurant nestled in a historic location, a 600-year-old Grade II listed medieval building, serving modern British cuisine. An interior decked out in plenty of original features (think oak beams and roaring, open fireplaces) is complemented by modern, plush additions and classic, but creative, dishes. Highlights include the ballantine of duck and lentils with sweet piccalilli, buttered shallots and toast or peppered local venison with confit root vegetables, potato puree and blackcurrant syrup, which are best washed down with a selection from The Chesil Rectory’s exciting wine list.

Bangkok Brasserie

Authentic Thai eats are dished up in elegant surrounds at Bangkok Brasserie. This popular, family-run restaurant headed by restaurateur Miff Kayum was recently named one of the UK’s best Thai eateries by Harden’s. Start with dishes like chicken satay or steamed mussels in spicy chilli sauce before moving on to mains including classic pad Thai (available with prawns, chicken, tofu or vegetables) and crispy sea bass with a spicy green apple salad. A particularly popular dish is the Colin Firth’s Thai mango chicken curry – named after the Hampshire-born actor; a portion of sales from the dish are donated to local refugee charity Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group.

Rick Stein, Winchester

The first of his restaurants outside Cornwall, Rick Stein has brought something unique to Winchester’s dining scene. As is the case with Stein’s Cornish outposts, the menu is awash with innovative takes on traditional British fish and seafood dishes. Its not the cheapest place to eat in Winchester, but its prices are by no means extortionate and it makes a great destination for a special lunch or supper. The restaurant has a well curated and affordable set lunch menu available during the week, and with dishes such as red pepper and chorizo calamari, and grilled chicken paillard with watercress and red wine dressing, is a definite crowd pleaser.

The Bugle Inn

Just a few miles south of Winchester in Twyford, a picturesque village nestled on the edges of the South Downs National Park, is The Bugle Inn. This cosy restaurant and bar serves upscale pub grub and real ales showcasing local flavours and produce. Combine starters like Wiltshire ham hock terrine served with crunchy piccalilli, ciabatta toast, burnt apple puree and micro herbs with mouth watering mains like locally caught, beer battered cod and haddock with chunky chips, chilled pea puree and tangy tartar sauce. These are perfectly paired with local beers from the likes of Flowerpots Brewery and Bowman Ales. Go on Sundays to savour The Bugle Inn’s popular roast, winner of the Hampshire’s best roast title in the Hampshire Life Food & Drink Awards.

Kyoto Kitchen

A project by local restaurateur Miff Kayum, Kyoto Kitchen dubs itself ‘Winchester’s first authentic Japanese restaurant,’ and alongside its specialty sushi and sashimi, it also welcomes guests to try a range of other classic Japanese eats. Choose from classic sashimi, octopus, mackerel and seabass included, or opt for the locally inspired Winchester roll made with local trout and wasabi from Europe’s only wasabi farm. Alternatively, combine small plates like beef tataki with tangy homemade ponzu with entrées including tender duck breast with raspberry teriyaki and pineapple or steamed turbot with soy sauce, asparagus, ginger and daikon.

Forte Kitchen

Forte Kitchen has found its niche in Winchester’s dining scene and is steadily gaining a name for its deliciously rustic, home cooked British cuisine. Open from morning until late afternoon daily, Forte Kitchen’s breakfast menu features dishes like eggs Benedict, Scotch pancakes with smoked streaky bacon and maple syrup and, of course, a hearty full English with all the trimmings. While lunchtime fare includes sharing platters, sandwiches and mains like the Hampshire beef burger with fries and red cabbage coleslaw or hot smoked mackerel with slow roasted plum tomato, spinach, poached egg and sourdough toast. Afternoon tea features scones, macaroons and cakes.

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