The 10 Best Restaurants In Winchester, Hampshire

Forte Kitchen’s hot smoked mackerel | Courtesy Forte Kitchen
Forte Kitchen’s hot smoked mackerel | Courtesy Forte Kitchen
Photo of Helen Armitage
9 February 2017

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

Restaurant, British, European, Vegetarian, $$$
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The Chesil Rectory
The Chesil Rectory | Courtesy 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

Restaurant, Brasserie, Thai, Asian
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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

Restaurant, Seafood, European, British, $$$
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Rick Stein, Winchester
Rick Stein, Winchester | ©Pete Warner/Flickr
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 Black Rat

Pub, Restaurant, European, British, $$$
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Food at The Black Rat
Food at The Black Rat | Courtesy The Black Rat
Formerly a pub, The Black Rat underwent a transformation in 2007 into a quaint, quirky restaurant and just one year after opening its doors was awarded a Michelin star, making it the only restaurant in Winchester to achieve such a prestigious accolade. Modern British fare with a distinct European bent is the restaurant’s specialty, with a seasonal and constantly evolving menu. Expect dishes like the game broth starter with faggots, Judas ear mushrooms, Romanesco, pickled shallot rings and bone marrow oil and the skate wing main with raw and roast cauliflower, black rice and smoked almonds. Complement the meals with a selection from the outstanding wine list boasting Old and New World selections.

Bistro La Place and Froggies Bar

Bar, Bistro, French
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Opened in 2008 by French natives Gael Pes and Sebastian Brancy, Bistro La Place and Froggies Bar is the place to head to in Winchester for your fix of delicious Gallic eats. Hearty mains like beef bourguignon with bacon lardons, shallots, mushrooms and mashed potatoes or baked camembert studded with garlic and rosemary and served with onion marmalade, chutney, fries and crudité are bound to fill bellies. Diners with a sweet tooth will want to save room for desserts like baked pear and almond tart and classic crème brûlée. There’s also a comprehensive wine list, naturally featuring plenty of French selections.

The Bugle Inn

Bar, Pub, Hotel Restaurant, British, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, $$$
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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.

Tom’s Deli

Deli, Restaurant, British, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Dessert, $$$
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Located in a warm, welcoming space a few minutes’ walk from Winchester Cathedral, Tom’s Deli, part delicatessen, part café-restaurant, is the place to head in town for simple, yet delicious, Italian classics. Plenty of pizzas and paninis are served alongside hearty pasta dishes like seafood linguine and spaghetti with meat sauce. But a trip to Tom’s Deli wouldn’t be complete without sampling its popular desserts like homemade tiramisu and cannoli. For diners hoping to replicate the traditional Italian dining experience at home, the eatery’s delicatessen is the ideal spot to stock up on authentic produce like olive oils, meats and sweet treats.

Fish Tale

Restaurant, Seafood, British
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If seafood gets your taste buds tingling, then a meal at Fish Tale is a must. Eclectic dishes with a mix of British and global flavours make up Fish Tale’s menu, with standout offerings that include smoked haddock with poached egg and a wholegrain mustard, leek and cheese gratin and a spicy, tangy Goan curry with monkfish served with a side of basmati rice and cauliflower-baby corn foogath. While the focus is on fish, there are dishes to suit meat lovers and vegetarians too like sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce and goat cheese wellington with baby spinach and asparagus.

Kyoto Kitchen

Restaurant, Japanese, Contemporary, Sushi, $$$
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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.

Forte Kitchen, 78 Parchment Street, Winchester, Hampshire, UK, +44 1962 856 840

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