Are you looking for the best restaurants in Exeter? This blog post has a wonderful selection!
Devon’s second-largest city, Exeter is famous for its centuries-old Cathedral and historic quay. But did you know that the city has an incredible foodie scene as well?
Although it’s not quite as varied as places like Bristol or Falmouth, for a city of its size, Exeter has tonnes of delectable eateries. The city centre is brimming with incredible restaurants, many of which are independent, and there are some hidden gems to find in the suburbs as well.
Whether you fancy tacos or are craving a huge bowl of ramen, there’s plenty of international fare. Or, if you just want to sample some of the best West Country dishes Exeter has to offer, there are plenty of local establishments serving food from around the South West as well.
I’m on a mission to sample all of the best places to eat in Exeter to provide a helpful resource for visitors, residents, and students alike!
So whatever your tastes or budget, take a look at my pick of the best restaurants in Exeter – I guarantee you’ll find something that you’ll love!
Best Restaurants in Exeter: Go South West’s top picks!
Best Pizza in Exeter: On the Waterfront
On the Waterfront is a popular cocktail bar and restaurant. It’s famous for its extra-large pizzas, consisting of a mouthwatering doughy base with all the tantalizing toppings you could ever dream of.
If you’re vegan, opt for their dairy-free cheese and range of veggie toppings.
Don’t like pizza? On the Waterfront also offers burgers and salads.
And of course, you can enjoy a drink or two from its extensive drinks menu while you’re here as well!
Best Rooftop Bar in Exeter: The Terrace
The Terrace has a reputation for being one of the best places to enjoy cocktails in Exeter, but it actually boasts an impressive food menu, with abundant options for any palate.
The menu changes seasonally, but it usually features burgers, pizza, salads and other meals.
There are plenty of vegan options and dishes for other dietary requirements.
Either enjoy your meal inside the restaurant, which is furnished with plant-themed decor, or sit outside on its namesake – The Terrace itself.
Cocktail-wise, this restaurant and bar has all of the usual classics, including martinis and mojitos, but you can also opt for some of their house cocktails. I particularly loved the Kakomora, which is named after Moana.
Best New Restaurant in Exeter: Margoux
Margoux is a trendy city centre eatery that boasts the finest of dining!
You’ll walk through the wall to ceiling windows which awash the restaurant with natural light, then take a seat and take a look at its fresh, seasonal menu.
The restaurant is famous for its steaks, but it also boats traditional meat and fish dishes with a contemporary twist.
If you’re vegetarian, there will be at least one option – I don’t eat meat or fish and enjoyed a sumptuous creamy squash, feta and basil risotto with rocket and pine nuts.
I also sampled their spicy olives for starters and a mouthwatering vegan mousse, scattered with popcorn and caramelised banana, for dessert!
Once dinner’s finished, head upstairs to the cocktail bar. With relaxing music and patio doors opening up to the balcony, which leads to fantastic views over the historic Exeter Cathedral.
Sip on a poshstar martini, a fancy take on a pornstar martini (it’s made with grey goose vodka!) or try a fruity gin bramble. Alternatively, Margoux has an extensive wine list, beers on tap and plenty of soft drinks.
Best Seafood Restaurant in Exeter: Rockfish
Seafood and Devon go together hand in hand. It’s the only UK county that has two separate coastlines, and seafood is on the menu in restaurants and pubs in virtually every town and village.
However, nowhere does fresh fish quite as well as Rockfish. This restaurant is a Devon and Dorset institution, with branches in Exeter, Exmouth, Plymouth and other locations. The Exeter restaurant basks in a quayside setting.
As you take a seat in Rockfish, a waiter or waitress will go over the catches of the day, which is a constantly changing menu depending on what the fishers have caught!
Or, sample seafood from the selection of permanent dishes, all of which are served with a side salad or chunky chips. Everything is made from local ingredients and there’s also a range of delicious desserts.
If you don’t eat fish, don’t worry – while it’s definitely a seafood restaurant, there is always a veggie option.
I opted for the Bombay seafood burger, which was absolutely exquisite!
Quirkiest Restaurant in Exeter: Quayside Distillery
One of Exeter’s newest establishments, Quayside Distillery is foremostly a gin and vodka distillery.
However, if you fancy trying some cocktails and Mediterranean-style tapas, head down to this Exeter quay business.
On the food menu, you’ll find tapas with a modern twist. Feast on Spanish omelette, try their hummus of the day or sample delectable calamari. There are options for veggies, vegans and meat-eaters.
Plus, as you’d expect from a cocktail bar, there is an abundance of different beverages to try.
I particularly enjoyed the “only fans martini”, which is their take on a pornstar martini, and one of my friends loved the cream tea daiquiri.
The entire place has a relaxed vibe, with squashy leather sofas, exposed brickwork and inviting wall art.
Best Asian Restaurant in Exeter: Jasmine Thai Restaurant
Jasmine Thai Restaurant serves quality food from the east – if you’ve ever gone to Thailand, you’ve got to eat here!
Situated on Fore Street, this Asian eatery serves up excellent food, with Thai soups, noodle dishes and curries all on the menu.
A perfect place for large groups of people with different dietary requirements, you can order most of their dishes with either meat, seafood, vegetables or tofu.
In fact, it’s a great place to visit if you’re vegan or vegetarian, as the general manager is a life-long vegan himself and has personally created a plant-based menu!
Most historic restaurant in Exeter: The Turk’s Head
Classic British food is on the menu at the Turk’s Head, which is one of the oldest pubs in Devon, with a history stretching back over 700 years.
Legend has it, Charles Dickens even dined here!
It’s had a revamp in recent years, but you can still feel stories from its past echoing from all walls and corners.
On the menu, you’ll find a variety of pizzas, including veggie, meaty, a pizza with Greek-inspired toppings and a twist on the traditional Hawaiian pizza!
If you just fancy nibbles, garlic pizza bread or nachos are also on offer.
There are also plenty of drinks on offer for virtually every palate, and the whole pub has a relaxed atmosphere, even on a Friday or Saturday night.
Best independent restaurant in Exeter: Harry’s Restaurant
Long hailed as one of the best Exeter restaurants, this eatery opened in 1993 and has always been independently owned.
Offering delicious food like steaks, burgers (with veggie options avialable), pastas and classic sides, you can guarantee that you’ll absolutely love dining here.
The service is top-notch, and it’s always one of the highest-rated restaurants in Exeter.
Best Cafe in Exeter: The Undergrad
The Undergrad Cafe is a West Country institution, and it’s well worth a visit while you’re in town, even if it’s just for a cup of coffee.
Operated by the South West Coffee Co and working in collaboration with the University of Exeter, this cafe and eclectic restaurant offers plenty of coffee, smoothies, milkshakes and delicious homemade cakes. They also have one of the best breakfasts in town.
With light lunches like sandwiches and salads too, The Undergrad is perfect if you’re looking for casual dining options.
Mexican restaurant in Exeter: Taco Macho
Potentially the best Mexican restaurant in the heart of Exeter, Taco Macho serves up authentic cuisine cooked by a Mexican chef.
As the name suggests, you can expect delicious, mouthwatering tacos (veggie options available) along with tasty burritos and nachos.
It’s only a small place – don’t expect the vibes of Pink Taco in New York – but if you’re craving some spice, guac and salsa in Devno, Taco Macho’s your spot.
Best Tearoom in Exeter: Eat on the Green
With fantastic views over the Cathedral yard, Eat on the Green is a family-run tea room serving breakfast, lunch and sweet treats throughout the day.
The menu is virtually all English classics. Opt for a full English fry-up in the morning, try a fresh sandwich or fresh West Country pasty for lunch or dine on a scone with jam and clotted cream in the afternoon.
It provides comfort food at its finest, plus the amazing views of Exeter Cathedral make this Exeter establishment one to firmly add to your “to visit” list.
Best pub in Topsham: The Globe
The Globe is one of the best eateries outside of Exeter – it’s located in the suburb of Topsham.
A historic pub and coaching house, it boasts a fantastic restaurant that serves local cuisine made with west country produce, sometimes with a twist – when I ate there recently, I had the delicious vegan fish and chips!
It has a great atmosphere for a weeknight dinner, and its in a perfect location overlooking the River Exe in the village!
Portuguese Restaurant in Exeter: Cork & Tile
For something a little different, how about Exeter’s best Portuguese restaurant?
Located on Gandy Street in Exeter City Centre, Cork & Tile provides amazing food with excellent service.
They use both local West Country products and ingredients imported from Portugal and strictly cook to Portuguese recipes that have been passed down through generations.
Choose from meat, fish or veggie tapas, sample their sharing platters with meat and seafood, or opt for something from their vegetarian and vegan menu; options include chickpea and mango curry or stuffed red pepper.
Plus, don’t forget a pastel de nata for dessert!
It’s a small restaurant, so has an intimate atmosphere that’s perfect for a wonderful dining experience like no other.
Best cafe in Heavitree: Daisy Cafe
Located in Heavitree, one of Exeter’s suburbs, Daisy Cafe is an oasis in the city.
Step into their secret garden and feel the wellness benefits of being surrounded by plants; you’ll immediately relax and unwind.
With amazing service and a lovely atmosphere, Daisy Cafe boasts an unpretentious menu of delicious lunches and light bites.
Everyone is guaranteed a warm welcome, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available.
Check out these Exeter restaurants on your next trip!
Tourists to Exeter often don’t realise that the city actually has a really great foodie scene. While there’s not as much on offer as in bigger cities like London or Bristol, you’ll find plenty for all tastebuds when you browse the menu!
So whether you’re looking for independent eateries with unpretentious friendly service or a boujie restaurant serving tasty dishes for a special occasion, there are plenty of Exeter restaurants – you’ll certainly find what you’re looking for on this list!
Do you run a restaurant in Exeter? Feel free to get in contact with cl[email protected] to discuss featuring on this page!