Before arriving in Bristol, North Street was simply part of an address where we’d be housesitting for a month. It was a street on a map, a short walk from Spike island and the Bristol harbour. The homeowners had assured us that we’d have no issue finding a place to eat nearby. This turned out to be a bit of an understatement. As it turned out, there are dozens of restaurants on North Street, Bristol – all within 20 minutes by foot.
The options are so vast and so delicious, that we could have eaten exclusively on North Street during our entire month in Bristol. We enjoyed steaming meat pies and fresh baked sourdough. We feasted on Indian curries, messy cheeseburgers, and tasted the best pint of Guinness in Bristol on more than one occasion. If you’ve got plans to visit Bristol, be sure to spend some time indulging in the best restaurants North Street has to offer.
Sunday Market @ The Tobacco Factory
This was one of our favourite spots to grab a snack and enjoy a few hours every week. Not only are there a ton of food options, but also some fantastic local shopping. Expect to find stalls selling everything from handmade jewelry to vinyl records and artisan chocolates.
Grab a steaming Chinese bao, a Scotch egg or some jerk chicken while having a custom poem written for you on a vintage typewriter. The North Street Sunday market is an experience not to be missed.
- 10AM – 2:30PM – Sunday
- The Tobacco Factory
Hen & Chicken – Classic American
This American-style grill is exactly what we needed after so many months travelling in Europe. Looking for a burger fix? This is the place to be. They specialize in classics like cheeseburgers and sloppy hot dogs. All made with high-quality, local ingredients. Southern favourites such as BBQ ribs, pulled pork, and burnt ends are another fantastic option.
On Wednesdays, they offer a burger and beer special that includes two burgers and two pints for £15. We had the Smokey Jo and the Hawaii 50, both were outstanding!
Also, the Hen & Chicken has a live venue attached to the main restaurant, featuring regular stand-up comedy and live music!
- 10 AM – Midnight, Sunday – Thursday; 10 AM – 1 AM Friday & Saturday
- Hen & Chicken
Clark’s Pies – The OG’s on the Block
Blink and you’ll miss this tiny hole in the wall pie shop. Don’t be fooled by its modest exterior, Clark’s pies have been serving North Street for over 80 years!
They stick to their classic, no-nonsense menu featuring four simple pies and a sausage roll. The pies themselves are delicious, it seems 80 years of practice has paid off. Taste and quality aside, the prices are unbeatable. Clark’s is the perfect spot to grab a quick morning snack before taking on this incredible city.
- 8 AM – 3 PM, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday; 8 AM – 2 PM, Tuesday & Saturday
- Clark’s Pies
Mark’s Bread – The Best Bakery
This is my favourite bakery in the world, and I say that with complete, unexaggerated honesty. The house we were sitting was right across the street from Mark’s. Every morning we would wake to that warm, comforting smell of bread baking.
Each day, Mark and his crew bake countless loaves of over a dozen varieties of bread – including three different sourdoughs! They also have a limited, but equally impressive food menu, and some delicious coffee. Be sure to try their interpretation of the full English breakfast, complete with house-made brown sauce!
- 8 AM – 4:30 PM Monday to Saturday
- Mark’s Bread
Parsons Bakery – Delicious Pastries
This is one of the few “chains” on this list, though it takes away nothing from the quality of their products. We first popped in here on my birthday, in search of some alternatives to a cake. What we encountered was an incredible selection of colourful tarts, cupcakes and pastries.
After some time, we narrowed it down to four selections. We then happily learned that after 3 pm, prices are heavily discounted to clear the daily stock. When we finally ate them, several hours later, they still tasted as if they’d just been baked.
- 7 AM – 5 PM, Monday – Friday; 7:30 AM – 5 PM, Saturday; 9 AM – 4 PM, Sunday
- Parson’s Bakery
Coffee #1 – Great Coffee and Work Environment
Another spot with a few locations throughout Bristol is Coffee #1. We stopped in here one morning just to check it out and ended up staying for hours. The coffee alone was worth the visit, with Guatemalan as the daily rotational roast. But it was the laid-back atmosphere and lightning-fast wifi that kept us in place.
I don’t remember what we enjoyed for pastries, or how many coffees we drank during our time, but I remember leaving entirely satisfied and buzzing hard.
The place does fill up fast, so if you’re planning on working, arrive early!
- 7:30 AM – 5 PM, Monday – Friday; 8 AM – 6 PM, Saturday; 8:30 AM – 5 PM, Sunday
- Coffee #1
Thali – Traditional Indian Cuising
Indian food is almost synonymous with English cuisine these days, and for the best Indian food on North Street, look no further than Thali. Found in the Tobacco Factory, Thali specializes in cuisine from all across India. From rich, North Indian curries, to Southern uttapam and spicy Goan fish stews.
What makes Thali really cool, however, is their tiffin scheme. Tiffins are metallic lunch containers made famous in Mumbai. And Thali has brought them to Bristol. If you’re planning on staying local for a while and frequenting Thali, purchase a set of tiffin and bring your takeaway home in this traditional, reusable container.
Stop in for the lunch special, featuring papadam, crunchy Keralan salad, basmati rice, tomato-tamarind chutney, and your choice of chicken, lamb or fish.
- 5 PM – 10 PM, Monday – Wednesday; 12 PM – 10 PM, Thursday – Saturday; 12 PM – 9 PM, Sunday
The Old Book Shop – Best Sunday Roast in Bristol
This came highly recommended by some local friends of ours who claimed it to be the best Sunday roast in town – without question. We went in with high hopes and were not disappointed.
They take the traditional roast and twist it, just enough, giving a unique spin on the beloved classic. The roasted vegetables, potatoes, yorkies and gravy are still there in their time-honoured form. But braised pork belly and confit chicken leg replace more traditional meat options, while ox cheek ragout is added to the roast beef.
Monday nights feature Pub Quiz, and live music is often featured on Friday and Saturday nights.
- 5 PM – 11 PM, Monday – Thursday; 10:30 AM – 11:30 PM, Friday & Saturday; 12:30 PM – 11 PM, Sunday
- The Old Bookshop
Fishminster- Fish & Chips
Mon to Sat 12 – 10:30pm Closed midday M/T/W Sun 5-10pm
This was a tricky one. Before checking this place out, we noticed incredibly varying reviews. It seemed as though people either love or loathe it. We quite enjoyed it. It isn’t the best fish and chip shop in Bristol but is easily the best we found on North Street.
What makes it a little different than some places, and where I can see a divide in preference, is that it isn’t a crunchy batter. It’s a softer, beer-based batter that might put some people off. It isn’t my personal preference, but the flavour of the whole meal was fantastic. Zero complaints here.
- 12 PM – 10:30 PM, Monday – Saturday; 5 PM – 10 PM, Sunday; (Also, closed for a couple of hours during the afternoon, Monday – Wednesday)
The Coopers Arms
The only real pub on the list isn’t technically on North Street. Head to the far west end of the street where it becomes Ashton Road. The Coopers Arms is right around the corner.
This tiny pub is often crowded with locals of all ages and was another recommendation from a friend. What really makes this place stand out from the other pubs in the area, at least according to our friend, is that it pours the best Guinness in Bristol.
Now, did we taste Guinness at every pub in Bristol? No, but we did drink a lot of Guinness at a lot of pubs in Bristol. And the Coopers Arms, by a longshot, had one of the most delicious Guinness’ we’ve ever tasted.
Bristol Beer Factory
Right next to Mark’s Bread, Bristol Beer Factory is the local brew authority. Although they don’t have any food to offer, they’ve got you covered in the beer department.
They feature four rotating hand-pulls, six keg lines and have bottles for sale in house and off-sales. They do it all, from creamy stouts to various IPAs and citrus ales. They also put out a really great medium-dry cider for those of you, like me, that like that sort of thing.
Brewery tours are available twice per month, and regular events take place in the taproom – including their famous “beer and curry” nights.
- 12 PM – 7 PM, Sunday & Monday; 12 PM – 9 PM, Tuesday – Thursday; 12 PM – 11 PM, Friday; 10 AM – 11 PM, Saturday
- Bristol Beer Factory
Shake Express is a milkshake shop with a handful of locations in the UK. The concept is simple and straight to the point. Order a milkshake and choose your ingredients, which are then blended into the frosty treat. I’m not talking about seven or eight options like you might find elsewhere, this place has dozens.
They’ve got chocolate options like Reece’s peanut butter cups, After Eight and Ferrero Rochet. You can add biscuits and cakes like Oreo and cheesecake. Or go full-on with the sweets; Starburst, Skittles and Werther’s Original to mention a few.
What initially caught our eye about Shake Express was their “boozy” shakes on offer during the days leading up to Christmas. They had a special licence allowing them to make your milkshake a little extra festive. Unfortunately, by the time we stopped by, the licence had ended. It didn’t matter, the milkshakes alone were phenomenal.
- 11 AM – 6 PM, Monday – Friday; 10 AM – 6 PM, Saturday; 11 AM – 5 PM, Sunday
- Shake Express
Tin Can Coffee
M to Sat 8am-6pm Sun 9-5
Tin Can is an independent coffee shop that is wildly popular in Bristol. Getting their start in an old vintage truck, they’ve grown over the years and eventually set up this permanent shop on North Street. They specialize in ethically sourced coffee, locally grown free range meat and eggs, as well as an assortment of vegan options.
When we popped in with a couple of friends, we were blown away by the quality of what they made. While Kylee went for coffee, I decided to switch things up and see how they pull off hot chocolate. It was incredible. As was lemon cake and chocolate caramel brownie we devoured.
The only unfortunate part is that we didn’t get the chance to try their brunch. Which if what we’ve been told is true, is one of the best in Bristol.
- 8 AM – 6 PM, Monday – Saturday; 9 AM – 5 PM, Sunday
- Tin Can Coffee
El Rincon – Spanish Tapas and Music
This small Spanish tapas bar at the far end of North Street is great for a few reasons. First, they have free live music on a regular basis. Given the size of the spot, it’s a wonderfully intimate session (don’t forget to tip the musicians!). On top of music, they also offer Spanish language courses in private or group sessions.
Now, the food. Everything is made in house using top-quality ingredients. Including many specialty items imported from Spain. They also do a killer paella if you want a proper feast. El Rincon fills up fast so it’s best to book a table. Paellas must be booked at least 24 hours in advance, and are charged per person.
- 5:30 PM – 10 PM, Wednesday – Saturday; (Kitchen closes at 9 PM)
- El Rincon