Best al fresco eateries to book now
Time to make for the plate outdoors! Book that table for your special six now at one of Devon's best outdoor dining spots.
The Pig at Combe, near Honiton
From the kitchen garden, straight to you and your plate in the, erm, garden! The Pig are taking their 25-mile menu of wholesome freshly picked veggies and salads, locally farmed meats and fresh fish outdoors for their Big Outdoor Lunch until 16 May.
Southernhay House, Exeter
Looking for somewhere chic for a lazy afternoon or evening cocktail? The covered veranda and garden terraces at Exeter’s only boutique hotel, Southernhay House, re-open on Thurs/Fri/Saturdays from midday till 8pm on 15 April – we’re going! – followed by full re-opening on 17th May.
The Cary Arms, Babbacombe
Missing the Med? Get thee to The Cary Arms where on a sunny day, with a glass in hand, sunnies on and the big blue of Lyme Bay below, it’s practically Kefalonia (only with jumpers, obvs). And sometimes you see a seal. God, I love it here! Book your gastropub lunch – Devon beef, Lyme Bay lobster and line caught seafood – on their outdoor sun terrace from 15 April, Thursday-Sunday.
South Sands Hotel, Salcombe
Missing your Vitamin Sea? South Sands Hotel have flung wide their beachside terrace for anyone ordering takeaway from the 12th. Or if you want to make a stay of it, book into one of their five awesome Beachsuites available for self catering. (Go on, you deserve it.) UPDATE now opening 17 May.
This shiny new indie on the city’s Cathedral Close has a lovely sheltered courtyard, serving up steak, burgers, mussels and posh pizza. And they’ve got heaters so you can leave the muffler at home.
The Boathouse, Instow
Sip your Sauvignon on the delightful upper deck of The Boathouse which overlooks the golden sands of Instow beach. Open all day for coffees, brunch and gastropub fayre and a cracking roast on Sundays.
Rockfish, various across Devon
Want a freshly caught fishy on your dishy? All of Mitch Tonks’ seafood restaurants are open now, serving up local fish from the market and some landed by their own boat Rockfisher. Think fresh crab, skipper’s roll, roasted scallops with garlic, grilled hake and lots more. The Plymouth Rockfish overlooking the Sound will have a shiny-new marquee, with lights, decorations, outside table menu – practically a popup festival – while Dartmouth Rockfish has a new space under lovely umbrellas on the embankment overlooking the river Dart. Exeter, Brixham, Torquay and Exmouth all have has tables overlooking the water.
The Hook and Line, Plymouth
Delicious local fresh seafood and specialty rums at the heart of the city’s Royal William Yard overlooking Plymouth Sound – a great place to scoff and chill by the water.
The Cellar Door, Sharpham, near Totnes
Sometimes being a permanent summer al fresco kitchen with a marquee set up and ready to go has its has advantages! New to the á la carte menu of sustainable fish, meat and of course, Sharpham cheese and wine grown on the estate at the idyllic Sharpham Vineyard, are home-grown veggies grown in their own poly tunnel. Booking essential.
Rendezvous Wine Bar, Exeter
Love a place with a wine list as long as your arm? Book your seat under the parasols at Rendezvous who are making the most of the *hoped-for* spring sunshine with a Garden Bar and a small daily Garden Menu. Open Weds – Sat 12-10pm.
Winslade Manor, Clyst St George nr Exeter
The hottest new venue in town is ready for you, even if only for drinks and bites on the terrace, overlooking newly planted borders and a backdrop of Grade II listed Georgian elegance. If the totally delicious sesame seed covered sausage roll I bought from their lockdown catering van is anything to go by, the food from chef Matt Mason, formerly of Jack in the Green, it will all have been worth the wait.
Dick & Wills, Salcombe
The terrace at Salcombe’s waterside brasserie and bar is back, baby. Go for the palms, the views, and gourmet prime Westcountry steak burger, fish and chips, meat and mushroom burgers and tasty Indonesian curries. Bookings from 5.30pm.
New Coast Kitchen, Croyde
Muddy recently reviewed the NCK and it was a huge thumbs-up for their unusual home-made menu. Now Matt and the team have given the building a fresh lick of paint and put out the picnic tables ready to serve their delicious bao buns, chicken shawarma and best selling Korean fried chicken burger (and veggie versions too). Open outdoors from Weds-Suns for lunch sittings and then 3-8pm evenings.
Salumi’s city beer garden is hard to beat when the sun shines, especially with a cocktail in hand and one of their legendary burgers.
Coljan have popped up a gazebo and are running a daytime brunch cafe every Fri-Sunday, while keeping on with their evening and slap-up Sunday roast takeaway until they re-open on May 17.
The Ship Inn, Noss Mayo
The terrace at this stunning riverside pub (reputedly newsreader Sophie Raworth’s favourite pub) is open from 10am every day. See you for breakfast by the water?
The Puffing Billy, Exton
We’re loving the heaters, PB! Perfect for this ‘spring’ weather and the nosh isn’t bad too – I swung by here on their first Monday afternoon after opening and it was packed, thanks to its crowd-pleasing pub classics and handy location just off the Exe Valley trail, making it an ideal pitstop for walkers and cyclists.
The Passage House, Topsham
After a cycle-stop off or Sunday lunch destination? Snaffle a waterside table right next to the Exe estuary for traditional gastropub burgers, fish and chips, and a great children’s menu. And all Muddy quality-control tested, you can be sure! Call 01392 873653 to book your table (no online booking).
The Bull Inn, Totnes
Award-winning restuaranteur Geetie Singh-Watson has just announced they will be serving up their award-winning organic fare outside The Bull, under the cherry trees on Rotherfold Square. Sounds delightful.
The Pigs Nose Inn, East Prawle, nr Kingsbridge
This quirky 300-year old pub and one-time smugglers’ lair, has a new outdoor space with canopy and heaters ready to serve up their traditional pub fare. They’ve also been upgrading their kitchen through lockdown and are now serving Sunday roast every week.
The Anchor Inn, Cockwood
Love local caught mussels and seafood? Here’s your place to eat it right by the water, or just to sit and catch the last rays of the sunshine with a snifter hanging your legs over the harbour wall. Chin chin!
The Royal George, Appledore
The only pub in Devon to be picked for The Times‘ Best Places to Stay 2020 is back with outdoor tables and parasols, serving their award-winning local menu, including Creedy carver chicken, lobster and roasts on Sunday. Open Weds-Sat 12- 9pm and Sunday 12- 7pm.
The Cott Inn, Dartington
I had Sunday lunch outdoors at this quaint thatched pub just before the last lockdown with a couple of girlfriends and it didn’t disappoint. Quality local meat, piping hot, a great wine list – tick, tick, tick. Plus, plenty of undercover space with an outdoor kitchen and a buzzy, all-welcome vibe. Book now for tables, open every day, midday till 9pm.
The Ferry Inn, Salcombe
Roll up, roll up for the best beer garden views in Salcombe, and possibly the whole of the South Hams. They’re not taking bookings, those estuary views are a first come, first served basis.
Billy Budds, Croyde
Post-beach pint, anyone? Billy Budds has got a big wooden terrace – the perfect setting to meet up with mates or after a day at the beach body-boarding with the fam.
Cornish Arms, Tavistock
Here’s your chance to find out why this pub’s menu has has snaffled it a place in the Top 50 Gastropubs for the past eight years. And look – heaters too.
Lamb Inn, Sandford
The bunting is up at The Lamb Inn where they have kitted out their quaint 16th century cobbled courtyard with parasols and trellis screens between the picnic tables. Book for Sunday lunch with all the trimmings or home-made lasagne, Creedy Carver poultry and all the comfort food you could possibly need on a week-night.
The Ring of Bells, North Bovey
Pretty 13th century watering hole, full to busting with British classics, roasts on a Sunday and dishes that showcase the locally sourced produce, and a large patio in front of the pub for scoffing and quaffing.
The Anchor Inn, Beer
Grab a perch under a parasol for sea views, fish and chips or classic gastropub fare, then mosey down the slipway to the pebbly beach at Beer for an ice-cream and some insta-snaps of the working fishing boats.
The Maltsters Arms, Tuckenhay
Love a riverside sundowner? Head here for homemade pizza, burgers and home-cooked fish and chips by the water. No need to book, just turn up.
The Terrace Cafe and Bar, Plymouth
Classic striped deckchairs, chilled drinks, simple food and a Café Mambo vibe and all alongside one of the most amazing views across Plymouth Sound.
Café Patisserie Glacerie, Sideshore, Exmouth
Fabulous new Michael Caines cafe on the beach, with 16 gelato flavours all hand-churned on site (which you can see through a viewing window) and stunning patisserie cakes made by chef Sylvain. Incredibly good value for the quality, as at £2.80 a cone is no more expensive than other local ice-creams in town. The celeb chef’s other new Exmouth eatery, Mickey’s Beach, situated next door is due to open on 17 May.
Another newbie patisserie, with seating on Ilfracombe’s harbour, the perfect pitstop for anyone who loves divinely curated cakes all made on site. Check out the Muddy review here.
Chandos Deli, Exeter
Head off the high street to the back of Southernhay for bitesize quiches, salads and heavenly homemade toasted sandwiches, with the best mozzarella and chorizo by miles. No need to book and there’s always a perch nearby, either on the bistro tables outside, or the low walls and gardens.
Cafe on the Green, Widecombe in the Moor
After a proper Devon cream tea? Where better than a 100-year old eatery on Dartmoor in springtime. Soups, salads and sandwiches also on the menu, breakfasts coming back later in May. Open Weds-Sun, 11am-3pm, and no need to book.
Anchorstone Cafe, Dittisham
Ladies lunch by the water? Watch the lazy comings and going of the boats and swans at Anchorstone Cafe which sits just above the River Dart in the beautiful village of Dittisham. On the menu is homemade fare, from fish pie, local Dart oysters and fish and chips, to tasty quiche and pies. Two sittings daily: 12 – 2.30pm and a second from 2.30pm.
The Green Table, Dartington
The perfect pitstop – with plenty of undercover seating – for walks around the Dartington estate, for daytime coffee, homemade cakes, panini and steak sandwiches. Really tasty, good quality food sourced from local farmers and the estate’s kitchen garden.
The Crabshell Inn, Kingsbridge
Take a seat next to the palms at the harbour town’s only waterside eatery for fantastic seafood, pizza and coffees. A locals’ favourite.
The best cafe in Honiton has the bunting up and the cottage garden is open Thursday to Sunday for local lunches, including their delicious home-made pizza.
The Lost Kitchen, Chettiscombe
A cool rustic cafe with a strong local ethos, serving all-day tea, coffee, cakes and brunch, with wood-fired pizza specials at lunchtime. Open Friday – Sunday, 9am – 4.30pm. If Monty Don ran a cafe, this would be it.