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Top 50 gastropubs 2021 revealed

Whose tripled-cooked chips have got them into the gastropub hall of fame? Roomy pants on, let's tuck in because FIVE of Devon's pubs made the grade.

The hospitality industry’s been battered by the pandemic, so this year’s gongs for gastropub greatness feels more than just a pat of the back for an exceptional triple-cooked chip. It’s also been about their drive to survive. So as pubs prepare to reopen on 12 April, the timing of The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards could not be more timely. The judges (the UK’s top foodies and pub pros) have scoffed and quaffed between closures to bring you the best of the best – and FIVE of the Devon’s pubs feature.

Organised by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, The Top 50 Gastropub shortlist really matters in the foodie pub world, as it celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of the great British pub that serves awesome grub. The top spot was taken by The Sportsman in Kent, but Devon’s fab five includes a new entry for The Pyne Arms, as well as a move up of ten places for The Cadeleigh Arms, near Tiverton. They all take advantage of local, seasonal ingredients, offering outstanding plates of food in a relaxed, rural setting.

Have you tried them yet? Let me know your thoughts.

DEVON

The Cornish Arms, Tavistock (18)

A thriving gastro pub in the heart of town, so called as it was the last Coaching Inn before Cornwall. Dishes are unpretentious and great value (it also has a Bib Gourmand), and this is their well-deserved eighth consecutive year in the top 50.

NEW: Pyne Arms, near Barnstaple (no.32)

A new one on the list and straight in at an impressive number 32 for this family-run destination pub in the foothills of Exmoor. Owners Ellis and Amie Pannell been getting a lotta gongs for the last few years, including Trencherman’s, Gold in Taste of the West and the Devon Life Food & Drink Awards. Expect locally sourced food with a modern twist, including everything from Sunday roast to speciality fish. Currently open for takeaway, back open on 18 May.

Cadeleigh Arms, Cadeleigh near Tiverton (no.37)

It’s all go for Nick and Tina who in true ‘keep calm and carry on’ fashion have leapt up 10 points in the gastropub ranks since 2020. Ever aiming to showcase the best of the South West, the regularly changing local and sustainable menu includes old school favourites lovingly prepared, including Newlyn caught fish, Devon pork, Sunday roasts, and afternoon tea, along with options choice for littlies and vegans. Pop in for drinks and light bites from mid-April and the full nosh-up from 19 May onwards.

The Masons Arms, Knowstone (no.44)

A Michelin-star holder for a whopping 15 years, The Masons Arms nabbed its place in the top 50 thanks to owners’ Mark and Sarah Dodson’s laser-eyed focus on local ingredients and creative presentation. And what a pretty spot it’s in – a thatched 13th century inn on the edge of Exmoor but with easy access from the Atlantic Highway too. Doors open from 19 May with new opening times, Tuesday – Saturday.

The Swan Inn, Bampton (no.50)

A pretty, whitewashed pub in a historic town on the Somerset/Devon border, with a cabinet groaning under the weight of awards, run by husband-and-wife team Paul and Donna Berry (they also own Spelt just up the road). The pair more than make the most of their bucolic Exmoor location, promising – and delivering on – seasonal, regional ingredients, and top-notch customer service. Open for bookings from 17 May.

Nothing on the menu for Somerset or Dorset but here’s what’s cooking over the border in Cornwall:

The Mariners, Rock, Cornwall (no.5)

An astronomical rise of 18 places for husband-and-wife team Paul and Emma Ainsworth. The Mariners is the pair’s fifth site in North Cornwall with one of the best views in North Cornwall on the Camel Estuary. Go for eight tasty menu options, including À la Carte, Children, Collection, Cornish Cream Tea, Gluten-Free, Sunday Lunch, Vegan, and Vegetarian. Check out our Muddy review here and book in from 17 May.

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