Where to eat in the Cornish town of Fowey

This compact Cornish port town delivers fine-dining restaurants, old-school pubs and bean-to-bar chocolatiers.

Fowey is one of south Cornwall’s most postcard-perfect towns.

Photograph by Alamy
By Alicia Miller
Published 21 Oct 2021, 06:00 BST, Updated 22 Oct 2021, 11:14 BST

Tumbling down a hillside into a sparkling blue estuary cluttered with bobbing boats, Fowey is one of Cornwall’s most postcard-perfect towns. Despite its diminutive size, it’s also among the most exciting for food-lovers. You can hardly go a few paces without coming across another great place to eat and drink, from top-notch local seafood establishments to atmospheric pubs.

It was Fitzroy that put Fowey on the culinary map, back in summer 2019. Restaurateurs Jeremie Cometto and David Gingell — the duo behind cult north London spots including Jolene and Westerns Laundry — were enticed by a converted former bank on a corner in the centre of Fowey. And with the opening of Fitzroy came a slew of savvy diners; even now, you’ll need to book well ahead for the chance to feast on smart plates starring fine Cornish produce, such as curried crab with cauliflower and runny egg, or meaty turbot with lobster sauce and spring onion — all washed down with natural wines.

Fitzroy isn’t the only newcomer to Fowey. Just over a year old, tiny Leopard + Goat Farm is a bean-to-bar chocolate brand also turning out artisan hot chocolate. Choose from the likes of Tanzanian Kokoa Kamili Organic or Madagascan Sambirano Valley — as well as decadent, ganache-filled handmade doughnuts or sausage rolls flavoured with smoked cacao. Visit in the early evening and the owner will happily pour you a glass of pet nat sparkling wine or a margarita.

A few minutes’ walk away, Fowey Sweet Shop sits right along the central Fore Street strip. Owner Darren Tatham gave the place a facelift in July 2019, after taking over from the couple who’d been running it for more than three decades. Despite the addition of stylish Kernow Chocolate bars, crafted an hour away in St Eval, one thing that hasn’t changed is the fudge, handmade in Looe. The toothsome sea salt caramel, enrobed with dark chocolate, might be the bestseller, but the cream tea flavour — shortbread, clotted cream fudge and a thick wedge of Turkish delight, all smothered in Belgian white chocolate — is well worth trying. 

For more local treats, although of a more savoury kind, stop off at Kittows, a farmer and butchers/deli that’s been going for almost 150 years. Here you can pick up ready-to-eat Cornish crab or wild garlic campanelle pasta from Cornwall Pasta, locally made olive oil and sea salt, Cornish yarg cheese and hot pasties — as well as meat from the Kittows farm. In front of the deli, meanwhile, are wicker baskets overflowing with seasonal veg. 

On warm days, the pubs lining Fowey’s quay — fringed with sun-drenched terraces — are a go-to for a sundowner. But with autumn’s chill, there’s no better place for a pint than The Ship Inn on Trafalgar Square, the town’s oldest drinking hole, dating back to 1570. Sip your St Austell ale surrounded by cosy beamed interiors — all dimly lit nooks and stained glass windows. Stomach still rumbling? Feast on cider-battered fish and chips or plump, wine-soaked mussels, plucked from the Fowey River, just yards away. It doesn’t get much more local than that.

Despite its diminutive size, Fowey is an exciting town for food-lovers: you can hardly go a ...

Despite its diminutive size, Fowey is an exciting town for food-lovers: you can hardly go a few paces without coming across another great place to eat and drink, from top-notch local seafood establishments to atmospheric pubs.

Photograph by Getty Images

Where to eat and drink in Fowey

1. Brown Sugar
In Cornwall, a cream tea is practically obligatory. This cafe has the classic iteration with crumbly scones, Rodda’s clotted cream and strawberry jam. Stock up on local Yallah coffee inside and, if you sit outside, keep the umbrella up — otherwise, as staff will warn, seagulls may pinch your treats. 

2. North Street Kitchen  
This no-reservations sister to Fitzroy, overlooking the River Fowey, is a great pick for a seafood lunch. Arrive 15 minutes before noon, when the place opens, to beat the queues. If it’s on the menu (which changes daily), try the cod collar schnitzel — fish on the bone wrapped in a crisp crumb.

3. Tarquin’s Gin
Sample the range from Wadebridge-based distillery Tarquin’s at its new Fowey tasting room, opened in spring 2021. The violet-infused gin is the obvious place to begin, but don’t miss the brilliantly named Cornish Pastis, distilled with foraged gorse, or the blood orange-infused pink gin. 

How to do it

Trains run from London Paddington to Par; from here, Fowey is 20 minutes away on the number 25 bus. Newquay is a 45-minute drive away. The Old Quay House Hotel has a seaside terrace restaurant and doubles from £195 a night, room only. 

Love food and travel? Taste the world at the National Geographic Traveller Food Festival, our immersive culinary event that takes place every summer. Find out more and book your tickets.

Published in Issue 13 (autumn 2021) of National Geographic Traveller Food

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