Frome, Somerset foodie guide: where locals eat and drink
Totter along the cobbles of this Somerset market town and you’ll stumble across a trove of indie food shops, cafés and stalls serving local cheeses, ciders and dumplings
Looking for places to eat in Frome? Read our expert guide for the best places to eat in Frome, great places to stay in Frome, and the best bars and pubs in this Somerset town.
Best all-day dining in Frome – Eight Stony Street
Eight Stony Street, formerly Stony Street House, sits at the foot of Catherine Hill, a cobbled shopping street that’s home to a raft of independent haberdasheries, galleries, gift shops and florists. People-watch from the upstairs dining room (floor-to-ceiling windows guarantee stellar views) while grazing on sharing boards piled with Dorset venison chorizo, Westcombe cheddar and Tunworth soft cheese. There are also sourdough pizzas to try, made using a 40-year-old starter and toppings such as homemade fennel sausage, long-stemmed broccoli and roasted red onion.
It’s an all-day space, so pop in for a coffee, brunch (banana pancakes come with cinnamon apples or streaky bacon) or a glass of wine, sipped in the bar area and chosen from a menu of more than 400 bottles. Wines are, quietly, the real selling point here; 10 are served on tap – you can take some away in your own bottle – and Eight Stony Street’s sommelier, Sarah, regularly hosts wine tastings and masterclasses. There’s also a large wine shop in part of the downstairs space, stocked with a host of interesting and unusual labels.
Best place for chocolate in Frome – Choc et al
This family-run gourmet chocolate shop is on Cheap Street, one of the quaintest spots in Frome (there’s even a little stream cut into the street’s flagstone floor). Opened in July 2019, Choc et al stocks a range of carefully produced local chocolates, including toasted pistachio and cinnamon milk chocolate from Seven Hills in Bath and peanut and caramel chocolate salami sticks from Wiltshire’s Coco Chemistry. Stop by in the summer for a soft-serve ice cream made with Ivy House Farm organic Jersey milk – it comes drizzled with melted chocolate, or bejewelled with sprinkles. In the cooler months it’s all about Choc et Al’s real hot chocolate, or there are thick banana milkshakes to enjoy (with a dairy-free option for vegans).
Best restaurant in Frome – Bistro Lotte
At the top of pretty Catherine Street, Bistro Lotte is an unpretentious bistro with bedrooms to boot. Expect classic French dishes (charcuterie platters, moules frites, coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon – locally sourced meat comes from butcher J Cayford next door) as well as a few surprises such as aubergine and potato croquettes.
Best cocktails in Frome – The Fat Radish
Modern British cooking and a laidback atmosphere prevail at The Fat Radish. Seasonal ingredients shine in dishes such as Scandi-pasti sharing boards and buttermilk-and-harissa-fried cod burgers. Cocktails are seasonal too (try a Spring Sangria made with Cointreau, pomegranate, orange, rosemary syrup and pinot blush).
Best bar in Frome – Palmer Street Bottle
At bottle shop, cheese store and tap bar, Palmer Street Bottle, you can eat and drink in, or take away. The bar has a selection of craft beers and ciders, as well as wines and spirits. Try a Somerset rarebit (made with local cheddar) with a bottle of the house brew, Bear Cub IPA.
Best market in Frome – The Frome Independent
During The Frome Independent, an indie market that runs each month from March to December, streets are closed off to make way for antiques, crafts, food stalls and families dancing on the ‘village green’. Graze on dosas from Dosa Tom, Ah-Ma’s dumplings or an epic waffle from The Bubble Wafflery.
Best dessert café in Frome – Café La Strada
At the end of medieval Cheap Street, which has a stream trickling down its middle, Café La Strada’s main selling point is its ice cream and sorbet counter. Made fresh in-house using organic Ivy House Farm milk from nearby Beckington, flavours are a mix of regular (pistachio, rich chocolate) and seasonal (jasmine and honey).
Best butchers in Frome – Penleigh Farm Traditional Butchers
If you’re self-catering, or looking for a foodie souvenir to take home, stop off at Penleigh Farm Traditional Butchers to stock up on its own rare-breed pork and lamb (beef and chicken are sourced within a 30-mile radius). It’s all sold on compostable trays, too.
Best pub in Frome – The Three Swans
For a pint of Ashton Press cider and a homemade scotch egg or pork pie, head to The Three Swans, a 17th-century pub in the centre of the town with a cosy, sociable atmosphere. Its Sunday lunches are epic.
Best brunch in Frome – The River House café
Despite an impressive selection of cakes (shout out to the fresh chai and pear doughnuts), brunch is what The River House café does best. Try the french toast with goat’s cheese and figs, or the vegan brekkie with crispy coconut ‘bacon’, marinated tofu, wilted greens, mushrooms, potato, avocado and homemade beans.
Best breakfast bowl, poké and juice bar in Frome – Nook
Run by Millie Clifford and Jake Andrew, who met while working at Bruton restaurant At The Chapel, Nook was dreamt up on the beach in Byron Bay. What Frome needed, the couple mused, was decent, healthy takeaway food that was affordable and quick. The locals agree. Whether queuing up for a sit-in cold-pressed juice (try the green one – a refreshing slick of kale, apple, celery, cucumber and mint) or standing in line for a smoothie and a gluten-free beetroot and cacao brownie to takeaway, this appropriately named café (it’s tiny) is unswervingly busy.
The menu is short but neat, with breakfast bowls served from 8am to 4pm (acai, bircher muesli, house granola or cacao and nut butter) and poké bowls served from noon to 4pm; choose one base (rice, noodles or citrus kale salad), one main addition (salmon, tuna, chicken, tofu or beetroot), one sauce (the eight flavours include sriracha mayo and ponzu) and one topping (spicy peanut, nori and sesame or crispy onions). In winter there are ramen-style noddle bowls too.
We tried the tuna poké bowl with nutty brown sushi rice, zingy ponzu dressing, a smattering of toasted peanuts and black sesame seeds, some expertly diced mango, a curl or two of shaved cucumber and a smidge of soy. It was the real deal, the flavours subtly vibrant, the presentation artfully precise.
Throw in a handful of enthusiastic young staff, a zeitgeisty provision of vegan and veggie options and on-message eco awareness and you’ve got the perfect recipe for Frome’s missing foodie link.
Best bakery in Frome – Rye Bakery
Inside a restored church, Rye Bakery is one of the most family-friendly spots in town. Enjoy an americano and a slice of the legendary vegan chocolate cake while the kids explore the indoor playground. Take away a loaf of artisan bread, then return for a pizza or a venison flatbread with harissa, Hurdlebrook yogurt and pickled red cabbage.
HOW TO GET TO FROME
Return rail fares from London to Frome cost from £26.60 (nationalrail.co.uk).
WHERE TO STAY IN FROME
Double rooms at Bistro Lotte start from £95, b&b (bistrolottefrome.co.uk).
For more info see discoverfrome.co.uk.
Kate Hackworthy is a Frome-based cookery writer and blogger. Her debut cookbook, Veggie Desserts and Cakes (£14.99, Pavilion Books) is out now.