Fowey foodie guide: where locals eat and drink
Cornwall’s Fowey may be small but you’ll still find fresh crab and dill butter sarnies, warm monkey muffins, pizzas topped with squid, mussels and anchovies, saffron croquetas served with glasses of sherry and sharing plates of sea bass with chilli and cucumber
Looking for restaurants in Fowey? Want to know where to eat the best crab sandwiches in Cornwall? Read our Fowey guide for the best homemade jams, single-origin coffee and homemade vermouth.
Quay bakery – best for bread and pastries
Come here for springy sourdough (the starter is nearly ten years old), skirt steak or local gouda pasties, fresh Belgian butter croissants, airy iced buns, rosemary focaccia, saffron buns the colour of sunsets and, on Saturdays only, monkey muffins – swirls of croissant dough, fashioned into a muffin and flavoured with cinnamon and brown sugar. Everything at the Quay Bakery is made on-site from scratch (it’s the only place in Fowey that bakes Cornish pasties daily), and it opens each morning as soon as the first loaf comes out of the oven. That means plenty of early breakfast runs if you’re staying nearby.
Captain Hank’s Crab & Snack Shack – best for a crab sandwich
Wander a little further down North Street, towards the car ferry opposite what was once Daphne du Maurier’s beautiful blue-and-white holiday home and you’ll find Captain Hank’s Crab & Snack Shack. It’s a cheery food van, positioned at the water’s edge, that sells sandwiches stuffed with crab so fresh that it still smells of the sea. If your budget can’t stretch to £8.95 per crab and dill butter sarnie (worth it for the quality), try a hake fish finger sandwich with homemade tartar sauce, or a cup of crispy crab bonbons instead. Captain Hank’s also sells excellent halloumi fries and the take-away packaging is compostable.
Sam’s On the Beach – best for views
The original green-fronted Sam’s restaurant, in the centre of Fowey, is a must-visit for its seafood classics (order chargrilled whole sardines with Cornish sea salt, toasted seeds and olives). Also worth a visit, however, is one of its sister restaurants, Sam’s On the Beach, a five-minute drive from Fowey on Polkerris beach. A converted RNLI Lifeboat station, the restaurant’s front is made entirely from glass, making the most of sublime views. Outside tables mean diners can swirl their feet through warm sand while they eat hot whole prawns cooked in garlic butter. There’s also a wood-burning stove that churns out charcoal-crusted pizzas – order your seafood special (topped with smoked salmon, squid, mussels, anchovies and prawns) to take-away, and eat it on the beach after a day spent building sandcastles.
Kittows of Fowey – best deli
A family-run, fifth generation butchers and delicatessen, right next to Fowey Parish Church, Kittows of Fowey is a charming place brimming with wicker shopping baskets and blackboard menus. Outside you’ll find stacks of fruit and veg crates while, inside, there’s a dedicated meat and cheese counter, fresh bread, deli sandwiches, homemade jams and an impressive selection of pies, quiches and cakes, all made on the family’s farm. It’s the perfect place to pick up a picnic: briney anchovies, smoked mackerel pâté, chewy sourdough, garlic Yarg, plump nocellara olives, warm sausage rolls and great big brownie wedges.
Brown sugar – best for coffee
With its wooden benches, casually-strewn pillows and dark grey colour scheme Brown Sugar has the look of a hipster hangout. It’s on South Street, opposite the church and Kittows of Fowey, and is a good spot for breakfast: try spinach and sweetcorn fritters or a generous stack of pancakes. There are ciabatta sandwiches and the like for lunch, but the main draw is the coffee – it’s made using single-origin, sustainably sourced beans from Yallah coffee roaster in Falmouth, which only ever distributes coffee roasted within the last five days. Try it in a flat white, embellished with pretty milk foam patterns.
Pintxo – best for tapas and sherry
Walk away from Fowey’s busy quayside towards the Esplanade (a seafront thoroughfare that eventually leads to Readymoney Cove) and you’ll find Pintxo tapas bar squeezed in between sky-high townhouses. It’s an ideal spot for a Spanish lunch of Valencian rosemary almonds, spicy pickled chillies, manchego with orange blossom honey, patatas bravas and, of course, Ibercio jamón. Posh-it-up with spider crab and saffron croquetas and a glass of manzanilla, Spanish brandy or traditional El Gaitero cider. Better still, Pintxo is opposite the Old Grammar School Garden, a tranquil jumble of grasses and tropical trees that overlooks the river Fowey. It’s split into sections by sea shingle, curvy paths and driftwood, and is a great place to sit awhile after one’s meal.
The Old Ferry Inn – best for sunshine
Fowey is on one side of River Fowey, Bodinnick on the other. And although the majority of places to eat, drink and be merry are on the Fowey side, it’s Bodinnick that gets the most sunshine. One such place that basks in it is The Old Ferry Inn, just minutes from Daphne du Maurier’s old holiday home, Ferryside. The inn is more than 400 years old and sits high above the car ferry jetty below – which means wonderful views of Ferryside, the river, and Fowey. Sit in the snug, with its Cornish stone walls and slate floor, or on the south-facing terrace outside. Sip a pint of malty Sharp’s Own (brewed in Rock) and order a posh charcuterie board.
Fitzroy – best for fine-dining
Cornish lad David Gingell and his business partner, Jeremie Cometto (the duo brought Westerns Laundry to London), opened fashionable Fitzroy, a riverside restaurant in the middle of Fowey, in summer 2019. Decked with smooth oak furniture, huge black-framed sash windows and an art deco typeface, Fitzroy is unlike any other Fowey eatery in style. The menu sticks to sophisticated sharing plates, with an emphasis on seasonal seafood. Fill your table with fried sprats, ray wing with chicken butter sauce, raw sea bass with chilli and cucumber, and red napa cabbage with plum and sesame. It’s an open kitchen, so you can watch the chefs at work while sipping a glass of homemade vermouth.
The Old Quay House – best for waterfront dining
This swish hotel and restaurant is set over three floors and is as close to the waves as you can get. Once a refuge for seamen, the whitewashed Victorian building stands proud on the shoreline, parading its elegant bay windows and an unrivalled sunny terrace. There are 13 bedrooms upstairs, many of which have balconies with views of Polruan village on the opposite side of the river, plus a restaurant on the ground floor. A huge bifold glass door is flung wide open during the summer months, so that it feels like you’re eating in the middle of the estuary. Order a Kittow’s rump steak with all the trimmings and watch yachts sail by.
The Dwelling House – best for afternoon tea
The Dwelling House, a former Georgian merchant’s house, is a haven of tea and cake. There are 25 varieties of the former to try (Tregothnan loose-leaf only; no bags allowed), including a fine Keemun blend, and all the treats are baked fresh each day in a sturdy AGA Rayburn cooker. Pop in for an afternoon tea of plump, golden-hued scones and generous bowls of clotted cream, presented on three-tiered vintage china stands. For something savoury, try the Cornish Yarg ploughman’s or Cornish rarebit. It’s also a bed and breakfast, with one spacious room upstairs (complete with pink velvet armchair and roll-top bath) and the promise of a Rayburn-cooked breakfast.
Appleton's Bar & Restaurant – best for Italian
Andy and Lyndsey Appleton have relocated their St Issey restaurant, Appleton's Bar & Restaurant, to Fowey, having outgrown the original Trevibban Mill venue. Andy, a former head chef at Fifteen Cornwall, has designed a menu that focuses on rustic, Italian dishes with a contemporary twist. So expect the likes of prosecco-battered polenta chips with 'nduja ketchup; rose harissa fish stew with fregola sarda and rye toast; squid ink linguine with Padstow crab and anchovy pangrattato; and strawberry and lemon balm panna cotta for dessert. It's also set to be the best place in Fowey for a negroni – there are a dozen types to choose from, including a negroni violetta, with its heady parma violet flavour. You'll find both Italian and Cornish wine on the menu, with bottles from Trevibban Mill Estate taking precedence – try a glass of Black Ewe white sparkling, for its fine bubbles and green apple, lemon and sherbet notes.
Words by Charlotte Morgan