Suffolk’s top 10 restaurants according to Tripadvisor
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How reliable is Tripadvisor? Do you agree with the site’s listing of the top 10 restaurants in Suffolk?
Much as I hate to admit it - I (along with millions of others) use Tripadvisor as a benchmark. It is the go-to place (apart of course from our weekly impartial food reviews) for advice when it comes to eating out.
But how much can we really trust this digital platform? Just last year a nifty social media campaign, during which dishwasher tablets were photographed under soft smartphone lighting to look like haute cuisine, elevated back garden faux restaurant The Shed in Dulwich to the number one spot.
Clever photography, online hype, and our innate need to keep up-to-date with the latest trendy hot spots for dinner, played into the owner’s hands. It was the must-to dining destination – and that was before anyone had even stepped across the threshold!
As with anything online (beware fake news), we need to take Tripadvisor with a pinch of salt. A restaurant with a scattering of one-star reviews from reviewers with no previous footprint on the site should send up warning flags. As should a speckle of five-star glowing reviews from one-time Tripadvisor users amidst a sea of mediocre ones – we know some businesses pay for good reviews, or rally up friends and family to up their status.
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How do the eateries of Suffolk fare? I took a look. Missing from the top 10 are a few shockers – there’s no Bildeston Crown, 1921, Tuddenham Mill, The Unruly Pig or Pea Porridge. That’s a surprise. I would have expected more of these award-winners across the board, but here, in all its glory is what the public have decided are the best places to eat at the moment in Suffolk.
Write and tell me why you love these restaurants, or if you disagree with the list at email@example.com
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1. Maison Bleue, Bury St Edmunds
Pascal canevet’s multi-award winning, much-loved and regularly praised restaurant is an undeniable top spot stealer. Brittany-born Pascal’s relaxed, elegant restaurant is a favourite with many other chefs – including Michelin-starred Galton Blackiston who has previously revealed he highly rates the food. Pascal sources the finest ingredients to grace his menus, watching the changing seasons and incorporating fresh fish, locally-shot game, East Anglian meat and locally-grown vegetables. Every plate is a work of art, and the cheeseboard is something to behold.
A typical dish: Fillet of stone bass, shallot and Pinot Noir sauce, baby onion, Lardo Di Colonnata, mange tout
2. Shillingfords at the Quay, Sudbury
When he’s not out indulging his passion for foraging in the woodlands of south Suffolk, Michelin trained chef Carl Shillingford is in the kitchens of his eponymous restaurant, found on the top floor of The Quay in Sudbury. Open from Thursday to Saturday nights, the focus is entirely seasonal, and the menus drawn up only once the best of the wild’s bounty have given up their treasures. Dishes are priced at £5 to £8 each and served almost tapas style.
A typical dish: Rose petal and pineapple weed ice cream.
3. Edwards, Halesworth
A proper down-home family-run restaurant without any airs and graces, this restaurant is especially noted for its customer service and excellent Sunday roasts. Everything on the menu is home-cooked and special care is taken to choose local meat, free-range eggs and local seasonal vegetables, as well as home-grown fruit in season.
A typical dish: Fish pie with seasonal vegetables.
4. Prandium, Southwold
A one-man-band in Southwold, known for its creative food, great value and traditional home cooking. Prandium is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner for eating in or takeaway and has garnered quite a loyal following – particularly for the owner’s warm welcome.
A typical dish: Fish platter of calamari, cod, anchovies and king prawns.
5. Takayama, Ipswich
This Japanese/Korean fusion restaurant is truly a labour of love for its owners, who moved across the country to Ipswich to open up their dream family business. If you like a laid-back setting, sushi and sashimi made freshly to order, Korean barbecue and sake, it’s the place for you.
A typical dish: Takayama Temaki set – soft shell crab with cucumber temaki cone and salmon avocado temaki cone
6. The Galley, Woodbridge
Owner Ugur is a proper foodie and it shows at his beautifully historic, wonky beamed restaurant in Woodbridge – winner of the best international dining category in our food and drink awards last year. With a Turkish/Mediterranean feel, every dish on the menu is created to blast your senses with flavour and there’s a real sense of care and generosity about what’s been put on the plate.
A typical dish: Fabulous Turkish stew
7. Lavenham Blue Vintage Tea Rooms, Lavenham
There are numerous great places to eat in Lavenham - not least the smart French restaurant The Great House, but it’s this eminently English, vintage-style tea room that’s got diners buzzing on Tripadvisor. Set in a Grade II listed building which was formerly a home, the family-run business is all about those little creature comforts that make a difference. Tea from bone china. Tea cosies over the pots. Afternoon tea is a speciality.
A typical dish: Lavenham Butchers traditional pork pie ploughman’s with crusty Lavenham bread, piccalilli and pickled onions.
8. The Vegetarian Red Lion, Great Bricett
The new owner has given this place a bright new look and has kept the customers who used to frequent it under previous ownership coming back with a truly tasty, regularly changing menu. The countryside pub proves vegetarian food doesn’t have to mean veggie sausages and mash, or mushroom risotto. You’ll find generous portions and loads of flavour.
A typical dish: Beer battered halloumi ‘fish and chips’.
9. Francela, Bury St Edmunds
Of all the restaurants in Bury, it’s this Med-style eatery that’s struck a chord the most on Tripadvisor. Customers are praising the quick service, which ‘goes the extra mile’, the fun atmosphere and the little touches such as the occasional shot of booze with the bill at the end of a meal. There’s plenty of praise for the food.
A typical dish: Kefte – spiced meatballs with mesclun salad and cracked wheat
10.The Wickhambrook Greyhound & Twenty One
This smartly renovated award-winning pub and restaurant has a landlord who is seriously passionate about serving the community with regular events in the diary such as pudding nights and build a burger Thursdays. It’s become an important point of interest in this quiet part of west Suffolk.
A typical dish: Peri peri chicken with triple cooked chips and salad