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Cornish dining pubs

There's a veritable feast of quality Cornish dining pubs to be discovered across the Duchy. We reveal five of our faves
tolcarne inn food

There’s a veritable feast of quality Cornish dining pubs to be discovered across the Duchy. Here are five of our faves

The Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn

Chef Ben Tunnicliffe holds serious creds on the Cornish food scene – including holding a Michelin star at The Abbey in Penzance in previous times – but has found he’s happiest in the humble surroundings of the tucked-away Tolcarne Inn.

Near Newlyn’s fishing port and market, Tolcarne Inn is where Ben’s intuitive cooking (he works with whatever fish has landed that day) takes centre stage in a menu dominated by the fruits of Cornish waters. There’s nothing pretentious or flash here, just well-crafted food in a humble pub setting.

With plans to extend the dining room to include a sea view, and plans to convert upstairs space into ensuite accommodation, this is sure to become a Cornish gourmet getaway fave amongst foodies in the know.

Tip: Don’t rock up without booking. Despite flying somewhat under the radar, and lacking signage from the main road, this is a hugely popular spot.

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plate of scallops

The Rising Sun, Truro

It’s no easy feat striking the balance between polished dining pub and a home-from-home for locals looking to put the world to rights over a pint. Yet Tom and Katie Hannon, owners of award-winning The Rising Sun, have achieved it – and then some.

You can understand why locals are chuffed to call this their local: the couple have spent nine years transforming it from run-down boozer to dining destination with a zero-waste ethos and bags of community spirit. The hard work has paid off – The Rising Sun features in the prestigious Trencherman’s Guide and the Estrella Damm Top 100 Gastropubs list.

Chef Tom’s fine-dining background is evidenced in evolving menus that utilise the best of nearby land and sea. Longstanding relationships with local suppliers ensure the kitchen is supplied with fish fresh from Cornish waters, microgreens snipped that morning, and quality meats reared on South West soil. From this haul of seasonal ingredients, Tom crafts pleasing dishes like scallops with salt-baked celeriac, apple and hazelnuts, and West Country duck with orange-glazed carrots, sprouting broccoli, parmentier potatoes and pomegranate jus.

Tip: Thoughtful touches make a meal here a memorable experience. Opt for steak and choose your weapon of choice from a case of bespoke knives, made with Pareusi in St Agnes.

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Harbour Inn, Porthleven

Porthleven’s Harbour Inn is appropriately named, sitting right on the edge of the harbour of the most southerly port in Britain, and captures the romance of Cornwall’s maritime tradition with more than a whiff of seafaring adventure.

The ancient inn has recently been entirely refurbished with seaside blues, wooden beams, Cornish granite and stone walls and artwork that provide an aura of piratey history. The large open bar and restaurant area is a cheerful space where locals, ramblers, dog walkers, tourists and families mingle over great food. In winter, a crackling fire brings cosy vibes, while in summer guests spill outdoors to bag a harbourside seat and order woodfired pizzas and cold beers from the pub’s hut.

Tip: Book one of the 15 unique guestrooms – some of which have outstanding views of the harbour so you can watch the boats come and go.

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dining room

The Barley Sheaf at Gorran, Gorran Churchtown

For sustainable dining in a country-pub setting, look no further than The Barley Sheaf at Gorran. Chef proprietor Tim Kendall and team have a vision to create the perfect community pub that serves villagers and visitors but also contributes positively to the local environment. Measures include reducing plastic waste, implementing energy-efficient practices and stepping up their local sourcing ethos.

Tim has worked with some of the best chefs in the industry including Paul Ainsworth, Chris Eden and Guy Owen. At this first solo project he works alongside head chef Dan Hyams to create a menu that includes quality crowd-pleasers such as St Ewe scotch egg with spiced pork and curry mayo, and ponzu-glazed Newlyn mackerel with horseradish sauce, pickled cucumber, dashi tomato, ‘nduja and pork skin.

The country inn is decorated in earthy heritage tones with slate flooring and local artwork on the walls – smart enough for occasion dining yet so easygoing that no one would raise an eyebrow if you turned up with a four‑legged friend in tow.

Tip: Head to one of the regular live music events or themed parties – details found on the website.

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Pennypots at the Falmouth Arms, Ladock

Kevin Viner earned Cornwall its first Michelin star in 1993 with his restaurant Pennypots in Blackwater. Three decades later he has returned to his roots and relaunched Pennypots within his rural Ladock inn: The Falmouth Arms.

Kevin and his wife Jill took over the former coaching inn in 2019, and have restored it with their own unique touches to enhance the character of its crooked walls and beams. It’s in this setting that the chef treats diners to seasonal menus showcasing refined classical dishes from his immense repertoire.

Open Wednesday to Saturday, expect nostalgic compilations including loin of Cornish venison with spiced pears, armagnac prunes and bitter chocolate jus, and Roseland beef fillet with duck parfait, Roscoff onion, madeira morel mushroom jus and pommes anna. On Sundays, enjoy Sunday lunch with meat sourced from local suppliers including Trevarthen Butchers.

Tip: Book into one of the cosy guestrooms to indulge in the rather marvellous wine pairings.

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Like 5 of the best Cornish dining pubs? Check out five of the best farm-to-table restaurants here.

We choose the companies included in our 5 of the best features based on editorial integrity. Occasionally, some inclusions will be from clients with whom we have a commercial relationship.

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