After an invigorating yomp on the moor, retreat to one of these salubrious establishments to replenish your energy levels and feast on fabulous fodder
The Dartmoor Inn
Since Jay (chef) and Tess (front of house) Barker-Jones took over The Dartmoor Inn at Lydford in 2019, the pub has soared up the list of must-visit places to eat on Dartmoor. Lauded for offering quality fine dining in an unpretentious setting, it’s the kind of place you feel equally comfortable wearing your hiking boots and enjoying a mid-walk local ale and light lunch or be dressed up to the nines for a refined evening feast.
Jay changes the menu daily to reflect what’s in season. Dishes such as Week St Mary red venison loin with haunch ragout, kale, celeriac and red wine, and pork belly with glazed pork cheek, carrot, red cabbage and apple will keep meat-eaters satiated. Herbivores, meanwhile, can enjoy the dedicated vegan menu, which features delights like roasted Hallwood Farm celeriac with pickled cabbage, mushrooms, candied seeds and salsa verde, and cumin-roasted squash with cauliflower tempura, bok choi, curry broth and coconut.
Read our review of The Dartmoor Inn here.
Two Bridges Hotel
For a quintessentially English dining experience in the heart of Dartmoor, a visit to the Two Bridges Hotel is a no brainer. Winner of the 2022 Best Trencherman’s Hotel award, it’s known for its cosy interiors, roaring fires and stunning views over the West Dart River and beyond.
At lunchtime, enjoy informal British classics like Howells of Tavistock Old English sausages and mash, and Jail Ale battered Brixham fish and triple cooked chips. Or, if you’re staying the night, take advantage of executive chef Mike Palmer’s flagship dinner menu. Carefully crafted creations include dishes such as Creedy Carver duck with fondant potato, orange, raisins and chorizo, and Mike’s signature dessert ‘Everything Chocolatey’ – a curation of chocolate delice, white chocolate pannacotta and malt ice cream.
Check out Two Bridges Hotel’s autumn and winter breaks, which start from £155 per room and include dinner, bed and breakfast.
Read our review of Two Bridges Hotel here.
The Horn of Plenty
This independently owned country house hotel has charmed diners for almost 60 years thanks to its panoramic views across the Tamar Valley and menus peppered with the finest local produce. While Dartmoor is awash with quality gastropubs and country inns, The Horn of Plenty is a decidedly more upmarket affair, making it an ideal spot for a romantic dinner or special occasion getaway.
Chef Ashley Lewis, who trained under the Roux brothers, has garnered three AA rosettes for his exquisitely executed dishes which focus on seasonal ingredients. Expect to find Devon lamb and beef on the line-up alongside the latest freshly caught Brixham catch. The afternoon teas are also a popular draw, with sweet and savoury options available.
If you’re planning to make an experience of it, book one of the plush guestrooms – there are fantastic dine and stay offers available throughout the year.
Dartmoor locals and in-the-know tourists trot to The Horse for its fine Mediterranean-inspired fare and traditional pub vibes. With namechecks in Michelin Guide, Trencherman’s Guide and Alistair Sawday’s Special Places to Eat, quality here is assured.
Chef owner Nigel Hoyle makes everything from scratch, from the tartare sauce to the veal jus, meatballs and ‘nduja sausage. If you’re stopping for lunch, plump for one of the gourmet sandwiches paired with an award-winning ale – the New York Deli Reuben features pastrami (smoked in-house using Dartmoor beef brisket), Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and gherkins. For a lighter bite, the frittatas – packed with salmon, gammon or Med veg – are always popular. In the evenings, crisped-to-perfection pizzas laden with mozzarella rub shoulders with indulgent platters of antipasto and pub classics like moules frites.
Time your visit to coincide with one of the popular monthly live music nights for the full Horse experience.
The Old Library
Often dubbed the gateway to Dartmoor, the ancient stannary town of Ashburton is home to one of Devon’s best-kept dining secrets: The Old Library. Run by chefs Joe Suttie and Amy Mitchell, the restaurant is known for its hyper-local menus and stylish interiors which feature hand-crafted furniture from local carpenter Ambrose Vevers.
Open Tuesday to Saturday for brunch and lunch, it offers the likes of huevos rancheros and smoked salmon with poached eggs and pickled cucumber on homemade rye. Although they longer open for evening service, Amy and Joe host monthly supper clubs at The Old Library – check the website for upcoming dates.
Like 5 of the best places to eat on Dartmoor? Check out our Totnes staycation guide.
We choose the companies included in our 5 of the best features based on editorial integrity. Occasionally, some inclusions will be handpicked from clients with whom we have a commercial relationship.