20 of the best restaurants in Hertfordshire
PUBLISHED: 13:16 02 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:23 02 January 2018
From Italian style bistros to modern Turkish eateries and classic British spots, Hertfordshire has a plethora of innovative restaurants. We have picked 20 top places to eat in the county
1. The Greyhound, Wigginton
Enter pretty country pub, the Greyhound in the village of Wigginton, and you may be surprised by the quality of food on the menu. Think elevated pub classics and daily specials that reflect seasonally available ingredients.
With a pleasant beer garden in the back, this is also a great spot for a Sunday roast enjoyed al fresco with a pint or two (or three) of your favourite tipple. There is a children’s menu, plenty of gluten free options and tempting desserts too!
2. Zaza, Berkhamsted, Rickmansworth, Harpenden & Bushey
With four locations in Hertfordshire, Italian restaurant franchise Zaza focuses on authentically prepared Italian cuisine made with fresh ingredients from sustainable suppliers. Each of the four restaurants has unique features but retain the philosophy of fresh, delicious food, friendly service and a good relationship with suppliers.
Expect tasty mains of traditional spaghetti carbonara with smoked pancetta, egg, parmesan and cream or a Mediterranean vegetable risotto made with roasted veg, in a tomato sauce with a hint of spice. Lunch menus offer two courses for a very reasonable price, but vary slightly per restaurant so check the website.
3. Lussmanns, Hitchin, Hertford, Harpenden, St Albans & Tring
With lots of accolades and high praise in the press, Lussmanns is a fish and grill restaurant with five locations across the county. A modern menu of fresh, responsibly sourced fish and meat (and a couple of vegetarian options) changes with the seasons to reflect the best of British produce. Keeping a strong relationship with trusted suppliers is an important part of the ethics at Lussmanns.
Why not tuck into a plate of wild sea bream with Sussex pancetta, wilted baby gem lettuce and a pea and garlic sauce; or a classic onglet steak frites, cooked just right?
4. St James Restaurant, Bushey
St James is a modern, British restaurant with some European inspired dishes, located in the town of Bushey. Customers praise the good service, friendly staff and not forgetting, the creative menu of simple, elegant food.
Expect starters such as mushroom and chestnut soup with truffle oil; mains of roast rump of lamp with rosemary scented shepherds pie, pea puree, carrots, mint jelly and lamb jus; and desserts including warm cinnamon doughnuts with apple, sultanas, caramel sauce and a whisky cream. Vegetarians will also be well looked after with equally enticing options.
5. Los Reyes, Hitchin
Spanish tapas restaurant Los Reyes in Hitchin combines locally sourced ingredients with real Spanish ingredients to create its tapas selection. The substantial wine list is made of exclusively Spanish wines to perfectly complement a table full of tapas.
Why not order some tiger prawn and chorizo skewers with cherry tomato; pork and beef meatballs with a Spanish three cheese fondue; or garlic wild mushrooms with quails egg, crostini and truffle oil? Why not visit Los Reyes for a Sunday roast with a Spanish twist?
6. Kazoku, Hitchin
Somewhat of a “hidden gem” according to customers, Kazoku in Hitchin is “an authentic Japanese restaurant tucked away with an unassuming shop front.” Kazoku, meaning family, offers plenty of Japanese delicacies including a selection of tempura including fried oysters, prawns and sweet potato. Expect sushi; katsu curries with pork, chicken, prawn or salmon; or donburi, large bowls of rice with your choice of topping that includes steak, salmon and grilled eel.
Popular in Japanese izakayas (pub-like taverns), there are also grilled skewers such as yakitori (marinated chicken), or enoki beef (beef with mushrooms).
7. Tabure, St Albans & Berkhamsted
Stylish Turkish restaurant Tabure, meaning footstool in Turkish, is the brainchild of husband and wife team Hulya and Mark. Having travelled around Turkey collecting inspiration for recipes, the couple opened their restaurant in St Albans and, recently, a second in Berkhamsted.
Expect fragranced creations that are perfect for sharing including barley risotto with slow cooked, pulled shoulder of lamb and an Urfa chilli dressing; an octopus salad with cherry tomatoes, chilli, cornichons and olives; and changing specials too. There is a brunch menu for the weekends which features brunch done Turkish style – not to be missed!
8. Porters, Berkhamsted
Passionate about providing an excellent dining experience for its customers, Porters in Berkhamsted is a restaurant that serves unpretentious yet elevated comfort food. Enjoy your meal in the stylishly decorated restaurant while sipping on a cocktail from the expansive cocktail menu. There’s a fixed price lunch menu; special events such as steak Wednesdays (two sirloin steaks, two sides and a bottle of house wine for £30); and a breakfast/brunch menu too!
Dishes on the a la carte lunch and dinner menu include king oyster and chestnut mushroom risotto with glazed girolles and tarragon or a braised lamb shank pie with your choice of side dish.
9. Dylans at The Kings Arms, St Albans
Decorated in a homely style with quirky touches, Dylans at the Kings Arms in St Albans is a relaxed dining experience that fuses fine food expected in up-market eateries with the laid back appeal of a pub. A penchant for craft beer sees daily changing guest ales and plenty of firm real ale favourites – perfect to accompany your meal.
A finalist in two categories at the 2016 Hertfordshire Life Food & Drink Awards, Dylans is a firm favourite of ours.
10. Number 23, St Albans
For something a little different, Number 23 on St Albans is a British tapas restaurant, serving little plates of hearty British cuisine. The menu changes with seasonal availability to make the most of the freshest ingredients of the season.
Expect plates such as haddock and ginger fishcake with garlic mayo; deep fried brie with cranberry; Cumberland sausage and duck’s egg Scotch egg; and more. An ‘express lunch menu’ is available at £5.95.
11. THOMPSON, St Albans
Winner of Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year at the 2016 Hertfordshire Life Food & Drink Awards, THOMPSON in St Albans is an exceptional fine dining restaurant. Two AA Rosette-awarded, THOMPSON offers an a la carte menu, a fixed price lunch and evening menu and a tasting menu which all change seasonally.
Expect tempting creations such as starters of crab with asparagus, apple and pine nuts; mains including pork belly with braised tongue, carrot and chorizo jam; and desserts such as a warm chocolate and pecan tart with golden raisins and malt ice cream.
12. The Waggoners, Ayot Green
Straightforward but expertly prepared food awaits diners at the Waggoners. Nestled in the pretty village of Ayot Green, this is a country pub with historical charm – dating back over 400 years. Why not give the five or six course weekly changing tasting menu a try?
Order a main of beef tenderloin with wild mushrooms, fried potatoes, croutons and a mushroom cream; or red tuna steak with peppers, courgettes and a red pepper and basil oil coulis.
Luxury hotel the Grove in Watford is a 300 acre estate with a golfing range, a spa and three restaurants. The restaurants source their ingredients locally, sometimes as locally as it comes – picking fresh ingredients from the Kitchen Garden onsite.
For fine dining, head to the sophisticated Colette’s for a curated a la carte menu of British dishes or try the five course tasting menu. The Glasshouse is a visual and gastronomic feast, allowing guests to see a range of international dishes cooked right before their eyes. The Stables serves simple food expertly such as hand made linguini with Cornish crab, chilli, garlic, fresh herbs and lemon.
14. Lake Restaurant at St Michael’s Manor Hotel, St Albans
St Michael’s Manor Hotel in the centre of St Albans is a peaceful oasis in the city. Its multi-award winning Lake Restaurant is named as such because of its views over the lake from the bright and airy dining room.
Join the Lake Restaurant for a Sunday lunch with two or three course options, or sample the a la carte, or fixed price menu and vegetarians have their own menu to browse.
15. The Gatsby, Berkhamsted
The name Gatsby evokes the glitz and glamour of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, the Great Gatsby, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at the Gatsby bar and restaurant in Berkhamsted. Located in a 1930s cinema, this art deco delight has piano music playing as you dine on modern European dishes that have gained it a place in the 2017 Michelin Guide.
Why not try a twice baked stilton soufflé with an orange and watercress salad and pistachios or pan seared monkfish with cauliflower and almond kashmiri and mussel velouté?
Elegant and imaginative food is created at Tewn Bury Farm Hotel’s William’s Bar & Rrestaurant in Welwyn. Nestled in idyllic Hertfordshire countryside, this repurposed farm is a tranquil spot for some fine dining.
Although subject to change for seasonality, you can expect starters such as king scallops with celeriac, golden raisins, pea shoots and hazelnuts; mains of lamb with wild garlic, baby carrots, coco beans in a red wine sauce; and tempting desserts such as a lemon curd fool with brown butter biscuits, meringue and a red fruit sorbet. Sounds delicious!
17. Oxscale, Wheathampstead
Aptly named Oxscale in Wheathampstead is a steak, fish and tapas restaurant with a good wine list that includes Champagne and Prosecco; and some great beers too – and finalist in the Hertfordshire Life Food and Drink Awards 2016. Gin is also a speciality at Oxscale with a dedicated gin and martini list.
The tapas menu includes classics such as baked camembert, patatas bravas and salt and pepper squid. Enjoy 28 day dry aged steaks with some delectable sauces to choose from: tarragon dijonnaise, mushroom and thyme or chimichurri.
18. The Foragers at The Verulam Arms, St Albans
The Foragers are named so for their unique way of sourcing ingredients for the dishes served at the Verulam Arms in St Albans. Foraging in the wild for ingredients for their food and drink, there is an ever-changing menagerie of dishes that include ingredients found in the wild.
With a mixture of foraged ingredients, the seasonally changing menu at the Foragers at the Verulam Arms is sure to surprise you. It’s not just food that’s wild though, syrups made from foraged treats go into the wild cocktails such as the Hedgerow Kir Royale, made with Prosseco and a swig of handmade hedgerow liqueur.
19. Crockers Chef’s Table, Berkhamsted
Gather around the chef’s table at Crockers and see your food prepared in front of you. This intimate, 10-seater restaurant describes itself as “modern British fine dining”. Head chef and owner Scott Barnard has worked under the likes of Heston Blumenthal and was a finalist in Master Chef.
Barnard creates a new menu every month to reflect the best of the local produce that’s delivered daily to the restaurant and uses them in creative dishes such as beef with smoked hay dressing, radish and rye. Choose from a three course or seven course tasting menu, or a daily changing vegetarian menu. Check the website for the latest menu.
20. Auberge du Lac at Brocket Hall, Welwyn
Beautifully peaceful views over the lake at Brocket Hall’s estate await for diners at its former hunting lodge, the Auberge du Lac restaurant. Fine dining can be enjoyed al fresco, or in the sympathetically decorated dining room, both with views of the lake.
Why not indulge in a three course dinner with starters such as torched mackerel with lemon, radish and dill; mains such as pork fillet with parsnip and flower sprout; or spiced pineapple frangipane with coconut and lime – add a cheeseboard for £12.