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20 of the best restaurants in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 14:32 07 June 2018 | UPDATED: 10:34 14 June 2018

The Potting Shed popup restaurant at The Grove, Watford (photo: Chris Tubbs)

The Potting Shed popup restaurant at The Grove, Watford (photo: Chris Tubbs)

All rights Chris Tubbs Photography

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

The Greyhound

Chesham Road, Wigginton, Tring

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 a diverse selection of 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.

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 producers. 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.

Lussmanns

Hitchin, Hertford, Harpenden, St Albans & Tring

With many 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.

The summer set menu is packed with exciting dishes including a spiced lamb salad with goat’s cheese. Check the website for monthly specials too.

St James Restaurant

30 High Street, 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 salmon roulade with asparagus, cucumber and lemon crème fraiche; mains of roast rump of lamb with potato rosti, ratatouille, braised shallots and a red wine jus; and desserts including apple strudel with cinnamon ice cream. Vegetarians will also be well looked after with equally enticing options.

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Los Reyes

16 Bucklersbury, 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.

Order from an extensive selection of small dishes including king prawns with garlic butter, pork and beef meatballs with an almond and pepper sauce and three Spanish cheese fondue.

Kazoku

36 Bancroft, 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).

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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 a second in Berkhamsted.

Expect fragranced creations that are perfect for sharing including grilled beef kofte, crispy bread, harissa, labne yogurt with mint and tomato sauce; and octopus salad with haricot and borlotti beans, cherry tomatoes, shallots and a chilli dressing; and changing specials too. There is a brunch menu for the weekends which features brunch done Turkish style – not to be missed!

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Porters

300 High Street, Berkhamsted

Passionate about providing an excellent dining experience for its customers, Porters in Berkhamsted is a restaurant that serves unpretentious comfort food. Enjoy your meal in the stylishly decorated restaurant while sipping something from the expansive cocktail menu. There’s a fixed price lunch menu; special events such as steak Thursdays (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 steak, Guinness and mushroom pie with jus, glazed vegetables and a side of your choice or lemon and dill dressed crab with a watercress salad and warm French bread.

This was dreamy #pie #porters #instafood #foodporn

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Dylans at The Kings Arms

7 George Street, 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.

Dylans won the Restaurant of the Year in the 2017 Hertfordshire Life Food & Drink Awards, for its “local, seasonal menus and fabulous selection of craft beers and fine wines”.

The Tilbury

Watton Road, Datchworth

The Tilbury Pub & Dining Rooms is owned and run by Tom and James Bainbridge, brothers who took on this venture to bring great British food in a relaxed pub environment.

We love the sound of the sea bream with cuttlefish risotto and crispy kale or the decadent pork burger with schnitzel, pork belly, crispy bacon, bacon jam, fries and slaw – phew!

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THOMPSON

2 Hatfield Road, 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. Three AA Rosette-awarded, THOMPSON offers an a la carte menu, a fixed price lunch and evening menu and a tasting menu which all change to reflect the season’s bounties.

Expect tempting creations such as starters of Wye Valley asparagus, white crab, radish, kale and Jersey Royal mousse; mains including stuffed saddle of Lincolnshire rabbit, leg croquette, caramelised turnip and a pommery mustard and tarragon cream; and desserts such as the delicious sounding toasted croissant parfait with vanilla caramelised apple, apple sorbet and pine nuts.

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The Waggoners

Brickwall Close, Ayot Green, Welwyn

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. For a comprehensive taste, try the five- or six-course tasting menu.

Order a main of pork fillet with spring greens, crushed Jersey Royals and a Stowford cider thyme jus; or seared plaice fillet with burnt carrots, turnips and steamed potatoes.

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Dining at The Grove

Chandler’s Cross, Watford

Luxury hotel The Grove 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, freshly picked from the onsite kitchen garden. Don’t miss the pop up restaurant the Potting Shed which will be open from 13th July until 2nd September.

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 that’s expertly made. Check the website for latest menus.

Lake Restaurant

St Michael’s Manor Hotel, Fishpool Street, 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 orangery-style 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.

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The Gatsby

97 High Street, 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 this 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.

Try the twice-baked blue cheese soufflé with tomato and rocket or herb crusted rump of lamb with black garlic creamed potato, aubergine and courgette. The lunch menu doubles as a pre-cinema two- or three-course feast and includes a glass of wine or half of beer.

Williams’ Bar & Restaurant

Tewin Bury Farm Hotel, Hertford Road, nr Welwyn

Elegant and imaginative food is created at Tewn Bury Farm Hotel’s William’s Bar & Restaurant 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 smoked wood pigeon with oyster mushrooms and tarragon broth with combe ham and mains of lamb with thyme pressed potatoes, truffled spinach and aubergine purée.

Oxscale

1 Church Street, Wheathampstead

Aptly named Oxscale in Wheathampstead is a steak, fish and tapas restaurant with a curated wine list and some great beers too. Gin is also a speciality at Oxscale with a dedicated gin and martini menu.

The tapas menu includes fried baby squid with tartare sauce, patatas bravas and braised pig cheek with apple purée. Order a hefty 450g, 34 day dry-aged sirloin steak served carved to share with your table.

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The Foragers

At The Verulam Arms, 41 Lower Dagnall Street, 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 is sure to surprise you. It’s not just food that’s wild though, liqueurs made from foraged treats go into the wild cocktails such as the sloe gin martini made with foraged sloe gin with vermouth, gin and cranberry juice.

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Crockers Chef’s Table

74 High Street, Tring

Gather around the chef’s table at Crockers and see your food prepared in front of you. This intimate 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 piglet belly with fennel choucroute, salt baked carrot and pineapple. Choose from a three course or seven course tasting menu, or a daily changing vegetarian menu. Check the website for the latest menu.

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Auberge du Lac

Brocket Hall, Marford Road, Hatfield, Welwyn

Beautifully peaceful views over the lake at Brocket Hall’s estate await 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 over the lake.

Indulge in a three course dinner with starters of cauliflower soup with almond, lemon and sorrel; mains including pan fried sea bream with sand carrot, fennel, chestnuts and blood orange; and maybe a French and British cheese board to finish.

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