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20 of the best restaurants in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 16:24 04 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:52 17 April 2019

Food at The Grove, Watford (photo: The Grove)

Food at The Grove, Watford (photo: The Grove)

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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

Visit The Greyhound in the village of Wigginton for pub classics and daily specials that reflect a diverse selection of seasonally available ingredients. Booking is advised as there are limited tables available during busy times.

With a pleasant beer garden in the back, this is also a popular spot for a Sunday roast to be enjoyed al fresco with a pint of beer. 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 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.

Changing seasonal menus are packed with exciting dishes. 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 mackarel fillet with grapefruit and fennel salad; mains of calves liver with creamy mash, crispy bacon, red onion jam and a red wine jus; and desserts including homemade tiramisu with a zabaglione 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 with the choice of fried oysters, prawns, sweet potato and more. 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 steak shish with marinated red pepper, paprika, kekik and goats cheese dressing; and miso marinated sea bass with tomato passata, sautéed onions, olives and capers; 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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Sopwell House

Cottonmill Lane, St Albans

Previously a Georgian manor house, Sopwell House has now been transformed into a luxurious 128-room hotel and spa with restaurants all set in stunning Hertfordshire countryside.

For a sophisticated fine-dining experience, head to for dinner at the Sopwell House restaurant on evenings from Wednesday to Saturday or Sunday lunch on a Sunday afternoon.

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 dining experience that intends to fuse 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”. Chef Drew Knight also scooped the 2018 award for Chef of the Year.

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 lamb and chorizo hot pot with Padron peppers, chorizo and red pepper sauce or the Tilbury bacon cheese burger with fries, coleslaw and pickles from the pub mains menu.

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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 smoked pork jowl, mains including loin of lamb with aubergine with smoked lamb's heart gnocchi and desserts such as the Granny Smith apple parfait with honey ice cream.

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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-course tasting menu.

Order a main of Scottish mussels in a white wine cream sauce or striploin of beef with stuffed portobello mushroom, French fries and a green peppercorn sauce.

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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 freshly picked from the onsite kitchen garden.

Colette's is a pop-up restaurant (open until 6th May) with a focus on shareable small plates served in a casual environment. The Stables restaurant is housed in the 18th century stables with the aim to serve simple dishes “cooked to perfection”. Finally, The Grove's third restaurant The Glasshouse has had a reinvention and will be opening with a brand new and exciting concept in May. Keep an eye on the website for details.

Lake Restaurant at 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 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 refurbished 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 roast supreme of chicken, guinea fowl and root vegetable pie or herb crusted rump of lamb. 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 Tewin Bury Farm Hotel's William's Bar & Restaurant and their latest addition, the Cowshed. 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 a crayfish and avocado tortellini in a langoustine bisque and mains of pork belly with pork rillette and mashed potatoes with an apple jus.

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, at the Foragers 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 which have included a 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 food prepared in front of your eyes. This intimate restaurant describes itself as “modern British fine dining”. Head chef Scott Barnard was even a finalist in Master Chef.

Barnard creates a new menu every month to reflect great seasonal produce and crafts inventive dishes such as piglet belly with braised cheek, fennel, carrot and a spiced pig sauce. 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 ham hock and chicken terrine, mains including saddle back pork fillet with pancetta and a hazelnut praline parfait to finish.

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