17 best places to meet friends for food in the Cotswolds

From the cosiest Cotswold pubs to lakeside lunch spots, Michelin inspectors' favourites and the loveliest locations to indulge in afternoon tea, SoGlos rounds up some of the best places in the Cotswolds to get together with friends over food.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
Whether it’s street food, Sunday roast or afternoon tea that gets the group vote, the Cotswolds has plenty of delicious places to keep everyone happy when dining out with friends.
In partnership with Téatro Bar & Restaurant and Ingleside House  |  inglesidehouse.co.uk
Téatro Bar & Restaurant and Ingleside House

Located in Cirencester, Téatro Bar and Restaurant offers drinks and appetisers in the stylish piano bar, as well as pre-show suppers and indulgent feasts in the uniquely-styled restaurant; while sister business Ingleside House provides 'dramatically different' stays at this chic, boutique Cotswold hotel.

Whether you're celebrating a special event, meeting up for a leisurely lunch or indulging in afternoon tea, the Cotswolds is brimming with fantastic foodie destinations.

From traditional country pubs to chic hotels, SoGlos rounds up our favourite places to get the gang together for fabulous food...

Téatro in Cirencester

The ever-so-stylish Téatro Bar and Restaurant is located right next door to chic Cotswold hotel Ingleside House and The Barn Theatre in Cirencester. Serving creative dishes made using the finest locally sourced produce, diners can expect pan fried scallops, shredded duck, buttermilk fried chicken, moules marinere, crispy pork belly and Josper grilled steak on its a la carte menu — with a three-course pre-theatre menu available, too.

Its Piano Bar comes to life with live music every Friday and Saturday evening; plus there's two for one cocktails every day from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.  

The Fox at Oddington

Highlighted as one of the Michelin inspectors' favourite new restaurants in December 2022, The Fox at Oddington is bursting with Cotswold charm and offers a beautiful but unpretentious menu of dishes using produce from its sister farm, Daylesford.

With everything from bar snacks like a half-pint of shell on prawns or pork crackling; pub classics like chargrilled Tamworth pork chop, double cheeseburger, Hereford rib eye steak and a traditional Sunday roast; to wood fired sourdough pizzas, it's a glorious place for a get-together — and a must-visit for local foodies. 

Dunkertons Organic Cider in Dowdeswell

Dunkertons Organic Cider on the outskirts of Cheltenham is effortlessly cool, boasting a gorgeous outdoor seating area with crackling fire pits; a selection of some of the tastiest street food Gloucestershire has to offer, including loaded dogs and fries from The Woozy Pig, Bella Mia Pizza, colourful Filipino food from Humble Kusina and curries from Bombay Street Food Co; and fresh, crisp cider on tap, of course. 

Surrounded by woods and trees, it's a spectacular location to meet up with friends and watch the sun go down over a laid back dinner and drinks. It also plays host to regular live music, comedy and DJ nights, too. 

Maxi's Tipi Lounge in Bourton-on-the-Water

A unique Cotswolds venue that's ideal for summer meet ups come rain or shine, Maxi's Tipi Lounge in the garden of The Dial House Hotel in Bourton-on-the-Water serves up street food-style dishes in a chilled out setting — festooned with fairy lights, with casual bench seating and interior design by none other than local celebrity, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

The menu features home-smoked duck breast salad; slow roasted Moroccan lamb and tabbouleh; chipotle glazed shredded pork tacos; crispy tempura prawn bao buns; and Korean fried chicken with sriracha and tahini mayo — with plenty of substitutions for vegetarians. It's extensive drinks menu spans wine, spirits, cocktails and local Hawkstone lager from Jeremy Clarkson's Diddly Squat Farm, too. 

The Lygon Arms in Broadway

James Martin fans won't want to miss the chance to try his specially-curated menu at The Lygon Arms in Broadway. Promising authentic dishes in a welcoming, laid back atmosphere, the Grill by James Martin menu features some of his favourite dishes — including his famous dry aged longhorn beef wellington — accompanied by a selection of locally sourced drinks.

Other menu highlights include the barbecue beef sharing platter with rump steak, short ribs, sausage, onion rings, chips and Coca Cola barbecue sauce; lobster fries with garlic and herb butter; and desserts including an old-fashioned Knickerbocker Glory and Martin's signature white chocolate and whisky bread and butter pudding.  

Roots + Seeds Kitchen Garden in Cirencester

This laid back Cotswolds venue transforms from cosy cafe during the day to family-friendly casual fine dining restaurant in the evening, with a menu packed full of produce grown in its very own kitchen garden by green-fingered co-founder, Toby Baggott.

Nestled on the edge of Cirencester Park, Roots + Seeds Kitchen Garden offers farm to fork dining from breakfast to dinner, with brunch dishes like a classic full English, eggs benedict or granola, yoghurt and summer berry compote to fuel up on before a stroll; hearty lunches like Corinium Ale-battered fish and chips, baked summer squash, or beef burger with skin-on fries; and elevated evening dishes including locally-sourced venison burger with walnut ketchup and triple-cooked chips, dry aged sirloin with potato puree and beer braised shallots, or potato gnocchi with wild garlic and foraged mushrooms. No meal would be complete without sampling some of co-founder Sam Lawson-King's famous Cotswold cocktails, either. Try the chocolate orange espresso martini - trust us, you won't be disappointed!

The Old Stocks Inn in Stow-on-the-Wold

One of the coolest places to dine in Stow-on-the-Wold, The Old Stocks Inn is famous for its fantastic food and creative cocktails, not to mention its stylish, colourful decor. Its small plates menu, served from 12pm to 5pm on Friday and Saturday, is ideal for sharing with friends — with dishes including deep fried baby squid with sriracha mayonnaise; Saltpig cured meats; homemade milk bread garlic doughballs; pan roasted field mushrooms on toast; and skin on fries with rosemary salt, truffle and parmesan. 

For more sophisticated affairs, it also offers a two- or three-course a la carte menu. Roll the dice to try one of its 12 Briottet liqueurs to start proceedings before tucking into dishes like hand dived Orkney scallops with Cotswold chorizo; fillet of turbot with seaweed and Cornish crab butter; local sirloin steak with triple cooked chips, local ale frickles and lobster Caesar salad; peanut and biscoff s'mores; or white chocolate and pistachio mousse with a hidden cherry centre. 

The Ox Barn in Southrop

Housed inside, you guessed it, a former ox barn, The Ox Barn at Thyme in Southrop is another venue that caught the Michelin inspectors' eye, surrounded by gorgeous Cotswold countryside with produce picked fresh from the fields on its menu.

Choose from small plates like grilled asparagus, burrata with tomato and basil, stuffed onion with watercress or hot smoked salmon and horseradish, or larger plates like cod and herbed butter, ribeye with pickled walnut or half roast chicken with smoked chilli at lunchtime; or at dinner, start with chicken and rabbit terrine, clams with pancetta and sourdough or baby leek, romesco and picada, followed by roast pork with mash and crackling crumb, lemon sole with capers and brown butter or braised lentils with collared greens. 

Dormy House in Broadway

Afternoon tea is a classy affair at Dormy House, so it's ideal for a special occasion or celebration. Savouries include freshly made sandwiches filled with roast chicken, cheese and tomato chutney, smoked salmon with sour cream and chives or beef with horseradish and watercress, with sweet treats like lemon meringue tart, pistachio and cherry macaron, praline and caramel eclair, chocolate and clementine mousse and scones slathered with clotted cream and jam to indulge in.

Its tea station offers a varied selection, from musky darjeeling, refreshing mint to sweet vanilla chai — or if you're really splashing out, opt for a glass of Champagne instead, with Delamotte and Bollinger both on the menu. 

The Crown at Ampney Brook

Describing itself as 'a cosy village pub with a community heart', The Crown at Ampney Brook is housed within a 16th century riverside coaching inn surrounded by Cotswold countryside. The award-winning pub and restaurant's menu is inspired by its surroundings, using lots of seasonal, locally sourced produce. Its great value fixed price two- or three- course menu is available from 12pm to 6pm Monday to Friday, with starters like bang bang prawns, duck liver parfait or leek and potato soup; mains including flat iron steak, Cornish crab risotto or miso glazed aubergine; and dark chocolate mousse, blackberry fool or a selection of local cheeses for afters.

It's also a fantastic brunch spot, with small plates ideal for sharing including smoked ham hock croquettes, 'nduja Scotch eggs and Bloody Mary prawn cocktail, or large plates like eggs benedict, smashed avocado on toast and crispy buttermilk chicken waffles, all washed down with brunch cocktails including a mimosa, kir royale or aperol spritz. Sunday roasts and afternoon teas are available, too. 

The Old New Inn in Bourton-on-the-Water

Great for get-togethers with little ones in tow, The Old New Inn is right next door to the Bourton Model Village, so you can tire out the kids exploring this miniature scale model of the Cotswold town before sitting down to a tasty meal. 

The Tap Room is known for its sharing boards that are ideal to pop in the middle of the table and graze on, with options including smoked salmon, fish goujons, prawns in Marie Rose sauce, marinated anchovies, tartare sauce and sourdough; home-cooked Gloucestershire ham, Cacklebean Scotch eggs, artisan sausage rolls, pickled onions and house chutney; grilled vegetables with hoummous, olives and Greek salad; or an oozing baked camembert with house chutney and toasted sourdough. 

The Snooty Fox in Tetbury

Tetbury's The Snooty Fox is an elegant but relaxed venue with a menu that champions local produce and creative cooking. Great for sharing over a glass of wine or two, its nibbles menu offers three plates for £12.50 with options including breaded king prawns with sweet chilli sauce; falafel and hoummous; halloumi fries; homemade Scotch egg; and chicken goujons. 

For something more substantial, its bar classics menu features mac and triple cheese; corned beef hash with fried egg; honey and mustard roast ham; Caesar salad with chicken, bacon, or both; and beef, fried chicken, or plant-based burgers, while the evening main menu includes slow cooked pork belly with apple and parsley mash; pan roasted hake with sauteed potatoes and tenderstem broccoli; or rump steak with chunky chips. 

Three Ways House Hotel in Chipping Campden

One of the most memorable dining experiences in the Cotswolds — and one to tick off SoGlos's Gloucestershire Bucket List — The Pudding Club meets at the Three Ways House Hotel in Chipping Campden every Friday and Saturday throughout the year.

Proceedings start with a glass of Buck's Fizz and a light main course, followed by a parade of seven traditional puddings! Served on long, communal tables, it's a social affair, where diners get to vote for their favourite pudding over coffee at the end of the evening — and take home a certificate, too! 

The Lakes by YOO in Lechlade

Serving up breakfast, brunch and lunch with idyllic lakeside views over its 850-acre estate, The Lakes Bar and Kitchen at The Lakes by Yoo is a rustic restaurant where you can while away the hours watching sailboats go by. 

Breakfast comes in the form of truffled wild mushrooms on toast, American buttermilk pancake stacks, smashed avocado on sourdough or a classic full English or full veggie breakfast and is served from 9am to 12pm — with a smaller brunch selection available until 2.30pm for late risers. While the all-day menu spans deli toasties; stonebaked pizza; specials including the YOO burger, beer-battered fish and fries, or poke bowls; and small plates like charcuterie, crispy duck carnitas tacos, tuna tartate and braised octopus. 

The Fish Hotel in Broadway

Tucking into the lounge menu at the super stylish The Fish Hotel in Broadway is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in the Cotswolds with friends. Available every day from 12pm to 9pm, diners can enjoy small plates of crispy sweetcorn ribs, pork and n'duja Scotch eggs, crispy squid rings and burrata with heritage tomatoes; or opt for a freshly baked pizza and a cocktail or two.

The Fish's Sunday roasts in its Hook restaurant are the talk of the town, too, with starters like gambas pil pil, fritto misto and sticky char siu pork belly, followed by roast leg of Cotswold lamb, roast sirloin with Yorkshire pudding or Thai fish broth with cod, salmon, sea bream, prawns and squid. There's also a classic sticky toffee pudding on the dessert menu.

The Halfway at Kineton in Guiting Power

Having worked at Michelin-starred Simpsons in Birmingham and The Wild Rabbit in Kingham, rising star chef, Nathan Eades, now holds the reins at The Halfway at Kineton, making it a hotspot for foodies from the Cotswolds and beyond — including Dame Prue Leith and famously hard-to-please food critic, Giles Coren.

Its hearty menu boasts what Coren calls 'the best pie in England, no question' — its celeriac and mushroom pie with buttered leeks and mushroom gravy — as well as other delicious-sounding dishes like slow baked turbot with brown shrimp and samphire; double baked Comté cheese souffle; Donnington ale-battered haddock and chips; and glazed ham hock for two with hand cut chips and fried Cacklebean eggs. It also serves up spectacular Sunday lunches of grass-fed Hereford beef, Cornish lamb or that famous pie with double spuds, seasonal vegetables, cauliflower cheese and Yorkshire pudding. 

The Lion Inn in Winchcombe

Cosy Butcombe Brewery pub, The Lion Inn, is a traditional Cotswolds watering hole with a classic menu of really good pub grub, from steak and thick cut chips to beef burgers, beer-battered fish and chips, or porchetta with dauphinoise potatoes — ideal for a casual lunch or dinner, especially if you've been out walking the nearby Cotswold way or exploring Sudeley Castle

The Lion is well-known for its epic Sunday roasts, too, with rump of Hereford and Angus beef, Cameron Naughton pork belly, roast Castlemead Farm chicken or seasonal vegetable wellington to choose from, accompanied by sausage stuffing, seasonal vegetables, roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding — with rich cauliflower cheese with thyme crumb available as a side dish, too. 

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