We often get asked for recommendations for great places to eat by people who are visiting for a weekend break or longer holiday. We have gathered together some of our favourite places to eat in locations across Dorset, including these great places to eat in North Dorset. You can view the others in our series here…
Great places to eat in North Dorset
This lovely list has been compiled by Kae Palmer who says… “Living in the beautiful North Dorset countryside, and being somewhat of a foodie and keen cook, I’m continually impressed by the numerous places to enjoy a meal in the area.
“Rather than as was expected during the last strange couple of years for the hospitality trade, falling demand concluding in closure, I’ve been amazed at the number of existing establishments that have kept going throughout. By changing their business models, they have adapted to the situation. Supporting their communities, and vice versa! And delivering such great food and hospitality. We even have some new eateries opening, with substantial investment, indicating that the ideas for new venues, and the appetite (!) for them is certainly not drying up!”
Kae was introduced to me via Laura, the lovely Editor of the Blackmore Vale digital mag – if you are looking for lots of lovely local Dorset news then do check out their free to download magazine published on the first Friday of the month (Heather’s recipes are also included each month).
If you are looking for some great places to eat in North Dorset then here are some of our faves…
The Scented Botanist, Keynston Mill, Tarrant Keynston, Blandford. Describe themselves as delivering “contemporary, fragrant and delicious” bistro food, which it is! Part of Parterre Fragrances, lovely gardens growing flowers for their fragrances and used on their dishes. Picnics, outdoor cinema evenings, cocktail evenings etc. More than just a cafe.
Thyme after Time, Thornhill, Stalbridge – breakfasts, lunches and themed evenings. Relaxed atmosphere. Smiley owner and open kitchen. Also do grab and go so also great for takeaway coffee.
The Elms, North Wootton, Sherborne – opened recently and is gaining in popularity. Call themselves a “Farmhouse Kitchen”, using local produce. Lovely views from their garden.
Coffee on the go
Olives et Al, Sturminster Newton – really good takeaway coffee, plus deli, prepared takeout food and Mediterranean style products to buy.
Comins Tea, Sturminster Newton – for tea lovers serving light lunch or afternoon tea. They know their stuff about single estate teas, and serve light Asian inspired lunches (limited menu but their gyozas are very good), and cakes or scones. The tea serving is an event in itself, and you’re talked through the whole brewing and pouring ceremony for your particular tea using exquisite and authentic teaware. A real treat or gift for someone who loves their tea.
Suitable for families with small children.
The Gaggle of Geese Pub, Buckland Newton – great facilities for children, massive garden / orchard with a double decker play bus, small crazy golf, pygmy goats, skittle alley, goalposts and plenty of room for kids to run about… then add in good food and beer. They now have camping, shepherds huts, and campervans to hire. Always something going on with music, quizzes, comedy nights. Very well run place. A destination pub, not so easy to find, but that’s why they’ve diversified.
Good Sunday Roasts
The Thimble Inn, Piddlehinton – Very good food and well run. Roasts are tip top. The couple who own it work really hard and helped the community and school during lockdown, delivering Christmas lunches to goodness knows how many children in the school. One of those places where it’s difficult to choose from the imaginative menu. Very well run and a good garden with a small stream running through it.
The White Horse, Hinton St Mary – Roasts get booked up quickly! Always has a good summer menu and the owner enjoys cooking fish dishes too.
The Baker Arms, Child Okeford – An unusual but well chosen small menu, which changes depending on locally sourced supplies and seasons.
The Crosskeys, Sherborne – known for their roasts, and other fab food.
The Clockspire, Milborne Port – not open for long this is a beautifully restored old school and clock tower, with a modern interior with exposed roof and timbers. Fine dining and a huge investment from the owners restoring it and they’ve already been awarded a Michelin Plate. Two courses for £25 at lunchtime, which seems good value for such a stylish venue.
Plumber Manor, Sturminster Newton – tablecloths and country house accommodation and it gets recommended a lot for special occasions.
The Bramble, Sherborne – Cosy and intimate fine dining restaurant cooking locally sourced ingredients. The Head Chef is Mat Follas, BBC’s Masterchef winner 2009. Booking advisable!
Fish and Chips
Abbey Friar Fish and Chips, Sturminster Newton – Run by two Scottish brothers, these fish and chips are best eaten on a summer’s evening sitting outside the Abbey and people watching. They can tell you the trawler which caught the cod, and where it was caught as well as the type and supplier of the potatoes. Generous portions. The best ever.
Is Shin Sushi Bento, Sturminster Newton – unusually a Japanese takeaway, with Chinese too. Opened last year and building quite a following.
The Antelope, Hazelbury Bryan – well run, lovely menu including tapas and a well kept, good sized garden.
The Chetnole, Chetnole – good food, flagstone floors, nice garden or sit outside the front looking at the village church. Very quiet location.
The Giant, Cerne Abbas – good food and well kept beers, small well kept garden.
The Trooper, Stourton Caundle – recently taken on by a family who’ve invested in this pub. Great outdoor seating areas, well kept beers and food. Very quiet location with a stream running out the front, where you can sit and watch the sheep being walked through the hamlet, or the horses or admire the old stone house opposite, which belonged to Enid Blyton when she wrote a couple of her Famous Five books.
PetrAnnette’s, West Pleck Farm, Hazelbury Bryan – vintage caravan in a barn serving light lunches, teas, homemade cakes and fabulous homemade ice cream. Farmyard setting with geese and sheep and wonderful views. Next to an old cowshed that is now the Flying Geese Gallery selling antiques and specialising in American quilts.
Tiny Tim’s at Bakers Folly, Bulbarrow Hill – another caravan perched on the hillside next to the owner’s farmhouse selling beverages, cakes, light snacks and ice cream with beautiful views. Very welcoming to walkers, cyclists and horse riders!
If you are looking for more great places to eat in North Dorset or your would like to find your local butchers or farm shops, then our searchable Directory contains over 550 local food and drink businesses.