Angela Youngman


Gourmet foodies are irresistibly drawn to the small Cornish town of Padstow due to the international reputation of celebrity chef Rick Stein, a specialist in seafood. He is often regarded as a local hero, supporting the close-knit fishing community within the area. Rick Stein comments, “I’ve never thought of our restaurants as temples of gastronomy. They’re just places where the fish is fresh and exhilarating and the atmosphere is alive and full of fun.”

Pretty Padstow

Sheltered from the wind in a narrow gully on the River Camel estuary; Padstow has a long established seafood heritage, as it has always been a busy fishing port with local fishermen bringing in fresh fish daily. It is also home to the National Lobster Hatchery, a marine conservation organisation focusing on the development of the lobster population along the coast. This is sustainable fishing, using only environmentally friendly methods. Local provenance is all important in this pretty town, just 10 miles from Newquay.

Padstow harbour view (copyright Rick stein)

Padstow or Padstein?

Until the arrival of Rick Stein in 1975, Padstow was just another pretty coastal town dominated by its harbour and ranks of fishermen’s cottages. As Stein’s celebrity status has grown, so has the importance of Padstow as a culinary destination. It has even gained the nickname Padstein, reflecting the sheer number of Rick Stein-related restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, cookery school and accommodation opportunities that have developed over the years. He has, quite simply, built up an enviable gourmet empire in the area. 

Rick Steins Cafe Meal. (Copyright James Ram)

The Seafood Restaurant

The seafood restaurant is where it all began. On offer are all kinds of seafood dishes both classic styles and dishes reflecting Stein's worldwide travels and TV programmes such as Indonesian seafood curry and Singapore Chilli Crab. Diners can watch chefs assembling platters of oysters, langustines and sashimi in his restaurant; or dine on seared fillets of hake, deep fried shrimps or fillets of Cornish Lemon Sole while sitting on a terrace overlooking the beautiful Camel Estuary.

Singapore Chilli Crab (Copyright James Ram)

Stein's Cornish Empire

Alternatively, diners can seek out casual food from morning until late at the Rick Stein café, try classic French bistro-style combined with a taste of Cornwall at St Petroc’s bistro, dine in the seafood bar or buy fresh fish from Rick Stein Fishmongers. Next door to St Petroc’s bistro is Ruby’s Bar, a cocktail bar selling gins, wines and local beers. Even the cocktails are influenced by Stein’s travels with names like Ceylon Negroni and South & Stormy. Stop off at Stein’s delicatessen for picnic basket ingredients, or hunt out cookware and recipe books at Stein’s gift shop. If you want to eat in, you can order from the Stein’s At Home menu box complete with starter, main course and dessert. Stein owned hotel rooms are scattered around the Padstow in cottages, farms and even above his restaurant and café.

St Petroc's Hotel (Copyright James Ram)

The Rick Stein Cookery School

For visitors wanting to learn Stein’s iconic dishes and cooking style there is the Rick Stein cookery school. Courses include opportunities to study his dishes from around the world including Indian seafood, Mexican and Far Eastern dishes. On offer are day courses, tasting evenings, children’s cookery and a Cook Your Own Dinner Party evening. Small groups can book private courses learning signature dishes from the Seafood Restaurant including how to cook ingredients like squid, cuttlefish and octopus. Really keen cooks can book a catch & cook one day course involving a trip out to sea with a local fisherman to catch fish, before returning to cook whatever has been caught.

There's even more to discover!

While food is definitely a priority in Padstow, visitors can take the opportunity to enjoy water sports, walking and some stunning beaches. A short ferry ride across the river brings visitors to beaches of Rock, a nearby village popular with royals, the rich and famous. Alternatively just a short walk outside Padstow leads to the golden beaches of St George’s Cove, Tregirls and Hawkers Cave. The Camel Trail is a popular 18 mile hiking and cycling route based on a disused railway line once immortalised by the poet John Betjemann as ‘the most beautiful train journey I know’. It includes an access route to the foot of Bodmin Moor, containing numerous bird hides to allowing walkers to glimpse the brilliant blue and orange kingfishers darting along the river, or the numerous wildfowl and hawks that fly overhead. This is a rugged landscape with quiet coves, sweeping beaches and open countryside. The high waves generated by the Atlantic Ocean are popular with surfers. Novices wanting to learn can take sessions at the surf school in Harlyn, while the surfing haven of Polzeath is suitable for both novices and experts. 

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