Food and drink
The South West is renowned for its contribution to the UK’s rich food and drink culture. It’s no surprise that renowned chefs like Nathan Outlaw, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Rick Stein and Michael Caines make their home in the area.
As regional capital, Exeter is at the heart of the South West food scene. As well as being home to a vast array of outstanding restaurants, coffee shops, delicatessens and markets, it also hosts the annual Festival of South West Food and Drink, drawing people from around the country to experience the best the region has to offer.
Exploring outside Exeter reaps culinary rewards too; the Devon countryside has vineyards, cider presses, and specialist farms supplying outstanding produce.
Exeter excels when it comes to eating out. As well as the chain restaurants you’d expect, the city boasts an abundance of independent and small-scale eateries, from burger joints and gastro-pubs to celebrity-chef-run restaurants, street food, and international cuisines.
» Find a comprehensive list of eateries on the Visit Exeter website.
All the usual supermarkets from Aldi to Waitrose are represented in Exeter, many of them in or close to the city centre if you don’t have a car. It can be cheaper and far more rewarding to explore the outstanding local produce on offer at the various butchers, bakers, delis, fishmongers and greengrocers across the city though. Magdalen Road, near St Luke’s Campus, has an array of such foodie-pleasing shops.
Specialist international supermarkets
There’s also a good range of specialist international supermarkets, delicatessens and butchers catering for Asian, Indian, African, European and religious cuisines, many of them situated on and around Sidwell Street, just a short walk from Streatham Campus. Meanwhile The Real Food Store on Paris Street brings together many of the region's best local produce providers in one shop every day.
Exeter Farmers’ Market takes place every Thursday at the junction of Fore Street and South Street, right in the centre of town. There’s also the University’s own Market, every Friday on the piazza during term, which increasingly attracts people from the city onto campus as well as catering for students and staff.
For those craving something special on non-market days there are several Farm Shops just outside the city. Most notable is Darts Farm in Topsham; recently awarded 'Best Farm Shop in the UK', it offers local West Country food and drink, luxury gifts, and home and lifestyle products.
There are plenty of chain coffee shops across the city, but real bean lovers in Exeter (and there are plenty) tend to steer clear of the franchises and explore the numerous independents and small-scale local chains that have sprung up around Exeter in recent years including:
Each of these offers a more individual, quality take on the coffee experience, and more are emerging all the time.
The Exeter Food and Drink Festival happens every spring in Northernhay Park, slap-bang in the middle of the city, and is a celebration of all things culinary that the South West has to offer. Admission isn’t cheap, but as well as a mouth-watering array of produce – from venison to cider to gelato and far, far beyond – there’s also an amazing atmosphere, making a trip to the food festival a great day (or evening) out as much as it is a chance to browse peoples’ wares.