11 places in Suffolk where you can 'eat your holidays'

A pasta dish at Watson & Walpole in Framlingham

A pasta dish at Watson & Walpole in Framlingham - Credit: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

France 

november

The Maison Bleue cheeseboard is legendary - Credit: Archant

Maison Bleue, Bury St Edmunds 

You simply cannot go wrong here. Pascal and Karine Canevet’s restaurant is one of Suffolk’s absolute gems. It's on the pricier end, but is worth it for the wonderful atmosphere, sublime food made from the very best ingredients, top-notch wine list, and gracious service. 

Choose from a daily set menu, or fixed price a la carte menu, and you’ll be spoiled with the likes of beetroot cured salmon carpaccio with beetroot and balsamic dressing, tapenade and croutons, roasted beef blade steak with beetroot, Abbot Ale sauce, chorizo and basil polenta and braised chicory, and a gorgeous green apple mousse with salted butter caramel. 

An amuse bouche and petits fours are included. And if you can, upgrade to include the fabulous cheeseboard. 

The restaurant’s attached takeaway, LEA, offers three course menus for under £20, served in glass jars to heat at home, with special offers on two-course lunches to enjoy chilled at one of the local parks. 

Le Roc, Southwold 

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A delightful cafe/restaurant over at Southwold Harbour, with gorgeous views, and a simple menu of French-inspired fare, seafood platters and fantastic wines. 

Little known – but well worth seeking out. 

A tarte tatin at the Secret Garden in Sudbury

A tarte tatin at the Secret Garden in Sudbury - Credit: Gregg Brown

The Secret Garden, Sudbury 

Not so secret in its hometown, the French owners of this place, in one of Sudbury’s most fascinating ancient buildings, Buzzards Hall, have long brought continental finesse to Friars Street. 

Swing by in the morning for a breakfast of really good coffee and meticulously handmade viennoiserie, from almond croissants to pain aux raisins. You can pre-order online via their Breakfast Club if you’re in a rush. 

Homemade cakes and pastries are served all day, with lunchtimes boasting their ‘famous’ smoked mackerel toastie, gratinated goats’ cheese salad, tartiflette and more. Dinner is served on Friday and Saturday evenings (booking advised). And there are regular wine tasting events. 

A taste of the Med 

Ottoman traditional Turkish restaurant, Woodbridge rd Ipswich

Ottoman traditional Turkish restaurant in ipswich - Credit: Archant

Ottoman, Ipswich 

A superb Turkish/Mediterranean restaurant, cooking over open coals, and serving good wine and cocktails. It’s become a regular haunt for lots of locals – and folk from further afield. My favourite dishes are the spicy chopped ezme salad, pan-fried octopus with garlic butter, and unusual, almost Croatian-style pot of pan-fried lamb with onions, dried fruit, almonds, cherry jam and pear. If you’ve got room for pud, I’d go for sutlac. The creamy Turkish rice pudding, with a hint of citrus, tastes so wholesome and comforting. 

Francela, Bury St Edmunds 

Up there amongst some of the tastiest places to eat in Suffolk’s foodie capital, Francela, just off Angel Hill, is smart, brasserie-style Mediterranean eatery dishing up really good hot and cold mezze, gorgeous chargrilled lamb chops and whole grilled seabass, and more. In addition to a la carte, there are lunch and early evening menus to take advantage of. 

Pea Porridge, Bury St Edmunds 

Should be at the top of your foodie bucket list – being the only Michelin Starred restaurant in the county. A few years ago, chef patron Justin changed up the food offering to reflect his love of bold Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours, and cooking over charcoal. The menu changes frequently, using meat from small, trusted farms, sustainably-sourced fish, and even produce from the restaurant’s own veg project over at Nowton Park.  

Dive into homemade flatbread with Don Bocarte anchovies, goat tagines, presa Iberico, burnt Basque-style cheesecakes. Every plate a thrill. A three-course fixed price lunchtime menu is £38 per person. 

The Galley's Turkish delight ice cream

The Galley's Turkish delight ice cream - Credit: Archant

The Galley, Woodbridge 

Owner Ugur has been on the Suffolk restaurant scene for decades, and his brightly-coloured, beamed restaurant on Market Hill is just fantastic, attracting hordes of regular customers. It's open for lunch Thursday to Saturday, and dinners on Friday and Saturday. I recommend you start with the mixed mezze platter and homemade pitta. Grilled whole fish and lobster are a must if they’re on the menu. And the lamb braises and silky stuffed aubergines are a joy. I always try to have a different pudding, but ultimately plump for the Turkish Delight ice cream. By the way, he has an ice cream shop across the road too. 

The Grazing Sheep, Ipswich 

By day, a superb little waterfront café, serving very good coffee, cakes and savouries, including bountiful salads. On selected Friday nights there are pop-ups serving world-class tapas. Upcoming dates are sold out. Keep an eye on the café's social media account for more. 

Italy 

Watson & Walpole, Framlingham 

Ruth, David and Rob’s restaurant serves exquisite Italian food that’s unashamedly simple, rustic and unfussy – focussed entirely on flavour and quality ingredients. 

I highly recommend stopping by for the full shebang – antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci. Recent plates of joy have included handmade pasta filled with ricotta, gnocchi with nettle salsa, salt cod puree over lemon oil-doused chargrilled bread, and mackerel atop panzanella salad. 

Save room for the tiramisu, spooned from dish to bowl at your table. 

A cheese tartlet with asparagus at The Unruly Pig

A cheese tartlet with asparagus at The Unruly Pig - Credit: Claudia Gannon

The Unruly Pig, Bromeswell 

Dine Britalian-style at the UK’s number one gastropub. Owner, gastronome and wine aficionado Brendan ensures there’s plenty of interest on the drinks list, while chef patron Dave, and head chef Karl go to town with some of Suffolk and East Anglia’s finest ingredients – from locally-landed fish, to beautiful chocolate. 

Everything's made from scratch, from ice creams to pasta. You HAVE to have octopus if it’s on as a starter (usually with ‘nduja). And the Orford lobster tail with risotto is just sensational when available. Oh – a grand Sunday roast too.