Shortlist: Ten Preston Restaurants That Locals Love!

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Last updated on November 14, 2022 by Wandering our World

Preston is a unique, historic city located on the River Ribble in Lancashire. It’s vibrant and full of youth, despite the ancient architecture that surrounds it. With a reputation for being a University town, you can find an abundance of students throughout the year here which only serves to inspire a fun and quirky side to the town.

Restaurants line the cobblestone streets and celebrate the diversity of the town. Preston has been called a “Little City with a Big Personality,” which definitely translates to the ambitious food scene where locals and tourists can be delighted year-round with global delicacies as well as regional classics.

And to help you out if you’re unsure where to dine tonight, we’ve put together a list of our favourite restaurants in Preston. Bon Appetit!

Boats on Preston Docks at Sunrise.  St Walburgs spire in background

The Best Restaurants In Preston: Food Worth Waiting For!

1. 263 Restaurant

A Michelin-guide mention, serving refined British Cuisine made with seasonal ingredients.

Located in the heart of Preston sits an unassuming gem known as the 263 Restaurant. While many people may pass it by in the blink of an eye, those who actively seek refined, luxury meals will sniff it out in a heartbeat.

It happens to be one of Preston’s only Michelin-Guide venues and is well deserving of the honour. Chef Oli Martin has created an ode to British cuisine, using a concise selection of seasonal ingredients from a carefully curated list of suppliers.

Their tasting menus undergo frequent changes to abide by the local produce available at the time while still keeping some crowd favourites around, like the Lancashire Butter Pie. Each dish is a masterpiece on the plate, with a stunning presentation that only highlights an equally divine taste.

The foods are carefully planned and designed to feature complimentary flavours and unique textures. And judging by some of the meals in the past, you’d swear Heston had a hand in the mad yet innovative culinary science behind the scenes.

While the venue is small, the wide bay windows create an airy and bright atmosphere. Nordic-themed tables dot the modern dining room, with pops of colour keeping the appearance clean but refreshing.

The staff team comprises young servers who bring a delightful vibrance to each experience, offering their guests fantastic suggestions on foods and wines. The service is impeccable, with nothing less to be expected.

So don’t hesitate when you’re in town, and stop be what is easily one of the best restaurants in Preston.

  • Opening Hours: 12 pm to 1:30 pm (Lunch; Thurs – Sat) 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm (Dinner; Wed – Sat) Closed Sun – Tues
  • Location: 10 Camden Pl, Preston
Chef adding drizzle to fine dining plate
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2. Rise.

A brunch cafe with a lot of character, a spacious dining area and an outdoor section where furry friends are welcome.

Rise. offers a unique cafe experience in a lively and cheerful venue. It’s one of the most popular restaurants in Preston with students too, with a trendy and welcoming atmosphere that’s bound to put you in a good mood.

And if that doesn’t, the food certainly will. Kickback and enjoy some of the best brunch served in Preston. With a select, to-the-point menu highlighting Rise’s popular dishes.

There’s no timeframe here, so no judgements will be made if you crawl through the door at 3 pm looking for a Breakfast Roll. But, with chilli jam, cheddar and a delicious scramble, we might join you!

And that’s just the start of their delicious menu, with poached eggs, avocado toast, steak and eggs and even a delightful selection of freshly baked cakes. What’s not to love?

And did we mention the hot drinks? Well, if you’re a caffeine lover (like most sleep-deprived students are), you’ll be thrilled with the choice of freshly brewed Brothers Blend coffees available. But as for us, you’ll find us shamelessly chugging down a Smores Hot Chocolate, especially during winter.

The venue is bright, with a large shopfront of windows allowing diners to watch the passing foot traffic. There are no waiters, and it relies on a counter-serve system, but the baristas are friendly and the chefs are impeccable at their jobs!

So pay Rise a visit if you’re itching to find a cosy place to spend the afternoon sipping tea and working on your assignments.

  • Opening Hours: 8 am to 5 pm Mon – Fri; 9 am to 5 pm Sat & Sun
  • Location: 15 Miller Arcade, Preston 
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3. Townhouse Coffee

A laidback coffee house that serves a selection of breakfast and lunch items; a serene and cosy venue to enjoy a relaxed morning.

Townhouse Coffee is another caffeine lover’s paradise. Found in Friargate, the owners have created a quaint and cosy space serving fresh coffees and highly rated meals to the younger crowds of Preston.

Their quirky little cafe is filled with plush seating, so it’s not uncommon to see young students typing away on their laptops throughout the early morning. It’s a bright, airy space, opening up to an outdoor seating area where you and your furry friend are welcome to soak up the sun.

The menu consists of lovely home-style breakfasts. From a Full English to a thick stack of American Pancakes, you can find something to satisfy any of your cravings. With more gourmet options like Salmon Bagels and Eggs on Sourdough making an appearance too.

Their coffee selection is mind-blowing, using Origin Coffee Roasters to supply rich blends that create smooth and robust espressos, lattes and more. They also serve a selection of smoothies and niche sodas like the San Pellegrino range.

We can see why students flock here for their morning kick and agree that Townhouse Coffee is easily one of the best restaurants in Preston. After all, any restaurant serving that many Latte options has to be a winner.

  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 4 pm Daily
  • Location: 62 Friargate, Preston
Pancakes with banana, walnut and caramel.
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4. Itsy’s Street Food

Discover an unusual venue that specialises in authentic Thai Street Food, colourful, weird and wonderful; there’s no place like it.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find another restaurant like Itsy’s Street Food. One of the best authentic Thai restaurants in Preston, this weirdly wonderful take on cultural exploration opens up a gateway straight to Thailand’s Markets. Colourful, vibrant and out-of-the-ordinary, you’re bound to find an unforgettable experience.

The qualified chefs behind the scenes work tirelessly on a collection of authentic street food dishes, minus the Fried Scorpions thankfully.

Their menu is large and has a selection of Omnivorous and Vegetarian dishes. Some are more familiar, like Spring Rolls and Gyozas. In contrast, others are new and intriguing, like the must-try Sleeping Tiger, rated a Top World Dish in 2019. For drinks, try their unique Bubble Tea Cocktails.

Pay attention to the bright Pepper icons beside the dish names, it’s an indicator of the heat level, and you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew.

Sit in a colourful restaurant that takes shabby chic to a new level. They’ve embraced their inspiration and decorated the venue to match the innovative craftsmanship of market stall creators. Bright murals flood the space, and colourful chairs dot each table.

The character is as unique as the concept, and the atmosphere is always buzzing with activity. The staff are friendly and efficient and know their way around the menu if you ever get stumped on choices. We promised an unforgettable experience, and Itsy’s is bound to deliver.

  • Opening Hours: 2 pm to 10 pm Tues – Sun; Closed Mon
  • Location: 139 Friargate, Preston
beef pad thai and chicken satay dinner viewed from above
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5. Coco’s Soul Food

A charismatic and colourful restaurant selling divine global comfort food, good for the belly and better for the soul.

Coco’s Soul Food was the dream of food adventurer Ebrahim Parik, who grew up on the sunny coasts of South Africa. His passion for global cuisine grew and what started off as a humble Sandwich business called 3 Monkeys, soon gave way to what Coco’s is today.

They believe that cooking shouldn’t just be to fill your stomach, but should fill your soul too. And if you’ve ever tasted this cuisine, you’ll know exactly why it’s called Soul Food.

The global menu features meals from Mexico, Jamaica and further afield. Comfort foods like cheesy Quesadillas, Burgers and the same famed sandwiches that made 3 Monkeys so popular make up a bulk of their menu. Plus, they have an array of vegetarian options too.

The space was built with students in mind and has charisma and charm unlike any other restaurant in town. From the kitschy murals adorning the walls to the colourful chairs, Coco’s is vibrant and welcoming, with a bustling atmosphere.

The quirky venue has exuded its unique personality to its storefront, which can be spotted a mile away. Of course, it could be the colourful boarding. We’re not sure, but we’re sure the illustrious neons above the door have something to do with it too.

So if you’re looking for a place to relax and dine on incredible comfort food, take a walk down Friargate; we assure you, you can’t miss Coco’s.

  • Opening Hours: 12 pm to 9 pm Mon-Thurs
  • Location: 88 Friargate, Preston 
Mexican quesadillas with chicken, cheese and peppers on wooden table

6. La Viva Cafe

Urban chic meets healthy and homely cuisine in this indoor-outdoor restaurant.

La Viva Cafe was founded in 2019 with the aim of bringing delicious healthy food to the community of Preston. While their start was shakey, starting just as the world went through the pandemic, they’ve continued to power through and live out their vision.

You won’t struggle to find them; just look for the gold-plated lettering above the shopfront. The trendy and snug venue spills out into a lovely storefront patio where guests can dine in the sublime weather of summer. They chose a simple design and layout with an urban and cool tone that feels industrial but welcoming.

Pets are welcome, as are kids, with a separate menu catering softer meals for smaller tummies. After all, nobody should miss out on the chance to dine at La Viva.

The menu is small and concise, but don’t let that fool you; there’s still plenty to choose from. From breakfasts to heartier lunches, you can indulge all your wildest cravings with a divine meal from the La Vida kitchen.

We recommend the Turkish Breakfast for early risers. Still, they have a large selection of breakfast, omelettes and toasts. And did we mention their bread is home-baked?

You can’t go wrong with their Burgers and Paninis for lunches and dinners too. Of course, pasta is also available, with succulent entrees of steak and lamb ripe for the picking.

  • Opening Hours: 7 am to 5 pm Daily
  • Location: 88 Fishergate, Preston
Omelet with parsley, cherry tomatoes
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7. Smokin’ V’s Real Barbecue

A taste of real American barbecue in a laidback urban setting with a small outdoor patio.

The Valentine brothers are the faces behind the quirky logo of Smokin’ V’s Real Barbecue. After successfully building a repertoire for the hospitality industry with their original venue, Ships and Giggles, they decided to bring the taste of authentic Texan barbecue to town.

As one of the best restaurants in Preston, many expect nothing less than perfect, which they’ve undoubtedly provided. With a precise menu that celebrates a time-honoured American cuisine.

For obvious reasons, we wouldn’t recommend this restaurant for Vegans and Vegetarians, but if you’ve ever felt a hankering for meat sweats, Smokin’ V’s is your stop.

From Smoked Briskets to whopping Burgers, they’ve got your needs covered. Of course, we’d choose the House Platter, a variety of their tender smoked meats and sides, so you can get a little taste of everything. And, if you keep an eye on their social media, you’ll also find an assortment of weekly specials to join in on.

There’s a reason they’ve won a Trip Advisor Travellers Choice award; everything from the menu to the grandeur of their venue is excellent. No wonder Smokin’ V’s is one of the most popular restaurants in Preston.

The staff are friendly and welcoming, and the atmosphere is lively and vibrant. While the restaurant seems a bit bare, it’s a mirror image of a traditional Texan Smokehouse. Brick and high tables dot the dining room, and a small patio lets guests enjoy the sunlight in summer. 

  • Opening Hours: 5 pm to 9:30 pm Wed & Thurs; 5 to 10:30 pm Fri; 12 pm to 10:30 pm Sat; 12 pm to 9 pm Sun; Closed Mon & Tues
  • Location: 49 Guildhall St, Preston
Full rack of BBQ grilled pork spare ribs on a marble board
Photo for illustrative purposes only ( Mironov)

8. MEIZ Japanese Restaurant

A fun Japanese restaurant serving fresh sushi and more, bringing a taste of Japanese culture to Preston.

If you find yourself strolling down Butler Street, keep an eye out for MEIZ Japanese Restaurant. It’s a whirlwind adventure into the delightful culinary exploits of Japanese culture, and the mesmerizing venue is definitely worth seeing.

The walls are decorated floor to ceiling with quintessential cultural pieces. From art prints to dainty sakura branches and murals, it’s chaotically beautiful. Moreover, it brings life to the venue, caters to young and old and brings delicacies from across the pond to your table.

If you’re a sushi lover, MEIZ is a paradise, serving Handrolls, Nigiri and Sashimi from the freshest fish. Vegetarians will also be pleased to note the variety holds some treats for them too.

The rest of the menu dedicates itself to various Japanese hot plates. Starting with delicate parcels of Gyoza and fried Tofu before sweeping you away to the mains. Ramen, Teriyaki, and Donburi litter the pages with your choice of protein!

Their food, to say the least, is known for being mind-blowing and explains why MEIZ is such a hit with university students. It’s reasonably priced too, plus they serve lunch specials that combine all your favourites for a steal.

The staff are welcoming and happy to serve, with chefs in the kitchen having trained in Authentic Japanese Cuisine to bring you only the finest quality.

  • Opening Hours: 11:30 am to 9:30 pm Sun – Thurs; 11:30 am to 10:30 pm Fri & Sat
  • Location: 6 Butler St, Preston
Sushi platter arr
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9. Winckley Street Ale House

A dog-friendly ale house with a selection of locally supplied Ales and Beers to quench your thirst while enjoying a meal from their menu.

In 2020, what was once known as the Otter House underwent renovations to gut and rebrand its small shop space. Thus Winckley Street Ale House was born, and the town has been flocking through the doors ever since.

They’ve taken what Otter House started and recreated it on a larger and more diverse scale. Creating a craft bar that celebrates Preston and its surrounding microbreweries in a big way.

The bar is stocked with 4 changing casks and a selection of taps pouring fresh craft ales all day long. Dogs are welcome and, dare we say, encouraged to join owners in the venue or outside on their curbside patio.

The nature of the restaurant brings in a vibrant crowd that thrives on having a good time. So if you don’t mind the venue being raucous, you’re in for an incredible experience.

The menu serves a selection of pub grub and British eats, with the pies remaining unchanged since the Otter House days. They’re raved about, creating unbelievable fillings and packing them into a crisp pie shell.

Suppose you head down there on the right night, as their social media pages dictated, you might even stumble across live music and other special events.

It’s fun, beer-filled, and definitely, one of the best restaurants in Preston if you’re looking for somewhere to have a great evening with friends and Fido.

  • Opening Hours: 12 pm to 9:30 pm Sun – Thurs; 12 pm to 10:30 pm Sat & Sun
  • Location: 8b Winckley St, Preston
Selection of beer
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10. Once Was Lost

In a hidden courtyard between Market Street West, and Friargate is Once Was Lost. Featuring a spacious courtyard, this establishment is ideal for the summer months. In addition to exciting drinks and food, Once was Lost offers events, markets, and live music if you know when to come.

It’s a place of all trades, from its café and bar to a chic lifestyle store stocking nifty gizmos and gadgets. They’re open seasonally, as their venue operates mainly outdoors and offers little shelter from cold Preston winters.

The café is perfect for lunch or brunch, serving a selection of delicacies from savoury to sweet. Pair it with a coffee supplied by Blossoming Manchester, and you might fall in love. Their menu also offers vegetarian dishes, with a range of dynamic choices available throughout the summer.

Grab a glass of local wine and a pint of craft beer from the bar, or enjoy an expertly crafted cocktail. If you find a beverage you can’t live without, you’ll be thrilled to know they also have a small shop selling their wares.

The open courtyard is a hidden gem of Preston and accommodates all walks of life. It creates a perfect space for an event venue if you ever feel like throwing an extravaganza.

It’s a hole-in-the-wall worth the adventure to find and make a day out of.

  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 11 pm Tues – Sat; 10 am to 8 pm Sun; Closed Mon
  • Location: 131 Market St W, Preston
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The Best Restaurants In Preston: Our Final Thoughts

If you ever find yourself in Preston, budget for the culinary adventure of a lifetime. We’ve listed just a few of the wonderful restaurants in Preston, but there are loads more to explore too.

So if you feel stumped, refer to our friendly guide. Enjoy!


  • Wandering our World

    Hi and welcome to Wandering our World! This article was written by one of the Wandering our World team - a team of travel enthusiasts who live around the globe.