It may surprise some, but Guildford has begun to create a reputation for itself as a hub of cuisine culture. Located just south of London, the multi-cultural cuisine of the capital has brought some of its influence to historic Guildford. That, combined with the restaurants here tapping into the local resources, has created a farm to table eating experience where you can find everything from authentic Italian cuisine to Thai delicacies, as well as typical English pub fare.
As we know this place well, we’ve put together a list of what we believe are the best restaurants in Guildford.
We’ve been picky, choosing just 12, but all deserve their place on our list thanks to their great food, inventive styles, and overall restaurant experience.
The 12 Best Restaurants in Guildford
1. La Casita
La Casita is one of the busiest restaurants in Guildford and for good reason too. It’s the authentic Mediterranean dishes they’ve crafted here that’s made it so popular, bringing a taste of the Med to the cobbled streets of this historic part of England.
The huge array of tapas options, inviting seafood paellas, Mediterranean salads and dressings, and many other Med specialties, are the reason people keep coming back for more. The food is delectable, but also healthy. After all, there’s a reason why the ‘Mediterranean diet’ is touted by doctors around the world.
The restaurant itself is tastefully decorated, and has the feel of a Spanish mountain taverna. It’s a place to meet with friends, share some of the best tapas in the region, and drink deliciously made sangria.
Address: 4-5 Chapel Street Guildford
2. Blue Sardinia
Let’s stay in the Mediterranean, but head towards the stunning Italian island of Sardinia. That’s where Blue Sardinia transports you – at least in their dishes – as they bring traditional Sardinian cuisine with a modern twist to Guildford.
Eating here feels like a fancy night out, and the food only adds to that impression. Expect dishes like meatballs, risottos, seafood spaghetti, varieties of pasta, antipasti, Culurgiones, Pane Carasau, and other famous Sardinia dishes. All artfully presented making every plate Instagram worthy.
But don’t think of Blue Sardinia as just Sardinian cuisine as there are a lot more options on the menu as well. The vegan menu is one of the best in the region too. But whatever you decide to eat, do pair it with a glass of one of their Sardinian red wines.
This place gets popular at the weekends so may be worth reserving in advance. That weekend buzz only adds to the atmosphere though.
Address: 1C Sydenham Rd, Guildford
3. The Ivy
Located just a few steps away from Guildford Castle and the beautiful River Wey, this upmarket restaurant offers picturesque views to its visitors. Expect a classy interior, wonderful views of the castle from The Ivy’s patio, and some of the best food in the region.
The Ivy is probably the most upscale restaurant in Guildford, and is popular with tourists who want to experience quintessential English culture by indulging in the Afternoon Tea that’s served here. With an interior that looks like something from a period drama, it’s little wonder this is one of the most photographed restaurants in Guildford too.
As for the food, expect English classics but done in fancy dining fashion. Put simply, you’ll never taste a better Shepard’s Pie than The Ivy’s Shepard’s Pie! You won’t find a better looking one either, as all the dishes are exquisitely presented. It’s not just English fare though, you’ll find the best of international cuisine gracing the menus of The Ivy too.
They tend to have a set evening menu, so choice can be limited. However, there’s a reason they do this. It allows every dish to have more time invested in it than if the restaurant had a more comprehensive menu. The result? The chefs are experts in individual dishes, not just in a particular cuisine.
While many people come for the food, they tend to stay for the cocktails and views. Afterall, the views out towards Guildford Castle are perhaps the best in the town.
Address: Tunsgate Quarter, 98-110 High St
For any admirers of Indian culture and cuisine out there, this one is for you. The menu at Raviz offers traditional Indian-style cooked food, so expect all the delicious spices that Indian cuisine is famous for.
You’ll get enticing food, wonderful aromas, and a wonderful selection of dishes for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians here. This isn’t any typical restaurant though, the chef has worked in two Michelin starred restaurants so expect the exceptional.
What we really liked about Raviz is that while you can get classic Indian dishes here, there’s also several meals you wouldn’t usually expect at an Indian restaurant. White lentil dumplings, is one tasty example, as is the ample use of pork. Raviz have also made sure to incorporate the best of British within their offerings – the Welsh Curried Lamb is one such example.
If you like the classics, then their Lamb Biryani is certainly one of the best in the region.
Address: 8/9 Jeffries Passage, Guildford
5. Thai Terrace
From the Med to Indian now to Thailand – we did tell you the restaurants in Guildford would expose you to multi-cultural cuisine! The Thai Terrace is a wonderful rooftop restaurant with panoramic views of Guildford, which you can enjoy while nibbling on the best Thai dishes in town.
With their famous Thai noodles, spicy seafood specialties, and delicious meat-based main courses, you can easily expect to leave this place fully satisfied. They have brunch, lunch and supper menus, so you can enjoy their open-air flower-filled rooftop and terrace at any time of the day.
While this Guildford restaurant has become a popular spot for tourists due to those rooftop views, it’s also well known with locals for its cocktails! Thai Terrace has an extensive cocktail list, and is understandably a popular sundowner spot.
Address: 7th Floor Castle Car Park, Guildford
6. De Nada
Amid the commotion on Guildford’s Market Street is De Nada – a cozy and homely award-winning tapas bar and restaurant. The tapas menu is extensive and delicious. And the staff are more than happy to recommend what wines to pair with your food choices.
It could be easy to miss this place as it’s tucked down a tiny side street, almost hidden from view. But this is a restaurant well worth finding. It’s laid-back dining but with food worthy of recognition. And to top it all off, they have live Spanish music on certain evenings. All of which creates an atmosphere that really does transport you to rural Spain for a few hours.
This is a place for good conversation and good food, just as tapas should be. As one of the most popular restaurants in Guildford, De Nada can get busy, so it’s best to make a reservation on weekend nights. Their wine selection is worth noting too.
Address: 12a Market Street, Guildford
7. Burrito Loco
There’s nothing crazy about wanting Mexican food, and Burrito Loco is the place to go when you’re craving it! Don’t expect fancy dining here, this is all about tasty and filling Mexican food delivered fast.
Burrito Loco creates home-cooked style Mexican classics using local produce, so rest assured that anything you eat is fresh and sourced from Surrey. Their mouthwatering quesadillas, flavorsome burritos and other delicious Mexican specialties are perfect for a quick lunch, and are very affordable too.
What goes well with a burrito? Well beer of course, and this laid-back eatery has a small but notable collection of Mexican beers for you to enjoy with your food. Aside from that, their ice cream, brownies and pastries are worth trying as well.
Done with the food but not with the drinks? Try their special Min Margarita or Pina Colada – they are actually one of the main reasons why locals love popping in!
Address: Spectrum, Parkway, Guildford
8. The Grill at The Mandolay
Looking for that perfect place for a special dinner, date night, or birthday? Then The Mandolay, one of the most elegant restaurants in Guildford, could be perfect.
Located on London Road, this fine dining restaurant which sits inside a 4-star hotel is award winning with two rosette awards for culinary expertise. Expect all kinds of meaty mains and seafood dishes on their menu, but what they really specialise in is grill items. They also have a number of cheeses which for cheese lovers may be worth the visit alone.
Mandolay’s extensive wine collection, with over 70+ wines alongside sparkling wines, is possibly the best in Guildford. And luckily, 35 of those (at the time of writing) can be enjoyed by the glass, so you don’t need to have deep pockets to enjoy some of their fine wines.
If you’re looking for exquisite food and superb wine, this will be one of the best Guildford restaurants for you.
Address: Mandolay Hotel, 36-40 London Rd, Guildford
Delicious food, check. Traditional décor, check. Friendly staff, check. Beautiful scenery, check. High-ranking in regards to reviews, check. That’s Olivo, where you can get some of the best Italian cuisine in Surrey.
Situated in a traditional building with exposed beams, Olivo also has a fantastic outside terrace which is perfect for soaking up the warm English summer sun while tucking into Italian classics.
What do we recommend? Well the Spigola, which is a baked sea bass fillet served with mussels and prawns, is a fantastic choice. As are their great selection of antipasti dishes. There’s a children and vegan menu too.
After food, you have the option to dig into their extensive cocktail menu and wine list too. What’s not to love!
Address: 53 Quarry St, Guildford
Located right in the heart of Guildford, Positano – an Italian restaurant named after the stunning cliffside village on Italy’s Amalfi Coast – is a popular spot with locals due to the fantastic Italian dishes that are served here for very affordable prices.
Situated in an old Elizabethan building, the large red door and exposed brick walls inside and outside alongside the wood-panelled walls make this one of the most photoworthy restaurants in Guildford. The decor has also created a cozy and romantic ambience making Positano perfect for candle-lit date nights.
Expect traditional Italian dishes made with local fresh ingredients, all in a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Our recommendation here is easy – any of the pizza or pasta dishes are incredibly good.
Address: 124A High St, Tunsgate, Guildford
11. The Seahorse
The Seahorse is a popular haunt for those looking for pub grub but in a stylish setting. This gastropub, which sits right beside Shalford Park, is one of the best options for laid back dining in town. You can expect classic pub fare, but also many dishes that are created depending on what’s available seasonally.
The vegetarian choices are also commendable, as is the very good kids menu. But it’s not just the food that has locals coming back for more. The exposed wooden beams inside show the age and character of the building The Seahorse sits in, while the beer garden is perfect for craft beer under the sun.
The ample parking at The Seahorse is an added bonus – and rare among Guildford restaurants – while the roast they do on Sundays has gained many admirers.
So if you’re in the mood for a peaceful and cozy gastropub with great food and some inventive seasonal dishes, this place could be a great fit.
Address: 52-54 The St, Shalford, Guildford
12. Red Lion Inn
If you’re looking for traditional English pub grub served in a friendly setting, then the Red Lion Inn is a great choice. This is one of the most popular restaurants in Guildford, thanks in part to their affordable prices and superb beer garden that has lovely views of the village cricket pitch.
Although you can expect classic English dishes here, there’s also several vegetarian and gluten free options, as well as international cuisine.
The Red Lion is located just outside of Guildford in the village of Shamley Green, but for many that is its major draw. Because of that location this pub has a spacious outside area for eating and drinking. That makes the Red Lion easily one of our favourite restaurants in Guildford during summer.
Address: The Green, Shamley Green, Guildford