Last updated on November 12, 2022 by Wandering our World
A-Hoy mateys! Buckle up and settle in for a glorious trip to Penzance. Located on the cusp of Mount’s Bay, this beautiful seaside town is a tourist hotspot throughout the year. Their notoriety may stem somewhat from the comic opera “Pirates of Penzance,” but the town is so much more than that.
They’ve embraced their heritage, from the railroads to the seas, and that reflects through Penzance’s vibrant culture, especially, and most noteworthy, the food.
Penzance is host to many unique flavours and restaurants, all of which can be a bit overwhelming if you’re new to it. But, from Michelin-guide venues, quirky cafes and global cuisines, you’re in for a fantastic experience.
But when you’re so spoiled for choice, it can be quite a headache to decide. So just for you, here’s a few of our favourite restaurants in Penzance. Let’s dig in!
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1. The Shore Restaurant
A niche Japanese seafood restaurant, impressively operated by Chef Bruce Rennie, that has earned its place in the Michelin Restaurant Guide.
Owned and operated solely by culinary genius Bruce Rennie, The Shore Restaurant is a niche restaurant specialising in fusion Japanese cuisine. The complex and robust flavours are unlike anything you’ve tasted and that’s what earned it a place in the Michelin Restaurant Guide in 2022.
The seasonal menu is a collective of the finest ingredients at the time. Beautifully prepared to enhance flavours and celebrate the dishes. From herbs grown in Rennie’s own garden to seafood hauled straight from the Atlantic, it doesn’t get fresher than this.
The menu takes influence from the complexity of Japanese cuisine but still holds to its roots and throws in some Cornwall charm. As a result, the menu is consistently changing with the tides and with chef Rennie’s imagination.
He is the sole occupant of the kitchen, hand-preparing and delivering each dish to his guests. In fact, he’s a Jack-of-all-trades and handles all back-of-house and front-of-house work for the venue by himself. It’s impressive and endearing and adds to the charm and spectacle of The Shore.
And while you might be under the presumption that you’re entering a Black Tie venue, the reality is much warmer. It’s cosy and simplistic while holding onto the classy atmosphere you’d expect from a Michelin-guide restaurant.
Conversation flows freely to the soft lull of music overhead, and the intimate setting makes it a wonderful place to impress a dinner date.
- Opening Hours: 7 am to 7:15 pm Tues – Sat; Closed Mon & Sun
- Location: 13-14 Alverton St, Penzance
2. Mermaid Alley
A quirky cafe great for the whole family that serves a daily array of global cuisines and some of the best cocktails in town.
Mermaid Alley is a magical little cafe on New Street. It’s a charming, family-friendly restaurant that seems like a hole-in-the-wall compared to its competitors. Still, we’ve found all the best places usually are. Small and unassuming, you’ll be surprised to find that you’ve stumbled across one of the best restaurants in Penzance.
The venue stretches over two floors, with a smaller, more intimate dining setting on the second. Rich blues and softer neutral tones echo a beach theme and create a soft and warm atmosphere for guests to relax.
They’re known for their hospitality and having some of the friendliest staff in town. Their team is a dynamic combination that works impeccably well and provides unbeatable service. Even when the restaurant gets busy.
This popular cafe fills up quickly, especially for dinner service, so we’d recommend calling in advance to secure a table. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss out on their food.
Their menu is unconventional and constantly changes, with new daily dishes popping up celebrating the dynamic ingredients found around Penzance.
They incorporate a taste of the town into Global fares, with their Burgers being one of their most popular choices! The menu is also available for pre-viewing on Facebook. Otherwise, it is conveniently found along with a sweet treats board throughout the venue.
And their dynamic bar also serves a concoction of cocktails perfectly suited to liven up any evening. So whether you’re with friends or family, Mermaid Alley offers a wonderful setting for an unforgettable evening.
- Opening Hours: 12 pm to 2 pm, 5:30 pm to 9 pm Thurs – Sat; Closed Sun – Wed
- Location: 45 New St, Penzance
3. Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar
One of Penzance’s best seafood restaurants with a pet-friendly patio and riverfront seating.
Charming yet unassuming, you’d never guess the reputation Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar has for producing some of the best locally-sourced seafood dishes. This quaint restaurant is one of Penzance’s most unbeatable attractions and creates quite a buzz throughout peak season.
The venue is split into two, with an overflow venue opening just two doors over, lovingly nicknamed ‘The Shack’, to accommodate the influx of guests over the holiday period.
They’re unmissable, known by their white shopfront and characteristic blue tables that nestle outside on a cute pet-friendly patio right on the Newlyn Coombe river. The interior is cosy, with light pouring through the windows, creating a warm atmosphere throughout the year.
They’re famed for their seafood-tasting menu, which can be eaten as a meal (just add a side) or tapas-style with an array of options at your fingertips. The Crab Sandwich is a must, and we can’t recommend their daily fish enough; no matter what it is, the chefs create a stunning dish to accommodate the new flavours.
Each ingredient is sourced locally and fresh for the day ahead. If you watch their social media, you can also see when they have themed tasting evenings and tuck into something new and exciting.
Mackerel Sky can get incredibly busy, and there is a short wait, but with the quick and efficient service of the staff, you won’t be waiting long. But trust us, for a taste of one of the best restaurants in Penzance, any wait is worth it.
- Opening Hours: 12 pm to 3 pm, 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm Daily
- Location: New Rd, Newlyn, Penzance
4. The Singing Rooster
A Polish restaurant with quirky decor and an inclusive daily menu that even caters for vegans.
Once known as the Polish Cafe, The Singing Rooster is a family-owned and operated restaurant. They’ve been around for years and have grown and changed so much. However, they still offer the same undeniably tasty Eastern European cuisine.
Since the devastating lockdowns, they’ve turned to chalkboard menus highlighting fan favourites and specials. They change daily, incorporating new and interesting traditional dishes and unforgettable flavours. Still, you can rest assured that their beloved Bigos and Lazanki dishes are always available.
Brioches, Goulash and even Polish-inspired pasta, can all be found on the menu occasionally. They’re an inclusive family restaurant, and as a result, you’ll be happy to note that the menu always has vegan and vegetarian options available too.
They also have a dynamic drinks menu too, with a selection of wines, beers and Polish Liqueurs to pair with your meal. And remember to leave space for dessert!
The venue is quirky and filled with charming collectables that litter every surface. Everything feels reminiscent of a visit to Babcia’s house, from the mismatched chairs to the soft-spoken floral accents scattered around the tables.
There’s always service with a smile, as the fantastic staff cater to your every need throughout your visit. This place is definitely worth a visit, and food-wise it’s easily one of the most interesting Penzance restaurants.
- Opening Hours: 11 am to 2:30 pm Tues – Sat, 6 pm to 9:30 pm Fri & Sat
- Location: 39 Causewayhead, Penzance
5. Cork & Fork
A vibrant little restaurant serving global cuisines in a trendy, urban setting.
With a quaint and sophisticated venue, there’s very little fault in the Cork & Fork. For a young, family-operated restaurant, they have years of industry experience, which they’ve combined to bring you a tranquil and unforgettable dining experience.
The menu combines global cuisine with local ingredients to create a vibrant and concise array of options for guests. Their meals are made fresh, with top-of-the-line suppliers ensuring the utmost quality.
They’re open for lunch and dinner, with a selection that blows expectations out of the water. Seafood, steaks and comfort foods like pizza and burgers are ripe for the picking, with beautifully rich flavours making you wish you had space for seconds.
If you want to try something unique, you’ll find an array of tasting dishes perfect to suit your craving. Their food is contemporary, unique and altogether unforgettable.
Pair any meal with a selection from their expansive list of local and imported wines or ale, and watch the evening drift away.
The stunning venue offers pristine indoor seating in a modern environment. Large windows allow sunlight to pour into the restaurant throughout the year, creating a warming atmosphere. The service is prompt, efficient and friendly, with an enthusiastic and vibrant team ready to cater to your every need.
Their venue is small and can get busy as it’s one of the most popular restaurants in Penzance, so as a precaution, booking a table for large parties is recommended.
- Opening Hours: Closed Tues & Wed; 6 pm to 9 pm Thurs – Mon
- Location: 10 Albert St, Penzance
6. The Quirky Bird Cafe
A small pet-friendly cafe serving breakfast, lunch, homemade meals and cakes in a bright and airy setting.
When you’re hitting up the expanse of retail stores on Market Jew Street, and you feel a pang of hunger, why not stop at The Quirky Bird Cafe? The small and often overlooked cafe in the bustling heart of Penzance offers a variety of tasty meals that are the perfect pick-me-up after a day of retail therapy.
Their menu is a diverse mixture of eclectic cafe foods, serving breakfasts and light lunches that are perfect for on-the-go families looking for a quick meal.
While the selection is small, they’ve put their heart into perfecting the meals on offer. The recipes are passed down through the family and have years of tweaking under their belt. Highly rated, simple, and homemade, there’s nothing better.
To kickstart your morning, you can have a Quirky Bird Breakfast, basically their version of a Full English, also available as a Veggie option. Pair it with a cup of their finest brew and relax for the day ahead.
For lunch, the offerings extend to a selection of gourmet Toasties, Stuffed Jacket Potatoes, and more. Our recommendation is the Bacon Brie and Cranberry Toastie, but there are ample options to choose from.
There’s also a selection of freshly baked cakes daily if you’re looking to enjoy a quick afternoon tea.
The setting is light and airy, with an option of sitting outside too. It’s pet-friendly too! We can’t recommend them highly enough; and while small, they’re definitely one of the best restaurants in Penzance.
- Opening Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Mon – Sat; 10 am to 3:30 pm Sun
- Location: 34 Market Jew St, Penzance
7. Alverne Restaurant
Where the Mediterranean meets the coast of Penzance serving fresh seafood and tapas in a lovely indoor outdoor setting.
Alverne Restaurant brings a collaboration of two worlds to one unique setting. Located in the heart of Penzance, this family-operated restaurant has been open for years. It has created a well-beloved name for itself amongst locals and tourists alike.
Serving a diverse mix of cuisines, they specialize in bringing traditional Cornish dishes and Mediterranean flavours to the table. The menu is versatile and caters to a range of tastes, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options too.
For breakfast, the menu is dedicated to homely Cornish cooking and offers delicious platters too. From mushrooms on Sourdough to a sweet and savoury French Toast, there’s plenty to choose from.
Later in the day, the menu integrates Mediterranean and classic English options. Tapas is available to start or even create a light meal with. If you’ve got a bigger appetite, we’d recommend looking at their main meals, which have an eclectic mix of Mediterranean and English dishes.
There are also daily specials available, which usually consist of freshly caught seafood dishes and are found on boards throughout the venue.
The venue is classy, with a simplistic design that uses bright colours and trendy furniture to create a refined atmosphere. Light pours in through the windows around the restaurant, and in winter, the fireplaces are lit to keep everyone toasty.
An outside terrace allows guests to soak up the warmer months. And the service is impeccable, with enthusiastic and welcoming staff members creating an easy and relaxing experience.
- Opening Hours: 9 am to 11 pm Tues – Sat; 9 am to 5 pm Mon; Closed Sun
- Location: 30 Alverton St, Penzance
A beautiful seaside restaurant serving delicious seasonal meals with the option of indoor and outdoor seating.
Bakehouse Restaurant came under new ownership in 2017 and has been run by Kim, Gary and their family ever since. This beautiful venue is a mere 5-minute walk from the beach, so you can enjoy the echo of the ocean while you dine.
The restaurant is based in a two-story building with a magical courtyard decorated with fairy lights. It creates an intimate setting, perfect for family gatherings and romantic dinners under the open sky.
The menu is seasonal, frequently changing to accommodate the variance of local ingredients. Their suppliers are all located in and around Penzance, from butcheries to vineyards and everything in between. The quality is impeccable, and the flavours even more so, enhanced by the concise and creative cooking of the chefs.
Lunch is served ala carte, with a selection of starters and mains that’ll melt in your mouth. Their seafood dishes are renowned around town, but if you prefer something more robust, you can get prime-cut steaks and hearty burgers.
Dinner is a treat served in 2 or 3-courses. From starters to desserts, they have a select menu of options reflecting seasonal ingredients. And, if you follow certain dietary restrictions, you’ll be pleased to know they also serve Gluten-free and vegetarian options to cater to your needs.
Their attention to detail is immaculate, and the food is a divine treat you don’t want to miss, which is why we’ve listed them as one of the best restaurants in Penzance.
- Opening Hours: 12 pm to 2 pm (Lunch) Tues – Thurs; 10 am to 12 pm Fri & Sat; 6 pm to 8:30 pm Closed Sun & Mon
- Location: Chapel St, Penzance
9. The Honey Pot
A cute shabby chic cafe that serves fresh, home-made delicacies using local sources for the best quality ingredients.
The Honey Pot has been a part of the Penzance community for years, with Kath Hawkins running a tight ship until passing the baton on to Rachel in 2017. The team, restaurant and family have expanded since then but maintain the same love and passion for their cafe as the previous owner.
It’s an ode to home-grown cooking, and the recipes are solely based on the local community and ingredients. They’re open for breakfast and lunch, serving an assortment of delicious meals and cakes throughout the day.
Start your day off with a divine coffee and a Honey Pot Breakfast, served with St Ikes Bakery fresh-baked bread. Or, if you’re intrigued by baked goods, maybe even a croissant with a Ham and Cheese filling.
If you arrive later in the day, prepare to feast on beautiful Jacket Potatoes, Ciabattas and Sandwiches. Start with a Mezze from the starters, and even indulge in a sweet Tart of the Day if the sandwiches don’t tickle your fancy.
Keep an eye on their specials board and Social Media, where they advertise their occasional Sunday Roasts. So make a day of it, book a table and enjoy some of the most succulent roast and veggies.
The venue is large and accommodating, with a unique shabby chic decor that gives it a rustic and vibrant appeal. The staff are friendly and treat guests like a part of their big family.
- Opening Hours: 9 am to 4 pm Mon – Sat; 10 am to 3 pm Sun
- Location: 5 Parade St, Penzance
10. Tolcarne Inn
Mentioned in the Michelin Guide, Tolcarne Inn is a historic inn that’s been expertly converted into a welcoming pub serving seasonal dishes and local beverages.
If you’re looking for an upbeat Gastropub in Penzance, look no further than Tolcarne Inn. Their reputation precedes them as they’ve made their way into guests’ hearts and earned a place in the Michelin Guide of 2022 as one of Penzance’s best restaurants.
Chef Ben Tunnicliffe is the genius behind the brand, helping to restore a historic Maritime pub to celebrate seasonal delicacies and the incredible seafood Newlyn Penzance offers.
The chalkboard menu on display reflects the change of the seasons. New specials are added that incorporate the fresh ingredients sourced each day locally. The meals are not excessive, instead bolstering a refreshing simplicity that celebrates each individual component without overpowering the flavour.
The seafood is, without a doubt, their top choice amongst guests and one of the reason this place is one of the standout restaurants in Penzance. At the same time, the menu incorporates other dishes that cater to a host of tastes. Suppose you’re not interested in the specials. In that case, they also have a seasonal tasting menu with plenty of options.
Its bar is well stocked with the best in local brand ales and wines, with some carefully selected to accompany each dish and enhance the menu on offer.
You can expect nothing less than spectacular service from an incredible team of welcoming staff. Who will guide you through the maritime-themed venue to your seats and ensure a carefree experience.
- Opening Hours: 12 pm to 10:30 pm Mon – Sat; Closed Sun
- Location: 9 Tolcarne Terrace, Newlyn, Penzance