Last Updated on December 1, 2022 by Wandering our World

If walking along quaint streets with honey-coloured stone buildings and rivers flowing beside them is your thing, you’re going to love Bourton-on-the-Water Rightfully crowned as the ‘Venice of Cotswold,’ this charming village has lots of interesting places to explore, such as the Dragonfly Maze or the quaint Model Village.

And unlike other villages in the area, Bourton-on-the-Water has an elaborate food scene, with fine dining places offering an exquisite experience to small pubs that serve hearty food for visitors and locals alike. But with most having gorgeous outside dining areas – including several right by the river – wherever you visit is going to be photogenic.

Here, we’ve put together a list of what we believe are the best restaurants in Bourton-on-the-Water so you can make the most out of your visit. Dig in!

Chef cooking
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The Eight Best Restaurants In Bourton-on-the-Water For Food & Views

1. The Mousetrap Inn

As unappetising as the name sounds, The Mousetrap Inn is easily one of the best restaurants in Bourton-on-the-Water. Chef Tom Law showcases his experience and skills in the refined dishes presented here, which have garnered a cult following from locals and visitors alike.

The place itself is gorgeous: the walls are brick and accented with fairy lights, the tables have candles and flowers, and the decor is as elegant and charming as it gets. The intimate and cosy atmosphere inside is great, but they also have dog-friendly outdoor seating area in a lovely little garden-like setting. Pair that with the live music occasionally played here, and you’ve got yourself a memorable dining experience. 

As for the lunch and dinner menu, at time of writing both top out at just about 12 dishes, but there’s not a weak link among them. Indulge in their melt-in-the-mouth sirloin steak, served with a wonderful Café de Paris butter sauce and fresh rocket salad, or the drool-worthy Hereford Brisket Cheeseburger served for lunch.

There are lots of seasonal changes in the menu, as the restaurant only sources produce locally from nearby farms, but whatever you order, expect a picture-perfect plate presented in the most chef-y style.

On Sundays, they serve mouth-watering roast beef and pork that are worth seeking out too! You can also find a few vegetarian and vegan options on the menu, such as the Miso-glazed Cauliflowers, and a vast variety of local ales. 

The Mousetrap Inn is full on most days (no wonder why!), so we suggest booking a table in advance for a smooth experience. Open every day, you can drop by from 12 pm onwards from Wednesday to Saturday and 3 pm onwards from Sunday to Tuesday. You might want to call them and ask about the timings though, as these hours tend to change.

Address: Lansdowne, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, GL54 2AR

Chef adding drizzle to fine dining plate
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Kuzmin

2. L’anatra Italian Kitchen 

Imagine yourself in a rustic, cosy setting, munching on authentic Italian eats as soft music plays in the background. If that sounds like the perfect dining experience, then you’re going to love L’anatra.

Located inside the Chester House Hotel on Victoria Street, this lovely Italian diner has everything you could want: charming brick walls and polished wood furniture, outdoor seating in a walled garden surrounded by lush greenery, and hearty Italian food that is elevated to its level best. Relaxed, easy, and positively teeming with mozzarella, L’anatra is that Italian diner everyone wishes they had in their neighbourhood. 

Meals here are prepared with local produce and all-natural ingredients, so everything tastes fresh and dreamily delicious! The menu is impressive, ranging from Italian favourites like pasta and pizzas to risottos and fancy steaks.

For starters, try the Gamberi All’Aglio, which is a plate of delicious king prawns in a citrusy garlic sauce – perfect for tantalising your taste buds for what’s to come next. The mains have several notable dishes, such as the Penne Arrabiata in a rich, tomato sauce, or the Pan Fried Seabass with a delicious sear, served with veggies and Italian salsa. Oh and, let’s not forget their stonebaked pizzas – an absolute delight!

They have vegan mozzarella cheese, gluten-free pizza and pasta doughs, and vegetarian options too, so people with dietary restrictions are more than welcome here. 

Finish off your meal with some of their homemade desserts, and you’re sure to leave satisfied. L’anatra is open every day from 10 am to 10 pm, so don’t forget to drop by and say Ciao!

Address: Victoria St, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham GL54 2BS

Different Italian dishes display
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3. The Rose Tree Restaurant 

Fancy a meal by the riverside? Look no further than the very charming Rose Tree Restaurant, located on Victoria Street. Serving hearty British cuisine in a breathtaking setting, this family-owned place made a splash when it opened in 2017 with its beautiful riverside garden seating.

We definitely recommend sitting outside, where you can watch people stroll by, surrounded by lush greenery with the sound of the river gushing by. But since these seats often get full within the blink of an eye, you can always dine indoors in their simple yet elegant dining room. Bring along your furry friends too – they’re more than welcome here!

It’s the hearty food, though, that keeps the crowds coming back for more at Rose Tree. Their menu has all the homestyle classics, from steak and kidney pie to ploughman’s lunch dishes, along with plenty of gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian picks. Our recommendations include the slow-roasted, fall-off-the-bone Lamb Shank, served with a hearty portion of creamy mashed potatoes and veggies. Don’t miss the pan-fried sea bass either – it’s always cooked to perfection in a crayfish and caper butter sauce.

There’s also a specials board updated every day, with new dishes and seasonal ingredients – we highly recommend checking it out on your visit! With an impressive wine list, you’ll be all set for an exquisite dining experience here. 

Although The Rose Tree tends to draw its largest crowds on Sundays for lunch, the place is almost always buzzing with people, so we recommend booking a table in advance. They’re open every day from 11.30 to 2.30 pm for lunch and 6 to 8.30 pm for dinner. 

Address: Riverside, Victoria St, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham GL54 2BX

Sunday roast display
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4. The Croft 

Serving classic British cuisine in a rustic ambience, The Croft is all about elevated comfort food and excellent service.

Located on Victoria Street, this place also has an enviable location right beside the river. The dining room has large windows that overlook the river, and everything feels comfortable and cosy in their interior with wood panelling and wood furniture and dimmed lights – perfect for a romantic night out.

Their outdoor seating area is situated in a small garden, also beside the river, so either way you’re going to have stunning views.

The food here is presented in an unpretentious manner, but it’s always big on flavour and taste. And one bite into it and you’ll understand why The Croft makes our list. Take for example their Croft Burger – it’s made with a homemade patty and has all the familiar ingredients everyone loves, but it tastes uniquely delicious!

They do vegan and vegetarian dishes too, such as the tantalising sweet potato spinach and cauliflower tacos. Oh and, did you know The Croft is also known for their mean breakfast menu? Think indulgent English breakfasts with roasted tomatoes, baked beans, and perfectly poached eggs. 

Thursday nights are always special here, as they have a whole new menu dedicated to different cuisines – sometimes it’s Mexican, and at other times it’s mouth-watering Thai food.

So drop by any day of the week (except Wednesdays when they’re closed) from 9 am onwards for breakfast, lunch, tea, or dinner. Either way, you’re going to thank yourself for visiting what is easily one of the best restaurants in Bourton-on-the-Water.

Address: Victoria St, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham GL54 2BX

English breakfast display
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5. Smiths

There are lots of places serving burgers in Bourton-on-the-Water, but Smiths takes them to new heights, with more than just trendy twists to the original.

The Smith brothers strive to keep the standards high here, and as a result, they serve some of the best burgers you can find in the Cotswolds. Not just that, but the place itself is beautiful, with an eclectic selection of decor, bright walls and furnishings, and a warm and inviting atmosphere. You can choose to sit in one of the two small dining rooms, at the bar, or outside in the quaint, shaded seating area. Either way, you’re going to have a blast munching on their gourmet burgers!

Their menu is limited, but the few options they have always come out downright delicious – Smiths are burger specialists after all. Our recommendations include the Triple B burger, made with a homemade patty and topped with bacon, grilled goat’s cheese, and homemade blueberry BBQ sauce. They also have a vegetarian burger, and we kid you not, it’s one heck of a treat even if you’re a meat eater!

For drinks, Smiths have a vast cocktail menu with funky and creative concoctions like the Village Gorilla or the Bourton Green. They know their way around cocktails, we can tell you! 

Open every day from midday to 11 pm, Smiths is always busy and buzzing with locals who can’t resist their burgers, so do try them out for yourselves. When it comes to burgers, Smiths is definitely one of the best restaurants in Bourton-on-the-Water.

Address: Victoria St, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham GL54 2BT

Beer and burger display
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6. Duke of Wellington 

If you’re looking for some quick gastropub grub in a relaxed ambience, head towards the Duke of Wellington, located on Sherborne Street.

Featuring hearty British classics, this place is known for its casual yet delicious meals, where you order at the bar and the food is promptly brought out to you. Old school and homey, the interior here is quite comfortable to relax in, while the riverside seating outside is a delight on its own. 

As for the food, it’s always served in generous portions and presented simply, but tastes nothing short of exquisite. Indulge in classics like the sausage and creamy mash plate, served with peas and a decadent gravy, or the beer battered cod and chips with peas and tartare sauce.

They also offer sharing platters, and we suggest you try the Charcuterie, served with gherkins, cherry tomatoes, brie, pickles, and ciabatta. Vegan and vegetarian picks include the Aromatic Garden Burger, the very rich Cheese and Baked Bean Jacket Potato, and other similar savouries. And the Sunday Carvery is worth a visit on its own, since they do special roasts all day long and at night there are quizzes that are great fun to join in! 

Along with all the hearty food you can handle, they also have a vast wine list and a separate menu for kids, so everyone is welcome here for a homey meal. Open every day, they start their food service at 12 pm till 9 pm, so drop by any day, any time, and you’re sure to leave satisfied. 

Address: Sherborne St, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham GL54 2BY

Bangers & mash and Fish & chips display
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/JMLederer

7. The Dial House

Located just a stone’s throw away from the river, The Dial House is one of the most beautiful buildings in the area serving impressive dishes, easily making it one of the best restaurants in Bourton-on-the-Water.

The vast gardens in front of this cottage have charming tables and chairs set up, while on the inside, there are two lovely, rustic dining rooms with linens on the tables and dimmed lights. It’s the perfect place for intimate dinners, as it doesn’t get much more romantic than this!

The menu is slightly limited, with mainly British cuisine on offer, but every dish is created and presented with attention to detail. From the lunch menu, the intensely flavoured beef stew tastes divine, served with glazed carrots and herbed dumplings. We also recommend the very rich and flavourful Japanese Ramen Noodles – something you won’t find elsewhere in the village!

Dinner features elegant plates of sea bass pan-fried to perfection and confit duck bonbons served with angel hair pasta and plum sauce. There are enough vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options on the menu too, so everyone can experience the top-class service and food here. 

Oh, and if you’d like some fun cocktails and light bites, their garden is perfect for a delightful summer afternoon or evening with friends. We recommend booking in advance, though you can also walk in on most days and the friendly staff will accommodate you.

The Dial House is open every day from noon onwards, so if you’re walking around the village, do drop by this gorgeous place! This is easily one of the best restaurants in Bourton-on-the-Water.

Address: High St, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham GL54 2AN

Chef plating food
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8. Bourtanical 

Bourtanical may be known for their amazing afternoon teas, but they can also whip up a mean brunch and lunch! Located right by the river, this lively, dog-friendly cafe is a bright and cheery place, with white-washed walls and a ceiling full of lovely flowers! Keeping in with the garden theme, all the decor here is either flowers or potted plants, and the brightly lit ambience serves as a breath of fresh air from all the dimmed-out restaurants in town. 

Their menu has something for everyone, whether it’s burgers, lasagne, or fish and chips. We suggest you try the Peri Peri burger, filled with a chilli jam and cheese in a brioche bun and served with skinny fries and homemade slaw. An absolute delight! The risotto is also a crowd pleaser, as is the delicious steak and ale pie.

The best part is that almost every item on the menu has a vegan/vegetarian version available, and there’s many gluten-free picks as well. They also serve brunch, featuring a full English breakfast and stuff like vanilla toast and smoothie bowls. 

This cafe holds plenty of events too, including bingo and raffle nights, so if you happen to be in town, give this cheery little cafe a visit and you might find yourself having lots of fun along with the fantastic food! They’re open every day from 9 am to 5 pm for breakfast, lunch, and tea. 

Address: Riverside, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham GL54 2DP

Fish & Chips with coleslaw display
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/KoriKobayashi

The Best Restaurants In Bourton-on-the-Water: Our Final Thoughts 

Feeling hungry? We don’t blame you – the food scene here is epic!

This idyllic village is certainly a must-visit in the Cotswolds, and with our top eight picks for restaurants in Bourton-on-the-Water, you’re sure to leave with memorable experiences. Bon Appetit!