Suffolk is rapidly becoming known as a ‘Foodies’ county with fantastic food producers popping up all over the place. We’ve been starved of great restaurants until recent years but now there is a growing collection of good and great restaurants that would not be out of place in London or any other major city.
For this list, I have included a collection of ‘Saturday’ night restaurants that allow you to dress up, as well as some cosy dining pubs where a pair of jeans and a warm fire is all you need.
So, here are my top ten best restaurants in Suffolk…
1. Aqua Eight – Ipswich
Aqua Eight is not only the best restaurant in Suffolk, it is quite possibly one of the best restaurants in the UK. Since its opening 10 years ago, the restaurant has tried to bring a ‘Mayfair’ style Asian dining experience to the heart of Ipswich not usually known for culinary excellence.
With a fantastic cocktail bar, superb staff and wonderful food, Aqua Eight is worthy of a pilgrimage across Suffolk or beyond. The team will happily cater beautifully for Veggies and Vegans but make sure you book early as this place gets full every Saturday night.
See also Mizu Noodle Bar. Around the corner from Aqua Eight, this is a great place for a quick bite to eat. Expect long table seating, quick service and delicious asian food.
2. Maison Talbooth – Dedham
The original great Suffolk restaurant. Nestling precariously close to the Essex border, this is proper old school dining. The Talbooth is a beautiful old beamed building that oozes charm and sophistication but can lead to a bump on the head if you are too tall!
In the summer you can expect to sit out by the gently flowing river whilst in winter you can enjoy the warmth of an open fire whilst you peruse a fine menu of locally sourced ingredients.
As always, this place needs advance booking to stand any hope of getting a table.
See also Milsons and Kesgrave Hall, both great restaurants with a more relaxed approach. Still an opportunity to get dressed up but you can’t reserve a table so best to drop in on a quiet night and enjoy some great food.
3. Trongs – Ipswich
Trongs is another Asian restaurant in Ipswich. This tiny restaurant is full every night of the week, serving fantastic Chinese and asian food. More traditional than the funky Aqua Eight, you can expect a very warm welcome, great service and wonderful food.
Again, booking is essential.
4. The Unruly Pig – Bromeswell
You may have read about this place in your newspaper. The ‘Pig’ has had an interesting history. As a newly opened restaurant it suffered severe fire damage but reopened to great acclaim. Such was the acclaim that a young couple enjoyed a wonderful evening of food and drink before disappearing over the back fence!
Dinner here will be a sumptuous affair of local produce and inventive cocktails (and mocktails) with great food for veggie and carnivore alike.
You can also just pop in for a drink and bring the dog too!
5. The Maybush Inn – Waldringfield
The Maybush is a fantastic riverside pub. Sitting next to the Deben as it flows down from Woodbridge, The Maybush serves excellent pub fare including local Fish and Chips and lighter seafood in the Summer.
In warm months you can sit outside and enjoy the peace of the river as the sun sets and locals and strangers alike enjoy the wonderful atmosphere.
See also – The Fox at Newbourne and The Butt & Oyster at Pin Mill. The Fox is a beautiful little pub in the village of Newbourne. Situated between Ipswich and Woodbridge this is a charming place rub by the Deben Inns Group who own a few pubs including The Maybush and Pin Mill. The menu is similar to The Maybush with plenty of space to sit outside in the summer or inside during the Winter. If you book ahead, make sure you ask to sit in the bar not the main restaurant which has less atmosphere.
Pin Mill is one of Suffolk’s major attractions. Just ten minutes outside Ipswich, sat on the River Orwell as it bends towards the sea, this is more of a summer place where you can enjoy great food and a stunning location.
This is a great place to come for a walk before dinner (or after Sunday lunch) and generally unwind.
7. The Regatta – Aldeburgh
Now an Aldeburgh institution after 20 wonderful years, this is a fantastic Suffolk restaurant just a stone’s throw from the Sea. You can expect to find fresh fish on the menu with the latest catch of fish and shellfish with plenty of options for veggies too. The Peppercorn steak with green beans is a personal favourite.
They have reduced opening hours in the winter as well as regular special evenings offering different menus and themes. Definitely one for your list.
8. The Galley – Woodbridge
Situated on the beautiful Market Square, The Galley is owned and run by the charming Uğur Vata who will ensure you have a wonderful evening of fresh food with some Turkish influence.
The best tables are upstairs where you can look out onto the Market Square or the private room where you can close the doors and enjoy some thorough spoiling.
Locally famous for their Lobster Week which seems to be most weeks, you really must try Uğur’s Turkish Mezze. Made to his mother’s original recipe, this starter is great to share between 2 or more.
9. The Blue Naan – Felixstowe
The best Indian Restaurant in Suffolk. This is a modern take on the Indian Menu so expect fancy twists on traditional dishes served with style and flourish.
A well staffed team ensure food is quick and service attentive. The food is great with decent portions and plenty of vegetarian options. Watch out for special music or performance evenings where you can share enjoy your curry to the latest tribute band, from Michael Jackson to Robbie Williams.
10. Ming’s Oriental – Bury St. Edmunds
Ming was the charming host at Zen Noodle bar, before opening his own fantastic place right in the middle of Bury. Serving high class, fusion Chinese food you can expect a supremely warm welcome, great service and fantastic Chinese food.
Maison Bleue – Bury St. Edmunds
I have yet to dine here so I couldn’t rightly put it on the list, but it comes with high recommendations. Situated in the beautiful Bury St. Edmunds Maison Bleu serves modern French cuisine, all beautifully presented with a fine wine list to match.
Pump Street Bakery – Orford
The Pump Street Bakery bake the most delicious bread you will taste this side of France, or certainly in Suffolk. This tiny bakery has extended to offer a cafe consisting of one long table and a few window seats. If you can get a space for late breakfast or lunch you will enjoy a small but delicious selection of food including Lobster Rolls in the summer and fresh soup in the Winter. You can also enjoy any of their wonderful baked goods or fresh ‘bean to bar’ chocolate.
No reservations so get there early for when they open (around 10 am on the weekends.)
The Golden Galleon – Aldeburgh
Local legend suggests this is the only ‘Egon Ronay’ rated Fish & Chip shop in the UK. I have never verified that fact but can testify to great fish and chips. Expect queues out the door on summer evenings and weekends but it is worth the wait to take your Fish & Chips to eat on Aldeburgh beach. There is a small restaurant upstairs but where’s the fun in that?
In busy periods, they will open the second chippy down the street. Same people, same chips and a similar sized queue!