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Exeter restaurants for Valentine’s Day – best places to eat out

By This is Exeter  |  Posted: January 31, 2012

Beautiful desserts can tempt your tastebuds at the Deer Park Hotel

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A hub of heritage and culture, surrounded by Devon’s glorious countryside, Exeter is an ideal destination for a Valentine’s break.
From the historic quayside to the buzzing city centre there an array of attractions on offer.
Victoria Hatfield, tourism development manager at Exeter City Council said: “Exeter and Topsham have plenty to offer for couples looking to indulge on Valentine’s Day. If you have children and are stuck for ideas for something to do, Animated Exeter are holding workshops on February 14 for budding young animators. This will then give you a couple of hours for some romantic time with your loved one.
“Or for something to do with the whole family, book tickets for Holiday on Ice - Tropicana at Westpoint Arena. The show is sensuous from start to finish and the highly charged entertainment looks set to melt the ice. “

Elsewhere the city offers the chance for a romantic stroll through history at the magnificent Royal Albert Memorial Museum which has recently undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment.

Or for couples seeking a mix of the great outdoors and good old fashioned fun, why not hire a canoe or pedalo and explore the picturesque waterways leading out of the city.

And as one of the UK’s top 20 foody destinations there are a wide range of Valentine’s dining options designed to ensure love is in the air this February 14.
Victoria said: “There are lots of great restaurants in Exeter serving delicious local food, cooked to an amazing standard.
“For an intimate Valentines dinner @Angelas, Michael Caines and the Olive Tree Restaurant are all perfect venues for great service and delicious food and drink.”

So for information on those venues and our other top tips for a romantic dining experience to remember, here are some of the best Valentine’s restaurants in Exeter.

1. The Olive Tree Restaurant, Queen’s Court Hotel, Bystock Terrace, EX4 4HY, 01392 272709.
Style: Modern British.
Food Served: Lunch: Monday to Saturday 12-2pm. Dinner: Monday to Thursday and Sunday 7pm-9pm. Friday to Saturday 7pm-9.30pm.
Valentine’s Day: Four course menu and a glass of bubbly, £39.95 per person.
Try: Seared fillet of pollack accompanied by lobster risotto, gazpacho salsa and lobster beignets.

The Olive Tree is ensuring love is in the air this Valentine’s Day with a very special menu engineered to send hearts racing.
Chef Darren Knockton has incorporated a range of nature’s alleged aphrodisiacs and more luxurious ingredients into a mouth-watering four course meal.
Renowned for modern twists on British classics this is in evidence with delicious dishes like herb crusted rack of lamb and slow braised shepherd’s pie, and the dessert of ‘banoffee Queen’s style’.
Throw in stylish decor, twinkling chandeliers and candlelit tables and you are guaranteed a Valentine’s meal to remember.

2. At Angelas, 38 New Bridge Street, 01392 499038.
Style: Modern British.
Food Served: Lunch: Wednesday to Saturday 12.30pm-2pm. Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday 6.30pm-10pm.
Valentine’s Day: Serving from usual a la carte menu, mains £17-£25.95
Try: Roasted breast of guinea fowl and sauteed wild mushrooms and Madeira jus.

Small but perfectly formed @Angelas offers an intimate and laidback atmosphere that is perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Recommended in the Michelin Guide for the last three years, the restaurant has established a reputation for innovative cooking using the very best ingredients from Devon’s natural larder.
Popular dishes include Brixham John Dory and seared scallops, and roasted loin of Westcountry lamb and a filo basket filled with navarin, rosemary and red wine jus.
And for those looking to add a touch of decadence to their Valentine’s dinner there is always the trianon au chocolat chef Vidal - a layered chocolate mousse with creme Anglaise and Baileys ice cream.

3. El Bocado, 36-37 South Street, EX1 1ED, 01392 678445.
Style: Spanish.
Food Served: 12pm-11pm daily.
Valentine’s Day: Serving from usual main and tapas menus. Tapas from £2.50, mains, £7.50 to £15.50.
Try: Tortitas de carne - beef patties with red pepper and mild paprika sauce.

For a sensuous Valentine’s supper head to El Bocado.
With tapas, sharing plates, authentic decor and Spanish music, a visit here will fire up the memory of romantic sun-kissed holidays.
Add in cocktails, candlelight and food designed to get your tastebuds dancing and you have a setting to rival a trip to Espana itself.
Favourites include mejillones en vino blanc – local Teign Valley mussels cooked with white wine, cream and parsley, a range of paellas and the trio of desserts to share including El Bocado’s famous crème Catalana.

4. Michael Caines Restaurant at ABode, 3 Cathedral Yard, EX1 1HD, 01392 223 638.
Style: Modern British.
Food Served: Monday to Saturday, 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-9.45
Valentine’s Day: Six course tasting menu and glass of champagne £72 per person, available Feb11, 13 and 14.
Try: Glazed Creedy Carver duck breast, orange confit, honeyed swede purée, pak choi, spice jus.

If you want to treat the special someone in your life to a night of true gastronomic glamour then look no further than Michael Caines’ restaurant.
Located by the city’s beautiful Cathedral Green, it is the place to eat out in Exeter.
For Valentine’s Day the local-boy made good, best known for the two Michelin star Gidleigh Park restaurant, has concocted a spectacular six course menu.
Kicking off with champagne and canapés the dishes include a starter of French onion soup with gruyère tortellini, mains of sea bream or duck breast and a couple of delicious desserts including, spiced poached pineapple mango and lime sorbet with toffee popcorn.
With Caines’ trademark, flair, invention and use of local ingredients in full evidence, there are few restaurants that can rival this place for a Valentine’s experience that will really impress your partner.

5. The Jack In The Green, Rockbeare Nr Exeter, EX5 2EE, 01404 822 240.
Style: Gastro pub.
Food Served: Lunch: Monday to Thursday 11.30am-2pm, Friday and Saturday 11.30am-2.30pm and Sunday from 12pm. Dinner: Monday 6pm-9.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday 6pm-10pm, Sunday until 9pm.
Valentine’s Day: Six course set menu, £57.50 per person or an extra £27.50 per person with matching wines.
Try: Fillet of John Dory with golden raisin puree, roast Chantenay carrots and vanilla.

Recommended in both the Michelin and Good Food guide’s this place offers the traditional charms of a country pub and the fine dining sophistication of a top restaurant.
The bar serves up inventive re-workings of classic British pub dishes while the restaurant is offering a special six course Valentine’s menu.
This includes dishes laced with love and attention to detail like the starter of the Jack’s own cured ham with poached duck egg, chorizo, hollandaise and roast shallot puree and migas.
Other dishes designed to raise the romance levels include Exmouth crab salad with passion fruit, and the rosewater crème brulee with lychee sorbet.

6. On The Waterfront, 4-9 Southern Warehouse, The Quay, EX2 4AP, 01392 210 590.
Style: Italian/International.
Food Served: 12pm-11pm daily.
Valentine’s Day: Three course meal and sparkling cocktail £23.50 per person.
Try: Game casserole with venison, pheasant and gammon in ale gravy served with mash potato.

Perched on the edge of Exeter’s historic quayside this magnificent former wool warehouse is now a popular and eye-catching eatery.
For Valentine’s Day the restaurant is being re-decorated with romance in mind and it has also created a menu to match.
With a sparkling cocktail on arrival, a choice of sharing platters to start and some truly indulgent desserts designed for two people, the Waterfront offers a relaxed and fun Valentine’s vibe.
And at £23.50 for three courses it is also one of Exeter’s more affordable venues to visit on February 14.

7. The Odd Fellows, 60 New North Road, EX4 4EP, 01392 209050.
Style: Gastro bar.
Food Served: Lunch: Monday to Saturday 12pm-3pm and Sunday 12pm-4pm. Dinner: Monday to Wednesday 5.30pmpm, Thursday to Saturday 5.30pm-10pm.
Valentine’s Day: Four courses and Kir Royale on arrival , £29.95.
Try: Local 8oz sirloin steak with potato fondant and pink peppercorn sauce.

With its theatre kitchen and upstairs cocktail bar, The Odd Fellows offers a heady mix of drama and glamour on Valentine’s Day.
Part trendy bar, part gastro pub, it has become one of Exeter’s most popular evening destinations.
For Valentine’s Day it is offering a menu in keeping with its stylish and eclectic interior.
From truffled white bean soup and smoked salmon and crab timbale, to sirloin steak and stuffed artichoke heart, there is something to excite even the most picky palate.
And the devilish desserts are no exception with dishes including red chilli and dark chocolate pot with vanilla cream and shortbread, and strawberry and almond tart with winter berry coulis and Devon clotted cream.

8. The Treasury Restaurant, St Olaves Hotel, 18-22 Mary Arches Street, EX4 3AZ, 01392 217736.
Style: Modern British.
Food Served: Lunch 12pm-2.30pm and dinner 7pm-9.30pm daily.
Valentine’s Day: Five courses, £46.50 per person or £62 per person with matching wine. (Available Feb 11 and 14).
Try: Pan fried sea bream, Asian stir fry vegetables with lemongrass and ginger sauce.

Offering luxurious rooms, interesting food and an intimate setting St Olaves is the perfect base for a Valentine’s break in Exeter.
And the Treasury restaurant has created a five course meal with matching wine list specially for the occasion.
From cauliflower truffle soup to chicken liver parfait and fillet of beef with pomme puree the food alone is sure to be a highlight of your stay.

9. The White Hart, 66 South Street, EX1 1EE, 01392 279897.
Style: Traditional British
Food Served: Monday to Saturday 12pm-10pm and Sunday 12pm-9pm.
Valentine’s Day: Three courses for two people £25. Available Feb 10 to 14
Try: Salmon fillet with a creamy fennel and watercress sauce, new potatoes and vegetables.

If fine dining and frilly table decorations aren’t your thing then perhaps a traditional pub experience is more likely to get you in the Valentine’s mood?
The White Hart, one of Exeter’s most historic inns, is offering a freshly cooked and highly affordable three course meal.
From pork and plum pate to classic prawn cocktail starters, to rump steak and chicken in mushroom sauce mains, this is simple but tasty food at its best.
Add in a profiterole and caramel cheesecake dessert and a cosy, traditional atmosphere and you have the recipe for a relaxed, unpretentious Valentine’s date.

10. Southernhay House, 36 Southernhay East, EX1 1NX, 01392 439000.
Style: Modern British
Food Served: Monday to Saturday 12pm-10pm and Sunday 12pm-9pm.
Valentine’s Day: Normal menu, fixed price lunch from £15 for two courses. Evening mains £15 to £21.
Try: Sole with grapes and brown shrimp.

This beautifully refurbished Grade II Listed Georgian town house is a stunning Valentine’s destination.
A modern, boutique hotel with innovative restaurant attached, a stay here certainly shows your significant other how much you care.
The dining invokes the great traditions of British food with a menu inspired by the last two centuries. But with creative reinventions of classic dishes it offers a contemporary and exciting culinary experience.
Examples of this unique approach include fried rabbit in nasturtium sauce, partridge and pear with bread sauce and a dessert of chai tea cream and ginger donut.

11. Deer Park Hotel, Buckerell Village, Weston, Honiton, EX14 3PG, 01404 41266.
Valentine’s Day: Champagne on arrival with 4 course meal for £39.95pp.

Get loved up in the country and spoil someone special this Valentine’s night at the Deer Park Hotel in Honiton. Treat your loved one to a glass of champagne on arrival, followed by a romantic 4 course dinner at the lovingly refurbished Deer Park Hotel near Honiton, for £39.95 per person.

The Georgian hotel has also created romantic weekend getaways available from February 10-12 and 17-19, to include two nights’ dinner bed and breakfast with a bottle of chilled champagne and a bouquet of flowers in your room. From £95 per person per night.

Read more from Exeter Express and Echo

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  • elsiechina  |  February 14 2012, 9:40PM

    #bemyvalentine - The quay is such a romantic place whatever time or weather. Thanks so much for the tip about the animated Exeter its a great idea as its half term. The real problem for me when eating out in Exeter is choosing to many great restaurants :)

  • jimbogrimbo  |  February 13 2012, 11:07AM

    #bemyvalentine Good sugestions, also think al farid behind the cathedral is a romantic place to go. Especialy if you sit downstairs on the cushions. The foods good too and well priced.

    |   1
  • herbiewhisk  |  February 10 2012, 9:31AM

    #bemyvalentine Jack in the Green and Abode have never disappointed. Also H & H in Broadclyst is another excellent restaurant if you are wanting some good food with great service. Exeter should be very proud of having some of the best places to eat.

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  • pcarroll  |  February 09 2012, 2:05PM

    #bemyvalentine Great article but "wot, no veggie options?!"

  • umyers  |  February 09 2012, 9:04AM

    #bemyvalentine Thanks for some fresh ideas on places to eat next time we visit Exeter. Sadly it won't be on Feb 14th.

  • umyers  |  February 09 2012, 9:00AM

    "#bemyvalentine" Thanks for some fresh ideas on where to eat next time we visit Exeter.

  • Clear View of Silverton  |  February 08 2012, 2:47PM

    #bemyvalentine El Bocado is a lovely place to eat i would vist again and again very good article by the way.

  • tozey  |  February 08 2012, 12:26PM

    #bemyvalentine good food, fine wine and a whole lot of loving going on!

  • deuschristus  |  February 08 2012, 12:08PM