Bristol waterfront restaurants

Totting up the accolades on a regular basis, Bristol’s culinary scene has been having a moment for a while now and its star just keeps rising. Bristol has so many excellent restaurants, my ‘dining out’ wish list is always growing. It’s hard to beat Bristol waterfront restaurants if you’re looking for an epic dining experience. The area buzzes all-year round, but particularly in summer, when crowds flock to the docksides to dangle their legs over the water’s edge, cider in hand.

This is where the city’s historical charm meets culinary innovation; where you’ll find eateries in converted warehouses and floating restaurants, with Bristol’s iconic Harbourside as a backdrop.

Some of my most memorable birthdays have played out along Bristol’s water’s edge. Balmy July heatwave evenings, dining on Wapping Wharf’s terraces, while hot air balloons soar overhead and paddleboarders potter past make the al fresco summer nights of my dreams.

I’ve put together a round-up of restaurants on Bristol waterfront that cater to all tastes and budgets. From Brunel-designed former transit sheds to modern shipping containers and family-friendly eateries, if there are lovely Bristol water views visible, I’ve added it here.

Bristol Harbourside restaurants

Harbour House

With lofty vaulted ceilings and historic ironwork, Harbour House reflects its 19th-century beginnings as a transit shed. Designed by the renowned Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the venue boasts a prime waterfront location, offering stunning views of the Floating Harbour, the vibrant Redcliffe houses, and the majestic spire of St Mary Redcliffe Church from its outdoor deck. 

The menu, a blend of traditional pub classics with a focus on seafood, showcases the best of locally-sourced ingredients sourced from top suppliers in the South West. It’s especially delightful on sunny days.

Harbour House Bristol waterfront view
Photo credit Harbour House

Grain Barge

This 1930s Grain Barge spent its early life carrying barley and wheat across the Severn Estuary between Bristol and Cardiff. The historic vessel now resides in Hotwells, opposite Brunel’s SS Great Britain, and is one of the longest-standing restaurants on Bristol’s waterfront.

Managed by Bristol Beer Factory, it offers a wide selection of craft beers, local ciders, and wines alongside sustainable seafood, mains, small plates, and Sunday roasts made with seasonal produce sourced from their Five Acre Farm in Backwell. Enjoy the serene river views from the lower deck or bask in the sun on the outdoor drinking terrace, watching life go by on the water.

Grain Barge Bristol Harbourside
Grain Barge Bristol

The Pump House

Sitting on the dockside, close to where the River Avon meets the city docks at the Cumberland Basin, The Pump House is a British gastropub housed in a Victorian pumping station. The historic building still retains many of its original features, making it an interesting dining spot, although in sunny weather, you’ll want to bag one of the outdoor waterside tables.

Helmed by chef Toby Gritten, it prides itself on serving seasonal dishes crafted from locally-sourced food and small independent suppliers. On tap, you’ll find a selection of regional brews including Butcombe and Bath Ales, while gin enthusiasts will delight in the extensive gin menu, which boasts over 400 varieties.

Under the Stars

Serving punters since 2010, Under the Stars is a floating tapas, cocktails and pizza boat moored in Bristol’s Harbourside. Guests can indulge in a selection of delectable small plates and some excellent cocktails while enjoying views of Bristol’s Harbourside. In warm weather, take advantage of this waterside position from their al fresco dining deck.

Watershed Bristol Harbourside
Under the Stars boat, Bristol Harbourside


Watershed is an independent cinema on Bristol’s historic harbourside offering a programme of independent film and events, and occasional live music, with a brilliant cafe/bar. For the best waterfront views in the house, bag a spot on the (small) sun terrace to watch Bristol ferry boats buzz past and people bustle around the Floating Harbour. You can also take a seat at Undershed, Watershed’s outside bar on the Harbourside walkway.

Food-wise, you’ll find breakfast, lunch and evening meals, sharing plates and light bites as well as larger main meals like fish and chips, plus vegan and veggie dishes and a kid’s menu.

Cinema ticket holders can get 30% off any of the main dishes on Wednesdays from 12pm-8pm. 

Watershed Bristol Harbourside

Three Brothers Burgers

This independent burger and craft beer boat, Three Brothers Burgers, sits right at the heart of Bristol’s ‘Beermuda’ triangle on Welsh Back, with views over the river and Bristol Bridge. Quality ingredients are carefully sourced to create a selection of ‘steak’ burgers and hot dogs, shakes, sundaes and floats. Don’t rule it out if you lean more towards veggie though – there’s also a dedicated vegan menu.

Inside, the walls of the boat are covered in graffiti by Bristol street artist Silent Hobo, the vibes are upbeat and casual. The seating is split between the boat and the quayside and on warm days, the whole area buzzes with diners and drinkers. Great whether you’re looking for a quick, family-friendly affordable lunch or a more lively evening meal with friends.

Paco Tapas Bar

One of my favourite Bristol Harbour restaurants, Paco Tapas Bar is perched on the waterside at Lower Guinea Street – the site of Bristol’s handsome former general hospital. Tucked away in this little inlet, known as the Bathurst Basin, al fresco diners are treated to a different perspective of Bristol’s Harbourside here, almost like the backwaters of the Floating Harbour.

As tapas bars go, this is one of the best and it’s wonderfully atmospheric – with Andalucian vibes, beautifully patterned tiles and dishes whipped up in an open kitchen. The restaurant had a Michelin star up until 2024, and you’re guaranteed excellent nosh.

Paco Tapas Bristol waterfront restaurant
Paco Tapas Bristol Harbour

The Ostrich

One of the city’s oldest pubs (built in 1745), The Ostrich was taken over by Butcombe Brewery and revamped with quirky, modern interiors a few years ago. Its quayside terrace is one of the biggest pub gardens in the city and grants punters waterfront tables, where they can sink a pint, or tuck into pub-inspired street food from an outdoor kitchen during summer. 

The Cottage

Dating back to 1868 and sporting some stupendous Harbourside views, The Cottage is one of the most iconic Bristol Harbourside pubs. Bearer of one of the best pub locations in Bristol, thanks to its previous life as a timber store and Harbour Master’s Office, it’s a much-loved boozer (also under the Butcombe umbrella) for Bristolians and a must-go venue in the summer, when you’ll find punters spilling out onto the waterside, sipping cider and polishing off fish and chips.

Views from the beer garden look out over a hive of boating activity on the Floating Harbour to Clifton Wood’s rainbow-coloured houses, listed bond warehouses and Underfall Yard. 

The Cottage Inn Bristol Harbourside view
The Cottage Inn view

The Olive Shed

The Olive Shed was my ultimate dinner date when I was at university in Bristol many moons ago. Back before the trendy Cargo shipping containers took over the Harbourside, this Mediterranean waterfront stalwart was, and is still, going strong.

Al fresco seating spills out on the Harbourside, metres from the old railway line, with gorgeous views over the water towards Lloyds Amphitheatre, the dockside cranes, and in sight of the setting sun.

Tapas is the order of the day here, with a couple of large plates – steak or market fish of the day, desserts and cheese platters.

Railway tracks outside The Olive Shed Bristol
Railway outside The Olive Shed, Bristol

Mud Dock

Mud Dock opened as a bike shop and a café back in 1994 and has been a staple of the Bristol dining scene for almost 30 years. Downstairs you’ll find a range of bicycles, cycling gear, and accessories catering to both enthusiasts and casual riders, while upstairs is a restaurant with outside dining terrace and harbourside views.

The assortment of bikes suspended from the ceiling continues the biking theme, but the eatery is aimed at more than just Lycra-wearing, two-wheel aficionados. It’s a popular dockside hangout for visitors after tapas, meze and grill dishes on the water’s edge.


Riverstation has been owned and run by London Brewery Young’s since 2017, and is popular as a bar and restaurant, thanks to its stunning waterfront location. The glass-fronted restaurant sits right on the water, opposite the rainbow houses of Redcliffe. Split across two floors, both capitalise on the views with outdoor balcony seating.

Enjoy a more casual bite in the downstairs Pontoon Bar which serves brunch, sharing boards and Great British classics on all-dining menus, or head upstairs to their restaurant for à la carte options.

Riverstation Redcliffe coloured houses Bristol


Noah’s family-run fish and chip restaurant and seafood kitchen on Brunel Lock Road was named as the UK’s 3rd best Fish & Chip Restaurant in 2024 at The National Fish & Chip Awards.

Looking out to the red bricks of the B Bond tobacco warehouse on one side, and the banks of Cumberland Basin and Clifton Suspension Bridge on the other, Noah’s is a riverside restaurant that’s passionate about showcasing the best of British seafood (although there are fish-free and vegetarian options available too). The menu changes daily and seasonally, and alongside classic fish and chips, you’ll find beautiful grilled fish, plump hand-dived scallops, and shellfish plates.

With a view through a porthole or picture window from virtually every indoor seat in the house, come summer, diners can take a seat on their back terrace to enjoy the sunshine from June.

Children (and well-behaved dogs) are welcome.

Wapping Wharf restaurants Bristol Waterfront

Wapping Wharf is a collection of independent, intimate eateries housed in shipping containers on Bristol Harbourside. The diversity of excellent restaurants here have boosted the city’s reputation as a gastronomic hotspot, covering everything from street food, to fish and chips, artisanal ice cream, and sourdough pizzas. 

Gambas, a tapas bar, and sister restaurant of Bravas and nearby Cargo Cantina has some of the best views of the foodie businesses in the CARGO shipping containers, best enjoyed along with some summery drinks and snacks on the terrace.

If you’re after a harbour view, your best bets are grabbing some gorgeous veggie small plates at Root (part of the Pony group), proper pub grub at Bristol Beer Factory’s Junction, a chippy dinner outside Salt & Malt, bottomless brunch on Harbour & Brown’s covered terrace, acclaimed Japanese food at Seven Lucky Gods or treating yourself to a special dinner at Box-E, or 20-cover restaurant Tare.

Seven Lucky Gods Bristol
Seven Lucky Gods, Wapping Wharf

Adelina Yard

Tucked away along a cobbled street in Bristol’s historic harbour district is Adelina Yard. Chefs Olivia Barry and Jamie Randall whip up innovative, photogenic, modern European dishes with a focus on high-quality local ingredients. From Wednesday to Saturday there is a set four-course lunch menu available at an affordable price (£38), while in the evenings guests can dine from its curated tasting menus. 

A small terrace at the back of the restaurant which overlooks the river if you want some scenery while you eat.

Za Za Bazaar

Za Za Bazaar on the Harbourside in Bristol is the city’s biggest restaurant. At 30,000sq ft, and able to seat 1000 diners, this all-you-can-eat world food banquet and bar is more of a fun, buzzy experience, rather than somewhere you would go to peacefully to enjoy the waterfront views. Neon signs hover above various kitchens cooking up – street market style – all kinds of cuisine from around the globe. Sushi, noodles, burgers, a chocolate fountain, Tex Mex, Italian, Indian curries, you name it, it’s here.

With such a huge range of buffet food on offer, much of your time here is spent piling your plate high, munching it at your table, then returning to discover what other culinary delights are on offer.

Za Za Bazaar Bristol Harbourside
Za Za Bazaar
Za za bazaar at night Bristol Harbourside
Bristol Harbourside at night

No.1 Harbourside

No.1 Harbourside is an independent bar, restaurant and live music venue situated on Bristol’s Floating Harbour. A cafe by day, and a restaurant, bar/live music venue by night, with tons of room inside, as well as seating out on the quayside, it’s an excellent spot to watch Harbourside life unfold, while filling up on delicious food sourced from producers based within 60 miles of the venue (whenever possible).

The weekend brunch menu is particularly special, at other times, towering burgers are hard to skim over. There’s also a varied and nutritious kids menu (although too healthy for my children #ffs) 

No. 1 Harbourside Bristol
No. 1 Harbourside Bristol

The Stable

The Stable is a Bristol Harbour restaurant with a prime spot on the waterfront. Its freshly-made sourdough pizzas are award-winning and there are not one, not ten, not twenty, but 60+ varieties of cider on offer. So how does one choose what to go for? The cider tasting flight is a good starting point for working your way through their hefty selection. Don’t miss their live music Fridays.

Aqua Bristol Welshback

Large waterside dining establishment, Aqua Bristol Welshback offers al fresco dining (heated and covered!), Italian cuisine and cocktails. It’s one of three of the family-run Aqua restaurants in Bristol – the others are in Clifton and Portishead. Arrive before 7pm for 2 for 1 Bellinis and dine on brunch, lunch, Sunday Roasts and a la carte menus.

The River Grille

Located on the quay next to Pero’s Bridge, The Bristol hotel’s restaurant, The River Grille overlooks the Narrow Quay section of the Harbourside, with floor-to-ceiling windows that make the most of the waterfront views.

Everything from express lunch menus, excellent steak, afternoon tea, pre-theatre dining, and evening meals are catered for here in contemporary surroundings that defy the standard hotel restaurant experience.

Live piano and a jazz trio on weekends make this restaurant feel very grown up.

Spitfire BBQ

Spitfire Barbecue on the Harbourside at Hannover Quay loves all things BBQ and cooks its food in various styles of BBQ from across the Globe. From Texan style to South African Braai done on their wood fire grill. 

Book a whole brisket, take advantage of 2-4-1 cocktails from Monday to Thursday or challenge while you take in uninterrupted Harbour views.

Where to eat Bristol Harbourside attractions

Harbourside Kitchen, Brunel’s SS Great Britain

Built by one of the greatest figures of the industrial revolution, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the SS Great Britain stands as one of the most important historic ships in the world. Sitting on Bristol dockside (where it was launched so many years ago), visitors can explore the magnificent vessel, as well as the fascinating Being Brunel museum, which takes a look into the mind of the man behind some of the most extraordinary feats of engineering of the Victorian age.

The attraction’s cafe, Harbourside Kitchen, also has a fantastic waterfront location (and you can grab a bite to eat there without entering the museum if you happen to be passing). Digest 175 years of history over a cup of coffee and cake, watching the world sail by on Bristol’s Floating Harbour. 

Harbourside Kitchen Brunel's SS Great Britain
Harbourside Kitchen Bristol

M Cafe @ M Shed

Located on the dockside, inside a former transit shed, the colourful objects, art and archival materials inside M Shed tell the story of the people of Bristol from prehistoric to modern times.

M Café, located on the ground floor of the museum and on the dockside immediately outside the museum, overlooks the Harbour, city centre and independent eateries housed in Wapping Wharf’s refurbished shipping containers next door. There are outdoor tables to sit on in fine weather and Fairtrade, organic drinks, local brews (the coffee comes from artisan roasters in Clifton), plus cakes, sandwiches and teatime treats for your delectation.

M Cafe M Shed Bristol
M Cafe

Chain restaurants on waterfront Bristol

Bristol’s waterfront has long been the playground of Friday and Saturday night drinkers who favour cheap booze and popular music than ambience or quality beer. 

If this is up your alley, you’ll want to check out Coyote Ugly Bristol, V ShedPitcher and Piano Bristol.

Bristol Harbourside
Bristol Harbourside

Riverside Bristol restaurant


Beeses Bar in Brislington is a cheerful place, sitting right on the edge of a wooded stretch of the River Avon, opposite Conham River Park. Its large, bunting-decorated garden has a pond, al fresco seating, large shady trees and is perfectly positioned for the evening sun.

Open seasonally (from the end of March until end of September), the best way to get here is by boat. Hop on a Bristol Ferry, Number Seven Boat Trips or Bristol Packet, which all offer ferry services to Beese’s at different times of the day to cater for lunch, drinks or dinner bookings. 

Alternatively, take a scenic stroll along the river, from Eastwood Farm Local Nature Reserve until you reach this little gem.

Sunday Roasts, cream teas and live music make this a delightful riverside destination.

Conham River Park view of Beeses riverside bar
Eastwood farm nature reserve Brislington
Eastwood farm nature reserve Brislington

Other waterfront restaurants Bristol

Lido Bristol

This Grade-II listed lido was built in 1850, but these days it’s a world away from its Victorian beginnings. Tucked away down a side road in upmarket Clifton, Bristol Lido has got everything for a luxurious, revitalising visit.

A stunning glass-fronted poolside bar and restaurant overlooks a heated, low-chlorine open-air pool. The place gives off ‘holiday abroad’ vibes and you’ll be longing to join the swimmers from your waterside perch. Dine downstairs on excellent tapas (OMG the olives and houmous), or go up to the second floor for a fancier affair.

To visit the spa you’ll need to book a package (unless you’re a member) to combine a swim with a treatment and/or meal, where you can potter from eucalyptus-scented steam room, to Scandinavian-style sauna, to outdoor hot tub.

Bristol lido
Lido Bristol

The Wave

A ‘slice of the ocean’ just outside Bristol, The Wave is a 180 metre-long state-of-the-art inland surfing pool that provides consistent year-round surf conditions to people of all ages and skill levels. Its Wavegarden Cove technology can generate up to 1,000 quality waves per hour, which curl out on two sides of the fan-shaped pool, divided by a central viewing platform.

Their onsite cafe bar serves hot and cold food, a great range of drinks and snacks. Choose a table near the window, overlooking the surfing lake, to watch the surfing shenanigans.

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