Wallet feeling a little light? That doesn’t mean you can’t go out and treat yourself.
Luckily, some of Bristol’s best restaurants let you bring your own bottle (BYOB), so you can enjoy the full wine ‘n’ dine experience at pretty much half the cost.
Forget ordering The Ridiculously Expensive House Red (or the next one up from that if you’re on a date). BYOB means you can actually pick a tipple you like, and spend more on desert. What’s not to like?
This cosy little restaurant serves up some of the best Indian food in the whole of Bristol. It’s a little basic on the inside, but the staff are welcoming and the food is tip-top. They specialise in traditional Southern Indian cuisine which the waiters are happy to explain – so crack open a bottle and tuck in to your medu vada (crispy lentil donuts, to you and I).
180 Gloucester Rd, Bristol BS7 8NU, devskerala.co.uk
Bristol’s love affair with pizza and wine is gaining momentum, but don’t neglect this stalwart amidst the flurry of new establishments. Another excellent date restaurant, A cappella is snug and candle-lit, with some of the best pizzas in the city. The head chef trained in Naples, and tops his pizzas with specially sourced Italian mozzarella for extra authenticity.
184C Wells Rd, Avon, Bristol BS4 2AL, acappellas.co.uk
Fancy food with a pocket-friendly price tag comes courtesy of Cafe Mulino. This pop-up restaurant appears every Friday evening at The Wild Goose Space in St Werburghs. A three course meal will set you back £25, plus the cost of your booze on top. Past culinary treats have included fennel, crab and orange with salt cod in saffron puree, duck rotolo and pears soaked in amaretto. See? Fancy!
The Wild Goose Space, 228 Mina Rd, Bristol BS2 9YP, www.facebook.com/Cafemulinoonline
The inside looks like it’s straight out of Casablanca, and did you know that Joss Stone filmed a music vid here? When they’re not on location, Assilah are great for excellent value Moroccan food with the all important BYO option to keep costs down. Their menu is traditional, with plenty of tagines and falafal to choose from, plus veggie options and sesert. Be sure to round it all off with sticky baklava and sweet mint tea afterwards.
1194 Wells Rd, Bristol BS4 2AX, assliahbistro.com
— ChaiShaiKitchen (@ChaiShaiKitchen) August 11, 2014
Head to Jacob Well’s Road for some delicious Bengladeshi food prepared fresh in Chai Shai, a new addition to Bristol’s Asian food scene. The small restaurant has a carefully chosen menu of authentic dishes, and the friendly staff will make you feel right at home. The achari chicken and roti comes highly recommended, as does the thick mango lassi – although their BYO policy means you could bring your own lassi if you wanted.
4 Jacob’s Wells Rd, Bristol, City of Bristol BS8 4NF, www.facebook.com/chaishaikitchen
Korean restaurants are a little thin on the ground in Bristol, but Dain Korea is definitely one of the best. Don’t be put off by the formal interior – the menu is unique and the food is excellent. It’s not the most perhaps not a great date restaurant, but their BYO policy means it’s the perfect spot for a budget evening meal. Be sure to order a side of kimichi with whatever you order, theirs is the best in town.
427 Gloucester Rd, Bristol BS7, www.facebook.com/Dain-Korea
Goats cheese pizza with parma ham, red onion and mushrooms @ Napolita, Bristol. pic.twitter.com/WLrOfzWBif
— A Girl That Eats (@agirlthateats) April 24, 2013
Another first-class pizzaria that’s also a fine place to woo. You’ll find Napolita tucked away in St Werburghs, just down the road from the Duke of York. Their pizzas are HUGE, so you can totally get away with sharing a large one, and if you run out of wine, there’s a well stocked off licence across the road.
83 Mina Rd, Bristol BS2 9XP, napolitapizza.co.uk
Pad Thai and beer, perfect comfort food. This Gloucester Road eatery has stiff competition from the nearby Bangkok Street Food, but their BYO policy just about pips them to it. The menu is full of your Thai favorites, included red and green chicken curry (highly recommended!) Tom Yum soup, plenty of veggie dishes and well cooked seafood.
67 Gloucester Rd, Bristol BS7 8AD, simplythaibristol.com
Red and green tablecloths, giant pepper mills and lashings of parmesian make this family run Italian as rustic trattoria as you could hope for. Their menu is bursting with traditional Italian delights, from pizza and pasta, to fresh seafood and steaks – and their BYO policy means you can splash out on a piece of tiramisu for desert. You won’t regret it.
1-3 Frogmore St, Bristol, Avon BS1 5NA, sergios.co.uk
Head over to Gloucester road for some great Lebanese food and a budget bill. The inside may look a little uninspiring, but their food more than makes up for that – their baba ghanoush and flat breads are reason enough to go. It’s not really romantic enough for a date, nor cosy enough for a family gathering, but it’s the perfect spot for sipping your wine and nibbling mezze with friends well into the night.
217 Cheltenham Rd, Bristol BS6 5QP, afendirestaurantcafe.co.uk
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Main image: Napolita Pizza on Facebook