Exeter is one of the oldest cities in England and the county town of Devon, the city is very well known for its stunning cathedral and excellent food scene.
The city itself is brimming with history, with plenty of things to see and do while living in your student accommodation in Exeter.
Whether you fancy tracing JK Rowling’s Harry Potter inspiration or feel like treating you and your friends to a delicious meal around the buzzing Exeter Quay, it’s safe to say, this city has it all!
In recent years, Exeter has really come into its own, with a thriving independent food scene and a growing coffee culture.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 best eateries you need to visit whilst studying here, trust us when we say, you won’t be disappointed!
1. Red Panda
Fancy some Asian street food? This small but booming eatery is one of the most popular lunch spots in Exeter, with an influence of Hong Kong and Manilla style flavours.
Red Panda originally started up in Lyme Regis, when James McCarthy’s wife opened the first Red Panda!
The couple met in the Philippines, with James having lived in Hong Kong and Manilla for roughly around 20 years.
There’s no online ordering of supplies at Red Panda, as everything is done locally to support traders, which is another fabulous aspect of this eatery.
Everything cooked in Red Panda is Vegan, whether it’s eggless mayonnaise or fish-sauce free kimchi.
We’d highly recommend Bao, a soft steamed bun served with greens and a choice between aromatic pork belly, chicken adobo, teriyaki tofu or if you fancy a kick, spicy tofu.
If you’d prefer a sandwich, we’d urge you to try the Bahn Mi Sandwich, which is a baguette served with mushroom and chestnut pâté, mayonnaise, cucumber, spring onion, coriander leaves, chilli, along with a choice of pork belly, chicken adobo, chicken, or tofu.
All meals come in salad boxes to eat in or take away, with a seating area outside the shop.
2. Harry’s Restaurant
Situated on Longbrook Street in the heart of Exeter is Harry’s Restaurant, an independently owned and run eclectic restaurant that sources local ingredients.
Harry’s is the ideal setting for laidback brunches, lunchtime dates, intimate dinners and quick bites.
Rated as one of the best restaurants in Exeter on Trip Advisor, this delicious restaurant has established itself to be the go-to dining den in Exeter.
With a super varied menu and very generous portions, there really is something for everyone when visiting here!
From the lunch menu, we’d highly recommend the Devon crab linguine with chilli, lime, ginger, cherry tomatoes, and white wine.
Other notable meals for lunch include “the big cheese” burger, with Barber’s mature cheddar, and the spicy sizzling fajitas if you love a bit of spice.
If you feel like treating your friends to dinner, the sirloin steak has sterling reviews amongst visitors as well as the sweet potato and bean chilli.
Harry’s is open for Breakfast from 9am, lunch from 12pm and dinner from 6pm, so get yourself down there, you won’t regret it!
Head Chef Mugiv has cooked in some of Spain and the UK’s most leading restaurants before joining Karma in Exeter and brings a fresh and authentic approach to this fabulous eatery.
Karma has a menu that features dishes from North and South India, all with deliciously fresh ingredients.
They were voted Devon’s No.1 Indian Restaurant by Trip Advisor, and also received a 4.5* review in The Daily Telegraph for their high quality food.
Bookings are essential at Karma, its growing popularity has given it a buzzing atmosphere with a tasty menu to match.
For main courses, the chicken dhansak is highly popular amongst guests, made in garlic, garam masala, chilli powder, yellow lentils & bay leaves.
The Chef’s Speciality dishes also include some delectable dishes, including Malabar welsh lamb, using all the flavours of Kerala in South India with aromatic spices and a hint of coconut with lemon grass.
4. Conservatory Restaurant
This popular restaurant is located on North Street, not far local theatres, galleries, as well as bars and pubs.
The Conservatory has light, airy surroundings with relaxed furnishings and a general chilled vibe, perfect for students.
You really do get what you pay for when you visit this restaurant, the a la carte dining set menus are ideal for pre-theatre dining too, if you feel like splashing out!
Mike Barry, owner and head chef is a great believer in providing a wonderful dining experience for all and has worked at several fine restaurants including Malmaison Hotel in Birmingham.
The menu boasts delicious fresh fish from St Ives, including a pan roasted salmon fillet with crushed new potatoes, chorizo, peas, and fresh green vegetables.
For dessert, why not try the white chocolate cheesecake with pineapple, coffee & rum granita.
5. The Lin Den
Everybody loves cake! So why not take a trip to The Lin Den in Exeter on North Street, for your scrummy cake fix.
This patisserie offers a fully vegan cake and pastry menu, as well as savoury options if you fancy some lunch.
The batches are baked fresh, every single day, and owner Paula starts baking at 5am!
For lunch options, we’d recommend you try the veggie sour dough toastie with pesto, spinach and roasted peppers.
Other tasty sweet treats include the triple chocolate cake, and the chocolate & custard roll if you’re feeling especially indulgent.
6. Jasmine Thai Restaurant
If you like delicious Thai food, you need to take a trip to Jasmine Thai Restaurant on Fore Street.
This restaurant serves up all your favourite Thai meals, prepared by experienced Thai chefs using local produce from Devon and Somerset for each dish.
Jasmine Thai are open Monday-Friday for lunch between 12-2pm and open for dinner Sunday-Thursday from 6-9:30pm and Friday & Saturday 6-10pm.
The lunch menu brings you a vast array of tasty classic Thai dishes, but we’d urge you to try “the vegan” which is a tofu red curry, with mixed vegetable kra paow, Thai spring rolls and jasmine rice.
If you’d prefer to visit in the evening, popular dishes include the “weeping tiger”, a grilled, specially marinated Devon reared tender striploin steak served in a hot pan with a side of spicy sauce.
The classic Thai green curry is also worth a taste when visiting, and you can also pick which filling you’d prefer whether it be roasted duck, tofu, mixed vegetable, and many more!
Located smack bang in the middle of the city, Herbies is in an ideal location, providing moreish vegetarian and vegan meals.
There’s a huge range of dishes available on the menu, whether it’s a spinach and mushroom lasagne or a Moroccan tajine, they’ve got it all!
Popular dishes include the Greek vegetable pie, and the falafel wrap for a nice light lunch.
8. The Galley Restaurant
This venue is perfect for seafood lovers, with an abundance of fresh ingredients from local suppliers in every dish.
There are daily changes to the menu, depending on local produce and seasons, which really emphasises The Galley’s passion for good food.
Located on Fore Street in Topsham, Head Chef Jason Mead lets the natural flavours shine through each dish from all the best ingredients available.
To start, we’d recommend the steamed fowey mussels with garlic, tarragon & white wine cream, followed by a main course of prosecco battered plaice fillet with triple cooked chips…because who doesn’t love prosecco!
The Galley Restaurant also has a fabulous range of desserts on offer, including dark chocolate delice, bitter honeycomb and poached banana.
9. @Angela’s Restaurant
Slightly off the beaten track in the west quarter of the city is @Angela’s Restaurant, a real hidden gem!
Owners Richard and Angela ensure all fish and seafood is fresh from Brixham and Exmouth, making the ingredients local and delicious.
The scallops are a particularly popular dish at this restaurant, as well as the fresh hand-picked crab from Brixham and the monkfish.
10. Al -Farid
It’s no doubt that Meze is a tasty dish to enjoy, and Al-Farid have a vast array of Meze on their menu for you to dig into, whether it’s hot or cold.
Based on Cathedral Yard in Exeter (right next to the famous cathedral) is Al-Farid, offering exotic tastes of Morocco and the middle east.
As well as Meze, this eatery also has some delicious tajines on their menu, named after the earthware pot in which it is served.
We’d highly recommend the hummus and tzatziki Meze with some tabbouleh on the side for a flavoursome experience!