For a city the size of Winchester we have a surprising number of diverse places to eat and drink that suit all budgets, here are just a few suggestions from local food blogger and Winchester Ambassador Emma Raphael (@winchestereats).
You can find a great range of toasties and homemade cakes at Joe’s café, located at the heart of Winchester’s Military Museums on the historic site of Peninsula Barracks. You don’t have to go to the museums to pay a visit, but if that’s your cup of tea they are well worth it – if not just head to Joe’s for a cup of tea…
For cycling fans, a trip to South Downs Social in Kings Walk is a must. I would recommend one of their excellent bacon sandwiches with some of the best coffee you can find in Winchester (there are many other delicious things besides on both the food and drink menu). Enjoy a race or two on the big screen with a hot beef brisket sandwich served with chard corn salad. Just opposite South Downs Social you can find Marse where you can watch Laxmi and Santosh prepare great Nepalese dishes with some of the freshest ingredients. There are a couple of tables here, but I have enjoyed many a Marse bowl as a takeaway in the cathedral grounds.
For those with an interest in Winchester’s historic buildings, (let’s face it we have a few), how about a pint and a bite to eat at the 16th-Century Eclipse Inn located in The Square. You could find yourself sharing a drink and a bite to eat with the resident ghost of Lady Alice Lisle. I am also a massive fan of the brilliant Black Boy on Wharf Hill which contains the most eclectic collection of things – not every pub has a stuffed giraffe, they also have the brilliant Pizza Polizia in residence on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
There aren’t many places south of London that can boast a dedicated pie restaurant, but Winchester has Piecaramba! in Parchment Street serving up great pie and mash in a setting packed with comics and pop culture. Can you defeat a Piescraper though, that’s the question (a tower of three pies, mash, cheese, shallots and gravy that needs to be eaten within ten minutes!)?
Lovers of foraged foods and zero food miles should head to Proudfoot & Co in St Thomas Street. This unique place (without a drop of alcohol in sight) serves excellent handmade drinks, many of them adapted from ancient English recipes, and most with ingredients foraged from nearby. Proudfoot has a lovely, calm and welcoming environment, and I can guarantee that a) you will learn something while you’re here, and b) you won’t find anything else quite like it, a little like Winchester really.
Finally, how about an evening at Inn the Park? Sit upstairs in this multi-layered historic mill in Abbey Gardens and enjoy a bottle of wine or two (or an excellent cocktail) in the Wine Room with a small plate or five. Make sure you try the Lyburn croquettes and set yourself your own challenge – try to stop at three…