A Cornish seaside restaurant which opened in the summer of 2021 has joined some of the county’s – and country’s – big names in restaurant guide SquareMeal’s new UK Top 100 restaurants list. Argoe, based on The Strand in Newlyn, focuses on Cornish fish and seafood.
The online guide said: “We say it every year, but this year truly must have presented the highest calibre of restaurants yet. Whittling down the UK’s burgeoning dining scene into just 100 top spots was an excruciating job that took months of planning and deliberation by both our team and our readers.
“After what can only be described as a hellish two years for the hospitality industry, as it battled the various hurdles of living with Covid, 2022 saw a renewed sense of purpose and passion. Getting back to doing what they do best, our homegrown hospitality professionals have put on quite a show over the last year, wining and dining customers with flair, ingenuity, and true individuality.
“Each of the top 100 results are a unique combination of our own in-house critic-led opinions and thousands of diner votes. It’s this dual approach that makes our list incomparable, representing not only our professional opinion but thousands of real-life experiences that help to reinforce and bolster our final decisions.”
In order to make a place on the list, each restaurant had to offer more than just a good meal. It had to provide guests with an exceptional all-round experience. From gorgeous interiors, top-class wine lists and stunning views through to exemplary service and sustainability commitments, SquareMeal weighed up the whole package.
The four Cornish restaurants which make the grade are a mixture of well-known names (Paul Ainsworth, Nathan Outlaw), the trendy (Coombeshead Farm) and a relative newcomer which is making a name for itself (Argoe).
This is their placings in the Top 100 list and what SquareMeal had to say about them.
10. Paul Ainsworth at No. 6
Middle Street, Padstow
Paul Ainsworth operates a number of restaurants in Cornwall, but this Michelin-starred spot has got to be the jewel in his crown, where it serves an exciting, story-led menu that champions locally sourced Cornish produce.
The Strand, Newlyn
Argoe is a tribute to Newlyn’s incredible fishing heritage and produce, where sharing plates with a focus on Cornish fish and seafood are served alongside low-intervention wines on tap. Proof that beauty lies in simplicity.
52. Coombeshead Farm
Everything you eat at Coombeshead is grown and produced on the 66-acre farm, from fruit and veg to bread, meat and more. Exceptional produce is really allowed to sing by Tom Adams and team, and you can stay overnight in this countryside hideaway too.
73. Outlaw’s New Road
New Road, Port Isaac
Nathan Outlaw’s flagship restaurant has had a few reincarnations over the years but has settled on an elaborate 11-course tasting menu that sits firmly in treat territory. For seafood fans, this is a once-in-a lifetime sort of experience.
Of the four, Argoe is the newest place to open, though it has already appeared on national TV since opening in July 2021 and become one of the places to dine in Cornwall. The seaside restaurant is run by Newlyn fishmonger Richard Adams and former Rochelle Canteen chef Ben Coombs. The menu focuses, unsurprisingly, around fish and seafood, cooked and served simply alongside aperitifs and wines on tap.
Dishes include deep fried anchovies with caper mayonnaise, cured sea bass with fennel and tomato, steamed mussels and cider, and leeks, chickpeas and romesco sauce. You can also order grilled fish such as sardines, John Dory, and megrim sole with oregano.
Inside, the restaurant features simple wooden furniture and there’s a large outside terrace available during the summer months also.
A month after launching, Rich told CornwallLive that he wanted Argoe to create a restaurant which represented the fishing industry. “The sort of thing you get abroad in France and Spain on harbour sides where everything is hyper local.
“You can look at a menu and that menu will tell you what the local industry is, what’s being caught, sardines on the menu every day, hake and spider crabs, just a celebration of that stuff cooked simply. It’s an experience you get a lot abroad but not so much here.”
The restaurant has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on reviews website TripAdvisor, with comments such as:
“There are not enough superlatives to describe how sensational the seafood and fish is, WOW! Loved everything, venue, atmosphere, food and the super friendly informative service.”
“Don’t hesitate: just book to dine at Argoe in Newlyn! We had the MOST amazing supper.”
“This was our second visit to Argoe even though we live far away! But this is the sort of place you travel for, everything about it is perfection from the food to the warm welcome, and lots on the menu for a vegetarian.”
You can see the full Top 100 list here.