Are you heading off to Cambridge and wondering which one of the fine-dining restaurants to choose? One of the best dining experiences in Cambridge is undoubtedly at one of the colleges. Sitting down here for a banquet in one of the formal halls is a unique experience. Unfortunately, you will not have this opportunity very often as you have to be invited to dine here. So how can you get hold of this golden ticket? There are two ways around this. An invite from a friend studying here or attending a party.
However, there is one exception to having this once in a lifetime opportunity. Some of the colleges organise special dinners for which they sell tickets. Corpus Christi is one of them. I recommend checking with their catering team when they hold their next banquet open to the public or keeping an eye out on their social media.
So where to dine if you have something to celebrate or if you are a keen foodie and want to tick off your bucket list of the best places to eat in England? We have a great choice of excellent fine dining restaurants in Cambridge from vegetarian to local cuisine and Michelin stars.
My favourite fine dining restaurants in Cambridge.
Midsummer house at Midsummer Common
Midsummer House is the only Michelin Star restaurant in Cambridge at the moment, holding 2 Michelin stars. Hopefully, we will have another one soon as the quality of the other restaurants is without question at this level.
Midsummer House is set on the River Cam on Midsummer Common. A more stunning location you could not wish for. On summer days, you might have difficulty entering the restaurant. The Cam Cattle, which roams freely here on the common, have developed a taste for excellent food. Often you can see them lined up at the entrance of Midsummer House.
Dining here at Midsummer House is an exceptional experience. Over the years, I have eaten here many times for dinner. In 2019 we decided to start the May bank holiday weekend on a good note and booked a table for lunch. We were fortunate as the weather was stunning, and we ended up in the garden for coffee, digestives, cheese and chocolates. We couldn’t have wished for a better finish of our Michelin Star lunch.
Restaurant 22 on Chesterton Road
Restaurant TWENTY-TWO has always been one of Cambridge’s favourites. You couldn’t have guessed that it could become even more popular. And it did! This delightful restaurant is hard to spot as it looks like somebody’s house. You will spot their nameplate on the wall if you look more carefully.
In 2018, I noticed Sam Carter’s images of his fantastic food on Instagram. It soon worked out that he lived in Cambridge, so I thought I pop the question: ‘ Why don’t you open a restaurant in Cambridge? We need your food here!’. I ‘fell’ off my chair when the answer was ‘soon’. His lips were sealed, and I had to wait for the big announcement. It was a long wait as we had this conversation on Instagram during the summer of 2017, and only in February 2018 he announced that he was taking over Restaurant TWENTY-TWO.
Needless to say, we have eaten here many times. I wish I could go more often. Due to commitments, we are often away. Booking last minute is out of the question as they tend to be booked up a long time ahead.
Restaurant TWENTY-TWO is a must-visit when you come to Cambridge, and if you are local and haven’t been yet, I can highly recommend booking yourself in for lunch or dinner. Keep an eye out for their special dinners, which they organise regularly.
Mark Poynton at the Cambridge Cookery School
Mark Poynton is a well-known chef in Cambridge. The previous protegee of Daniel Clifford from Midsummer House achieved a Michelin Star at Alimentum, which unfortunately closed now.
Following on from our series of successful events last year, Mark Poynton is taking over the Cambridge Cookery School every Friday and Saturday evening. He offers two distinctly different concepts, which change weekly. On Friday evening, he serves a 3-course à la carte menu and an elegant tasting menu on Saturday evening. With Mark running service in the open cookery school, the experience is like a chef’s table where you can see him at work and can chat to him.
vanderlyle on Mill Road
Are you looking for vanderlyle restaurant on Mill Road and can’t find it? Not a surprise as it the building doesn’t carry their name. When you hit number 38, you have arrived. The next problem, it is closed. Yes, indeed! This unique restaurant is only open for dinner four days per week from Wednesday onwards.
So you thought you have now encountered all the hurdles. Not quite! There is only a name and booking page on their website. No information about the type of food or chefs. Then you try to book and find out that the first free table is in 3 months. How on earth did they achieve their fame so quickly?
The answer is simple. The plant-based food of vanderlyle is delicious, and combined with the cool Scandi decor, it hits all the right notes. Restaurant vanderlyle is the brainchild of the ex-Masterchef finalist Alex Rusher and Lawrence Butler, the previous owners of Hole in the Wall.
When they sold this excellent country pub in Little Wilbraham, Alex and Lawrence took a well-earned break. Once in a while, you could see them popping up at the Cambridge Distillery in Grantchester. Finally, in April 2019, they opened vanderlyle Restaurant on Mill Road. I was intrigued by why they had changed their focus to plant-based cuisine. Apparently, both chefs love vegetables, so the shift to a plant-based restaurant was the obvious choice for them. Much to my surprise, Alex and Lawrence even blew the local butchers away with their excellent food. Well, if they think it is good, then I am sure they can please any carnivore!
Restaurant Cotto at the Gonville Hotel
In 2016, Ruth and Hans took the opportunity to relocate their restaurant Cotto to the newly refurbished Gonville Hotel, which is aiming to be one of the top hotels in Cambridge.
At a very young age, Hans Schweitzer, the chef-owner, realised that the kitchen was his calling. After training at the prestigious Munich Hotel School in Germany, Hans gained the title of Maitre de Cuisine by age 25. Hans worked in many places all over the world as an Executive Chef, from the Teheran Arya in Iran to his own Restaurant, Table, in Germany, where he was awarded a Michelin star at the age of 29.
Hans is an excellent chocolatier, and his piano made out of chocolate is a must-have for dessert! His style of cuisine is British with a twist. Head over to my review to find out more about their excellent food.
Please note that these restaurants are very popular, so booking is essential!
p.s. this blog is slightly outdated as it was first posted in 2019. Please head over to my Travel Guide. Link is below
Check out the Cambridge Travel Guide