Food and Drink in Exeter
Students are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to dining in Exeter. Being close to Devon, the place is simply bursting with authentic, rustic eateries; local produce and homemade delights.
Explore the numerous independent establishments that inhabit Topsham, the Waterfront and Magdalen Road, or dine comfortably at familiar favourites Zizzi’s, Wagamama’s or Pizza Express.
Whatever you choose, Exeter has plenty to offer for a weekday treat that won’t break your budget.
Whether you’re spending a lazy morning-after with friends or are looking to impress visiting family members, a spot of brunch at Tea on the Green is bound to hit the spot. Using only local, 100% free-range ingredients, this unpretentious yet impressive eatery offers an array of breakfasts, toasted sandwiches, cakes and coffees to make those sleepy mornings that bit more enjoyable.
Another loveable food spot for those am starts is Avocet Café, situated on Fore St in Topsham. This place is perhaps most known for its one-of-a-kind bacon sandwiches made with rare-breed Gloucester Old Spot rashers, as well as its Devon rarebit and West Country cheese plates.
Lunch & Dinner
Although primarily a wholesaler, The Exploding Bakery offers a world of hidden treats around lunchtime, which those in the know can always take advantage of. Sample pastries, sourdough bread with soup, focaccia, quiches and cakes, all fresh from the bakery’s ovens. It also serves pretty good coffee and takeaway is available.
For a decadent treat that won’t break your budget, Petit Mange is a must-visit. A split-level bistro serving dishes of both the snacky and substantive variety, it’s big on flavour and low on cost. Make the most of the fresh fish and seafood, including their mussel and crab linguine, and be sure to grab a portion of their Jenga-style stack of chunky cooked chips on the side.
Meanwhile, local watering hole The Firehouse offers a great Sunday roast, perfect for those homesick cravings. It’s also popular for its late night pizzas and is even said to be the inspiration for JK Rowling’s ‘Leaky Cauldron’ in the Harry Potter novels.
Although most Exeter foodie spots will serve vegetarian options, the Plant Café-Deli is one place that has come to be known as the non-meat eater’s haven. Located snugly on Cathedral Street, this café is primarily veggie but will cater to other dietary requirements such as vegan or gluten-free. They’re big sticklers for using organic and local produce wherever possible, as well as using recyclable, biodegradable packaging. So you can be sure your indulgences come with a side of clean conscience.
Second only to the Plant is Herbies, another invaluable vegetarian find. With a menu that encompasses an array of cuisines, it’s perhaps most adored for its spinach and mushroom lasagna.
For students really into their food chain, there are a number of fresh food markets about Exeter, so you can ditch the supermarkets and keep it local instead.
Look out for the Love Local Food van, which stops at the Exeter Uni’s Streatham campus each week and sells fruit, veg and meat for not much at all. And the local Farmer’s Market is sure to make a mouthwatering haul, serving up meat, veg, baked goods, deli items and sweet treats so you can grab a bargain and feel good about helping the community. Find it on the corner of Fore St and South St every Thursday, 9am-2pm.
Although Exeter may seem quiet and quaint at first glance, there is so much more to this lively city than many realise. Full of cosy, friendly pubs in which you can grab a casual drink with your friends, it also throws up a number of lively nightclubs that have now become student staples.
As well The Firehouse mentioned earlier, one can enjoy a pleasant drink and meet-up at John Gandy’s – a busy weekend hotspot spanning two floors and offering a large selection of drinks. Alternatively, Timepiece is a popular pub that turns into a nightlife after dusk, offering indoor and outdoor seating and themed nights (including salsa!) on Wednesdays.
And finally, no semester would be complete without a night out at Unit 1. Previously known as Arena, this busy thriving social hub becomes student-central on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and is a great place to meet new and existing students.