Restaurants: Bites - Bristol fashion: other ports of call for the best of the city's cooking

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Belgo The Old Granary, Queen Charlotte Street (0117 905 8000). Daily lunch and dinner. One of Bristol's Venetian-style warehouses starkly but smartly converted to the Belgian moules-and-frites outfit, where waiters in monks' habits dispense an exhaustive range of Belgian beers and generally, mussels excepted, suitably stodgy food. Most main courses cost less than pounds 10, and there are good deals on lobsters and set meals incorporating moules.

Budokan 31 Colston Street (0117 914 1488). Mon-Sat noon-midnight. Sleek pan-Asian canteen with the obligatory refectory tables, steaming bowls of noodles and uncluttered aesthetic. There is even a website for those who don't actually want to eat there (www.budokan.co.uk). It's wholesome without being worthy, with a menu that ranges from sushi and maki rolls, through satay, tempura and salads, and on to the noodles in soup or pan-fried, with rice as an alternative. There it more or less ends. No desserts, no smoking.

A Cozinha 33 St Stephen's Street (0117 922 5505). Tue-Fri lunch, Thur- Sat dinner. Yvonne MacFarlane cooks Portuguese food with the passion of a convert in a small, homely front room. The hit of pressure-cooked pork, seafood, garlic and coriander has the power to persuade anyone that Portuguese cooking is underrated. These stews, or lamb with chorizo, or feijoada - a bean and pork stew - are the communally served centre of the pounds 18 dinner. Either side of this, after olives there's brandade of Portuguese salt cod, black olive pate, caldo verde soup or crab salad, and Yvonne's own pudim flan (like creme caramel), almond or lemon tart and an authentic glass of Portuguese espresso. MacFarlane and her husband Ian built up their reputation at the Somerset Inn in Paulton before moving to this downtown site.

Mud Dock Cafe 40 The Grove (0117 934 9734). Mon lunch, Tue-Sun lunch and dinner. Typically Bristol hangout above a cycle works, seemingly constructed mainly from railway sleepers, with music or DJs playing most of the time and candles burning at night for a woody, mellow beer-and-wine-bar feel. Mediterranean food has its finger on the pulse and proves the kitchen is more focused than the lighting would suggest. Medoc chicken, risotto, duck breast, tagine and fresh fish are pounds 7 to pounds 11. Proper puddings include creme brulee, pavlova, chocolate pie or lemon tart.

River Station The Grove (0117 914 4434). Mon-Fri, Sun lunch and dinner, Sat dinner. This arresting glass and steel building was once a river police station. It serves excellent fish, beef, calf's liver and vegetables on a menu that rides the crest of the new British cooking wave, though not without dips in performance: tasteless Thai-style crab cakes countered a high of hake on cumin chickpeas and spinach. The cheaper seats in the cafe get a better river view. pounds 20 to pounds 25 without drink in the restaurant, set lunch pounds 10.50 to pounds 13.75.

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