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A guide to the ‘real’ Exeter: the 7 best independent cafes and restaurants

Grace Bird is a History undergrad at the University of Exeter and our Digital Marketing Intern. Hailing from Worcestershire, Grace has a keen interest in content and creative writing and an equally strong passion for supporting local businesses.

Whether you’re a true foodie, visiting Exeter or want to support local businesses, visiting independent cafes and restaurants is an enjoyable way to explore the character and culture of a city, whilst enjoying great food. This guide offers an insight into the seven best independent cafes and restaurants in Exeter and they have been selected for their individuality, atmosphere and quality.

In no particular order…


1. The Old Firehouse

The Old Firehouse is one of the most well-known independent restaurants amongst both students and locals in Exeter due to its relaxed atmosphere and great food. Famous for their late night 14-inch pizzas and range of local ciders, the Firehouse is one of the unique food and drink delights of Exeter. By offering affordability, quality food and live music visiting the Old Firehouse is a unique experience and is a great place to catch up with friends and family. However, the menu is not solely pizza and they are also praised for their Sunday roasts and everyday pub classics.

Location: New North Road

Price: ££


2. Harry’s

This family-run restaurant sources local produce to serve relaxed brunches and lunches as well as celebratory or intimate dinners. Offering a varied menu with over 75 dishes, Harry’s is a favourite of many due to the high quality, locally sourced food and friendly atmosphere. They also offer vegetarian and vegan options catering for every appetite, making Harry’s perfect for groups and parties.

Location: Longbrook Street

Price: ££-£££

3. The Plant Cafe

Located in the Cathedral yard, the Plant Café lies within the centre of the city but it stands out from the crowd due to its totally vegetarian menu. This zero-waste, friendly café perfectly caters for a coffee and slice of cake or a spot of lunch. The cosy café offers vegan options, fresh salads and home-made cakes which you can enjoy overlooking the Cathedral green – a real taste of Exeter!

Location: The Cathedral Yard

Price: ££

4. The Glorious Art House

The Glorious Art House ranks as the quirkiest of all of the cafes in this guide due to its artistic aesthetic and vibe (hence the name). The building both inside and out is a work of art in itself and regular exhibitions and children’s sing-a-long sessions contribute to the lively, vibrant atmosphere offered by this café. The Glorious Art House caters for breakfast and lunch where you can pick up freshly baked pastries, cakes, soups and bagels. This café is truly unique to Exeter and offers so much more than just coffee.

Location: Fore Street

Price:  ££

5. Devon Coffee

Set in the heart of Exeter’s bustling high street, Devon Coffee is the perfect café to pick up a locally roasted speciality coffee. The rustic, authentic interior and amazing coffee sets it apart from larger chain coffee companies and makes visiting this café a real treat. They also offers a selection of cakes and quick bites making Devon Coffee convenient for a breakfast or lunchtime coffee break.

Location: Queen Street

Price: ££ at 6:22amPDT

Whether you crave a traditional English fry up or a healthy avocado brunch, No 1 Polsloe is one of the hidden treasures of Exeter which offers a delightful eating experience. Food is served from morning until the afternoon so whether you’re after brunch, lunch or a quick coffee, No 1 Polsloe has got you covered. The affordable prices and high-quality food of this small café make it popular with students and locals alike and booking is advisable, especially on weekends!

Location: Polsloe Road

Price: £

7. Mangos

Situated on the quay, the relaxing atmosphere and view of the river is only one reason to visit Mangos café and bar. Mangos is the perfect place to sit by the water’s edge enjoying a coffee or a glass of wine and has a friendly, casual vibe. They offer both a breakfast and lunch menu which include a full English breakfast, smashed avocado, baguettes, flatbreads and of course a classic Devon cream tea. A perfect spot for a drink or bite by the quay, especially on a sunny day!

Location: The Quay

Price: ££-£££

If you’re a local business located in Exeter and in need of marketing guidance or support, contact Bigwave media for a discussion.

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