The Black Rat

88 Chesil Street Winchester SO23 0HX

This sympathetically renovated former pub is arguably the best restaurant in Winchester, offering Michelin-starred fine dining with a refreshingly relaxed vibe. Happily it's not without its quirks, and true to form, the owner's idiosyncracies can be found dotted about, from the large stuffed rat hiding under the table in the intimate upstairs bar to the eccentric bathroom, which is exactly that, including the bath. Eat in the main rooms, with their cosy brickwork interior and small oak tables or have an exclusive party with friends in the private dining room.

 Its menu of Modern British cuisine is built around quality local produce: fish from Brixham Market, venison from nearby Blackmore Game and vegetables from their own allotment. This is exceptional grown-up nosh served with friendly charm. For more stuffed animals and real ales, pop across the road to the local favourite Black Boy pub, also owned by David Nicholson.

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