On one of our recent photographic adventures my partner and I found ourselves in the coastal town of Woolacombe, North Devon where the beautiful sandy beach (voted Best British Beach by the Mail on Sunday) stretches for miles and is surrounded by a stunning jagged coastline. Up above on the cliff-top is the quaint little village of Mortehoe, boasting a 13th Century Church, and beautiful farmland that stretches for miles.
We were in search of somewhere special to dine on Friday evening as were in a celebratory mood for my partner’s birthday dinner. After strolling around the busy streets of Woolacombe we were struck by the severe lack of inviting restaurants, and found many were already closed for the evening! This I must say I found quite surprising. To me, a busy Friday evening in a town full of visitors would be a perfect place to make a pretty penny on home-cooked, seafood dishes!
So, we wandered off the beaten track, up South Street only to find the perfect little ‘hole in the wall’ tapas bar and bistro named, Sophias’ – totally unassuming but with a menu of delicious seafood, standard bistro offerings and daily specials to make your mouth water. Sophia’s is a family run eatery offering home-cooked food with a warm and friendly atmosphere. Derek Stevens the owner, and our waiter for the evening was a joy to chat with as he described the various dishes on the menu, and shared with us his love of cooking and entertaining others.
To start with we decided upon the Loaded Nachos served with freshly prepared chilli! Wow, what an adventure for the tastebuds – Tortilla chips smothered in melted cheese, topped with absolutely delicious chilli with a good ‘kick’ to it, topped with a large serving of fresh guacamole… delicious! Highly recommended and note that one portion is more than enough for two people.
My partner, chose the Louisiana Gumbo, lovingly made by Alison, Derek’s wife and partner in the business, and though absolutely delicious, he was a little dismayed to find no okra in the ingredients, an absolute MUST coming from this ex-resident of Louisiana. I decided upon two appetisers, one of pan-cooked prawns in garlic and butter, and the other of warm tomato salad with feta cheese. Both were the perfect choice for me. The prawns were tender and succulent and the tomato salad fresh and juicy with the grilled feta cheese dripping onto my chin… mmm. Again, delicious.
Derek was such a welcoming host, so friendly and easy to chat with. He was happy to speak of love for Sophia’s, living in the Woolacombe area and creating dishes for his beloved tapas bar and bistro. The restaurant has a casual yet warm and inviting feel to it. The Stevens family were sitting at the back chatting and enjoying their wares with friends and other customers whilst we sat at one of a couple of tables that are set up on the sidewalk watching the world go by but still feeling the energy of Sophia’s.
The perfect way to end a wonderful day of exploring, that of a full stomach from a delicious and lovingly cooked meal. I would highly recommend Sophia’s to anyone looking for an excellent meal served with such generosity. In fact, the following evening we returned to Sophia’s just because the food was so tasty, and the company so easy.
South Street, Woolacombe,
Tel: 01271 870771