British Pub Food – The Best UK Pub Grub

British pub food is probably taken for granted by us Brits.

Sure, our pubs are great for just a ‘quick drink,’ but loads of them are also up there with our best restaurants when it comes to quality food.

Coming up, I’ll be showing you where to eat the best British pub grub.

But first, you’ll find below some of the top traditional dishes found on most British pub food menus.

There’s just something about the hearty food and casual nature of dining in our pubs that makes everyone feel at home…

British Pub Food Starters / Bar Snacks

Pork Scratchings

Pork scratchings - British pub food

A snack or nibble to be eaten with your pre-meal drink, pork scratchings are a British pub food staple not to be missed. Pork rind rendered to a crisp and seasoned with salt will get the juices flowing for what’s to follow…

Scotch Eggs

British delicacies

One of my favourite ever pub foods is the Scotch Egg, which is one of the true classic British delicacies!

Soup

Soup

Not many better feelings than eating a hot bowl of soup with crusty bread and butter, in front of an open pub fire on a cold winter’s day in Britain.

Prawn Cocktail

Prawn cocktail

The prawn cocktail is often mocked these days due to it being perceived as a retro old-timer, but there are plenty of gastropubs adding a modern twist to this classic starter to keep it alive.

Pate and Toast

Pate and toast

Pate is an animal liver paste and is an ever present British pub food.

Diced livers on toast, often cooked with garlic and herbs for example, can also be found on many pub menus.

Potted Shrimp

Potted shrimp - British pub food

Brown shrimp cooked and then set in butter, flavoured with nutmeg, is a true British pub food delight when eaten with some quality crusty bread. Other ‘potted’ dishes can also be found, like crab or duck for example.

Whitebait

Whitebait

I almost feel guilty when tucking into whitebait, so small and delicate are these baby fishes! They’re so moorish though, especially when eaten with some mayo and lemon.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Breaded and deep fried mushrooms are a popular starter choice in many pubs, usually served with a dipping sauce and a side salad.

Stuffed mushrooms are another popular choice, as are simple fried mushrooms on toast with garlic and herbs.

British Pub Food Main Courses

All Day Breakfast

Full English Breakfast

I can barely contain my excitement and we’re only on the first main dish! The fact that the Full Breakfast is available all day in many pubs will never fail to blow my mind!

Bangers and Mash

Bangers and mash - British pub food

If you’re not familiar with British cuisine, this is sausages and mashed potatoes, served with gravy and often fried onions and vegetables. Proper British pub grub!

Toad in the hole

Toad in the hole

Another incredible sausage dish, this time cooked in Yorkshire pudding batter. I’m as confused as you with the name… all I know is that toad in the hole is one of THE BEST British dinners.

Pork Belly

Pork belly

Sticking with the pork theme for now, a really good choice of British pub food is melt-in-the-mouth pork belly, which is usually served with creamy mashed potatoes, vegetables and apple sauce. Sublime!

Fish and Chips

Fish and chips

If you found me a pub in Britain that doesn’t serve fish and chips, I’d seriously consider emigrating. This famous British food is best served with plenty of malt vinegar, lemon juice and tartare sauce (tomato ketchup is also popular).

Many pubs will have other fish dishes too, including the ‘catch of the day.’

Scampi and Chips

Scampi and chips

Scampi is a crustacean similar to lobster and crayfish, which is a popular alternative to fish and chips. Also usually served with liberal amounts of salt and vinegar and tartare sauce.

Pie and Mash

Pie and mash - British pub food

We love a pie with mashed potatoes, vegetables and gravy in Britain, especially as a pub meal. Popular choices of pie filling are steak and kidney, steak and ale, or chicken and ham (plus loads of other possible variations).

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's pie

Yet another warming dish particularly good in winter, although Shepherd’s Pie is great all year round. One of the British food classics, this is a bed of minced lamb cooked with onions, celery, carrots and peas, topped with mashed potatoes.

Liver and Bacon

Liver and bacon

Maybe not our most popular food, but liver and bacon is an amazing British pub food classic. Usually served with mashed potatoes, fried onions and vegetables.

Gammon (Ham), Egg and Chips

Gammon egg and chips

This dish is so simple but one of my favourite British pub foods. The ham should be thick cut and can be served hot or cold, with the egg being fried. A good side of chips and a juicy grilled pineapple ring tops it off nicely.

The Ploughman’s

What Is A Ploughman's Lunch?

The Ploughman’s is a great traditional British pub food for sure. Fully known as the Ploughman’s Lunch, this really is simplicity at its best.

Hunks of bread, cheese and ham served with other savoury British delicacies like the scotch egg and pork pie, makes for a proper humble meal.

Fisherman’s Pie

Fisherman's Pie

Also simply known as a fish pie, this is another good alternative to fish and chips. Unlike a steak and kidney pie, but like a shepherd’s pie, the fisherman’s pie is topped with mashed potatoes.

The filling is usually made up of smoked fish such as haddock, cod and salmon, cooked in a white wine or cheese sauce.

Lancashire Hot Pot

Lancashire hot pot - British pub food

This regional stew (Lancashire being in north-west England) is proper traditional British pub food.

Historically, diced mutton was cooked with onions to create the stew base of this comforting dish, topped with sliced potatoes. These days lamb is more often used.

Burger and Chips

Burger and chips

You can’t go wrong with a British beef patty combined with cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato, all within a toasted brioche bun.

With sides of fat chips, onion rings and coleslaw, it doesn’t get much better than that (wait, relish and a gherkin too!)

Steak and Chips

Steak and chips - British Dinners

Again, simple and effective. Whether it’s rump, sirloin, ribeye or whatever, a nice juicy steak with chips, grilled mushrooms, tomatoes and peas is one of the top pub foods! Served with the classic Peppercorn or Diane sauce is the stuff!

Roast Dinner

British Roast Dinner

You thought I’d forgotten the classic Roast! No chance. Whether you opt for table service or a carvery service, you surely can’t be disappointed by a pub Roast dinner.

Your selection of roast meat is partnered with the ‘trimmings’ which can include a Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, pigs in blankets, roasted potatoes and a selection of vegetables. All topped off with lashings of gravy.

(A nut roast is a popular alternative to a meat based roast).

Lasagne

Lasagne

Obviously not British in origin, but Lasagne seems to have found itself being a permanent British pub food menu item. Not hard to understand why really!

Curry

Chicken Tikka Masala

Again, this may not strike you as being very British, although our love for curry means Chicken Tikka Masala is actually one of the national dishes in Britain. So, this in particular appears on many a pub menu.

Chilli con Carne

Chilli con carne

Another dish with origins elsewhere that we Brits have adopted into our pubs with open arms! Most popular served with either rice or a jacket potato.

British pub food desserts

Ice Cream Sundae

Ice cream sundae

The ice cream Sundae is one of the proper retro British desserts, great for both adults and children. It totally reflects the nature of pub dining, casual and fun.

Scoops of ice cream are combined with sauce and toppings like chocolate pieces, nuts, cream, fruit and marshmallows.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

It’s seriously difficult to find a better dessert than sticky toffee pudding! This sponge cake oozing with toffee sauce is simply incredible with custard or ice cream.

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

Probably the most famous British pub food dessert and definitely one of the best. Just imagine nice chunky apple pieces spiced with cinnamon and covered with a crisp yet crumbly topping and custard. Amazing.

Bread and Butter Pudding 

Bread and butter pudding

I know what you’re thinking… “how can something so basic be any good?” Well, this bread and butter is smothered and soaked in our delicious custard before being cooked with dried fruit. That’s how!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Chocolate fudge cake

Similar to the sticky toffee pudding, but guess what? That’s right, this popular pub dish oozes chocolate instead. Not much more to say really! 

Cheesecake

Cheesecake with berries

I’m not sure I can claim that we Brits invented the cheesecake, but we sure do love it and some form of cheesecake is usually on a British pub food menu.

Cheese Board 

Cheese board

Finally, the Cheese Board. A great alternative to a sweet dessert to end your British pub food experience. A good cheese board will give you a variety of cheeses to try along with crackers, chutney and fruit.

Surely now you just want to find a place to eat our British pub grub!

That’s where this British Food Map comes in handy!

British Food Dude