There’s nothing quite like dinner by the sea. The sound of waves lapping against the shore as the waiter shucks your oysters, the cool salty breeze on your face, fending off seagulls the size of Harrier Jump Jets as they try and steal your chips; it’s all part of the seaside restaurant vibe.
And right now, we can’t imagine a better way to spend our weekend than in a nice seaside restaurant. We just can’t choose which…
The second restaurant from husband-and-wife duo Ben and Kate O’Norum, Boatyard takes their hugely successful formula of sustainable produce, excellent cooking and brilliant wines from nearby Farmyard in St Leonards on Sea, to the seafront in Hastings Old Town.
The recently opened restaurant occupies part of the first floor of the Hastings Contemporary Gallery and overlooks the shingle used by Europe’s largest beach-launched fishing fleet (hence boat yard).
And it seems they’ve brought the high standards of Farmyard (a personal favourite) to the seafront, swapping charcuterie and sharing plates for fishes and seafood.
Where: Hastings Contemporary, Hastings , East Sussex , TN34 3DW
Perpetually up-and-coming Folkestone proves that it’s up-and-come and then some with Rocksalt. The striking harbour-front restaurant is the Kentish creation of former Claridge’s head chef Mark Sargeant.
Seemingly hovering above the harbour, the restaurant is a real gem, offering local produce by one of the best chefs in London, and the best bit is that it’s not in London at all!
Where: 4-5 Fish Market, Folkestone, CT19 6AA
Little Gloster, Cowes
Catch it while you can. The Little Gloster in Cowes on the Isle of Wight is one hell of a restaurant and it’s shutting up shop for good at the end of September. But until then, it’s still open to hotel guests.
The restaurant, run by husband and wife Ben and Holly, serves deliciously simple food. The Uffa pasta, named after the owners’ young son Uffa, is worth the journey from London alone and The chilled out vibes of Little Gloster and the panoramic views of the sea making the experience nearly as magical as the food itself.
Where: 31 Marsh Road, Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 8JQ
36 On The Quay
Family run as a restaurant with rooms, 36 On The Quay has the unfortunate distinction of being a former Michelin star holder. After 18 years the accolade was removed, but that doesn’t mean that the food here isn’t right up at that standard.
Informal fine dining comes with a great view of the eponymous quay and you are guaranteed to leave asking ‘who needs a Michelin star anyway?’
Where: 47 South Street, Emsworth, Hampshire, PO10 7EG
Shell Bay, Dorset
Just stunning surroundings, a couple hundred yards from the ferry to the famously smart neighbourhood of Sandbanks, Shell Bay is the quintessential seaside restaurant. It’s probably exactly what you had in mind when you clicked on this article, in fact.
With an ever-changing menu of locally sourced fish and meat, the food is able to take on the views measure-for-measure.
Where: Ferry Road, Studland, Dorset, BH19 3BA
The Sportsman, Whitstable
A seemingly unassuming Whistable pub-come-restaurant, The Sportstman wears its Michelin Star very nonchalantly, which makes it all the more worth a visit.
The food is unfussy and fabulous and a fantastic counterpoint to the rather drab windswept surroundings!
Where: Faversham Road, Seasalter, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 4BP
The Set, Brighton
Peering out at the sea from across an ornate Georgian square, The Set is itself set inside one of our favourite hotels, The Artist Residence.
Local Sussex suppliers might provide the food, but The Set brings the style with uber cool surroundings and intentionally miss-matched crockery, it’s like you’re in Shoreditch, but there’s the burnt-out hulk of the old pier just across the way.
Where: 33 Regency Square, Brighton, BN1 2GG
The George, Isle of Wight
Of course, if hipster dining isn’t your thing then don’t worry, crisp table clothes await at The George in Yarmouth. The Isle of Wight hotel provides fine dining at its finest. It also happens to have a stunner of a view.
Formerly the home of the island’s governor (it once played host to Charles II), look out across the Solent and enjoy your meal without being surprised when the hulking great Isle of Wight ferry passes within yards of the hotel on its way to dock.
Where: Quay Street, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, PO41 0PE