Bookmark

My Faves

Click the bookmark icon to save all the stuff you love.

Be The First To Know

Your inside line on the new, unique and unmissable across Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Sign up to our newsletter

Reader Treats Just For You!

The 20 best coastal eats

Have your lunch with a side of crashing waves at one of our Muddy-recommended coastal eateries (with some fab Hants and IoW ones, of course!) Napkin at the ready? Let's do this!

CORNWALL KENT  DEVON  NORFOLK  HAMPSHIRE  ISLE OF WIGHT SUSSEX  SUFFOLK

 

CORNWALL

Hooked on the Rocks, Swanpool Beach, Falmouth

The chosen venue for a recent girly lunch in the sun, Hooked on the Rocks is one of my new favourites. It overlooks the usually calm, quiet and alluringly turquoise waters of Swanpool Beach in Falmouth. The menu focusses on locally sourced and sustainable food with plenty of fish, tapas to nibble over cocktails and a sprinkling of international flavours. For chillier days or evenings, the cosy and stylish interiors provide the perfect weather-watching shelter. hookedontherocksfalmouth.com

 

Schooners, St Agnes

Trevaunance Cove and next-door Trevellas Porth are regular family haunts for swimming, snorkelling and surfing. Throw in a buzzy beachside bar that serves up lush tapas and cold local beer and you’ve got my recipe for Cornish summer bliss. The vibe is really relaxed – just what you want from beachside dining and it’s the sort of food you can take your time over, chatting and eating as the evening rolls on and the sun goes down. schoonerscornwall.com

BACK TO TOP

 

KENT

The Lobster Shack, Whitstable 

For the ultimate place to indulge in a spot of beach side eating, The Lobster Shack in Whitstable ticks all the boxes. Fresh fish sourced a stone’s throw from where you are sitting. Tick. Plenty of outdoor seating? Tick. Waves lapping nearby where your kids can paddle while you enjoy your food? Tick. Amazing selection of local beer and wine to ensure that you never want to leave? Tick. Here you’ll find every kind of hot and cold seafood including its famous lobster, plus regular daily specials to keep you running back to this hidden gem located behind the Harbour in this pretty seaside town. thelobstershack.co.uk

 

Pick Up Pintxos, Folkestone

This street food vendor specialises in pintxos and small plates inspired by the Basque Country in Northern Spain. The tiny diner has even won over the top food critics – described as ‘the best Spanish restaurant in the world’ by Giles Coren. Pintxos (pronounced pin-chos) are small bites packed full of flavour, a bit like tapas. The culture in the Basque Country is to have a selection of pintxos while socialising with friends. Muddy is still dreaming of Pick up Pintxos’ Kentish courgette flowers stuffed with goats cheese and black pepper in a light crispy tempura batter. Not exactly on the shingle, but it overlooks Folkestone harbour so perfect for summer seaside dining. Reasonably priced too. folkestoneharbourarm.co.uk

BACK TO TOP

 

DEVON

The Cary Arms, Babbacombe Bay

On a sunny day you have to pinch yourself – is this Torbay or the Med? – thanks to The Cary Arms’ sparkling views of Babbacombe Bay, and English Riviera vibe. This Peter de Savary hotel is perched on a cliff with a palm-filled series of terraces leading down to the sea and a stone pier delivering yachty types to the shore. Go on a Saturday for the new Champagne and Lobster Lunch where the chef barbecues your food in front of you – check out Muddy’s review here – then hoof it round the seafront to Oddicombe Beach where you can board the funicular railway and zip up the cliffside to Babbacombe for a seagull’s eye-view of the bay. This is a pub with 10 sea-facing rooms, 3 restored fisherman’s cottages, 8 quirky deluxe beach huts and a spa, so if the lush food doesn’t tempt you back, the thought of the hydrotherapy pool and a relaxing seaside stay surely will. caryarms.co.uk

 

Lobster Pop Bistro, Hope Cove

Run for your life, the aliens have landed! There’s always an unseemly scramble for these novel dining pods at The Lobster Pod Bistro at Hope Cove, so book in advance. We managed to grab one back when we were camping nearby and even though it was tipping down we had a hoot: 4 adults and 4 kids all squeezed in and steaming up the place. It’s really quirky – with drinks on speed dial via an internal phone to the bar. The food is good: chowders, fish and lobster, plus chips and pizza for the smalls and though maybe not as spectacular as the setting, it’s just what you fancy in all that healthy sea air. lobster-pod.co.uk

 

Venus Cafe, Blackpool Sands, Dartmouth 

It’s hard to beat Blackpool Sands: a Blue Flag beach, unspoilt sea and pines and an ethical cafe determined to keep it that way. With veggie, gluten-free and happy grass-fed cows on the menu, Venus Cafe are free of ocean-polluting plastic, offering compostable cups for your plastic-free Teapigs. Inside eat tacos, tapas and burgers under strings of fairy lights, or tuck into the humongous takeaway choice outside, including crispy fries so good we ate them twice. My newly vegan tween stopped moaning for all of five minutes thanks to a soya and lactose-free ice-cream. Much more delicious than it sounds, by the way. lovingthebeach.co.uk

BACK TO TOP

 

NORFOLK

Rocky Bottoms, West Runton 

Once a derelict brick kiln from the 1800s, Rocky Bottoms (not a Norfolk insult I promise) is now a stunning coastal café/restaurant serving crab and lobster from pot to plate.The location is pretty hard to beat, in the middle of a field with views over miles of uninterrupted coastline. On a clear night, the sunsets don’t get much more romantic! If you’re looking to enjoy fresh local seafood, co-owner and fisherman of 35 years, Richard catches and dresses the dishes himself. You’ll find a wide variety of seafood on the menu including squid, whitebait and even a cheeky fish finger sandwich. There are a couple of non fish options just in case you want to enjoy the views but can’t stomach the catch. It’s not cheap but this isn’t your bog standard fish’n’chip restaurant and the setting is worth a little bit extra. rockybottoms.co.uk

 

The Bucket List, Cromer & Overstand

Husband and wife team Nathan and Adele Boon have taken ‘chips on the pier’ to a whole new level. Zero carb eaters look away now, these buckets are not for the faint hearted. Chef Nathan decided to combine all his fave restaurant creations with his fave street food and the result is food genius. The menu is an ever changing feast of new toppings and ticking them off the list has become quite an instagram sensation. The Bucket List café is in Cromer and during the summer season their fab little street food van is up at Overstrand carpark. They’ve been such a success they are also permanent residents at Chambers Cocktail Company in Norwich and they continue to tour events, festivals and weddings. The Bucket List

 

Old Town Beach Cafe, Old Hunstanton 

If you’re having a beach day – forget the picnic and treat yourself to breakfast, lunch or home made cake at the Old Town Beach Café. Winner of Best Café in the Muddy Stilettos Norfolk Awards 2019 for the second year running, this little beach cafe is colourful, quirky and has a massive local following which is always a good sign. You’ll find this beachside shack café nestled down a little track in Old Hunstanton. From the outside it is rather unassuming but step inside and you’re met with an explosion of colourful prints from local artist Jacky Hutson, a dedicated doggy wall of fame and a good hearty menu including vegan options. The traditional seaside decor, buckets & spades and chilled community vibe is a little nostalgic and well worth the visit for a trip down memory lane. Old Town Beach Cafe

BACK TO TOP

 

HAMPSHIRE

Southsea Beach Cafe, Southsea

Southsea Beach Cafe New Bar

If you want to have brunch at the Southsea Beach Cafe then you need to get here early, as usually there’s a queue out the door by 10am. Why? Well, apart from having the best view of Southsea Seafront, looking right over to the Isle of Wight and Solent Forts, the food here is amazing – seafoodlocal specialities and lots of super-tasty, super-healthy options. There’s also a really simple pared-down vibe to this place while still formal enough for an evening meal out. The roof retracts to let in all that glorious sunshine and the brand new bar area is going down a storm. southseabeachcafe.co.uk

 

The Haven Bar & Restaurant, Lymington

The Haven Bar and Bistro Lymington

Lymington locals’ favourite hidden gem, The Haven Bar & Restaurant, overlooks the Yacht Haven and offers amazing views over the waterside. With an impressive bar menu and outside deck for those really hot days, you can kick back here with a glass of wine and a seafood special or even head down early for some bright and breezy breakfast fare. havenrestaurant.co.uk

 

The Cliff House, Barton On Sea

Cliff House Overhead

Perched on top of a cliff in the beautiful Barton-on-Sea, you don’t get many more impressive views than at The Cliff House. This Muddy Award-winner oozes Scandi chic, beachy vibes and even has its very own beer and gin in-house. There’s always something going on here as well, with live music, food events and festivals, making the most of that fabulous outside space. Sit with a quiet drink and watch the sunset or perfect for an evening catching up with your gal pals over some top quality food. thecliffhouse.co.uk

BACK TO TOP

 

ISLE OF WIGHT

The Hut, Colwell Bay

The Hut

Celeb fave and all around gorgeous spot The Hut on Colwell Bay is the height of beachside chic. With beach-hut styling, seafood platters to feed an army (and that look amazing on insta too), you can dock up a boat and spend an entire Summer’s day chilling and eating some of the best food the Island has to offer. thehutcolwell.co.uk

 

Three Buoys, Ryde

Three Buoys

Three Buoys is a bit of an unexpected gem – you really can’t beat that glorious view over the Solent. The food here is fresh, with plenty of locally caught seafood and a host of regional suppliers including Isle of Wight Tomatoes, Isle of Wight Cheese Co. and Mermaid Gin. The restaurant’s locality to Appley Beach means you’re mere steps away from a beautiful sandy shoreline and just a short walk to the hovercraft and FastCat, making it ideal for daytrippers from the mainland. threebuoys.co.uk

BACK TO TOP

 

SUSSEX

CrabShack, Worthing

Just opposite Worthing’s beach, this unpretentious family-run restaurant and bar serves up quality seafood on a wooden deck and in a cosy cabin-like interior. Stop in for casual grazing or relax over an indulgent three-course dinner. Catch of the day comes from local fishing fleets; you’ll also find favourites like dressed crab, moules marinière, crispy squid with garlic chips and Sussex smokie – a creamy haddock dish with dunking ciabatta. Or fight over a fish platter for two featuring South Downs-smoked salmon. There’s a handy ice-cream hut for takeaway scoops and you can linger for a Sussex sparkling wine or a cocktail even after the kitchen has closed. Crabshack is close to Worthing’s pier and theatre and just off a Muddy-favourite coastal cycle path that leads to Brighton and beyond. crabshackworthing.co.uk

 

Murmur, Brighton

TV’s Great British Menu winner Michael Bremner is behind this smart contemporary bistro set in the restored King’s Road arches on Brighton’s seafront. It’s in a great location alongside the BAi360 viewing tower and opposite the skeletal remains of the West Pier – part of which forms a sculpture outside the restaurant that is romantically lit after dark. The restaurant’s name comes from the epic starling murmurations that form here in winter, sweeping across the sky for up to an hour at dusk. Bremner’s pared-back menu foregrounds British classics with an international twist like mackerel fillet with lentil curry, spring lamb rump with pancetta or pork belly with apple salsa. Set menus are great value, as are children’s options. If you’re day tripping this summer, head west from here for a greater chance of elbow-room on the beach. murmur-restaurant.co.uk

BACK TO TOP

 

SUFFOLK

The Ship at Dunwich, Suffolk

Dunwich is the sleepier and less tourist-heavy cousin of Aldeburgh and Southwold, a tiny hamlet in the middle of the marshes and with its own stretch of beach. Several hundred years ago, things couldn’t have been more different. Dunwich was one of the UK’s busiest ports, until half of it got sucked up into the sea and now it’s Suffolk’s answer to Atlantis (locals swear they can still hear the church bells ring from under the sea!). You can keep your feet dry at The Ship at Dunwich, just a short walk up from the beach. It’s a relaxed family and dog-friendly haunt, so no concerns about leaving trail of sand behind you, and serves local produce like freshly-caught oysters, lobster and crab (all washed down with a pint of Adnams, of course), and a hearty roast dinner. Sister pubs include The Westleton Crown and The Northgate Bury St Edmunds, so you know you’re in for a gourmet treat. shipatdunwich.co.uk

 

The Brudenell Hotel, Aldeburgh 

You’re just a pebble’s throw from Aldeburgh’s beach on the terraces of this imposing hotel, that is so close to the sea that the sound of the crashing waves and shrill seagulls could just drown out your conversation. Chances are you won’t be focussing much on your company anyway, as the temptation to stare out at the glittering sea view is just too strong. The restaurant serves tasty local produce with a focus on seafood and meat (there’s an oyster and lobster bar, smoke house selection, as well as the catch of the day to choose from). If it’s not-sitting-outside-even-with-a-blanket weather, inside has huge wraparound glass windows so you can still pretend you’re eating al fresco on the beach. brudenellhotel.co.uk

BACK TO TOP

Find more ideas here

Eat Out

Tell us what you think

Your email address will not be published.

* Required
* Required

Little Black Book

The Little Black Book

Our A-Z of the grooviest local businesses to help make your life easier

View the businesses
Home icon Back Home

The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Hampshire & Isle of Wight