18 Brilliant Beachside Eats
Sunny days are a-coming! Make the most of that summer sun with our picks of the best beachside eats in Hants, IoW and slightly beyond.
Summer is on the horizon and we can practically taste those beachside cocktails in anticipation. To get you ready for the sunny days ahead, we’ve pulled 18 of the best places to grab a bite by the sea in Hants, IoW and over the border in Dorset. Perfect for whiling away a long balmy afternoon in the sun. Cheers!
Come rain or shine The Southsea Beach Cafe, slap-bang right on Southsea seafront, always comes up trumps for a beachside scoff. The menu is stuffed with fab fare, including plenty of seafood, vegan picks and more locally sourced grub than you can shake a bucket and spade. And food aside, the VIEW! From here you can see South Parade Pier, Solent Forts, the Isle of Wight, not to mention the retractable roof makes it perfect for sunny days and snuggly for less clement weather.
If you thought The George was brilliant before, then just you wait till you see the amazing refurb. With a brand new Italian-inspired beachfront garden – complete with historic olive trees and reclaimed driftwood beach bar (lovingly dubbed “The Fin and Tonic”) – the return of Michelin starred chef Robert Thompson and their AIX Rosé Methuselahs (that’s a SIX-LITRE BOTTLE), we have a feeling that a lazy afternoon here will likely become a habit…
Next, we have not one, not even two but THREE fantastic seaside eateries. Banana Wharf is a small chain of independent spots located in Port Hamble Marina, Ocean Village in Southampton and just over the border in Poole, Dorset. This is super-relaxed dining at its finest, and the menu has pizzas, pasta, fajitas, burgers as well as a kids menu.
Located in Lymington Yacht Haven, The Haven is an absolute favourite with Lymington locals (who kind of want to keep it a secret, sorry!) As well as being known for its excellent food (complete with freshly-caught local fish) it has a wonderfully chilled vibe and makes a fantastic viewpoint for a sunny day. Pull up a pew to go fantasy yacht shopping, scoff shucked oysters and nurse a giant G&T as the sun eventually goes down.
As the only pub on Hill Head Beach, The Osborne View arguably has this stretch of coast covered, but its definitely not rested on its laurels. Whether you choose to sit in the huge outdoor space (there’s a garden AND sun deck) or tuck yourself away indoors, the sea views are breathtaking (and even come with a handy guide to the sights if you look in the picture above). The menu is diverse and even comes with smaller portion options, perfect for those hot days when you want something small (and to save more room for Pimms, obviously.)
Tucked on the Hants/Sussex border is 36 on the Quay, Emsworth. This bijou establishment is absolutely gorgeous in its own right, complete with an amazing view across Chichester Harbour. However, people come from far and wide specifically for head chef Gary Pearce’s cuisine. Gary is local to the area but his career has seen him in one, two and even three Michelin Star restaurants from across the world.
Ok, so it’s not *technically* a beach, but the gorgeous olde worlde vibe of The Master Builders at Bucklers Hard is well worth the compromise. Overlooking the Beaulieu River, you can grab a relaxed bite to eat and watch the boats go by at the Yachtsman’s Bar & Garden or, for something a little more formal, you can head inside to The Riverview Restaurant.
The Mayflower in Lymington serves up excellent seasonal food and brilliant views over Lymington Harbour. The menu is constantly changing to reflect what’s in season and available from nearby producers. It also comes complete with plenty of seafood options for those really looking to channel those beachside vibes.
The Cliff House is located, unsurprisingly, on top of a cliff at Barton on Sea. As well as having an amazing outdoor area where you can soak up some Vitamin D overlooking the Solent, it also has the most fabulous interior – think Scandi-cool meets Beachside surfer chic. The menu is extensive and is heavy on locally sourced food, and when it comes to drinks it even has its very own gin, Flip Flop, which is made using Hampshire plums.
Beloved by Islanders as well as the rich and famous, The Hut in Colwell Bay is a spot unlike any other. Although you can carefully toddle along the slipway to get here (best leave the stilettos at home for this one), you can also jump in a rib and anchor up, or make use of one the five large helicopter spaces. Yep, helicopters. Fancy transportation aside, it offers an amazing array of fresh seafood, a wonderfully relaxed beachy atmosphere and the chance to crane your neck and spot some celebs.
You could be fooled into thinking this is a terrace out on the Med’ but it’s actually the wonderfully exotic surroundings at Pebble Beach in Barton on Sea. This seaside restaurant serves up French and English dishes, alongside a view that wouldn’t look out of place in a travel mag. And if you miss the lunch service (up until 2pm) you can always grab a slice of cake and just sit and listen to the waves below.
For something a little bit more cosmopolitan then The Jetty at Southampton Harbour Hotel is a must. Following on from the success of its sister spot in Christchurch, the restaurant is decorated in a city chic style with views over Ocean Village Marina. Order up a cold Fruits de Mer platter (£35 per head, or £55 with 1/2 a lobster) for sophisticated seaside vibes… but with none of the pesky sand.
Short of finding your very own desert island to rock up on, the ultimate seaside dining experience has to be lunch at No Man’s Land Fort and Spitbank Fort. With special packages for Saturday and Sunday lunch, starting from £99 per person (complete with boat ride over) you can dine right in the middle of the Solent for a completely unforgettable arvo.
Arty’s @ Royal Clarence Marina in Gosport boasts excellent Italian inspired food (it’s particularly well known for its fantastic pizza), gorgeous views along the Solent coastline as well as the chance to ogle at its super quirky interior. Humble and unassuming, this laidback spot is a good place to watch the boats float by and catch up with good friends.
Hayling Island is a beautiful little beachside resort, complete with retro funfair, retirement cottages aplenty and brilliant views across the sea. The Inn on the Beach, situated in a prime Hayling location, has a view of Portsmouth to the west, Chichester Harbour to the east and the Isle of Wight to the south. Here you can kick back with one of their Fish Baps and a Negroni and just watch the world go by.
Have we missed your favourite beachside spot? Let us know in the comments