Local guides

A chef’s guide to dining out in Brighton & Hove
Published 24 October 2023

Credit: Etch by Steven Edwards

From Palmito's Diego Ricaurte to etch's Steven Edwards, join some of Brighton's brightest chefs on their culinary tour of the seaside city's age-old institutions and undiscovered gems.

The Chefs

Steven Edwards - chef patron, etch.

Dan Kenny - chef patron, The Set.

Ben McKellar - co-owner with wife Pamela of The Gingerman Restaurants Group.

Dave Mothersill - chef patron, Furna.

Diego Ricaurte - chef patron, Palmito.

A chef’s guide to dining out in Brighton & Hove

Credit: Furna

The Places

Casual Bites

Namo Eat

Bookie Mitchell’s resident kitchen at The Eagle Pub in the North Laine serves up a hugely popular menu of Thai classics. ‘The food is always so tasty and makes me happy plus the pub itself is really nice to hang out at,’ says Ricaute. ‘I like the krapao bolan topped with a fried egg, it’s proper street food.’

Aji Sushi

There’s casual counter dining at this Japanese restaurant that Edwards says is something of a local secret. ‘Fantastic produce, super fresh Japanese cuisine in a lovely setting on Church Road. I would recommend a double portion of the Takoyaki (fried Japanese octopus balls).’

China Garden

‘This place is a Brighton institution and I have been going here for about 35 years,’ says McKellar. ‘They comfortably do the best Dim Sum in Brighton at lunchtimes, very friendly staff, consistent food and very affordable. The sesame prawn toast, pastry wrapped cheung fun and prawn and vegetable dumplings are all excellent.’

A chef’s guide to dining out in Brighton & Hove
Credit: Namo Eat


This extremely popular North Laine restaurant offers an unusual combination of Japanese and Korean specialities. ‘I tend to go for the Japanese options mostly and I think there is no better Japanese food in Brighton. Their Otoro (tuna belly) roll with a raw quail yolk on top is worth the visit alone as are their raw sweet prawns and other sashimi,’ reckons McKellar.


Hidden away in the back of an Aisian grocery store in Hove, this tiny restaurant offers authentic Thai dishes. ‘I love heading here for a quick lunch with my partner and kid,’ says Kenny. It’s always delicious, great value and in a shop so you can top up on your condiments on the way out. I usually go for the moo pad prig and tom yum kung.’ It’s also a favourite of McKellars whose regular order is chicken pad Thai with a side of morning glory. ‘You can tell the quality as every time you go you bump into Brighton chefs and restaurateurs.’ Mothersill has been a fan for two decades and always orders the same dish. ‘The pork noodle soup (6B on the menu) is absolutely amazing. It will cure any ailment/hangover/bad mood.’

Hove Tandoori

This smart, family run high street Indian is a long time favourite of Kenny’s. ‘I’ve been going since the '80s, it’s a Brighton curry institution. The king prawn dansak and chicken kodoori always hit the spot.’

A chef’s guide to dining out in Brighton & Hove
Credit: China Garden

Fatto a Mano

Edwards says this three strong group of Neapolitan-style pizzerias (they also have a branch in Kings Cross) are great value for money and family friendly. ‘The homemade pizzas using fresh local ingredients. I love the Nduja spicy salami pizza with burrata and pesto on the side. The great news is they also do takeaway if you fancy a lazy evening in.’

Noodles Soup

This bare bones hole in the wall style restaurant serves a long list of laksas and noodle dishes and is favourite with many Brighton chefs including Ricaute. ‘It’s been there for ages. I really like the space and the guys are so friendly. Whenever I have to run errands in town I drop by there because it's a guaranteed full and happy belly. The best thing is that you can have a choice of different noodles and toppings so it’s different every time.’
01273 327888

A chef’s guide to dining out in Brighton & Hove
Credit: Hove Tandoori

Sunday Lunch

The Coal Shed

Part of Raz Helalat’s Black Rock Restaurants group that also includes Burnt Orange, The Salt Room and Tutto, this Josper oven-fuelled steak and seafood restaurant was Helalat’s first opening and now has a sibling in London. ‘Sunday lunch here is probably my favourite, sharing roast beef with all the trimmings and delving into the good wine list,’ says McKellar.

The Connaught

This smart pub with beer garden is located just up from Hove seafront. Handily for Edwards, it’s also just across the road from etch. ‘I love a pint after work especially on a Friday or Saturday evening. They also have a cracking food offering and Marmite roast potatoes on a Sunday that are a must have.’

Hove Place

This handsome wood panelled ‘bistro, pub and gardens’ is set just off Hove seafront and is Mothersill’s go to spot for Sunday Lunch. ‘I always go here for a roast. I know the ingredients are responsibly sourced and they have great yorkshire puddings. My choice is always the beef alongside a lovely glass of malbec and sticky toffee pudding for dessert, obviously.’

A chef’s guide to dining out in Brighton & Hove
Credit: The Coal Shed

Breakfast and Brunch


This Hove favourite has recently opened a second cafe at the new Sea Lanes development on the beach. ‘Great tasting coffee and a very good breakfast offering that will set you up for the day. My go to is a cappuccino and brunch burger with buttermilk chicken and Korean BBQ sauce,’ says Edwards.


This long established artisan bakery has two locations, one in the Lanes and one on Hove seafront, which is where you’ll find Ricaute. ‘It's a beautiful, tiny cafe. You can see the bakers working in front of you, it’s unique. They have a few tables inside where I love to sit and have a light lunch. All their pastries are amazing but they make the best sausage rolls in Brighton, their pastry is so rich. I usually have three.’

Oeuf Cafe

This Instagram friendly cafe in Hove set in a grand Victoria red brick house close to Hove seafront is a favourite haunt of Ricaute’s. ‘The space is fantastic. I usually take my friends when they come to Brighton to visit. They do a great breakfast and I really like their Hashinator. The service is great and the vibe is always relaxed. It is so close to the beach too in a quiet area so it’s great afterwards to just have a stroll around.’

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Despite the sophistication hinted at in the name, this is a no nonsense unpretentious cafe close to Hove Lagoon on the city’s western edge where Mothersill says you’ll find ‘consistently satisfying and budget friendly fry ups that will make you need a lie down afterward’ as well as a ‘great atmosphere and proper builder’s tea. Perfect.’
01273 423201

A chef’s guide to dining out in Brighton & Hove
Credit: Sugardough

Cafe Culture


You’ll find this neighbourhood cafe that serves high quality coffee among the bars and restaurants of Brighton’s Seven Dials area. ‘It’s round the corner from us and on the way to the play park so I head there a few times a week,’ says Kenny. ‘Great coffee from the Lewes-based Pharmacie roasterie (I’m a flat white drinker), nice people and there’s a record shop upstairs.’

Bond Street Coffee

This always buzzy city centre cafe is renowned for its selection of single origin coffees. ‘This is my sous chef’s favourite coffee shop,’ says Mothersill. ‘There’s a choice of top quality coffee beans to suit every taste and the coffee is always well made and strong. There’s great vibes and excellent pastries too.’

A chef’s guide to dining out in Brighton & Hove
Credit: Bond Street Coffee

Great Beer

Hole In The Wall

This cosy traditional pub, hidden away down a back street off Brighton’s seafront is run by local landlord legend and features an ever changing roster of up to 40 different beers. ‘It’s a brilliant pub with the best quality beers in town,’ says Kenny. ‘I order Augustiner or anything from Verdant that’s on the board.’

A chef’s guide to dining out in Brighton & Hove
Credit: Hole In The Wall

Special Occasion

Wild Flor

Run by experienced Brighton trio James Thomson, Faye Hudson and chef George Upshall who Kenny says, ‘know the art of a great restaurant’, Wild Flor is an upmarket neighbourhood restaurant of some ambition. ‘It’s run by some of the nicest people in Brighton hospitality,’ says McKellar. ‘I love the consistent bistro style cooking - think venison tartare, roast grouse and glazed sweetbreads - and the excellent wine list.’

Little Fish Market

Duncan Ray’s intimate tasting menu seafood restaurant recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and is a favourite with many Brighton chefs. ‘It’s not just a special occasion restaurant, it’s also my favourite, says Edwards. ‘Duncan is a fantastic, creative chef and it’s nice to go out and have a meal and just have what the chef wants to cook.’ Ricaute is also a big fan. ‘Little Fish is special. It's old school but there is so much love that goes into the food. He makes it look so effortless and I like that it’s very minimal.’

A chef’s guide to dining out in Brighton & Hove
Credit: Wild Flor