Features

Eight great beach restaurants

The Beachhouse at South Milton in Devon overlooks the landmark of Thurlestone Rock

Nothing quite beats a meal eaten overlooking a beach, especially if the seafood and fish on the menu is sourced from the sea directly in front of you

 

From a converted shipping container beneath castle ruins in Tyne and Wear to an Art Deco building on the golden sands of Cornwall, there are a number of fantastic waterside spots around the UK serving great food with unbeatable sea views.

With a terrace cantilevered over the sea at Folkestone harbour, Mark Sargeant’s Rocksalt certainly offers some of the finest over the English Channel views of any restaurant. The menu matches the setting with plenty of locally caught and smoked shellfish and fish – a typical meal starting with baked mussels, smoked bacon and Kentish Gala cider, perhaps followed by seaweed-butter poached Dover Sole.

Across the Channel on the island of Jersey, restaurants with stunning sea views are commonplace but few are as close to the water as Green Island at St Clement. Although meat options are popular, this restaurant and beach hut specialises in seafood. Try the shellfish bisque with cream and brandy before moving on to Malaysian chicken and tiger prawn laksa curry with jasmine rice.

Back on the mainland, the South West coastline is awash with beachside eateries and one of the most established is the Porthminster Beach Café on the Blue Flag awarded beach of the same name.

With panoramic views of St Ives Bay across to Godrevy Lighthouse, window tables and places on the heated terrace are in demand all year-round and the globally influenced cooking of Australian head chef Michael Smith showcases the very best Cornish produce, whether it’s local beef or duck or fish. Crispy fried squid with miso dressing and black spice followed by pan-fried hake fillet with saffron potatoes, manchego sauce, parsley, crispy ham and mussels are typical evening offerings.

Along the South West coast in Devon, the appropriately named Beachhouse at South Milton is located right on the beach overlooking the landmark of Thurlestone Rock. Whether it’s takeaway Salcombe crab sandwiches to eat on the sand or a sit-down meal of Start Bay scallops with capers and sage followed by a grilled local lobster with garlic butter, this tiny sea blue-painted wooden shack is well worth the detour.

Further east along the coastline, Dorset has more beach restaurants than you can shake a crab stick at. Overlooking Chesil Beach, the Crab House Café at Wyke Regis has benches outside overlooking the beach next to the venue’s own oyster beds. People drive from as far as London for lunch, just to tuck into whole crabs, lobsters, local fish and, of course, those delicious Portland oysters.

Also slap bang on the sand, with stunning views across Oxwich Bay on the Gower Peninsula, is Beach House, one of the rising stars of the Welsh restaurant scene. Head chef Hywel Griffith has a passion for ingredients sourced from his beloved Wales and although slow-cooked pork belly with pineapple, black pudding, Tenderstem broccoli and pork pie sauce catch the eye, so does the Oxwich Bay lobster with charred baby gem, grapefruit, crispy sweetbreads and laverbread potato.

A glass-fronted shipping container perched on rocks beneath the Tynemouth Castle and facing the North Sea, Riley’s Fish Shack lives up to its billing as one of the UK’s most hidden restaurants but the secret is well and truly out. With no bookings, food served in cardboard boxes and wine poured into plastic tumblers, this is not fine dining – but the daily changing menu of local seafood is as fresh as any you will encounter, whether it’s turbot fillet with caper butter or chargrilled lobster.

On the shores of Loch Fyne with views of castle ruins and abundant wildlife, the prospect of a meal at Inver in Strachur is memorable before you even see a menu. Thankfully, the food at Pamela Brunton and Rob Latimer’s compact restaurant meets expectation, with oysters direct from nearby lochs and typical main courses of Gigha halibut, smoky mussel butter and monk’s beard.