Features

The best beach restaurants

Mick Smith, chef at Porthminster Café

Whether it’s on a day trip or during a staycation, nothing quite beats a meal with a sea view and the UK has a number of must-visit beachside restaurants

There’s a distinct possibility that you will still have sand between your toes when dining at Porthgwidden Beach Café in the bustling Cornish town of St Ives. With views of Godrevy Lighthouse, this tucked-away restaurant is the baby sister of the long-established Porthminster Café on the other side of town and boasts a terrace next to rows of colourful huts with the beach below. Local fish is a speciality, with a typical meal including steamed mussels, chorizo, tomato, coriander and lime or Cornish fish pie.

Overlooking South Milton Sands, the aptly named Beachhouse is just a few yards from the beach and opens all day throughout summer. Salcombe crab sandwiches can be taken away to eat on the sands or wait for a table in this wooden shack to enjoy locally caught seafood in dishes like Italian fish stew or fritto misto. 

Beachhouse, South Milton Sands

 

Dorset’s stunning Jurassic Coast has a number of quintessential beachside venues serving world-class seafood. Two of the best - and owned by the same team - are the Hive Beach Café overlooking Lyme Bay where the lobsters are sourced and The Club House at West Bexington, which makes good use of organic vegetables from the neighbouring farm.

A short hop along the same stretch of coastline, Crab House Café is a pebble’s throw from Chesil Beach. The restaurant has its own oyster beds nearby although it’s equally well known for its local lobster and crab, which can be eaten in the shack-like restaurant or beneath parasols outside.

Of course, great beach restaurants aren’t confined to the golden sands of the South West. The jewel in the crown of the North East’s beachside dining venues, Riley’s Fish Shack, is housed in a converted shipping container on the rocks below Tynemouth Castle on King Edward’s Bay. Be prepared to queue for a table at this North Sea-facing gem where the menu is chalked up once the kitchen knows the day’s catch and the likes of North Shields crab and turbot are served in cardboard boxes. 

Beach house, Oxwich Bay

 

In Wales, the Gower Peninsula boasts two fantastic beach restaurants in the appropriately named Beach House at Oxwich Bay and sister business Coast at Saundersfoot. At Beach House, proud Welshman Hywel Griffith makes local ingredients the star of the show as much as the breathtaking coastal views. The menu changes daily but salmon with Menai mussel curry, apple, pickled potato and coriander is one lunchtime highlight.  Overlooking Coppet Hall Beach and Carmarthen Bay, sibling restaurant Coast also showcases Pembrokeshire produce at its absolute best.

If it’s jaw-dropping Scottish landscapes you’re looking for, Inver in Strachur meets all expectations with its location on the shores of Loch Fyne. Pamela Brunton and Rob Latimer’s intimate restaurant punches well above its size when it comes to culinary ambition and the pick of the region’s finest produce including local oysters and Gigha halibut. Start, perhaps, with Loch Fyne langoustines and rapeseed mayo before moving on to St Brides Farm chicken roasted over the coals with black pepper, green onions, white pudding and apricot ketchup.

Inver, Strachur

 

Restaurants with magnificent sea views are commonplace on Jersey but few are located as close to the beach as Green Island in St Clement. Local seafood is one reason why locals and visitors flock here for mains such as lemon sole fillets, cockle and mussel marinière with crushed Jersey Royals, samphire and chive butter.

Also on Jersey is Oyster Box at St Brelade, a beachside seafood restaurant where local oysters are served in their natural state but also ‘Champagne-buttered’ or ‘Gruyèred’. And if oysters aren’t your thing, what better than plates of seafood taglierini or Thai green monkfish curry enjoyed at the sea’s edge?