Who needs to jet off for a summer vaycay when Dorset has crystal-clear coastal waters, captivating vistas and lip-smacking local food? For Med vibes without the air miles, check out these Dorset restaurants with a view
SWIM, Lyme Regis
Floor-to-ceiling bi-fold windows overlooking Lyme Bay make SWIM one of the best spots on the south coast for a sundowner. Hungry sunbathers, paddlers and dog walkers pile into this casual dining spot after a day on the beach, then spill out onto the terrace for evening drinks and small plates of courgette fritters, sticky Korean wings, and salt and pepper calamari.
It’s not just about the evening experience though: get there before 11am to tuck into a banging breakfast. The Aussie (smashed avo, lime, coriander, salsa macha, poached eggs and toast) and a flat white are the perfect pairing to a dawn paddleboard session. The lunch line-up offers an array of burgers, salads and light bites, plus everyone’s seaside fave: crab sandwiches.
The Oyster & Fish House, Lyme Regis
With stunning views over The Cobb and the Dorset coast, Mark Hix’s The Oyster & Fish House is the ideal place to feast on freshly caught seafood while watching the boats bobbing in the harbour below.
On sunny days, dine alfresco on the platformed terrace where you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of busy Lyme Regis from a raised vantage point. The menu changes twice a day to reflect the local catch, but expect to find dishes like grilled monkfish tail with black butter and capers, and scrumpy fried rock oyster with scotch bonnet mayonnaise.
The Jetty Restaurant, Christchurch
Perched right on the water’s edge, The Jetty is a sophisticated spot from which to watch the sailboats pootle through Christchurch’s Mudeford Quay.
Depending on where the mood (and their appetites) take them, diners at this bar and restaurant can enjoy everything from light bites with a glass of chilled wine on the terrace to a full tasting-menu experience at the restaurant. As you might expect, seafood is the star of the show – lobster, prawns and the local catch all make regular appearances on the seasonal menus.
Crab House Cafe, Wyke Regis
Nothing says summer like a shellfish lunch at a coastal crab shack – and this relaxed dining spot overlooking Chesil Beach has one of the best selections of morning-fresh fish and seafood for miles.
Grab a bench in the Crab House Cafe courtyard or under the awning to enjoy the view as you feast on a seriously good line-up of seafood dishes from head chef George Brace. Kick off with a round of homegrown oysters (farmed in the waters directly in front of the cafe) before diving into a whole Portland crab.
Hive Beach Cafe, Burton Bradstock
Visitors to the Jurassic Coast may be smitten by the sandstone cliffs and the fossil hunting opportunities, but once they chance upon Hive Beach Cafe their lasting memory will be of amazing seafood scoffed just yards from the sea.
The vibe is relaxed (it’s right on the beach) but there is some serious cooking going on in the kitchen. Arrive early to brunch on dishes such as crab bubble and squeak with poached egg and béarnaise sauce, or bag yourself a table at lunchtime and take on the epic shellfish platter of West Bay lobster, crab, king prawn, smoked salmon, hake goujons, crayfish and hot-smoked peppered mackerel that’s accompanied by potato salad, coleslaw, mixed leaves, Hive bread and chips.
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