Best restaurants in Dorset

From slick restaurants overlooking ancient coastline to thatched pubs nestled in rolling countryside, Dorset isn’t short of fantastic places to dine. Pepper your trip with exquisite eating experiences with our pick of the best restaurants in Dorset

The Seaside Boarding House, Bridport

The Seaside Boarding House, Burton Bradstock

Those hoping to feast on fantastic sea views alongside their supper will find just that at the slick restaurant within this contemporary coastal hotel. Perched on the cliffs above Chesil Beach, The Seaside Boarding House offers uninterrupted vistas from its terrace and a nighttime lullaby of waves crashing against the shore.

Its smart restaurant is open to non-residents for lunch and dinner almost every day (expect Sunday evening and Monday lunchtime). Given the hotel’s location, it’s no surprise its menus swim with fresh local seafood. Dive into dishes such as skate fishcake with warm tartar sauce, Portland crab thermidor tartlet with pickled fennel, and brill roasted on the bone served with cockles, clams and seaweed.

The Clockspire

The Clockspire Restaurant and Bar, Sherborne

Set in a 19th-century former school building with vaulted ceilings, polished stone floors and candelabras suspended from the rafters, The Clockspire radiates glamour from a bygone era. It’s the perfect venue for a special occasion – or to simply treat oneself to a sumptuous dining experience.

Michelin-trained head chef Luke Sutton crafts beautifully presented dishes to match this elegant setting. His modern British cooking showcases the best of seasonal local produce in compilations such as rabbit ragu with polenta, garlic pesto and barbecued carrot.

seafood spread at the crab house cafe

Crab House Cafe, Wyke Regis

Seafood disciples should make a pilgrimage to Wyke Regis to indulge in the holy grail of piscatorial suppers at this Trencherman’s Award-winning restaurant. With one of the most extensive seafood menus on the south coast and views over Chesil Beach, Crab House Cafe is a fabulously laid-back venue in which to slurp, crack and chomp your way through a mountain of the morning’s catch.

Sustainability is a priority for owner and former fish-merchant-to-the-stars Nigel Bloxham, who works closely with local fishermen to source seafood from the surrounding waters. No visit is complete without a plate of Portland oysters, grown on-site in the Crab House Cafe’s own oyster farm.

Three Horseshoes Pub & Kitchen, Dorset

Three Horseshoes Pub & Kitchen, Burton Bradstock

A 300-year-old thatched pub in the Dorset countryside is an unlikely setting for modern Pan-Asian cooking. Yet that’s exactly what diners discover – and return for – at Three Horseshoes Pub & Kitchen in Burton Bradstock.

Dutch-born head chef Jaap Schep loves to splice local produce with Asian flavours, so expect Dorset fish alongside exotic ingredients in dishes such as Indonesian seafood curry and crispy squid Thai salad. In honour of his traditional setting, Jaap also ensures the menu features a few pub classics like smoked seafood ploughman’s and homemade gourmet burgers.

The Club House

The Club House, West Bexington

This Dorset restaurant’s connection to water goes beyond its location overlooking Chesil Beach and menu awash with fresh seafood: the 1930s building was once an Olympic-pool club house (hence the name).

Retaining many of its original features, The Club House‘s interiors are best described as mid-century modern meets New England nautical. It’s a fitting backdrop for head chef William Hickton’s fish-focused menus, which include classics such as bouillabaisse and lobster grilled in garlic butter alongside more creative additions like butterflied grilled mackerel with slow-roasted Isle of Wight tomatoes, salsa verde and burnt-lemon aioli.

Acorn Inn

Acorn Inn, Evershot

Exposed ceiling beams, oak-panelled walls and roaring log fires allude to the Acorn Inn‘s 16th-century origins, but it’s the award-winning restaurant that attracts a contemporary clientele to this rural destination.

Chef Ana Martins curates the best produce sourced from the surrounding coast and country on her refreshingly unpretentious menus. Polished dishes such as Creedy Carver duck breast with gnocchi, bok choi, pumpkin puree and gastrique sauce are supported by crowd-pleasing pub favourites like the homemade southern-fried chicken burger with streaky bacon, cheddar, sweet and sour sauce and hand-cooked chips.

lobster and chips

WestBeach, Bournemouth

Take a seat on the smart deck of WestBeach on Bournemouth’s seafront to feast on resplendent fruits de mer platters, sip chilled sparkling wine and watch the gentle waves lap at the golden sands below.

While the alfresco eating is a major draw, inside offers equal sensory thrills. If you don’t score a table by the window, avert your gaze from the sea to the team of innovative chefs crafting flavour-led creations in the open theatre kitchen. Signature dishes such as Cornish mussels, battered haddock and roasted cod chowder are accompanied by seasonal specials.

Captain's Club Hotel & Spa, Dorset

Captain’s Club Hotel & Spa, Christchurch

Foodies spending the night at this luxury hotel and spa on Christchurch’s Wick Ferry don’t have to travel far for a sumptuous supper. At its restaurant, chef Mo Sabbir excels in modern British dishes executed with precision. Indulge in polished compilations such as crab-stuffed fillet of lemon sole with paysanne vegetables and an orange and béarnaise glaze.

Wine fans will be enthralled by the new wine list, crafted by sommelier Corey Evans.

Looking for restaurants in Lyme Regis? Check out the best restaurants in Lyme Regis here.

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april, 2024


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