Whatever your taste you will find plenty of great places to eat and drink in this beautiful part of the country. Cafes, restaurants, traditional pubs, gastro pubs, specialist seafood restaurants and tea rooms are to be found in many of the local towns and villages, often in lovely settings with views to match. Of course there is also the full range of takeaways and cuisines from around the world that you would expect to find too!
If you plan to spend some of the time catering for yourselves there are farmers markets, speciality shops offering high quality local produce, organic produce, fresh local meat and fresh locally caught fish. This isn’t known as River Cottage country for nothing!
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Positioned on the Chesil bank offering some of the best views of Lyme bay, the café offers a vast range of local fish. The fish counter is on view as soon as you walk into the café and the chefs are at hand to answer any questions regarding the fish on display. During the summer months they offer a selection of shellfish, spider crabs off the beach, brown crabs from Lyme bay and when possible hand dived scallops. Visit their website to read a review by A A Gill of The Sunday Times.www.hivebeachcafe.co.uk
Shell fish, such as mussels, crabs, lobsters and scallops, or brill, skate wings, grilled red mullet, fillets of gunard or sea bass, all feature on the menu at The Anchor. Alternatively for meat lovers there are steak platters of sirloin or rib eye of fillet. All followed by a selection of home made sweets. On Sundays a selection of home cooked roasts are available - booking is advisable. A wide range of draught beers including, Otter, Tetley`s, Old Speckled Hen and Flowers Best are available together with Thatcher`s Cider and several lagers.www.anchorinnburtonbradstock.co.uk
The Riverside Restaurant provides the freshest and best fish and shellfish from local waters and the surrounding area served in a way that enhances the natural quality of the product. For The Riverside, “There is great skill in simplicity; dishes do not need embellishment to demonstrate that the kitchen knows what it is doing. We add sauces and accompaniments as appropriate.” The dining area is on two levels with views of the river, countryside and beyond to the sea. Large picture windows give the restaurant a light and airy feel.www.thefishrestaurant-westbay.co.uk
This informal gastro-pub restaurant, just a mile from the beaches of Dorset`s Jurassic Coast was reopened in 2006, under new owners, as part of a traditional Regency-style coaching inn. Simple daily menu of seasonal dishes using fresh, locally-sourced, organic ingredients - including lamb and beef from Dorset farms and Lyme Bay seafood. The restaurant and bar are open every day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and everything from high teas to Otter ales and classic cocktails in between. A restored Victorian courtyard, the original stable yard, provides outdoor dining in the summer.www.thebullhotel.co.uk
The Anchor Inn at Seatown is simply unique, situated among rolling hills on a World Heritage Site and nestling under Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast of England. Almost literally on the beach the pub sits in the centre of a little cove. The south west coast path is all that separates the pub from the beach. Good reliable pub grub in great surroundings.www.theanchorinnseatown.co.uk
Located next to the rejuvenated Town Mill, just off Coombe Street in the heart of Lyme Regis, this lovely little café/restaurant is not to be missed when visiting the town. Run by a young local couple who provide that perfect combination of wonderful food and great service, the Millside offers everything from morning coffee and afternoon teas, through to great Sunday lunches and delicious evening meals. Local produce features heavily with lots of seasonal specials and organic suppliers. You can often enjoy freshly baked cakes, bread and pasta as part of their frequently updated menus. There are tables outside in the summer where you can relax and watch the world go by while enjoying a splendid lunch or evening meal. The Millside is open all-year-round (expect January).www.themillside.co.uk
If you fancy preparing your own fish supper (or breakfast or lunch for that matter!), then visit The Old Watch House fresh fish shop by the Cobb Harbour in Lyme Regis. The shop has been a wet fish shop since 1934 and it still smells great! Simon Bennett, the current proprietor, has run it since 2002. The Old Watch House offers what`s seasonally available from registered local Lyme Bay fishermen - this amounts to all their crab and lobster, plenty of dover soles, plaice, mackerel and dabs etc. Being fairly close to Brixham and Newlyn fish markets, they receive daily deliveries from both and cracking fresh natural smoked haddock and kippers come from Hull and Whitby. Simon also has a well stocked fish stall conveniently located on the A35, at Millers Farm Shop in Kilmington, East Devon.www.wetfishshop.com
Hix Oyster and Fish House is situated just metres from the sea overlooking the historic fishing port in Lyme Regis and serves a selection of the day`s catch and local seasonal produce. The location of Fish House is hard to beat. Things are kept simple, a small terrace on the upper deck with a wooden bar seats up to eight people - easily the best spot on the South West coast to enjoy lobster and chips or a dozen oysters and bottle of Champagne whilst gazing out to sea - and floor to ceiling windows that open out giving diners great views and an inside/outside dining experience. The food at Fish House is the very best ingredients cooked, simple, simple, simple. A blackboard of the day’s landings and a small menu of house dishes using fresh fish from sustainable sources make up the menu.www.hixoysterandfishhouse.co.uk
This pub is right on the beach in Lyme Regis a great place for families and couples alike. A wonderful place to relax overlooking the Cobb and the harbour while the kids run around on the beach. They do good whitebait and chips and cod in beer batter, plus lots of other very good fish specials. Very good Sunday lunches too!
Good quality Indian restaurant and take-away. Full range of traditional UK Indian cooking – everything from a korma to a vindaloo. Not bad at all for a small Dorset seaside town – very friendly staff and relaxed, pleasant surroundings. Its ‘BYO’ so take along your own wine or beer – they are not licensed.www.lalqillalyme.co.uk
This is a pub which offers a good range of quality pub food, mainly home cooked. It has the added advantage of serving food all day so you’re not restricted to the usual lunchtime and evening busy periods only. Reliable service, small outdoor courtyard eating area in the summer and they are very child friendly. Tel 01297 443157
Located in Axminster, Cinnamons has been awarded `Best Indian Restaurant in Somerset and Dorset` at the British Curry Awards. Mixing traditional Indian food with modern award winning recipes,dishes are made to order, and everything is sourced fresh, and wherever possible using local suppliers. Really good modern Indian food. Take-away also available.www.cinnamonsindianrestaurant.co.uk
Opened in the Autumn of 2007 and located in the centre of Axminster, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his team at River Cottage have set up a store to stock a wide selection of every day food items as well as range of books and smallholder supplies plus a specially chosen British wine, beers and spirits list. Virtually all of the produce has been sourced locally. The Canteen also showcases the very best of what the South West has to offer and what is in season. The menus change every day – how about hot bacon rolls with River Cottage`s own bacon and locally cured smoked salmon for breakfast with fresh Rain Forest Alliance coffee. Lunch could feature fresh mackerel caught from Lyme Bay with a citrus salsa or River Cottage sausages with buttery mash, local greens, and a cider and mustard sauce. Cream teas and cakes also available.www.rivercottage.net
In the heart of Beer, a beautiful fishing village on the Jurassic Coast in East Devon this restaurant serves teas coffee and cakes, as well as lunch and dinner. The atmosphere is informal, the service friendly. All dishes are prepared fresh, using local ingredients wherever possible by the chef/proprietor. As you would imagine lots of local seafood specials are offered daily. Very child friendly too.www.steamersrestaurant.co.uk
This restaurant prides itself on using only the finest fresh and wherever possible organic ingredients sourced from the West Country. The owners believe that it is important to know not only where all our food comes from but the welfare that it enjoyed. Delight is taken in making everything on the premises; so all dietary requirements can be met.www.saltymonk.co.uk
The Holt Restaurant and Bar can be found on the main High Street in Honiton and promises a lively and vibrant atmosphere. As one of the best places to eat in this attractive market town, everything is produced from the open kitchen so there is always an extra buzz to eating here. Menus changes every six to eight weeks and showcase a range of local suppliers. Starters could include a Maple cured smoked pork tenderloin salad with chorizo and caramelised apples with a main courses of grilled venison sausages with garlic mash or a smoked haddock and saffron risotto with tiger prawns.www.theholt-honiton.com