With its prime location along Britain’s south coast, Dorset is the ultimate destination for sampling sensational local seafood, with delectable dishes and takeout dinner options galore. There really is no better way to immerse yourself in a summer holiday sensation than by treating the taste buds.
Few things have the power to put us in the holiday mood as quickly as a portion of fish and chips. The delicious salty crunch of a light golden batter, delicately enclosing white chunks of freshly caught fish, served with steaming hot, thick cut fluffy chips; they are the perfect accompaniment to a day at the seaside and synonymous with a great British getaway.
When it comes to choosing Dorset’s best fish and chip establishment, opinions are invariably split. Sampling them all is no mean feat, but with so many mouth-watering options in the area to choose from, you could certainly give it good go.
West Bay is a good starting point. Join the queue at one of 10 great value takeaway kiosks which line the harbour from spring until autumn. Here you can get a hearty portion of freshly caught cod from the bay and hand-cut chips to take away and enjoy alfresco. This is outdoor community dining at its best, serving up quality food at affordable prices in a relaxed and picturesque setting. If you fancy a change from fish and chips, there are plenty of other local seafood dishes to choose from, with the crab coming highly recommended!
This popular restaurant has earned a loyal following among locals and holidaymakers alike, who come back time and again to taste the fresh, locally-sourced seafood being served.
Sat on the beach front at Burton Bradstock, with views overlooking Lyme Bay, it’s a perfect part of the Jurassic Coast in which to pause for a bite to eat. An evolving menu complements the seasons and makes us of local and sustainable ingredients and suppliers. Choose from the signature Seafood Platter and sample the delights of wild sea-bass, grilled herring, lemon sole or pan-fried scallops. There’s a whole host of simple yet delicious dishes to choose from, including recently caught fish from just outside the premises!
Awarded four stars by the Sunday Times food critic, AA Gill, get there early to secure a table, as it’s always busy, and don’t let the crowds put you off. Dogs are also welcome for those stopping in during a coastal stroll. Sister restaurant, the Watch House Café, in West Bay is equally deserving of a visit.
Time your visit to Dorset during the annual Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival, which usually takes place mid-July, and you’re in for a gastronomic treat!
This award-winning event is free to attend and a highlight in the local summer calendar. The celebration brings together local seafood and champagne, as well as offering a host of family entertainment, including crabbing, face painting and much more besides.
Learn more about your favourite local delicacies with a series of cooking demonstrations and ‘how to’ sessions from the best chefs in the region, and tuck in to your favourite treats at one of the many stalls, pop-up restaurants and venues throughout Weymouth’s famous and historic harbour. The event also raises money for an important charity supporting local fishermen and their families, the Fishermen’s Mission.
The Crab House Café is a local gem, celebrating the best of Dorset’s seafood, all caught locally just off the Weymouth Coast.
Dine in relaxed, unpretentious and quirky surroundings overlooking the Portland coast and savour the finest flavours of the sea. Don’t be fooled by the rustic beach hut décor, complete with tables standing on sand, as this place is serious about serving the highest quality dishes.
Its stunning location on Chesil Beach is the first of many wow-factor moments experienced during a visit. Try the freshest of oysters, from the restaurant’s own Portland Oyster Beds outside, and local crabs caught along the English Channel, the restaurant’s speciality dish.
With a fan base that includes Rick Stein and a wide choice of seafood on offer, it’s not just the fish that’s fresh. The family run restaurant also grows its own fruit and vegetables in a patch next to the restaurant, for the complete seasonal home-grown menu.
With a view overlooking Swanage Bay and located just a stone’s throw from the water, it’s easy to while away a wonderful evening at Gee Whites, an alfresco seafood restaurant and ice cream parlour.
Be sure to try the fantastic crab, lobster, oysters, whelks or mussels - the menu changes daily in line with local availability of fresh fish, but always serves a variety of quality seafood to suit all budgets.