The best fine dining in Cornwall
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Cornwall is world famous for its stunning beaches, so it’s not surprising it boasts some of the very best stylish beach bars, restaurants and cafes too and here are some of the best.
Prawn on the Lawn, in Padstow, has made its mark with a seafood bar serving sustainably-sourced lobsters, crabs and fish flipped straight off the boats onto the charcoal grill. Now its sister restaurant, Barnaby’s, has received equal amounts of applaud for its sharing dishes piled high with wonderful combos from the wood-fired oven.
St Ives is an arty town that’s fast chasing Padstow for the reputation of Cornwall’s top culinary destination. Here the Porthminster Café boasts a string of accolades, so if you want to soak up the beachside vibes over ingredients plucked from the ocean and the cafe’s kitchen garden, it’s worth booking ahead.
St Ives is an arty town that’s fast chasing Padstow for the reputation of Cornwall’s top culinary destination
If you prefer a more laid-back, beachside venue for a summer’s day head to Port Gaverne to munch on the likes of mussels and mackerel at the waterside Pilchards cafe – an off-shoot of the stylish Port Gaverne Hotel. Or, watch the sailing dinghies beside the serene Camel Estuary in Rock, where Ainsworth took the reins of The Mariners restaurant in 2019.
As you cruise down the Atlantic Highway from Wadebridge towards the UK’s surf capital – Newquay – where Rick Stein’s Fistral is one of a growing number of swanky restaurants nudging the Atlantic rollers, it’s plain to see that this surf town has shed its all-night party image and grown into something of gastronomic honey pot.
While you can still enjoy fish and chips or ice creams on the beach, you’re more likely to find yourself ordering delicious gluten-free delicacies, vitamin-packed smoothies and dishes showcasing local ingredients from seafood to samphire. Hipster hangouts such as Box and Barber, and the Sri Lankan-inspired Pavilion Bakery, are heading up a new wave of cool cafes.
Vying for the honour of Cornwall’s best beach bar is The Watering Hole in Perranporth, where you can chill out surfside for the sunset. Believed to be the only bar on the beach in the UK, The Watering Hole can be found in the middle of Cornwall’s finest beach on the west coast, with a three-mile stretch of sand shadowed by dunes and sea as far as the eye can go, with Holywell on the right shoulder and St Agnes on the left.
The bar serves a wide range of food and drink throughout the year including beverages from Cornwall’s St Austell Brewery. It also has live music sessions called ‘Tunes in the Dune.’
Believed to be the only bar on the beach in the UK, The Watering Hole can be found in the middle of Cornwall’s finest beach
If you’re looking for the sort of place where you can come straight off the beach without shaking the sand from your toes, head a couple of miles north of town to The Beach Hut, at Watergate Bay and grab a legendary burger, an extreme hot chocolate or seafood-biased bistro favourites. It’s just one of a huddle of stylish food and drink venues on this popular surfing beach. The newest in the gang is the Watchful Mary – Cornwall’s hottest new spot for a sundowner, which opened last spring.
Overall, there are many cool and stylish beach cafes and bars to try in Cornwall, the difficulty is deciding which one!
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