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Dorset restaurants and cafes

Whether it’s a classic English pub meal or an authentic fine dining experience, Dorset is home to a fantastic array of places to eat during your stay. Making your way along the coastline, starting at Christchurch is the Christchurch Harbour Hotel and Spa and its sister restaurant, the Jetty. Both offer spectacular views across the harbour, and both are headed by one of Dorset’s most respected chefs, Alex Aitken, who has been awarded a Michelin star.

Along the coast at Bournemouth you will find restaurants for all tastes. At the top end of the scale is 1812, a lounge bar and restaurant which has an impressive seasonal a la carte menu. It’s a perfect place to dine and stay for drinks and live music later on. There are various beachfront restaurants which are the most picturesque way to dine including Urban Reef along Boscombe Promenade, which with its double-height ceiling is a stylish and relaxed place to soak up the view. Between Bournemouth and Poole lies the village of Westbourne, which has become a food destination itself in the last few years. Plates & Co, situated in a gorgeous renovated church with high arched ceilings and stained glass, is the brainchild of rising star Nick Atkins.

For a lively buzz in Westbourne head to Camden Bar which has food to suit all tastes, including generously-sized burgers. Le Petit Prince is a patisserie serving tempting cakes and viennoiserie, while Cotea is a little foodie heaven with a passionate local following.  Wine and cheese lovers should head straight to award-winning Renoufs Wine and Cheese Restaurant, which prides itself on matching the perfect wine with succulent cheeses. If you fancy a country pub with roaring log fires, fine ales and great menus you’ll be spoilt for choice. The King’s Arms in Portesham enjoys a garden that is perfect for a summer’s day and The Langton Arms, in Tarrant Monkton near Blandford, is a 17th-century thatched pub which sits in a small idyllic hamlet surrounded by gorgeous countryside.

Our picks

Crab House Café
Seafood dish and the Crab House Cafe

Ferrymans Way, Portland Road, Weymouth DT4 9YU

Crab House Café is situated in a breathtaking part of Dorset, looking out over Chesil beach. The restaurant has its own Portland oyster beds just a stone’s throw from its venue so you can enjoy fresh oysters on your table within minutes of them leaving the water! The restaurant also specialises in other types of seafood, most loved are the fresh, local crabs. A good size, caught along the the English Channel, that are then freshly boiled, chopped in half and then stir fried in garlic, chilli, ginger and herbs. Visit website

Billy Winters

Ferry Bridge Boatyard, Portland Beach Road, Weymouth DT4 9JZ

Billy Winters is a rustic beach diner/bar sat right on the beach in amongst the wind and kite surfers, over looking Portland Harbour. Inside it is quirky to say the least, a multitude of mirrors hanging on plain wood walls! Plenty of brightly painted chairs, with many of them pointing out to sea, so you can enjoy the view! The menu makes for good reading with a great mix of meat lovers favourites, a good selection of vegetarian dishes and a few fish dishes and pizzas that are made freshly in a wood-fired oven! Visit website

Lamb chops

37 Exeter Road, Bournemouth BH2 5AG

Situated in Bournemouth, 1812 serves mouthwatering food and cocktails using produce sourced from award-winning local independent businesses. The restaurant and lounge bar mixes the important traditional elements with more contemporary themes. The chefs work tirelessly to create dishes that stand out from the crowd so you will never be disappointed. French and British classics are combined with a twist keeps the 1812 experience one of the most desired in Dorset. Visit website

The New Inn
Pie and mash

14 Long Street, Cerne Abbas, Dorchester DT2 7JF

The New Inn is a carefully-refurbished former coaching inn, bursting with character dating back to the 16th century, with many original features remaining. There’s a beautiful courtyard to seat 50 and a large walled garden towards the back of the stable block. The New Inn’s food reflects the surroundings, with traditional pub favourites featured alongside appealing British dishes. Visit website

Seventh Wave Restaurant

Durlston Country Park, Lighthouse Road, Swanage BH19 2JL

Seventh Wave Restaurant is located in the stunning surroundings of Durlston Castle and Country Park on the Purbeck Peninsular. The restaurant offers a contemporary indoor dining area and large terrace with views across Durlston bay and out towards Old Harry and The Isle Of Wight. Seventhwave’s ethos is simple – good quality freshly-cooked dishes using as much local produce as possible. Visit website

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Image credits: ©Eventimages21/Littleny/; Tim Green/Crab House Cafe

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