What better way to while away the long summer evenings than with fine Cornish cuisine and stunning sea views? Which is why we’ve picked out ten of Cornwall’s coolest restaurants bang on the coast:
Perfectly embracing barefoot beach life, Sam’s is the sort of restaurant where you can come straight out of the ocean and tuck into seriously good Cornish seafood. Lap up the cosy, informal ambience and glistening sea views from within this old RNLI lifeboat house, or take a pew beachside with your toes practically in the sand. This close to the sea there’s little surprise that fish dominates the menu, or there’s simple pizza and pasta options too. And, with your cutlery served in a tin bucket, you can always build a sandcastle while you wait for your food.
Boasting gob-smacking views above Porthloo Beach and the islands beyond, it’s no wonder that Juliet chose this idyllic location to open a tea garden about 25 years ago. Since then the garden restaurant has not only expanded but firmly established itself as one of the finest places to dine on the Isles of Scilly. Bask in the afternoon sun and tuck into platters stuffed with local produce on the terrace, or take a seat in the contemporary barn conversion and enjoy a candlelit dinner as the sun sets over the ocean.
On the same premises as Nathan Outlaw’s Michelin-starred fine dining set up, his à la carte restaurant serves exquisitely prepared seasonal produce in a more relaxed setting overlooking the Camel Estuary. The likes of whiting, seabass and ling are landed by local fishing boats, scallops are hand-dived for, and meat and veg comes from West Country farms. Even if you’re not hankering for a full meal out, there are few more scenic spots for a cream tea or a cocktail in the Padstow area.
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall has long been one of the county’s finest examples beachside dining. After all, it’s hard to better world-class cuisine served with a panoramic view over two miles of golden sands. However, following its most recent refurbishment, Fifteen Cornwall has entered a new league. The Italian-inspired cuisine is still chocked-full of the best Cornish ingredients, only now much of it is prepared on a charcoal-fired oven. And now there’s also the addition of a trendy antipasti bar where you can graze on mini plates of Italian-cum-Cornish fare alongside crisp wines and cocktails.
Teetering on a rugged, scrub-topped headland that juts out from the edge of Newquay’s famous Fistral surfing beach, Lewinnick Lodge hogs poll position for a sundowner in view of the wild Atlantic breakers. A smart, contemporary interior welcomes dogs, drinkers and diners, making it a popular spot from breakfast through to dinner. Book a table in the restaurant if you wish, but the best seats are in the bar and on the terrace, where the same delicious British cuisine – from steaks to seafood – is served.
With long-drop windows peering out through sub-tropical gardens to the twinkling waters of Mounts Bay, you can’t fault the location of this contemporary seaside hotel and restaurant. And since it’s been in the hands of the team behind The Gurnard’s Head, you can’t fault the gourmet food and laid-back style either: a wood-panelled bar, sea-facing sofas and a spacious dining room where there’s often live music to accompany long, lazy lunches. Much of the seafood comes from the nearby Newlyn fishing fleet, and even the children’s menu features fresh catch and Cornish mussels.
Built into a rocky ledge overhanging Swanpool Beach, this is the sort of restaurant where it’s hard to take your eyes off the view, even when fresh lobster is served to your table. So it only makes sense that many of the ingredients used are plucked from the ocean environment that steals your attention. An alfresco lunch could be as simple as hand-picked crab or fish and chips, while evening dishes include paella and a seafood Goan curry.
The lesser-known little sister of the famous Porthminster Café, Porthgwidden Beach Café boasts the same delectable Pacific Rim cuisine and outstanding views over St Ives Bay, whilst offering a more intimate and relaxed atmosphere. Bag a window seat and savour the scenery come rain or shine, but when Cornwall’s blessed with sunshine you can’t beat lunch on the terrace – gorging on the likes of calamari while listening to the beat of the ocean on the pearly cove below. Energetic children can even be busy making sandcastles while you order another glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
On the seafront in one of Cornwall’s coolest towns, the Gylly Beach Café flaunts Falmouth’s blend of beach life and sleek, arty style. Menus boast fine local ingredients from Cornish mackerel sandwiches to catch of the day, and the contemporary bar and restaurant is perfect for cocktails or cakes, candlelit dinners or big nights out at live music sessions. However, it’s the glass-fronted veranda where you’ll be vying for a seat on sunny days – where benches and sofas stare out to the calm bay favoured by year-round swimmers and paddle-boarders.
Take a seat on the Pandora’s pontoon and you can hold a crabbing line in one hand, and a pint in the other. On a sunny afternoon many punters prefer to arrive by boat and drop the mainsail metres from the bar. But you don’t have to rely on beautiful weather to enjoy this watering hole tucked away on Restronguet Creek. Peek out at the view from a cosy nook in the 13th Century bar, or take a seat in the vaulted dining room upstairs. Whatever you select from the modern pub-grub menu, you can guarantee it’s fresh from Cornish farmers and fishermen.