Bournemouth is much more than fish’n’chips wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper. Becca Heath recommends ten of the best restaurants in the seaside resort, from budget options to fine dining…
With arguably some of the best beaches in the country, Bournemouth has long been known for its “fish’n’ chips on the beach” culture. But things have changed over the years, and the Bournemouth foodie scene has grown to cater for its array of multi-cultural residents.
Of course, if seafood is your thing, there is plenty to sizzle your senses, from the best fish and chips in the country to fine dining with a whole local lobster and some incredible views.
At the cheapest end of the budget scale, let me introduce you to Pasha’s Turkish Bakery. In the heart of Charminster, which is undeniably the cultural hub of Bournemouth, pop in for lunch to pick up some of the finest Turkish pastries, sweets and their famous “Turkish Pizzas”. At £4 for a large pitta, layered with lamb mince, spicy sauce, hummus and tomatoes, all wrapped up and ready to eat, it is truly a hidden gem of the foodie scene.
23 Charminster Road, Bournemouth, BH8 8UE, (01202 556 100)
What is not to like about Rotisserie chicken, a big bowl of salty hand cut chips and a side of tangy homemade BBQ sauce. Nothing. It’s simple yet tantalizingly good. Chicken Shack opened last year in the Bournemouth suburb of Boscombe. Arguably an upcoming area for the hip and trendy, it has attracted quite the crowd, so ladies and gentleman, whether you need to fix your hangover or just fancy feasting on a whole chicken for the fun of it, there really is no place like it.
563 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 4AH, (01202 399 222, www.chickenshackuk.com)
Just a short drive from Bournemouth is its quieter neighbour, Poole. The infamous quay is bustling with life all year round and some pretty impressive restaurants have cropped up over the years. The latest addition is The Stable. With its policy of “fresh, local and seasonal”, they specialise in totally unique pizza, pies and local ciders. Pop in on a Tuesday for “Tuck In Tuesday” and get a pizza, a big bowl of salad and a cider for a tenner. I may have heard a rumour about Crab Pizza too…
Poole Quay, 2 High Street, Poole, BH15 1BW, (01202 661 471, stablepizza.com/home/the-stable-poole)
If gourmet burgers are more your thing, then look no further than Monty’s Lounge in, once again, the funky suburb of Boscombe. Monty’s offers a laid-back, vintage atmosphere, an awesome bar (usually stocked with some of the county’s finest local ales and ciders) and some of the best burgers in Bournemouth. The Full Monty is undoubtedly the best, so pop in on a Tuesday for 2 for 1 across their burger menu.
926-928 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, BH7 6DL, (01202 241415, montyslounge.co.uk)
Koh Thai Tapas
Yes, you read that correctly – thai food, tapas style. Bournemouth (actually Boscombe, again) is the birth place of the popular and growing brand, Koh Thai. With dishes averaging around £5.95, it’s a great place to dine with friends who want to try a bit of everything from their expansive menu. Their infamous spicy Dim Sums should not be missed! Alternatively visit their brand new “tapas bar”, Koh Noi, in Lilliput for more of a relaxed Thai dining experience.
Koh Thai Boscombe (the original) – 487-489 Christchurch Road, Boscombe, BH1 4AE, (01202 914 997, www.koh-thai.co.uk)
Koh Thai Bournemouth – Daimler House, 38-40 Poole Hill, Bournemouth, BH2 5PS, (01202 294723)
Unleash the surfer within and take a trip to the ultra laid-back, surfer style bar in the heart of Boscombe Spa. Indulge in the seafood sharing platter (£22) with your date for an afternoon on the sun terrace as you watch the surfers pass by or join their very popular Sunday club for one of the best roast dinners in Bournemouth. Always check out the specials board for their local specialities (the crab cakes are always highly recommended!).
42 Sea Road, Boscombe Spa Village, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH5 1BQ, (01202 280 656, reef-encounter.com)
Another taste of Asia to be added to the list is Tiien, which really is too good to be missed. Their beautiful Thai inspired restaurant sits in the heart of the West Cliff and offers the finest Thai food at more than reasonable prices in what feels like an extremely high-end restaurant. You’ll be spoilt for choice with their elaborate menu, but a personal favourite is the Tamarind Duck, always perfect. If the sun is shining, stop in for lunch on their terrace with a cold thai cocktail.
105 St Michaels Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 6DU, (01202 299 412, www.tiienthairestaurant.co.uk)
When in Bournemouth, seafood is a must. Graced with some of the finest local produce in the land, The Crab takes full advantage of what our coast has to offer. Just a few minutes from the pier, the location is perfect, the restaurant is beautiful and the food, superb. The hot Fruits De Mer is the ideal choice for those wanting a taste of what the menu has to offer and the all-round crowd-pleaser, “Posh Fish and Chips”, brings an upmarket touch to a seaside towns signature dish.
Exeter Road, Bourneouth, BH2 5AJ, (01202 203 601, crabatbournemouth.com)
For the very best fine dining in Bournemouth, simply head to The Edge. From the moment you arrive and take the glass lift to the restaurant entrance you will fall in love with its glamour. But when you walk into the restaurant and set your eyes on those views, you will not be able to wait until your meal arrives. The a la carte dinner menu is spectacular and perfect for a date night watching the sunset over the ocean, but the breakfast menu steals the crown for me and really is a hidden gem of the Bournemouth food world.
4th Floor, 2 Studland Road, Bournemouth,Dorset, BH4 8JA, (01202 757 007, www.edgerestaurant.co.uk)
And finally, if you fancy a journey out of town to dine at one of the country’s most exclusive hotels (well, who wouldn’t?), then the Chewton Glen in the New Forest is for you. The Vetiver restaurant is simply spectacular. A three-course set menu starts at £25 per person and will not fail to give that “wow” factor. Only the finest, and generally where possible, local, ingredients are used to create their jaw-dropping dishes. If the incredible restaurant is not enough, then why not extend your stay for a night in the trees at their beautiful Treehouses, where a breakfast hamper is bought to you every morning of your stay (prices start at £525 per night).
New Milton, New Forset, BH25 6QS, (www.chewtonglen.com)
• Read more from Becca at www.thesoutherner.co.uk
Find these restaurants on our Bournemouth map:
Like this? Try this: