Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Bournemouth
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Bournemouth restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 25 restaurants in Bournemouth and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Bournemouth restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Bournemouth Restaurants
1. Chez Fred Fish & chips restaurant in Bournemouth 10 Seamoor Rd - BH4
“Worth the very long queues for the best fish ’n’ chips”, according to fans of the Capel family’s locally famous chippy (est. 1989), where “the staff are friendly and great with kids”.
2. No 34 British, Modern restaurant in Bournemouth The Orchid Hotel, 34 Gervis Road - BH1
2019 Review: Insufficient survey feedback so far for a rating on this dining room within a new contemporary hotel in Eastcliff. It looks as though it’s a useful addition to the eating options in the area.
3. The Jetty British, Modern restaurant in Christchurch 95 Mudeford - BH23
“Perched on the water’s edge of Mudeford Quay”, Alex Aitken’s “stunning” destination, in the grounds of the Harbour Hotel, is one of the most commented-on destinations on the South Coast. The “idyllic harbour-side setting” (“with views of Christchurch Harbour”) contributes to the “lovely and quite intimate atmosphere”, and the culinary attraction is “impeccable” fish and seafood that’s “allowed to be the star on the plate, without undue messing about”: “local-caught oysters, lobster and shrimps, as well as a superb fresh fish choice, are married beautifully with seasonal produce, alongside some exceptional wines”. “Staff are dynamic and knowledgeable” too. “I always take visitors here and they always love it”.
4. The Terrace, Montagu Arms Hotel British, Modern restaurant in Beaulieu
“Exquisite food is served by charming and attentive staff in an atmospheric Arts & Crafts building” at this popular New Forest hotel, consistently well rated for its focus on local produce in its 4-course or 6-course menus. We’ve maintained the rating from our annual diners’ poll unchanged, but it’s worth noting that mid-survey, in May 2022, Nathan Eades took over the stoves here.
5. Chewton Glen British, Modern restaurant in New Milton Chewton Glen Rd - BH23
This famous Relais & Châteaux hotel and spa set in gorgeous grounds on the edge of the New Forest is a byword for luxury and provides a splurgy, “romantic” getaway for its regular guests. Even some who find its style too “glitzy” for their personal taste, acknowledge that “it’s hugely popular with a large audience who obviously enjoy the style”. Chef Luke Matthews is entering his twentieth year at the stoves here, and while a meal here is an arm-and-a-leg job, even cynical reporters feel that “it is heartening that the kitchen standards are (nearly) as high as the prices”.
7. The Kitchen at Chewton Glen British, Modern restaurant in New Milton Chewton Farm Road - BH23
“A great fun restaurant for indoor and outdoor dining” – this is the dressed down (a bit) option at this luxurious country house hotel, complete with plush banquettes, a swish outdoor terrace, cookery school and greenery-filled views over the kitchen gardens. Not all reviews are perfect, but the lowest food rating it receives is “good”.
8. NUSARA Thai Thai restaurant in Poole town centre 40 - 42 High Street - BH15
Nusara is a chic and authentic Thai restaurant nestled in the historic hearts of Christchurch & Poole, serving up expertly crafted Thai food. Nusara specialises in the age-old tradition of Thai fire grilling, offering a healthy balance of Meat, Fis...
9. Arbor Restaurant, The Green House Hotel British, Modern restaurant in Bournemouth 4 Grove Rd - BH1
2021 Review: This all-day and affordable hotel restaurant was nominated by numerous reporters last year as a favourite destination in the area. In particular, it’s a champion of sustainability, with an emphasis on local, organic, fairtrade and farm assured produce.
10. WestBeach Fish & seafood restaurant in Bournemouth Pier Approach - BH2
2022 Review: “Top-notch fish, chips and alternatives” plus a “lovely location” not far from the centre of town make this modern seaside café a good choice for breakfast or lunch, with stunning views from the terrace.
11. Branksome Beach British, Modern restaurant in Poole Pinecliff Rd - BH13
2022 Review: A “beautifully situated restaurant” in an Art Deco solarium overlooking Poole Harbour, and where “drinks on the upper deck are an extra delight”. One or two off reports on the food front this year, but also plenty of plaudits for its “really good breakfasts and lunches”, and “service has improved” of late too.
12. Restaurant Roots British, Modern restaurant in Southbourne 141 Belle Vue Road - BH6
“Jan and Stacey are legends” according to fans of the Bretschneider’s small, “friendly” and “relaxed” tasting menu restaurant. “The amazing food is even more impressive when you realise it is created and delivered by only 3 staff. If this was in London it would be hugely acclaimed!”. The 9-course evening menu is £105 per head.
13. Rick Stein Fish & seafood restaurant in Sandbanks 10-14 Banks Rd - BH13
An “absolutely fantastic location by Poole Harbour” and “a large selection of fish dishes” keep the tills ringing at the TV chef’s Dorset outpost. “The food is standard Stein fare” – which pleases most reporters (“gorgeous seafood”), if not quite all – and “prices are really going up”. Top Tip – “get a table upstairs for lunch in the summer”.
14. Captain's Club Hotel & Spa British, Modern restaurant in Christchurch Wick Ferry, Wick Lane - BH23
“A wonderful waterside location” is the crown jewel feature of this “relaxed and unhurried” modern hotel dining room – the location overlooking boats on the Stour “makes the restaurant a romantic venue and if weather permits being seated outside is a bonus”. “Lovely food” too – “well presented and reasonably priced”.
15. Shell Bay Fish & seafood restaurant in Studland Ferry Road - BH19
“Fresh, fresh fish”, “roasted in their wood oven” is the straightforward but irresistible offer at this “perfect seafood restaurant right on Poole Harbour”, with views from every table across to Brownsea Island. “What’s not to like? There were no negatives”.
16. The Kings Arms Hotel restaurant in Christchurch 18 Castle Street - BH23
By the ruins of Christchurch Castle, this stately hotel occupies a Georgian-style building on the River Avon, and is well-reviewed food-wise for its quality cooking. There’s a wide variety of affordable menus featuring bistro/brasserie-style dishes.
17. The Guildhall Tavern Fish & seafood restaurant in Poole 15 Market Street - BH15
This gorgeous old tavern on a corner site near the harbour – newly spiffed-up last autumn and with the recent addition of a conservatory – specialises in “excellent-quality” local seafood, served in a warm atmosphere that is “like being in France”.
18. Lolas restaurant in Bournemouth 95 Commercial Road - BH2
“Big flavours on small plates” encapsulates the appeal of this “fabulous little tapas spot”, whose popularity means you “need to book ahead”. It feels “generous, atmospheric and family-friendly – can’t wait to return”. Top Tip – “the aubergine in honey is worth the trip alone”.
19. Cliff Poole restaurant in Sandbanks 6 Ravine Road - BH13
This “nice gastropub with large gardens” has undergone a dramatic £800,000 refurb since our annual diners’ poll, to be reborn with cocktail bar-style décor replacing the traditional pub interior, and fitted seating with cushions in the 100-seater garden. The new menu replaces standard 3-course meals with a globally inspired selection of small plates.
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