Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Dorset
Hardens guides have spent 30 years compiling reviews of the best Dorset restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 125 restaurants in Dorset and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Dorset restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Dorset Restaurants
1. Crab House Cafe Fish & seafood restaurant in Weymouth Ferrymans Way, Portland Road - DT4
“The freshest fish right beside Chesil Beach” (of Ian McEwan fame) is all part of the “exceptional experience” and “incredible range of dishes” on offer at this “quirky” beach shack, “just off Portland”, owned by local oyster farmers (and where the “yummy” crab etc. comes “without costing a fortune”, too).
2. The Jetty British, Modern restaurant in Christchurch 95 Mudeford - BH23
“On the edge of delightful Christchurch, with lovely views over Mudeford” – Alex Aitken’s well-known venture is “a great spot in the grounds of the Christchurch Harbour Hotel” (“especially on a sunny day when you can also sit outside”); and being “here as the sun sets, gazing through the sky-high windows across the gently lapping waters, brings a feeling of calm, even after the toughest of weeks at work”. “London prices make it a special occasion destination”, with predominantly fish dishes that are generally “first class” (“if a little patchy at times”). Top Tip – “parking is woefully insufficient, so allow time to sort that out”.
3. The Seaside Boarding House Hotel British, Modern restaurant in Burton Bradstock Cliff Road - DT6
This “magical cliff-top haven” on Dorset’s ‘Jurassic Coast’ combines the attractions of “superb views” with “exciting but traditional dishes” using “excellent locally sourced ingredients”. It offers a “slightly more refined experience than the neighbouring (and highly rated) Hive Beach Café”.
4. Chez Fred Fish & chips restaurant in Bournemouth 10 Seamoor Rd - BH4
“Traditionally good” chips and catch “with mushy peas and a cuppa” (and a side of “unadorned British seaside memories”) do the trick at Fred Capel’s local luminary – “better than any London chippy”, say out-of-towners. Top Tip – “if you don’t fancy the wait they also do daily specials in the takeaway which can be really good value”.
5. Arbor Restaurant, The Green House Hotel British, Modern restaurant in Bournemouth 4 Grove Rd - BH1
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.
6. Billy Winters Bar & Diner Fish & seafood restaurant in Wyke Regis Ferry Bridge Boatyard, Portland Road, - DT4
2019 Review: “You go for the wonderful location” – “a splendid vantagepoint with views over Portland Harbour” – if you seek out this brightly-decorated prefab, near the water, with outside seating. It’s not a foodie locale however: it serves fish ’n’ chips, baps, burgers, pizzas and other beachy snacks.
7. 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.
8. Catch at The Old Fish Market Fish & seafood restaurant in Weymouth The Old Fish Market, Custom House Quay - DT4
Opened in summer 2021, Catch is based in Weymouth’s historic Old Fish Market, at the heart of the local fishing community. The restaurant focuses on sustainability - see also Hatch on the Harbour.
9. Lilac British, Modern restaurant in Lyme Regis Cellar 57-58 Broad Street - DT7
Harriet Mansell opened a second Lyme Regis site in July 2021, just months after successfully launching Robin Wylde during lockdown; this wine bar and tap room is a 40-cover cellar space over 400 years old, just down the road from its big sister, and focuses on low intervention wines and small plate food.
10. Guildhall Tavern Fish & seafood restaurant in Poole 15 Market Street - BH15
“Very good fresh fish and seafood” – “landed in the harbour 50 feet away” – is the USP at this French family-run operation, where staff “keep the entente as cordiale as possible”. It’s been “a favourite for more than 10 years”, and “early booking is recommended”.
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Lyme Regis British, Modern
Catch at The Old Fish Market
Weymouth Fish & seafood