British, Modern Restaurants in Dorset
1. Arbor Restaurant, The Green House Hotel British, Modern restaurant in Bournemouth 4 Grove Rd - BH1
Serious food in a chilled-out setting, without pretence or the price-tag, offering guilt-free dining.
You’ll find well-cooked, honest, uncomplicated but imaginative food, with a huge emphasis on locally sourced produce. We’re lucky: nearby we have England’s garden counties — Dor...
3. The Thimble Inn British, Modern restaurant in Piddlehinton 14 High Street - DT2
This thatched eighteenth-century Piddle Valley pub with an “enchanting garden” wins solid ratings across the board for its “great service and good food, whether you prefer pub grub or something more ambitious”. Its popularity was sealed by a rave review from The FT’s Tim Hayward a couple of years ago, and you need to book early to secure a table at busy times, especially Sunday lunch.
4. Summer Lodge, Summer Lodge Country House British, Modern restaurant in Evershot
This “very traditional and comfortable country hotel” from the Red Carnation group is one of the few left that still practise “silver service – the plates are placed in front of guests in synchronisation, and the staff are fabulous”, while “the food is absolutely delicious (dinner is definitely better than afternoon tea in my opinion)”. Deep in Thomas Hardy’s Wessex, the village of Evershot appears disguised as the fictional Evershead, and the novelist even designed part of what is now the hotel in his days as an architect.
5. The Acorn Inn British, Modern restaurant in Evershot 28 Fore St - DT2
This “quaint pub in the tiny village of Evershot” – immortalised as the ‘Sow and Acorn’ in Thomas Hardy’s ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ – offers “beautifully presented, consistently good and interesting” food from Kenyan-born chef Robert Ndungu. It is the more informal sibling of Summer Lodge on the other side of the village, from the Red Carnation hotel group.
6. The Museum Inn British, Modern restaurant in Farnham
This “brilliant thatched country pub” has “lots of game dishes” on its menu – appropriately enough for a traditional establishment in the historical hunting landscape of Cranborne Chase. “Vegetarians and vegans are well provided for” too, while there’s also a “well-stocked bar with local ales and a reasonably priced wine list”.
7. The Green British, Modern restaurant in Sherborne 3 The Green - DT9
“Excellent food at very reasonable prices” is the proposition at this townhouse with a focus on local West Country produce. Chef-patron Sasha Matkevich, who has lived in England for almost 30 years, was inspired to cook by the food he ate as a child at his grandmother’s house in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains in southern Russia.
8. Catch at The Old Fish Market Fish & seafood restaurant in Weymouth The Old Fish Market, Custom House Quay - DT4
This “interesting” yearling serves “fantastic seafood” in the “authentic surroundings” of the 1855 fish market, refurbished in minimalist style to host a restaurant serving fish landed directly from day boats based in the harbour. There’s a heavy emphasis on sustainability, with the dishes complemented by English wines from the region. Top Tip – “wear a scarf – it’s a tad chilly inside”.
9. Pythouse Kitchen Garden British, Modern restaurant in West Hatch
This “gorgeous gem of a place, set in beautiful Wiltshire countryside”, serves “superb and creative vegetable dishes made from home-grown produce” by chef Darren Brown in the eighteenth-century walled garden of a property at lunch or (more occasionally) at communal ‘long-table’ suppers. Fans say it’s a “must-visit if you are in the area” (it also hosts weddings and glamping).
10. The Clockspire British, Modern restaurant in Milborne Port Gainsborough - DT9
Chef Luke Sutton’s “consistently excellent and interesting” cooking, from a “delicious locally sourced menu”, is served in the “beautiful setting” of a high-ceilinged hall with exposed wood beams – a “fantastic conversion of an old school building” from the 1860s. The set lunch and early evening menu is particularly “great value”.
11. The Cliff in Poole British, Modern 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.
12. The Club House British, Modern restaurant in Dorchester Beach Road - DT2
This “delightful and relaxing café/restaurant” in an “attractive” 90-year-old venue has “spectacular views” over pebbled Chesil Beach. “Informed and attentive staff” ensure there’s a “good atmosphere”, and the “interesting menu” offers “good value” for its “tasty fish choices”.
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