6 Must-Visit Restaurants on the Isle of Wight
The roughly diamond-shaped island on England’s south coast has long been a popular staycation spot, renowned for its sunny climate and kooky seaside vibe. But, in recent years, the Isle of Wight has upped its game on the culinary front too, with a wealth of great restaurants, pubs and cafes to explore – many offering sea views and all making the most of the excellent local larder. Heading there for a late summer getaway? Read on for the C&TH pick of restaurants on the Isle of Wight to visit now.
Best Restaurants on the Isle of Wight
The Hut, Freshwater
Perched on the white sands of Colwell Bay, The Hut is the closest you’ll get to an exotic beach club on UK shores. It’s a favourite with the island’s yachties – but a personal rib service from Lymington and Southampton ensures the rest of us can enjoy the fun of arriving by boat too. Pitch up in one of the candy-coloured cabins and settle in for an afternoon of rosé by the bucketload and some of the freshest seafood in town. Begin with some small sharing plates for the table: highlights include fish tacos with tempura cod, octopus with red pepper salsa, and smoked beef tataki with pickled shallots. For mains, go all out with the fruits de mer platter, a wonderfully decadent spread of oysters, prawns, clams, shrimp and cockles, or keep it classic with the grilled lobster, roasted turbot or ribeye steak. There’s a really fun atmosphere here – expect napkin twirling and dancing on particularly lively days – and after your meal you can continue the party at the upstairs bar. The cocktail menu is well worth exploring; our top pick is ‘A Kiss From a Rose’, a fruity blend of vodka, rose syrup, elderflower and grapefruit soda. It’s worth noting that The Hut is incredibly popular – summer bookings are released in February, and tables go like hotcakes. Plan ahead, and make a weekend of it. Who needs the Med?
Colwell Chine Rd, Colwell Bay, Freshwater PO40 9NP; thehutcolwell.co.uk
The Hambrough, Ventnor
Nestled on a pretty street in the coastal town of Ventnor, this restaurant with rooms benefits from both a village-feel location and fabulous sea views. The recent appointment of multi award-winning Executive Chef Matthew Tomkinson has elevated The Hambrough’s reputation as one of the Island’s top culinary destinations. Matthew brings with him a wealth of experience, as a Roux Scholarship winner and having been awarded a Michelin star twice, his light, classical style menus garnering a faithful following. Current dishes include a cured Chalk Stream trout starter, Cornish sea bass with cauliflower puree, and roasted king oyster mushroom with salt baked celeriac. Afterwards, rest your head in one of the hotel’s seven individually designed rooms – some of which have balconies looking across the English Channel.
Hambrough Rd, Ventnor PO38 1SQ; thehambrough.com
Smoking Lobster, Ventnor
Since it opened back in 2015, the Ventnor Beach branch of the Smoking Lobster group has become a firm favourite with residents and visitors alike. It focuses on pan Asian cuisine, made using local ingredients where possible. Fish takes centre stage, with dishes like ginger baked seabass and lobster with yuzu miso garlic butter featuring on the menu – and watch out for fisherman Justin’s catch of the day. Enjoy alongside Asian-inspired cocktails and high-quality sakes while soaking up the sea views. The newer branch in Cowes is also well worth a visit.
Esplanade, Ventnor PO38 1JT; smokinglobster.co.uk
The George, Yarmouth
The location of The George could not be more stunning: right on the water’s edge between the castle and the pier in bustling Yarmouth. A short ferry hop from Lymington on the mainland (with sea vistas that are second to none), this 17th-century townhouse, most famously frequented by King Charles II, has recently been extensively refurbished under new ownership, and is now the hip boutique retreat on the island. It’s home to a lovely restaurant called The Conservatory, a brasserie-style space overlooking the Solent. The menu includes pasta and rice dishes, grills and small plates, with an outdoor pizza oven and al fresco terrace for the summer months, and all produce sourced locally.
Quay St, Yarmouth PO41 0PE; thegeorge.co.uk
One of the newer restaurant openings on the island is Heron, launched by foodies Alex and Laura, the team behind The Cottage in Shanklin. Locally sourced, seasonal produce sits at the heart of this eatery, with menus changing regularly, offering a fine dining experience amid relaxed settings. At the moment, that includes dishes like herb roasted lamb loin with butternut squash, roasted skate with chard greens and sweetcorn grilled in honey, herbs and chilli. Afterwards, head to the nearby sister venue, Heron Lounge, for post-dinner cocktails in a beautifully designed Grade II listed Victorian building.
2 Castle St, Ryde PO33 2EP; heroniow.co.uk
The Garlic Farm Restaurant, Sandown
Garlic fiend? Be sure to pay a visit to one of the Isle of Wight’s best foodie institutions, The Garlic Farm. The family-run farm has been growing garlic for over 60 years now, and is perhaps best famous for its annual garlic festival, which takes place every summer. Yet there’s plenty to see there all year round, including the renowned restaurant, which serves breakfast and lunch everyday, and offers evening dining on Saturdays. Naturally, many dishes have a good hint of garlic in them, and local produce is used wherever possible – including highland beef reared on the farm. Don’t leave without stocking up your larder at the farm shop, either.
Mersley Ln, Newchurch, Sandown PO36 0NR; thegarlicfarm.co.uk
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