Culinary Coastline: Cornwall's Eight Most Scenic Restaurants Overlooking the Sea
With their rolling sea views, award-winning chefs and hordes of freshly-caught fish, Cornwall’s best sea view restaurants marry the pleasures of palate and panorama to perfection.
Is there anything better than sitting on a sunny terrace, crisp glass of wine in hand while you wait for some of Cornwall’s freshest catch to be served directly to your table? We think not. With its rich maritime heritage and an abundance of fresh seafood, the south western county has become a haven for food enthusiasts seeking not only delectable dishes but also breathtaking views, and you can enjoy them all and then some at Cornwall’s top restaurants with a sea view…
Emily Scott Food, Newquay
Easily one of the most famous chefs in Cornwall – you might recognise her from appearances on Great British Menu and she even cooked for the likes of Joe Biden, Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in 2021 – Emily Scott is a stalwart of the Newquay dining scene. Her restaurant, aptly called Emily Scott Food, nestles against the sea wall in Watergate Bay, is a modern and stylish spot complete with panoramic views of the sea and deck covered by a retractable canopy, serving up the best of seasonal produce like Cornish trout, whipped cod’s roe and baked Cornish turbot roasted on the bone. Head down before the end of September and you can even dine in one of her ‘eau de nil’ coloured beach huts which, created in collaboration with Fortnum and Mason, is a picturesque spot for a seaside picnic.
INFO: On the Beach, Watergate Bay, Newquay TR8 4AA
Old Coastguard, Mousehole
The lesser-known neighbour of the buzzy Penzance, the charming fishing village of Mousehole is popular for retaining its character, charm and beauty, particularly so when it comes to Old Coastguard. A Victorian maritime inn that serves as both a contemporary pub, restaurant and hotel, you’ll find it right about the rocks on the edge of the pretty town. Used by non-residents in high season and locals out for a special night in low, take a seat on the terrace or inside – both boast beautiful sea views – and enjoy the likes of Spanish-style tapas such as Manzanilla olives, charred Padron peppers, jamon iberico de Bellota and focaccia with tapenade as you peruse the Mediterranean menu. As to be expected, fish features prominently, but there’s also the likes of duck breast, pork plus an entire plant-based menu for non-meat eaters, meaning all bases are covered.
INFO: The Parade, Mousehole, Penzance TR19 6PR
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The Cove, Maenporth
Nestled a couple of miles south of Falmouth, on the eastern side of the River Fal, The Cove in Maenporth is the brainchild of Michelin-starred celebrity Chef Michael Caines, who added the restaurant to his ever-growing portfolio in 2020. Injecting his classical French training into a menu of Cornish produce, guests can enjoy upscale dishes like caramelised cauliflower risotto with toasted almonds and pan fried fillet of Cornish hake out on the enclosed, glass-fronted terrace. Celebrating a special occasion? Opt for the signature tasting menu with everything from sea bream ceviche, grilled beef fillet and a selection of south west cheeses, plus wine pairing for an extra £65 per person. Don’t mind if we do.
INFO: Maenporth, Beach, Falmouth TR11 5HN
Porthminster Beach Café, St Ives
Perhaps the best restaurant with sea views in the whole of St Ives, Porthminster Beach Café is a whitewashed 1930s beach house offering a seafood-orientated menu that incorporates produce from its own coastal kitchen garden. Open from breakfast to dinner, this multi-award-winning hotspot has a firm focus on sustainable and local freshly-caught sea fish and shellfish from the Cornish estuaries, all of which can be enjoyed alongside spectacular views of the vivid blue waters of St Ives Bay and beyond. Menu highlights include Cornish crab pasta, hand rolled sweet potato cavatelli and a classic Porthminster fish curry with monkfish, local market fish, tiger prawns and mussels.
INFO: Porthminster Beach, Carbis Bay, Saint Ives TR26 2EB
Walter’s on the Beach, Carbis Bay
One of the biggest draws of the uber-luxe Carbis Bay hotel – and trust us, there are many – Walter’s on the Beach is a sophisticated beachside restaurant and cocktail bar that will be sure to impress for date night. Kick things off with an expertly-crafted cocktail before heading out to the terrace for an eclectic mix of internationally-inspired dishes with a distinct British twist courtesy of Chef Andrew Houghton. If you only opt for one thing, make it the epic Lobster Pot which consists of Cornish lobster served inside a tuille lobster pot with seaweed, parmesan custard, mushroom caramel, puff pastry, sea asparagus, sea beets and oyster leaf. It’s a true triumph.
INFO: The Promenade at, Carbis Bay, Estate TR26 2NP
The Mariners, Rock
A one-stop-shop for delicious food, incredible views, five-star service, and an impressive drinks selection, The Mariners in the heart of the exclusive Rock manages to retain all the charm of a traditional local that is well worth a visit for its bar snacks alone. Make the most of its fabulous waterside views by basing yourself on the expansive terrace where you can enjoy fresh oysters from Porthilly along with a pint of the famous Sharp’s Doom Bar beer which is brewed nearby. If you’re after something a little heartier, you can’t go wrong with more rustic fare like pies and burgers, as well as its signature ‘The Dogs Pollock’ – a pollock hot dog with pickled cucumber, mustard, dill, and parmesan.
INFO: The Slipway, Rock, Wadebridge PL27 6LD
The Sardine Factory, Looe
If you’re looking to indulge in some of the freshest fish in the business, look no further than The Sardine Factory. Here chefs source fish daily from the market for their dishes at this rustic seafood restaurant which, as the name suggests, is a converted Grade II listed former Sardine factory. A great shout for an informal lunch, nibbles and small plates are served alongside catch of the day cooked over coals and served simply with a brown butter and shrimp sauce, fish and chips or grab linguine. The star of the show is its stunning views across the harbour to East Looe, which make it certainly worth the journey.
INFO: Quay Rd, West Looe, Looe PL13 2ES
Ugly Butterfly by Adam Handling, St Ives
Recognised by the Michelin Guide, it’s easy to see why Ugly Butterfly by Adam Handling is one of the best restaurants in Cornwall with a sea view. Another Carbis Bay hangout, which is also home to a sandy 25-acre blue flag beach, the London-based chef – who has made it his life’s mission to be as zero waste as possible and only sources ingredients from within Cornwall’s borders - has pulled out all the stops at his St Ives eatery, which comes with an open kitchen, a choice of two tasting menus and floor-to-ceiling windows that show off Carbis Bay’s superlative views in all their glory. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait weeks – or even months – for a reservation here, so be sure to book well in advance.
INFO: Carbis Bay Estate, Carbis Bay, Saint Ives TR26 2NP