In a county where fishing boats pull up daily with fresh catches, there’s no better place to taste the delights of the ocean than Cornwall. With most restaurants offering a fantastic seafood option, there are some that go above and beyond, providing guests with a veritable smorgasbord of fresh seafood prepared by top chefs and fish fanatics. Five of the restaurants on this list are also on our round-up of the AA guide's best restaurants in Cornwall - which says a lot!
From fish and chips you can enjoy at your favourite Cornish beach to entire seafood platters you can share with someone special over a glass of bubbly and a sea view, here are some of the best seafood restaurants in Cornwall…
Hooked on the Rocks
Best for: Beach views after a beach day
Where: Swanpool Rd, Falmouth TR11 5BG
Overlooking the beautiful Swanpool beach, Hooked on the Rocks is well-placed for some seaside fine dining. As you’re tucking into your crab and lobster dishes, it’s great to know that your food has travelled an impressively short distance - the crab alone is caught a mere stone’s throw from where you sit. After a day sprawling out on the beach below, there is no finer thing than walking the few steps to the sun terrace where you can sip on a crisp white wine and dine on some seriously superb seafood.
Prawn on the Lawn
Best for: Small plates with big flavour
Where: 11 Duke St, Padstow PL28 8AB
Situated in the dreamy fishing port of Padstow, Prawn on the Lawn has featured in the Michelin Guide every year since they opened and was recently named as the Best UK Seafood Restaurant – so you know they mean business! Fresh fish is delivered straight to the door, which often means quickly changing menus to make the most of each catch. Whether you’re tasting your way through the small plates or you’ve got a whole fish for the table, lunch and dinner at Prawn on the Lawn is an ever-changing experience that always hits the spot. Make sure to check out their website before visiting though as they flit between their town and farm sites at different points of the year.
Porthminster Beach Restaurant
Best for: Beer on the beach
Where: Porthminster Beach, Carbis Bay, St Ives TR26 2EB
Porthminster Beach Restaurant is as close to dining on the beach as you can get without an invasion of sand. Whether you’re soaking up the sun with some al fresco dining on the terrace or you’re cosying up inside on a winter’s day, there’s not a seat in the restaurant that doesn’t benefit from incredible sea views. On the menu, you’ll find equally pleasing sights with their mouth-watering selection of sustainably sourced fish and locally grown produce - some even grown from their own garden! Tuck into a divine lobster linguine or go starfish-eyed for some Porthminster fried squid – delish!
Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar
Best for: Tasting plates full of taste
Where: New Rd, Newlyn, Penzance TR18 5PZ
If you want a place where you can see the fishing boats coming in on the morning tide and see the catch on your plate that evening, then dinner at one of the UK’s busiest fishing ports is a must. Perched on the corner of Newlyn, Mackerel Sky has been serving up the freshest fish since they opened in 2015 and they’re still making a splash! Taste your way through plates of katsu curry, beer-battered fish and a real Cornish delicacy of scallops with Dukkah. Order a couple of small plates for yourself or choose a bunch for the table and dine tapas-style at this fantastic (dog-friendly) restaurant.
The Rum & Crab Shack
Best for: A dark and stormy time
Where: Wharf Rd, St Ives TR26 1LG
Whether you want your dinner from the land or the sea, with a side of rum and ginger beer or a craft ale, The Rum and Crab Shack in St Ives caters to every kind of buccaneer. Seafood lovers will be blown away by the range on offer, which includes everything from your seaside essentials of crispy whitebait to a whole lobster (for sharing or for one if you’re feeling shellfish…). Oh, and the Dead Man’s Fingers ribs are always a fantastic shout if you’re a fan of their specialty rum – bottoms up!
Explore some of the other unique pubs and bars in St Ives in our guide.
The Fish House Fistral
Best for: Surf and seafood
Where: 5, International Surfing Centre, Headland Rd, Newquay TR7 1EW
Just imagine… You emerge from the waves at Fistral beach having spent the day making the most of Cornwall’s premier surfing beach… you towel off and head straight up the golden sand to The Fish House where you can finish the day off with a sunset and an ice-cold beer in your hand – perfect. The Fish House really is ideally placed for some fine dining with sea views, so, between the glistening ocean and your beautifully presented plate, you won’t know what to focus on! Whether you fancy a seafood platter for sharing or a fish curry you can enjoy all to yourself, this glorious menu is ready to take your tastebuds to the sea and back.
Best for: A pre-show feed
Where: Tabernacle St, Truro TR1 2EJ
Not only is Hooked! a mere hop, skip and jump away from both the newly renovated Hall for Cornwall and Truro’s cinema, but they offer a discount to anyone with tickets to see a show so you can rest assured your tummy won’t rumble during the performance. On this show-starter menu, you’ll find an array of oceanic goodness from paella to a classic fish and chips. Round it all off with a cream tea and you’ll be Hooked! for life!
The Seafood Restaurant
Best for: A plethora of platters
Where: Riverside, Padstow PL28 8BY
Synonymous with seafood, Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow is renowned far and wide for its platters of oysters, langoustines and sashimi and exceptional local crab and lobster. Head Chef Pete Murt has curated a fantastic menu that really celebrates Cornish produce and cuisine in a contemporary setting. Soak up the sun on the terrace or unwind in the seafood bar with a crisp white and plate full of heavenly seafood.
Outlaw’s New Road
Best for: Outstanding set menus
Where: 6 New Rd, Port Isaac PL29 3SB
Set menus are the way to go at this Michelin Star restaurant as the chefs know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to serving incredible seafood (vegetarian options are also available, just be sure to let them know when you book). Scallops, Dover sole, monkfish, crab… the possibilities just keep going and always align with what’s in season to ensure you’re only ever getting the best. With the seafood often travelling less than the guests, Outlaw’s New Road in Port Isaac is an unbeatable spot for the very best that Cornwall and the south west has to offer.
Why not combine your exceptional meal out with a stroll around Port Isaac’s enchanting coastline. After all, nothing gets the hunger pangs stirring more than a Cornish walk.
Best for: Award-winning cuisine
Where: Harbour Head, Porthleven, Helston TR13 9JA
Since opening Kota (which is Maori for shellfish) in 2006, chef Jude Kereama and his team have racked up the accolades including restaurant and chef of the year awards along with the prestigious Michelin Bib Gourmand for six years in a row. Other than looking great on the wall, these awards continue to prove that the lovely people at Kota know their craft and that their passion for great food is ever-growing. Tiger prawns, John Dory, crab ravioli, Porthilly oysters are just some of the tempting foods you can look forward to, whether you opt for the tasting menu or a selection of your choice. We love to finish our meal off with a gentle stroll around the harbour, the perfect palate cleanser in Porthleven.
You can usually catch Jude giving demos at the annual Porthleven Food Festival, which sees foodies gathering from all over the place to celebrate the diversity (and pure deliciousness) of food.
The Sea Kitchen
Best for: Family-friendly fun
Where: Marine Dr, Looe PL13 2DG
Beautiful sea views, a relaxed atmosphere and a menu that’s solely seafood? Yes, please! The Sea Kitchen in Looe is all about simple, local ingredients that show off Cornwall’s fantastic maritime offering so you can expect plates full of bream, John Dory, monkfish and whatever else the boats have brought in, all with a lovely seaside aspect and friendly atmosphere. Check out their social media to keep up to date with what’s going on in this welcoming, family (and dog) friendly hideaway.
Sams On The Beach
Best for: A beachside escape
Where: 14, Polkerris, Par PL24 2TL
What was once an RNLI lifeboat station saving lives, is now a chilled out restaurant saving bellies from hunger. With a custom-built wood-fired pizza oven and their very own fishing day boat, the Emperor, Sams on the Beach is a pretty unbeatable spot for a beer and a one-of-a-kind seafood pizza. Sit outside on the revamped slipway or soak up the sun inside during the winter months thanks to the huge floor to ceiling windows. Oh, and did we mention the milkshakes? A visit to Sams is never complete without a milkshake… or two… or three!
Best for: The best of land and sea
Where: Charlestown Harbour, Saint Austell PL25 3NJ
We’re pretty sure it’s impossible to tire of harbourside views, especially when they’re alongside seafood that most likely came from the very same harbour – throw in some steaks as well and we’re set for the whole evening. In a beautifully transformed Georgian house, The Longstore combines the very best of local ingredients so you can tuck into some St Austell Bay mussels alongside a small farm ribeye steak with a Longstore cocktail to end the meal on the right note.
Best for: Fish tacos and St Austell ale
Where: The Quay, Mevagissey, Saint Austell PL26 6QU
Forget taco Tuesday, you’ll be craving tacos every day of the week once you try The Sharksfin’s amazing take on this classic. It’s not just popcorn shrimp tacos on the menu though, let your eyes feast on an amazing range of starters, fish, grills and burgers, plus a great kids menu so the whole family can dine together. Situated right on the harbour front in Mevagissey, you can enjoy some fresh seafood with a side of sea views as you sip on a gloriously refreshing St Austell ale. Really, there’s no better way to spend a Cornish morning, afternoon or evening, especially when you combine it with some of the great things to do in Mevagissey!
Best for: Fish and chips by the sea
Where: Arwenack Street, Falmouth TR11 3LH
Did you really think we were going to miss out the nation’s favourite past-time? A trip to Cornwall isn’t complete without a takeaway fish and chips to enjoy at your favourite spot, and when you’re in Falmouth, one of the best places to go has to be Harbour Lights. From the little metal fish embedded in the pavement as you approach to the famous battered fish that keeps you coming back, it’s hard to walk by the colourful chippery without stopping. Eat in overlooking the harbour or take yours to go and head up to Pendennis Point, there’s no wrong way to enjoy a fish and chips from Harbour Lights.
Ready to start your seafood tour of Cornwall? Explore our lovely cottages in Cornwall and start planning where you want to go first.