Cornwall is both surrounded by and synonymous with the sea. A mesmerising mix of Atlantic Ocean, English Channel and Celtic Sea cradle the land, affording a fertile fruits de mer haul of the highest calibre.
And where better else to enjoy the freshest fish and seafood straight from the source than by dining in one of the county’s character-filled, beyond-scenic holiday destinations?
Picture this: supping on a chilled glass of wine and tucking into the latest catch as the sun dips below the ocean at the end of another spellbinding day of your stay.
Though there’s a plethora in practically every town, we’ve handpicked some top dining experiences set to whet your seafood-loving appetite…
Kota Restaurant, Porthleven
Situated at Porthleven’s historic Harbour Head, Kota (Maori for shellfish) is garnering repute as one of the southwest’s finest restaurants, having been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand 2014.
The inspired Asian-Cornish combination of cooking comes courtesy of chef extraordinaire, Jude Kereama, whose organic fish and meat menu presents an intoxicating explosion of flavours. From his roast hake with red chilli and coriander glaze, crab wontons, broccoli, pak choy, lemongrass and lime leaf sauce to the pan fried John Dory with crispy chicken wings, summer vegetable risotto and chicken jus – expect something incredibly special served in wonderfully inviting surrounds.
Read more about dining in Porthleven >
The Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn
Ben Tunnicliffe delivers his Michelin starred cuisine directly from one of Cornwall’s most historic fishing ports of Newlyn, perfectly combining place with plate for formidably tasting results.
Using the best, locally sourced produce to create simple and affordable fish dishes that ooze quality, Ben’s daily changing menus feature only the freshest catch, meaning that quality and taste are paramount. Expect anything from Newlyn crab cakes and beer battered Pollock to whole grilled plaice, fillet of hake, scallops and monkfish all cooked to lip-smacking perfection.
Read about Ben Tunnicliffe in Sennen >
Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, Port Isaac
With a well-defined ethos, Outlaw’s small, innovative and supreme-tasting creations are cooked to order and served when ready to ensure fine dining with a deliciously simple twist. In summary, the freshest fare landed from local inshore day boats certified by the Responsible Fishing Scheme rewards conscientious diners with a celebrity-cheffed menu loaded with goodness and flavour.
Imagine tapas style seafood plates such as raw salmon, cured monkfish, chilli squid, grilled mackerel and breaded plaice alongside a smattering of sides including Nocellara olives, shoestring potatoes and raw Porthilly oyster. Divine.
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Porthminster Beach Café, St Ives
Staking prime position right on the beach at St Ives’ flat, family friendly beach,
The Porthminster Beach Café is a multiple award winning seafood restaurant with a gorgeous Asian and Mediterranean menu. The super chilled-out atmosphere flanked by stunning sea views sets the tone for a memorable gastronomy comprising seasonal, hand picked ingredients.
Tuck into tasters like Pacific Oyster and tomato and parmesan marshmallows, starters such as smoked mackerel mille-feuille, sliced yellow fin tuna and Thai style fish cake and magnificent mains including baked Cornish cod fillet, Porthminster monkfish curry, grilled turbot fillet and pan fried sea bass fillets. Utterly fabulous.
St Ives is the perfect place for a celebration meal, read more >
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Squid Ink, Looe
Offering more of an intimate dining experience, Squid Ink is something to savour. A potent combination of the best local produce and individual culinary flair results in modern British food fused with Asian and Mediterranean flavours.
Their summer menu is a spoilsome affair. Sautéed black tiger prawns, pan-fried scallops and tempura battered squid perfectly prime the taste buds for the main event of lemon sole, seafood risotto and the wonderfully poetic sounding pan-fried sea bass fillet served on squid ink pasta with a sun-blushed tomato and balsamic tumble. And with a dreamy list of desserts providing a scintillating sweet endnote (the Sicilian lemon tart with lemon curd ice cream and raspberry crème brûlée are classic examples), you’ll most definitely wish to return to this extraordinary little restaurant.
Other top-notch seafood restaurants in Cornwall to add to your list include:
Falmouth Bay Seafood Café, Truro
Paul Ainsworth at No. 6, Padstow
Oceans Café, Newquay
The Quarterdeck Restaurant at The Nare, Veryan-in-Roseland
The Wheel House, Falmouth
Mackerel Sky, Newlyn
The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow
The Old Sail Loft, Looe
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