With probably the best view on the Island, if not the south coast, The Spyglass Inn is famed for great food, live music and real ales. The seasonally changing specials board has a strong emphasis on seafood, much of which is caught locally by Ventnor Haven Fishery, located at the other end of Ventnor Esplanade.
The main menu also has a whole host of tempting dishes from green-lipped mussels in a delicious garlic butter, a delicately spiced seafood curry, calamari, whitebait and a tasty tuna steak to name a few.
If you are dining with a few more seafood-faring friends then pre-order the Admiral’s Platter. A whole local lobster, local crab meat, mussels, prawns, sardines, mackerel, salmon… it’s a feast fit for Nelson himself!
Spyglass Inn, Ventnor
Now nationally known, The Hut is ever increasing in popularity so early table bookings here are a must. Being right by the sea, you’d expect a pretty spectacular offering of seafood and you will not be disappointed. If you’re with a group of friends, order a plethora of seafood treats from the starters menu so you can all sample the delights of fish tacos of monkfish, coriander and chutney, sashimi and grilled octopus.
There are around nine regular fish dishes on the main menu with more seasonal plates on the specials board. Whole fish mains include stone bass, sea bream and sand sole. For a special date try the Surf n’ Turf for two, it’s like no other. Tuck into côte de boeuf, lobster, crevettes, rocket salad and fries.
Couple this with a removable roof in the summer, so inside becomes outside in a matter of seconds, and the stunning scenery, it’s a spot not to be missed.
Have you ever dined in a floating café? Well now’s your chance! Located in the pretty village of Bembridge, sitting on the harbour is The Best Dressed Crab. Serving some of the finest shellfish on the Island, seafood does not get much fresher as it’s landed straight from the boat and then served up. This family-run business has been running on the Island for over 18 years, so they must be doing something right. Try one of the filled baguettes or freshly-made sandwiches, the shellfish salads of local whole or half lobster (depending on how hungry you are), dressed crab or prawns will make your mouth water just thinking about it. If your group wants a bit of everything the seafood platter is a must! Bursting with a whole lobster, dressed crab, mussels, clams and a fresh salad and crunchy baguette, you’ll want something chilled to wash it all down. This little jewel is a seafood lover’s dream!
Set on the newly developing Island Harbour Marina, The Breeze has all the makings of the next great restaurant of the Isle of Wight. Set alongside the harbour, you can spend many a lazy afternoon or relaxed evening sitting on the veranda overlooking the estuary, watching the boats come in and the sun dance on the water. There’s an extensive menu with seafood dotted throughout but the dedicated ‘From The Ocean’ section is where all fish fans want to look. Try the moules mariniére, a full plate of mussels cooked in white wine, garlic and onions, finished with cream and served with warm rustic French bread to mop up the delicious sauce.
Starters include traditional prawn and avocado but with a twist… a Bloody Mary sauce. Everyone’s favourite fishy starter, salt and pepper squid with fresh salad and a lemon mayonnaise is also on offer. Keep an eye on the ever-changing specials board for more seafood delights.
A name familiar with Island residents, Character Inns have cleverly given a clear identity to their pubs. Grouping them into what they specialise in, Coastal Inns are located by the sea and serve, as you would expect, fresh seafood. Sitting on Bembridge Ledge, The Crab and Lobster Inn has a pretty garden overlooking the sea, so you can dine with some fairly spectacular views.
Famous for seafood platters, you can choose between a cold or hot version. The fresh cold platter has a selection of crab, smoked salmon, prawns and mussels served with salad and a good chunk of local crusty bread. The hot seafood platter is best shared for two, you’ll be treated to crab and half a lobster along with a variety of hot seafoods of the day (the specials board has the fish selection) it’s served with triple cooked chips, salad and crusty local bread and dips. Wow! There’s also a creamy seafood risotto and a rich, tomatoey seafood chowder packed with your favourite morsels. The phrase spoiled for choice fits well here.
For a unique dining experience visit The Bandstand in Sandown. Literally built on an old bandstand, the restaurant is glass along all four walls allowing for panoramic views across Sandown Bay. Serving up one of the best moules mariniére on the Island, enjoy them as a starter/ light bite or a main dish. A plate brimming with mussels arrives at your table in a tasty garlicy, creamy, winey sauce served alongside a hunk of bread to dip in. Indulge in fish and chips, but this comes without the batter, so it’s fresh and a healthier alternative to the sometimes stodgy British classic. Traditional favourites such as a light and crispy Jack Sprats starter with a lemon mayo lead the way to a menu staple, scampi and chips. There’s always something local and tempting on the specials board so if the main menu hasn’t caught your attention, this will.