Foodies are spoilt for choice in the Island’s west coast town of Yarmouth. Bijou as it is beautiful, there’s nevertheless a cafe, pub or restaurant to appeal to every diner – from a waterside cream tea, or traditional fish and chips, to DIY surf ’n’ turf or blow-the-budget fine dining. Follow our guide to find your perfect watering hole.
For a seafront seat that’s second to none, grab a table at Gossips Cafe, at the foot of Yarmouth’s Grade II listed pier. Vast picture windows flood the welcoming interior with light, and provide a panoramic backdrop of the ever-changing Solent, as well as a fascinating glimpse of the car ferry’s coming and goings. The cafe menu is well-priced and varied, ranging from a superb selection of locally-made cakes to accompany your Lavazza coffee, full English breakfasts, or afternoon tea platters. Lunch offerings include such tempting choices as brioche with BBQ pulled pork, fresh crab sandwiches, home-cooked honey-roast ham, and seafood chowder.
Traditional Pub Food:
The 16th Century Bugle Coaching Inn, situated in the very heart of Yarmouth town, is a justifiably popular haunt all year round, with its ancient flagstone flooring, inglenook beams, cosy snugs and open fires. In the summer months, the pretty courtyard garden comes into its own, as yachties, visitors and locals mingle outside, soaking up the relaxed atmosphere and superior pub menu. Reflecting the inn’s proximity to the sea, specials include lobster salad, grilled bass, skate wings, and lemon sole.
Fine Dining At The George Hotel:
A handsome 17th Century townhouse next to the port, newly refurbished Isla’s features gourmet delicacies like squid-ink cannelloni, roast quail, hand-dived scallops, and pork cheek fritters. The 3-course restaurant menu, with coffee and petit fours is priced at £65. Or choose from an a la Carte menu at the more relaxed Conservatory brasserie. Afternoon tea is best enjoyed on the lawn of The George, bordered by the magnificent ramparts of Henry VIII’s Yarmouth Castle, and overlooking the busy harbour.
Salty’s is something of a Yarmouth institution, with its lively, ground floor bar, and casual dining on communal tables (sometimes converted to makeshift dance floors by the end of a busy Saturday night!). The blackboard menu features mainly locally-caught fish and seafood, although there is some meat on the menu too. Upstairs, the restaurant offers a more formal dining experience – their Bloody Mary oyster shots are a great way to kick things off, then follow up with a classic bouillabaisse, darnes of skate, or local lobster.
Fish & Chips, Seafood and DIY fish:
The Blue Crab restaurant, on the High Street, is a proud beacon of local produce, serving fish, shellfish and seafood caught by Yarmouth’s finest fishermen, Island-reared poultry and game, locally grown vegetables, and heritage lettuce and other salad produce from the Gardener’s Patch in Chessell. As a licensed restaurant, they stock wine from Adgestone Vineyard, cider from Godshill, Goddards beer and Island Ales. Take-away options of fish and chips can be purchased every day from The Yar Bar, while fresh fish to cook at home can be purchased on Thursdays.
Coffee and Cake:
Also located on Quay Street, converted post office PO41 is fast becoming hugely popular with Yarmouth coffee aficionados, with trained baristas serving up artisan coffee made from award-winning Union beans, luxury loose leaf teas, and sweet treats coming from the nearby kitchens of Chessell Pottery Cafe chef Bridget Wells.
Words supplied by Anna Pocock