The weather is hotting up and summer is just around the corner!
If you fancy a little alfresco dining on the Isle of Wight this Summer, here are few of our favourite little spots to make the most of this sunshine.
Part 1 of Alfresco dining on the IOW covers 12 popular pubs and restaurants, Part 2 and the next 12 to follow this summer.
The Hut is the place to be, and THE place to be seen on the Isle of Wight. Fantastic spot for people watching and and/or to soak up some sunrays. Anchor your yacht or rib just off the shoreline, and they will pick you up in the restaurant rib, or if driving, park at Colwell Chine Road. It also makes a great destination if walking from Yarmouth. Seafood menu is very good with a great selection of wine. Tables book very quickly so make sure you phone in advance.
The Waterfront one of the best spots right beside the seafront at Totland Bay. Sit outside protected from any wind by glass panels, or inside in the sea view restaurant. You can choose every type of food from an extensive menu served all day from 12.
Pub/restaurant with a seafront view in Cowes. Unfortunately there are not many eateries in Cowes with a sea view, but the Yachtsman sitting on the Parade has fairly decent views across Cowes Harbour with a few outdoor tables, and bifold doors. Owned by a chain, the menu is of a good standard and serves breakfast through to dinner.
Coast is a legend in Cowes, and is open pretty much all day every day including the winter. Set in Shooters Hill, a continuation of the High Street, the outside tables are the ideal place for people watching and catching the morning rays of sunshine over a coffee and breakfast. If your prefer a quieter alfresco area, there is also rear garden. Indoors there are two downstairs eating areas and an upstairs dining room. The menus cover a broad range from breakfast, pizza through to fine dining specials, and as such, Coast is very busy, so book ahead.
The Basque Kitchen (formally known as Amabi) is a Mediterranean delight in Cowes. On the edge of Shepards Wharf Marina, just a short distance from the Chain Ferry, it's a great place to stop off for a Spanish beer, wine or coffee in the sunshine at the front, or head out to back and watch the bustle in the marina from the covered alfresco eating area. If you are hungry, the Basque tapas is authentic and delicious (we live off the calamari & fries) with daily specials made from local ingredients together with a good selection of steak, or phone ahead and book yourself a paella.
The Sun has one of the most stunning pub garden views in every direction. To one side of the large garden, you will see the quaint thatched view of the pub, and to the other, breathtaking views over the English Channel. Owned by the same chain as The Yachtsman and The Crown, the menu is traditional pub with a good selection of specials.
The Crown is in the centre of Shorwell, a traditional quintessential Island village of thatched cottages, a church and a pub all surrounded by arable farmland. The pub has a large garden alongside a stream and is well know for the gigantic plants that grow alongside, and the gigantic trout that swim in the stream. Part of the Character Inns chain, they have a regular menu with a good selection of specials that are created from local ingredients.
Right on the water's edge with stunning views over Ventnor Bay, the Spyglass is a great place to grab a drink and a pint of prawns and watch the gulls fly past. Menus are extensive and include both hot and cold seafood dishes, with the seafood delivered straight from Ventnor Haven fishery. If you prefer inside or weather dictates, there is plenty of live music, and lots of pirate/smuggling memorabilia.
The Beach Shack in Steephill Cove
This fantastic cafe right on the edge of Steephill Cove near Ventnor is reminiscent of a Mediterranean beach cafe. After the 'steep' decent down to the Cove, it's a perfect pitstop for drinks, crab sandwiches or their speciality Thai crab soup, whilst overlooking the English Channel. Or if you are planning to spend the day on the beach, order a takeaway tray (no current website or facebook page so phone before visiting 07815 542277)
This converted house boat in Bembridge Harbour has a seafood shop and large cafe with stunning views across to Duver. It's all about crab and lobster, so pop along for a big tub of crab to take home and grab crab sandwich or lobster platter in the houseboat cafe while you're there.
Chose one of the outdoor tables with stunning views of Bembridge Ledge out over to Portsmouth, order a crab sandwich and a glass of wine and watch the ships steam past. After lunch, climb down the steps onto the beach for a gentle stroll along the waters edge. Full pub menu with a vast selection of seafood, crab, lobster and steak.
Large cafe right on the seafront at Duver. Choose an outdoor table next to the beach with great views out to see. No website so can't confirm the menu, but wine and fish soup was a good choice last time we visited.
We'll be sampling another 12 over the next few weeks, suggestions include:
Three Boys in Ryde, Off the Rails in Yarmouth, The Lifeboat in East Cowes, The Bandstand in Sandown, The Crab Shed in Steephill Cove, The Little Gloster in Gurnard, The Beach Hut in Bembridge, The Dell Cafe at Puckpool Park, Tradewinds Beach Cafe on the Lake Revetment, The George Hotel in Yarmouth, The Boathouse at Fort Victoria, Yarmouth, Smoking Lobster in Ventnor