7 OF THE BEST PLACES TO EAT IN BRIGHTON WITH BEACHFRONT, OUTDOOR SEATING

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After more than a month of fraught al fresco dining spent battling wantaway serviettes, hailstones in your soup, and so many layers you’re moving like the Michelin man, the forecast finally looks a little brighter for the weeks ahead.

So it should be, with June just around the corner. But when the weather does decide to warm up and settle down, there’s no place we’d rather be dining outdoors than Brighton seafront. The city is blessed with some superb eateries as close to the pebbles as possible, from some old stalwarts of the scene all the way to several new openings with heaps of ambition. Here are 7 of the best places to eat in Brighton with beachfront, outdoor seating.

MURMUR

The restaurant with the best location in all of Brighton and Hove? In our humble opinion, yes. Sitting just a few yards back from the beach and directly in front of the old pier’s iconic 24-pillar Golden Spiral, Murmur is the second restaurant from chef Michael Bremner, who is chef/owner of the exemplary 64 Degrees in Brighton’s Lanes.

Named after Brighton’s famous starling murmurations, the food here is more down-to-earth and hearty than its older sibling, with a signature of lobster croquettes always a winner and the market fish of the day, grilled simply with greens and French fries, represeting great value for around £20 (weight dependent, of course). There’s even a kid’s menu and space out front for them to play. Idyllic scenes, indeed.

Best of all? The beachfront, outdoor seating is walk-ins only; simply leave your name and number if there’s no tables, have a wander along the promenade or a beer at one of the nearby pubs, and the call always seems to come in promptly. Cheers!

Address: Kings Road Arches, 91-96, Brighton BN1 2FN

Website: murmur-restaurant.co.uk

BRIGHTON SMOKEHOUSE

Head towards the big blue from the city’s famous Lanes, get to sea level and next to the pebble beach you’ll find a collection of tables and chairs, a statue of a portly, bearded fisherman, and Brighton Smokehouse. 

With the mise en scene set so succinctly and the smell of smoked fish permeating the outdoor seating area, it’s time to refer to the specials chalkboard for what’s good. For us, nothing beats a smoked kipper roll and a freshly squeezed orange juice from the adjoining shop on a crisp, sunny day. We’ve also heard good things about the fish finger sandwiches from a neighbouring diner. It’s that kind of place; convivial and relaxed, and the perfect seaside brunch.

Address: Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 1NB 

Website: brighton-smokehouse.business.site 

SALT ROOM

The Salt Room’s website claims it as ‘Brighton’s best seafood restaurant’; a bold claim, indeed, but it’s not far off. Part of a group of three – the Coal Shed in Brighton and one of the same name in London – this is a place which ticks all the boxes for great fish cookery; sustainable sourcing and simplicity. The menu resists the urge to globe-trot, and this time, we think that’s welcome.

Inside, it’s a surprisingly cavernous space with a good buzz and young, enthusiastic staff. The restaurant is compartmentalised neatly and cleverly, with lots of different spaces and areas, so the buzz carries through the restaurant and acoustically it works.

But we’re sitting outside for our supper today, and the terrace, despite its location next to a busy road separating beach from restaurant, still boasts fine views of the ocean which seem to enhance those saline notes in the food.

The grill is used liberally here, which is particularly good news for the whole fish destined to be blistered and burnished on it. Saying that, perhaps the best thing on the menu is the fish tempura with seaweed ‘Samurai’ mayonnaise – the batter remarkably crisp and the mayo supercharged with umami. Alternatively, the seafood platter – grilled and steamed – with French fries, lettuce and a superb aioli, feels like a steal at £30.

Though nominally a fish restaurant, there’s plenty for the carnivores in the group to enjoy, including dry-aged rib eye cooked over coals and a superb chicken and leek terrine.

Address: 106 Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 2FU 

Website: saltroom-restaurant.co.uk 

SHELTER HALL

Seven restaurants in one? With ample outdoor seating right next to the beach? What, and live music you say?

Sorry, what did you say? We can’t hear you over the music.

Anyway, count us in!

The global pandemic has meant Brighton’s first food hall had a stop-start opening, with Shelter Hall Raw popping up last summer to fill the gap before the real thing opened in April 2021. 

Just a month in, and it’s already hit its stride. 2018 Masterchef winner Kenny Tutt’s Ox Block is here for his first Brighton venture, serving meat sourced from local farmers and cooked over a robata grill. Under the same roof, local favourite Lost Boys Chicken are doing what they do best; fried chicken slathered in hot sauce – just don’t wear your best white t-shirt for this one. There’s also VIP Pizza, Crab Shack and many more, as well as a dedicated bar doing local craft beers.

The vibe here is reliably, resolutely boisterous and the service prompt and efficient. What’s not to love? Make sure you book in advance if you’re looking for the best seats (first floor balcony, if you’re asking) at the weekend, but during the week, it’s easy enough to simply rock up and enjoy yourself. 

Address: Kings Road Arches, Shelter Hall, Brighton BN1 1NB

Website: shelterhall.co.uk

ROCKWATER

An even fresher addition to the Brighton and Hove dining scene is Rockwater, on Hove’s Western Esplanade. There’s been huge excitement about this newcomer and it’s easy to see why; the location is amazing with a rooftop terrace offering panoramic views of the beach and sea, and a walk-in only beach deck untroubled by the crowds of the Brighton end of the beach.

The opening hasn’t all been smooth sailing, with proposed £750 membership scheme being met with uproar locally, but the restaurant’s location has so much promise that a few teething problems are easily overlooked. Open from early morning, this is the perfect spot for a serene early bird breakfast before the people of Hove wake up and flock here.

Address: Western Esplanade, Hove BN3 4FA

Website: rockwater.uk

LUCKY BEACH CAFE

If you’re up for a spot of brunch on the beach, then Lucky Beach Cafe is your guy. Finalists in the National Breakfast and Brunch Awards last year, the menu is full of crowd pleasers, from their famous Full English using local butcher’s sausages all the way to a pimped up avocado on toast. 

Coffees are particularly excellent, provided by the restaurant group’s very own roastery Red Roaster, and the location is enough to bring cheer to even the most severe of hangovers. The cafe displays its sustainability stripes with pride, with Lucky Beach rated as one of the country’s 20 most sustainable restaurants by the Food Made Good Awards for five years in a row. There really is no reason not to visit.

Address: Kings Road Arches, 183 Kings Rd, Brighton BN1 1NB

Website: luckybeach.co.uk

BRIGHTON SHELLFISH & OYSTER BAR

Brighton Shellfish and Oyster Bar isn’t a ‘bar’ in the sense of cocktails and blokes wearing loafers with no socks, but rather a beach shack doing lots of traditional British seaside treats which every seafood lover lusts after.

All shellfish is laid out and visible in tubs and on ice, and the place feels as old school as it gets. Just lovely. Accordingly, dressings sit on a metal table to the side of the till, with Tabasco, vinegar, gherkins et al for dressing your oysters to your own requirements. You did order the oysters right?

Equally, the £7 lobster roll or bap with gherkin and cayenne pepper mayo is an absolute steal. They have seats to the left, perched on the pebble beach, making this a great choice for a picnic with a cool (not cold) beer in a plastic pint glass from nearby pubs seeming the perfect accompaniment. Or, do an IDEAL and bring a cold bottle of prosecco procured from a nearby offy. Bliss.

Address: The Fishing Quarter 199 Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 1NB

Website: www.brightonshellfish.co.uk 

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