The Best Restaurants On The Isle Of Wight



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The Isle of Wight is, in many ways, the quintessential British holiday destination; warm but windy, refined and rustic, often gaudy yet occasionally glamorous, it encapsulates the Great British summer getaway rather succinctly. 

While the island is most well-known for its sandy beaches, charming seafront promenades and piers – and as once more infamously described as a ‘’psychedelic concentration camp’’ – its culinary scene has never been more exciting or diverse. 

Long gone are the days of a weekend of pickled cockles and rollmops for breakfast, lunch and dinner (although that sounds rather fabulous, we can’t deny). In their place, a veritable feast of great eating options, from traditional fish and chips to fine dining. With that in mind, and with knife and fork in hand, here are the best restaurants on the Isle Of Wight.

Aquitania, Seaview

The Seaview Hotel has a proud past, having stood in this gorgeous spot just yards from the island’s south coast for decades. Its gastronomic history is equally as noble, with the hotel host to several award-winning restaurants over the years.

The current restaurant here, Aquitania, is perhaps the most applauded, with a Michelin plate and 2 AA rosettes awarded to the seasonally changing celebration of the Garden Isle’s finest produce.

There’s a keen focus on seafood here, naturally, with head chef Mark Wyatt straddling classical French and Modern British cooking sensibilities (you can see Pointe de barfleur on a clear day here, after all) in dishes like crisp-skinned sea bream with a voluptuous hollandaise sauce. At £34 for two courses or £39 for three, it’s not half bad value, either.

For something a little more laid back, the adjacent Pump Bar & Bistro’s hearty pub fare is just the ticket, too. Don’t miss out on the indulgent crab over fries, which come fully loaded and given extra heft from chorizo. Perfect with a cold, crisp glass of pinot Grigio and a side order of sea breeze! 

Address: High St, Seaview PO34 5EX, United Kingdom


The Hambrough, Ventnor

The Hambrough is another Isle of Wight Michelin-approved restaurant, this time in Ventnor, one of the island’s most verdant corners.

Overlooking Ventnor beach, this restaurant offers diners a beautiful view of the sea from its elevated, exalted perch. Executive Chef Matthew Tomkinson, a Roux Scholarship winner and Michelin-star winner at both The Goose and The Montagu Arms, heads the kitchen here, creating dishes that have a simple, straightforward elegance to them. 

In our experience dining here, it’s the vegetarian plates that steal the show, whether it’s a keenly seasoned leek and potato velouté given heft and personality with both a crisp potato terrine and sourdough croutons, or a beetroot tarte tatin topped with a picture-perfect rocher of whipped goat’s cheese. 

Carnivores are certainly catered for, too, with Isle of Wight lamb currently doing the rounds on both the lunch and dinner menus, the former of which is an absolute snip at just £28 for two courses. Should the wind be low and the sun out, take that lunch on the restaurant’s gorgeous first floor balcony area, which accommodates a few tables. Heaven, indeed.

Address: Hambrough Rd, Ventnor PO38 1SQ, United Kingdom


The Terrace, Yarmouth

Overlooking Yarmouth’s twinkling marina, The Terrace is a contemporary European restaurant that opened bravely in the sparse, turbulent summer of 2020. 

We’re so glad it did. With a focus on seasonality and local provenance, The Terrace offers an eclectic menu that includes everything from traditional fish and chips and a seasonally changing cottage pie to more innovative dishes, with the most interesting stuff (in our humble opinion) found in the ‘starters and snacks’ section of the menu. The spicy squid beignets are superb, the lobster arancini with tomato fondue even better. 

Of course, the requisite sea view is all present and correct here… What’s not to love?

You can also access the Terrace via speedboat from Lymington on the mainland, all yours for £150 per four guests, as arranged by the restaurant itself. With Terrace rooms available, too, why not make a night of it? 

Address: Quay St, Yarmouth PO41 0PB, United Kingdom


The Garlic Farm, Newchurch

Not all of the Isle of Wight restaurant action goes down at the coast though. Indeed, around a ten minute drive inland, and sitting pretty in the picturesque village of Newchurch, The Garlic Farm has earned its place as one of the island’s most cherished culinary destinations. 

What began as a humble garlic-growing venture back in 1972, when Granny Norah of the Boswell family planted the first garlic crop in her kitchen garden, has now transformed into a multi-discipline venue. Amazingly, the Garlic Farm is now the UK’s largest garlic growing operation.

The Boswells, with Colin and Jenny at the helm, and their children—Oliver, Natasha, Hugo, Josephine, and Alexa—along with nine grandchildren, have created something very special here, cultivating a culture of exploration and innovation all based around garlic, an ingredient famously associated with the Isle of Wight due to its optimal growing conditions characterised by ample sunlight and balanced, chalky soil.

At the heart of this verdant farm lies The Garlic Farm Restaurant, an award-winning establishment renowned for its gourmet dishes that celebrate the unique flavours of garlic. 

It’s a very special place to unwind, even if you’re a vampire. From the restaurant’s patio, patrons can enjoy sweeping views across the verdant valley, often spotting the local wildlife, including peacocks, guinea fowls, and even red squirrels darting about. 

The restaurant’s menu boasts a range of culinary delights, often incorporating the farm’s very own reared Highland beef and, of course, their garlic. It’s on the small plates menu where much of the intrigue lies, with the toasted garlic flatbread, topped with garlicky red pepper and smoked garlic balsamic, a real treat. If you’re not a fan of garlic, the restaurant menu does denote ‘garlickiness’ via clove icons. The Isle of Wight gin cured gravlax is the only dish on both the main and small plates menu to feature no garlic whatsoever, and somewhat suffers as a result, to be honest.

Once your meal’s done, the shop adjacent to the restaurant is a treasure trove of garlicky delights such as smoked garlic, black garlic, and garlic chutneys. During your visit, don’t miss out on trying the famed garlic ice cream or garlic beer—novel treats that reflect the farm’s innovative spirit. Phew; better pack some mints, hey?

The Garlic Farm is also an educational playground, featuring a heritage centre and farm walks where visitors can learn about the myriad potential health benefits and varieties of garlic. In the height of summer, the farm’s team, which grows to nearly 100 employees, hosts open days with activities ranging from falconry displays to ‘make your own garlic bread’ sessions, enhancing the visitor experience with hands-on learning and fun.

Please do be aware that the whole operation, including the restaurant, is open from 9pm to 5pm, though they do occasionally host a dinner service. Keep an eye out for that!

Keep an eye out, too, for the annual Isle of Wight Garlic Festival, which is this year held on the farm on the 17th and 18th of August.


Address: Mersley Ln, Newchurch, Sandown PO36 0NR

Pendleton’s, Shanklin

Located in the heart of the old seaside village of Shanklin, Pendleton’s is a rustic, cosy gem of a place that feels so in keeping with its surroundings. Owner Stephen works the floor with generous aplomb, the spirits flow almost as merrily, and the menu has a straightforward, unfussy charm.

It’s an inclusive affair, too, with a commendable leaning towards vegetarian plates, the verdant pea, pesto and spinach lasagna a particular springtime highlight on our last visit. It is, of course, served with a green salad. Of course, the fish here is sympathetically treated, too, a local seabass, crisp, salty, and served over Mediterrenean vegetables, was wonderful, too.

Lovely stuff, and it’s little surprise that Pendleton’s is such a cherished neighbourhood restaurant.

Address: 85 High St, Shanklin PO37 6NR, United Kingdom


The Red Lion, Freshwater

The pride of the western village of Freshwater, The Red Lion is a gastropub that prides itself on its low-key atmosphere and commitment to quality food, drink and community. It’s a winning recipe that’s made the pub one of the island’s most beloved meeting points.

The menu features a range of classic pub fare, as well as more adventurous dishes that showcase the best of the Isle of Wight’s produce. Sure, you’ll find an esoteric (admittedly excellent) Ploughman’s spread on the lunch menu, which uses focaccia, Isle of Wight blue cheese and superb house pickles. But delve a little deeper and there’s intrigue to be found, whether that’s in the lamb ragu and chestnut tart served as an accompaniment to a blushing loin, or in the light and breezy chickpea and sweet potato tortellini.

With a fine selection of local cask ales at the bar and a shiny Michelin Plate on the wall, there aren’t many better places on the island to settle into for an afternoon that gently turns into an evening of merriment. Cheers!

Address: Church Pl, Freshwater PO40 9BP, United Kingdom


The Hut, Colwell

Located in Colwell Bay, The Hut is a sea-level beachside bistro that offers a relaxed dining experience with stunning views of the water. Hear it lap…

The menu at The Hut is just what you want from somewhere so exquisitely poised, its mise-en-scene a knowing nod to the incomparable surroundings. So, that’s whole fish cooked with restraint, shellfish served with drubbings of garlic butter, and the odd inventive touch for those who like a little flair with their fish (see the tandoori spice marinated, whole roasted sea bream that’s paired with a rich chana masala).

A side of the restaurant’s consummate zucchini fritti is pretty much obligatory. And no, we didn’t intend that to sound like a little song. Finish with the Hut’s close-to-iconic Tiramisu Martini, and you might be left singing this place’s praises though.

Address: Colwell Chine Rd, Colwell Bay, Freshwater PO40 9NP, United Kingdom


No64, Ryde

For something laid back and lunch friendly, No64 Ryde is the spot for good coffee and homemade cakes on the island. Welcoming (no, actively encouraging) of doggy diners, No64 is a great place to bring the furry members of the family, too. 

Though the Full English is always tempting (and the version here eminently satisfying), we’re particularly enamoured with the omelettes and frittatas on offer, a recent sausage and chard creation hitting all the right spots.

Finish (or start – jam or cream…who cares?) with a homemade scone or two, and barrel out of the cafe well set-up for the day ahead.

Address: 64 George St, Ryde PO33 2AJ, United Kingdom


The Bandstand, Sandown

Overlooking Sandown Bay, The Bandstand is a small restaurant that retains the former bandstand’s architectural features while offering panoramic views of the coastline through large glass windows. Though we’ve covered quite a few spectacular views already on this list, we think The Bandstand takes the crown.

Lovingly restored to its former glory (a restoration that earned the restaurant the IOW Conservation Award 2016), whether you’re grabbing a cup of coffee, a light lunch, or leisurely dinner, The Bandstand provides a unique dining experience with an extensive list of seasonally varied dishes and breathtaking views of the coastline. Yep, even the most fickle members of the squad will find something to like here.

Address: 39 Culver Parade, Sandown PO36 8AT, United Kingdom


The Smoking Lobster, Cowes

Next up is the Smoking Lobster in Cowes. Reflecting the Isle of Wight’s penchant for low-key, unpretentious restaurants, the Smoking Lobster is a local favourite, especially after the success of its original outpost in Ventnor. 

Voted Best Restaurant on the Isle of Wight for 2022, the restaurant offers a unique dining experience divided into three areas: the central dining room with a marble bar and oversized windows, the secluded Japanese room, and the spacious corridor overlooking the grill and kitchen. Their lobster tempura and ginger-baked sea bass come particularly recommended​.

Address: 127 High St, Cowes PO31 7AY, United Kingdom


Thompson’s, Newport

We end at one of the island’s most notable restaurants; Thompson’s in Newport. The eponymous restaurant is led by Robert Thompson, the youngest British chef to be awarded a Michelin star in his own right as well as being the first chef to win a star on the Isle of Wight. That’s some serious pedigree right there.

Housed in a Grade II-listed boutique hotel and having recently reopened after a three year hiatus, Thompson’s is already back firing on all cylinders. For the full experience, it’s worth going for the £99 tasting menu (with a wine flight for an additional £55 if you’ve got the means), which showcases the raw talent of this undoubtedly skilled chef. There’s a lightness of touch to the 9 or 10 course rundown, a tagliatelle of cuttlefish a particular highlight.

Whilst it’s certainly not cheap, this is one of the only true ‘fine dining’ options on the island, and a damn enjoyable one at that.

Address:11 Town Ln, Newport PO30 1JU, United Kingdom


Phew, we’re stuffed. Now, how do we get back to the mainland?

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