Porthminster Beach is one of St Ives’ prime attractions, additionally blessed by this livewire eatery – a low-slung, whitewashed building bang on the sands. The bright dining room is simply furnished with wooden tables & chairs, tiles on the floor, & a popular patio for dining alfresco. The café does morning coffee & afternoon tea, but dining here on a fine day is a classic St Ives experience. At lunch, three courses might start with mackerel fillets, rhubarb, fennel & sumac, proceed to pan-fried hake with white bean cassoulet, herbs & anchovy fritters, & conclude with a complex assembly of caramel banana, cinnamon meringue, mini sponge pudding, cinder toffee, pistachio ice cream & pistachio biscuit. The seafood-focused menu also diverts into lamb & vegetarian options. There are plenty of sub-£20 wines on offer, & bottles of white come in cute plastic ice buckets – more commonly used for making sandcastles.
As you would expect, this Cornish beachside restaurant majors on seafood (whites outnumber reds 2:1). What you might not expect is for such a laidback place to use more than 10 suppliers – the result is a lot of good wine between £20 and £30. Simple, helpful tasting notes for cheaper wines, more involved notes for pricier bottles, this list offers a good dollop of personality as well.